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Space colonization refers to the setting up of a self-sufficient human habitat outside planet Earth. The nearest candidate is the Moon. This is followed by Mars and then perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star from our Sun.
Signs that the Earth is feeling the pressure of the ever mushrooming population are everywhere. Depleted rain forests, deteriorating ozone layer, uninhabitable rivers, and Global Warming are evidences of a stressed-out planet. Sure, there are solutions to these problems. But the fact remains that, pretty soon, the demands of our growing population would be too much for this planet to handle.
The Apollo Program has shown us that it is possible to land and even walk on the Moon. Building structures there is not an impossible task. However, there is one main concern – the presence of water. For the Moon or any celestial body to be habitable, it has to have water. If possible, that water has to be in liquid form.
With water, people can grow plants, which can then serve as sources of food. Energy is not a problem since Solar energy is readily available on the Lunar surface. Since there is no atmosphere on the Moon, energy from the Sun can reach solar panels unhindered.
Solar panels are already being used to power satellites and even the Mars exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity, so there’s no question to their reliability. Spirit and Opportunity are two mobile robots that are currently exploring the surface of the Red Planet.
As with regards to the water problem, a possible solution may lie in the water ice deposits found in some polar craters on the Moon. Data gathered by the LCROSS lunar impact mission presented proofs of the presence of water ice there.
If space colonization on the Moon is not possible, then there’s always Mars. Mars possesses many attributes that make it a very good candidate for colonization. Mars has a similar axial tilt to the Earth’s, giving it seasons similar to ours. It has a thin atmosphere that can partially shield inhabitants from solar and cosmic radiation. Best of all, like the Moon, Mars also has water ice deposits on its surface.
Many of us may still be alive to witness the first stages of space colonization. Russia intends to send cosmonauts by 2025 in order to establish a manned moon base there.
Still think the Apollo missions, particularly the lunar landings, were part of an elaborate hoax? Click on this link to read what the Japanese SELENE Lunar Mission discovered.
NASA has a huge collection of reliable links related to the Apollo missions.
Episodes about the moon from Astronomy Cast. Lend us your ears!
Shooting Lasers at the Moon and Losing Contact with Rovers
The Moon Part I