Monday, September 03, 2007

Moon mission motivation

Completely under-reported is the renewed and heavy interest by the US, China, Russia, and India in visiting, exploring, and eventually populating the Moon. All 4 of these countries have stated their intention to visit the moon and establish a presence by 2025 or earlier. (Russia says by 2015, the US a base by 2024.)

So why the interest in the Moon, besides nostalgia? As detailed in the link above, the interest is based on the Moon's abundant supply of helium-3, which could power fusion reactors.

(Never mind that today's fusion reactors consume 1000X more energy than they produce, or that the cost of production - when including the expense of the space exploration and transportation might be exorbitant.)

It's great that there's such broad and deep interest in exploring any remotely viable alternative energy source, as the lunar interest is validation that fusion could be such a source.

It would also be great if this generation of lunar efforts also drives interest in space exploration beyond what little we've done. (Mars, anyone?) On this point, it's very sad that neither the US, nor the world has accomplished much of note in space since the last lunar expedition 35 years ago.

Of course, this whole lunar fascination could just be a case of escalating competitive press releases, or better yet, a goofy competition for national pride, which in the past has begotten wacky things like the great jet train race.

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With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous