Sundry Feats of Technology Made Possible by the Moon
What we’ve outlined so far explains the major achievements lunar development enables. There will be many others, as space development will truly be the seed of many new things and will expand our reach and our abilities in ways we can’t even identify today. Some further opportunities not yet mentioned deserve introduction.
In order to truly understand ecosystems, it’s important to make one of your own. This is clearly one of the many things you don’t want to try on Earth. But on the moon, it’s something you have to do in order to thrive, and it risks no harm. Moon Town devotes a lot of resources to achieving a balanced and complete suite of organisms that support each other and continue to grow without need for supplies from Earth. It takes a long time, and only slowly achieves greater complexity. This work is conducted in Teacup Crater, which is isolated from the rest of Moon Town carefully. Knowledge gained in this pursuit gives biologists and ecologists on Earth insight into the dynamics of Earthly ecosystems. From this, better approaches and tools for healing damaged ecosystems are developed. Better ways to combine agriculture with a healthy surrounding natural environment are also achieved.
You know what you can do in a virology lab staffed by robots on the moon? Anything you want.
It’s been postulated that developing artificially grown replacement organs could be greatly advanced by providing a low or micro gravity environment in which to 3d print them or to encourage cells to grow around a tissue scaffold in a liquid growth medium. So a lot of that might happen in orbit – but the installations for it will only be able to scale up once the moon is providing the equipment and materials.
Pharmacology may well be able to add things to its arsenal of tricks, using vacuum, low gravity and heat and cold the way that’s possible on the moon. Then there is the matter of engineering bacteria or other micro-organisms to manufacture a desired organic chemical. There is more leeway to do such things on the moon without fear a leak or spill could release an organism into the natural world, where it might cause havoc.
Transport in a sixth of normal gravity is clearly a different proposition. It isn’t the kind of thing that can transfer directly to the Earth. Still, it’s nice to think there will be a place where you could genuinely fly like a bird, with wings you operate with your own muscles – though it would take the strength of your leg muscles to be able to flap. And perhaps research on wing design can be energized by how much easier it is to get something aloft, after which it might be possible to translate that into Earthside designs. The people of Earth will at least be able to come to the moon and environs to enjoy the many ways of leaping, flying, diving, and swinging that will surely be devised.
So Much More
Radio telescopes on the far side of the moon can be made in craters that already closely approximate the needed shape. There are natural bowl shapes like that of Arecibo all over the place, and far larger./ This has been on the wish list of radio astronomers for a long time, because the far side of the moon is also naturally protected from clamor of radio signals coming from broadcasts on Earth.
Of course, telescopes of all kinds will flourish and explode in scale. The moon can launch gigantic telescopes and service them easily. Who knows what we will discover once we have them.
With enough infrastructure and robotic development, the low gravity and vacuum can also be harnessed to build particle accelerators of massive size and power. Again, the discoveries that come of that will surely open new horizons.
Who knows what we’ll find after sinking shafts into the moon’s crust 100 km. When we send massive missions far and wide through the solar system. When we peer below the ice of Enceladus, swim through the hydrocarbon lakes of Titan, drill to the core of Ceres, when we have permanent bases on every significant solid body there is from the sun to Pluto.
It is the moon that will make that possible.