Your Condo on the Moon


Or perhaps a beach-side villa?

Your Condo on the Moon

By  Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

Colonizing the Moon has been claimed to be the stepping stone for colonizing planet Mars (NASA: “En Route to Mars”). Some folks are all in favor, with headlines like “Make American First on the Moon again!

Even the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has been adamant in his doom scenario projections:  In one hundred year or so, mankind can no longer live on earth. That’s a big “upgrade” from “… one thousand years …” that Hawking made just a few months ago. No wonder then, the (renewed) race to the moon and planets (not limited to Mars) is just getting underway.

The idea of the Moon as a gateway to colonize Mars and other planets now leads to questions of suitable housing for those (presumably happy) future colonists on any of these heavenly bodies. In turn, that new requirement fosters research into materials that could be useful for the purpose, including concrete. Recent research activities under way explore the formation and structural strengths of concrete under reduced or near-absent gravity, like in parabolic flights with suitable airplanes.

Parabolic Flights

Parabolic flights start from mid altitudes of around 8 km height. The airplane then goes into a steep ascent that is followed by a steep descent. Between the inflection points of the ascent and descent a brief (10-20 second) period of a near weightless environment exists in the plane that allows undertaking some testing experiments. The French company Novespace has modified an Airbus airplane, model A310-304 VIP, to allow such flights; the plane has been dubbed A310 ZERO-G.


Zero-G


If the chemical reactions are rapid enough, microscopic crystal growth and bulk strength of the resulting material can be studied. The formation of concrete and specific concrete mineral components like ettringite is just one of many items of interest.

What is Concrete?

Regular cement, also widely known as Portland Cement (i.e., the dry material) that you can buy in 60 lb bags at many outlets, is the most common type of concrete-forming material. It is basically a mixture of calcium and aluminum oxide and silicate with small amounts of magnesium, iron, and sulfate minerals. This powdery mixture, upon reaction with water, forms a variety of hydrated minerals that crystallize into a densely-packed arrangement of such micro-crystals.  The resulting concrete is like a hard rock that withstands the ravages of time much better than most other building materials.

In fact, there are few large land-based structures that do not contain concrete in one form or another. Accordingly, the world’s annual production of cement is in the order of billions of tons and one major energy use. What some people seem to forget though is that the formation of concrete does not just involve a dry powder but also another vital ingredient, generally known as WATER. For quality concrete to form, the water to cement ratio needs to be approximately 0.3. Without any water for the powder to react with to form concrete, nothing happens.

So when some potential future colonists or material engineers dream of building concrete skyscrapers or the like, anywhere in the universe, that little requirement of water is often overlooked. Even if cement could easily be produced from heating some rocks there, dear colonists-in-waiting, there simply is no water to tap, neither on the Moon nor on Mars.

Water, Water everywhere

NO, not at all!

If you want to find copious amounts of water, then better stay close by. Due to the coincidence of the seasonal spring runoff and heavy rainfall in recent weeks, some folks along the shores of rivers and lakes in Quebec are currently wishing for less water. Their basements are flooded and the Province has called for help by the army to provide relief from the rising “tide.”

The “Blue Planet,” planet Earth, is especially endowed with copious quantities of water – in contrast to the Moon or planet Mars. Perhaps, those bodies may have had plenty of water too, eons ago, but they do not now. For example, the so-called “polar ice caps” on Mars consist of “dry ice,” which is a term used for solid carbon dioxide – not frozen water.  Unfortunately for all would-be-colonists, the Moon has neither an atmosphere nor any known deposits of water either – and water is vital.

Water is Vital

Have you ever wondered how the astronauts on the Intl. Space Station (ISS) are keeping hydrated? Then perhaps, you know that they are living by drinking their own (purified) bodily fluids. That’s a fact; not to mention the high-energy radiation exposure from space. No wonder, even the ISS is under threat.

To wit: NASA is drawing up plans to scrap the Intl. Space Station in a few years and the New Scientist magazine reports that NASA may run out of usable space suits even before then.

So, dear hopeful astronauts, eager Moonlings and Marslings, sorry to have to crimp your expectations, no comfy high-rise condos on either the Moon or Mars anytime soon, not even concrete bunkers – regardless of Hawking’s proclamations with which not everyone agrees. For example, as A. Ozimek writes in Forbes magazine, “Sorry Nerds, but colonizing other planets is not a good plan.”

But never mind, just keep on dreaming!

_____________________________________________

Dr Klaus L E KaiserDr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is a professional scientist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Technical University, Munich, Germany. He has worked as a research scientist and project chief at Environment Canada‘s Canada Centre for Inland Waters for over 30 years and is currently Director of Research at TerraBase Inc. He is author of nearly 300 publications in scientific journals, government and agency reports, books, computer programs, trade magazines, and newspaper articles.

Dr. Kaiser has been president of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, a peer reviewer of numerous scientific papers for several journals, Editor-in-Chief of the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada for nearly a decade, and an adjunct professor. He has contributed to a variety of scientific projects and reports and has made many presentations at national and international conferences.

