Oceans of Opportunity

take me to the moon

This week’s announcement of a deep pit on the moon being the likely target for colonization sparked excitement with those across all walks of life.

Read the full article on CNN

The media has been loaded with information about moon exploration in recent months, with the Apollo mission anniversary sparking a renewed public interest in the moon, and more importantly – NASA’s announcement of a human revisitation in the coming years.

This is so incredibly exciting, especially given that NASA anticipates a semi-permanent colony on the moon by 2024 – that’s only fourteen years away. What that means for the ocean sciences is considerably more attention paid to sea-space analogs, likely in the area of undersea habitation and the life systems required for human survival in harsh and isolated environments. Good news for those of us in this niche field.

The 200 plus foot deep lava tube recently discovered shows promise as a future colonization location. This makes great sense, and highlights the seeking out of a fundamental human need, in a most fundamental way.

Here on Planet Earth, dry caves were the first obvious naturally occurring shelter used by hominids, with evidence dating back to the Paleolithic period (2 million to 10,000 years ago). Caves provide four natural walls and a roof. Add a breathable atmosphere and a means to regulate temperature, and you are in business with minimal infrastructure. With a ‘roof over our heads’ so to speak, the added stress of the environment could be put at ease, and focus could then be placed on harvesting/storing food, making tools, and communications. At a most basic level – once the basics of food and water are covered, comfort is the next priority for human survival.

Mr. Maslow, meet the moon.

Meeting basic human needs is a must when entering any extreme environment. When designing critical life systems, striving to engineer systems to compliment human tendencies and behaviors is of utmost importance. The transition for the first lunar settler will probably be just as demanding as the first ‘cave man’. But, ingenuity will, in time, drive the course of technological evolution such that not only ‘rocket scientists’ can cut it up there.

What will it be like? Well, take a dip, and visit the alien world that we have right here in our backyard. That’s where NASA is sure to be looking as they gear up for 2024.

For more info about the moon, check out this video from National Geographic:

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