Would it be possible to put a person on the moon for a prolonged period of time?

We are too heavily influenced by science fiction writers, movies and XBox to see it for what it is.

Space. The final frontier.

One day in our futures humans will travel to other planets, terraform them and colonize them. We will spread out and our species will survive, even if our own sun blows up. We have to start somewhere. We’ve been to the moon once. Let’s go again. Let’s live on the moon.

That would be very difficult. We would need a way to supply our moon resident with food, water and food. Perhaps it could be as we do now with the International Space station (ISS), i.e. fly up supplies once in awhile.

The problem is that the ISS is in low Earth orbit at 249 miles above mean sea level. The moon, on the other hand is between 225,623 miles at it’s closest, and 248,855 miles at it’s farthest, and is moving away from Earth at a rate of 1.5 inches per year. The moon is more than 906 times further than the ISS.

Taken distances into consideration, I would say it is not practical to have a living human being on the Moon for an extended period of time unless he could somehow grow his own food, and get oxygen and water locally.

We are too heavily influenced by science fiction writers, movies and XBox to see it for what it is. Hopeless.

The answer to your question, sadly, is no.

Man-on-the-moon

How far are the moon and the sun from the earth?

Solution to Joe Drops the Ball

In two previous blog posts about Newton’s Cannon and Joe Drops the Ball I posed the question: If falling objects go faster and faster, why don’t orbiting objects fall out of orbit and crash to the ground?

The question is legitimate and also has a perfectly legitimate explanation.

The rate of a falling object is 32.2 feet per second per second, i.e. it goes faster and faster as it goes down. It accelerates on the way to the ground. So the first question is this: 1) Is an object in orbit in free fall? The answer is yes. 2) Do falling objects accelerate as they fall to the ground? The answer is yes. 3) Do orbiting objects accelerate and thus fall to the ground? The answer is no.

It’s all in the definition of accelerate. Acceleration is a change in velocity not just a change in speed. Velocity is the speed in a given direction, but because an object in orbit is always changing direction it is technically accelerating even if it’s speed isn’t changing.JoeDropsBall5

The force of gravity bending the forward motion of the orbiting object changes the direction of the object. The object is accelerating even if it’s speed isn’t changing, because it is constantly changing direction.

This is alternatively explained in the article I wrote called The Little Rocket that Was.

Can Going to Mars Fix Earth?

Mars is cool. Isn’t it? Well, spoiler alert: neither you nor I are going to settle on Mars.

It’s inhospitable and has no benefit. It’s not a safe haven if we screw up Earth. Why? Because Mars lost its hot core billions of years ago. Without a hot core Mars lost the magnetic field shielding it from the sun. The atmosphere blew away, the volcanos dried up, and there’s nothing protecting any people there from the dangerous rays of the sun. It has no value for humans to go there, what to speak live there, and NASA has a whole department dedicated to making sure we don’t bring germs to other planets or from other planets back to Earth. That means we’ll never terraform Mars. We will never grow stuff there, and we will never survive there. Mars is useless except, maybe, for rovers to rove.

Same goes for the moon. No point in going back to the moon. Anything you want to do there you can do without human hands. That’s what robots are for, and if a robot dies it costs money but no lives.

We were born on this Earth. We will die on it. We’ve got stuff in orbit, and robots on Mars and in space, but that’s it. Maybe SpaceX or somebody will put some poor souls on the surface of Mars, but they will either die or have to come back to the safety of Earth.

There will be no Star Trek Enterprise. There will never be a spaceship that can go “warp” speed. There will never be a Federation of Planets. Get real. Sorry if it’s upsetting. Great TV, great movies, but it’s science fiction.

We won’t be able to visit those 7 “earthlike planets” recently discovered over 40 light years away, 10 times further than our closest stellar neighbor.

We’ve got one place to live. Earth. Screw it up, and the future’s screwed. We have the science to sustain it, but greediness and politics, international conflicts and third world governments, big industry and you and me in our cozy environment choking homes, will not allow us to save it. Gradually a wide variety of species will go extinct, both plants and animals. Gradually the food chain will be disrupted. Not for you, probably not for your kids, but down the line it’s coming.

Sometimes Earth people go “green” – reducing their “environmental footprint.” Yeah, you can try. You can even succeed if you try really hard. You can live off the grid, by candlelight or self generated electricity, don’t buy any food in containers or wrapped in plastic, make compost and grow food.

I know people who live like that and it’s great for them.

However, let’s get real here. Out of billions of people, if a few people leave less of an environmental footprint than most of the others, it might make them feel good but will it really save the world? No it won’t, because at the core of the problem is humanity itself. We are the polluters of our own planet. We are not likely to stop as a whole. We are not one world government, one people and one culture. We are diverse and dream of going to other planets if this one gets screwed up.

Is this a pessimistic view? Probably. I’m going to be 64 years old in a few months. This is the world the boomers and those before us are leaving behind. See if you can fix it.