NASA Announces Plans to Colonize the Moon By 2030
NASA has committed to putting humans on the moon by 2024 and human settlements by 2030, but what will it take to achieve this lofty goal?
Under NASA’s Artemis program the space agency announced the priority of going back to the moon with settlements on the lunar surface by 2030 that would act as a launch point for future missions to Mars. The program has many goals, chief among them to learn how to live on the surface of another planet.
But the moon’s surface is a harsh and hostile environment. Micrometeorites pelting the surface like missiles, 400-degree temperature swings, and the constant risk of radiation exposure from the sun create many obstacles for putting long-term settlements on the lunar surface. On the moon, we will have to supply the same foundations of human survival as we do on Earth including water, shelter, food, and oxygen. NASA is partnering with public and private partners to solve these problems.
So how will astronauts access these vital resources needed for survival? NASA won’t be able to bring sufficient life-sustaining resources from Earth, so they’ll have to make it upon arrival.
Scientists Propose Splicing Tardigrade DNA with Humans'
Human beings have long strived to push the boundaries of space exploration and habitation, from the race to the Moon, to the multi-country missions to Mars. But is the human body really the best suited for the next stage of space travel? Beyond the technological and aerospace advances, the largest challenge is also the greatest potential for a scientific revolution – the limitations of the human body’s response to long term and long-distance space travel.
Surprisingly, the being that is providing many answers to the secrets surrounding space travel might be found in the tiny tardigrade, the microscopic organism that has evolved to survive the most extreme natural circumstances, from the bottom of the ocean to space’s vacuum. Also called “water bears” or “moss piglets,” these organisms measure at .05mm long, but are found literally the world’s many environments. Their unique adaptation process includes being able to survive some of the most extreme heat temperatures and external pressures by shrinking and dehydrating to .001 percent of its original size.
Tardigrades in this stage are called “tuns” in which the organism shuts down it’s metabolism to a near-zero point or cryptobiosis, including complete dehydration and lowered oxygen levels. When they land in a habitable environment, tardigrades are able to rehydrate back to their normal state and size. Research has shown that this evolutionary flexibility carries ramifications beyond environmental hardiness to the actual lifespan of the microorganism. For example, the average lifespan for a tardigrade is 2.5 years; however, scientists have discovered ones in the Antarctic that may be as old as 30 years!