Dr. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts
convenientmyths.com

Dr. Kaiser can be reached at: mail@convenientmyths.com


 

14 thoughts on “Your Condo on the Moon”

  1. Actually condos on the moon are a great idea for the powers that be. They may need such refuges if they don’t quit screwing things up.

  2. Rubbish!
    Moon rocks are full of oxygen – so at the worst, we need only carry hydrogen to the lunar surface.

    There’s also considerable evidence that there are Billions of tons of water ice in permanently shaded craters, which would be even easier.

    Several other ways of making concrete with very little water have already been worked out in detail.

    Radiation is stopped by about 1 meter of either concrete or rock, so permanent lunar residents will be perfectly safe living underground, or on the lower floors of tall buildings.
    Tourists will be okay living on the surface for a week or so: none of the Apollo astronauts suffered from radiation sickness.

    And in addition, treatments for radiation will go on improving.

    “When even an accomplished scientist says “XYZ will always remain impossible” . . they’re probably wrong, unless XYZ is physically impossible.”

  3. One has to wonder if Musk PAYS all the boosters and media outlets pushing travel to Mars and reinforing Global Warming. He needs to keep the dual narratives of global doom alive, else his rocket, battery and electric car companies would loose all those wonderful government subsidies and backers.

    The Moon makes mire sense than Mars as a 1st step to establish a permanent presence in space. Expanding the human race is what we do as a species, well!

    There is water on the Moon! Not oceans, but enough water to make a Moon colony possible. I refer readers to a well thought out book, “The Value Of The Moon”, by Paul D. Spudis.

  4. If someone with a terminal illness attempts suicide they are often consigned to a mental institution and the assisting person/s are charged with a crime but somehow the media seem to think going to Mars is not suicide ? Suicide may be painless, as the MASH theme song claims, but it is still illegal basically everywhere.

    I doubt we will ever colonise the Moon or Mars – people who support this futile waste of money have been watching too many Star-trek movies.

    “Terra forming” is just science fiction – much like the greenhouse effect.

    I thought many people were beginning to think that wasting public money on science fiction was stupid but following this new insanity perhaps people remain as gullible as ever – it seems they eventually simply grow tired of one source of nonsense and latch onto new exciting ones.

    1. I doubt we’ll ever be able to terra form another planet, or moon, but I do think we’ll send humans to Mars. We’ve already got robots there so it’s the next logical step. It will be a dangerous mission, but it’s not an impossible one.

  5. If colonizing other planets is “not a good idea” then we humans on Earth would not be here. Yes. Aliens exist and here we are. Humans did not originate on this planet. Although interstellar space travel technology is still far away from our present capability never the less it is no doubt a reality for other life forms in the Universe and it is by such interstellar space travel that we are here on Earth. According to the Bible in the Book of Revelations chapter 12 you can read that we “mankind” are not here on the Earth of our own free will. Eve committed an evil and had to get out of Dodge real fast as the angelic law enforcement were closing in quickly. So we are not in Kansas anymore. Although there will always be those who want to go interstellar so as to populate other planets, it is unfortunate that the resident aliens already living on those other planets will most probably not allow it to happen. Would we allow our Earth to be invaded by aliens ? So why expect aliens to allow us to invade their home world ? What a revelation it is going to be when we discover that the Moon and Mars are already populated by aliens.

    1. Must ask Buzz Aldrin if he noticed any little green men when he walked on the Moon. Or maybe, little blue men?

  6. You can’t land on the moon, it’s not a solid body and space is unattainable, no-one has ever been there or ever will.
    Hawking is not even conscience of his surroundings never mind making any great prophesy, he’s a live puppet nothing more, disgusting how they use this man.

  7. Two things here. First, the moon and mars are not going to be “The” best place to go and live. Both are hostile environments. The future for man is the O’Neill Cylinder. And once the age of carbon arrives, every structure will be made of carbon, not steel. Carbon is over ten times lighter as well as stronger.

    Further Carbon is almost everywhere. And the best place is to go to venus and drop suction tubes into the atmosphere, sucking out CO2 from the atmosphere. That is where we can accrue unlimited amounts of carbon and Oxygen for breathing. Both can be stored in huge tanks and moved around the solar system. O’Neill Cylinders are the way to go, because expansion is unlimited. And they can go anywhere.

    Secondly, Stephen Hawking may be a genius and a great physicist, but he doesn’t know squat about economics and the power of Free Enterprise. As countries accrue wealth, they naturally clean up their environment, and self-regulate their population growth. The only thing we have to fear is “Impactors”, most notably comets. This is what can screw up things royally. Just ask the dinosaurs.

    Oh, a third thing. The solar system is chock full of H2O too. This planet alone adds up to 13 tons of water daily,….from space. Carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen are everywhere, and in places you wouldn’t believe. Just get those damned space elevators built, and let us do our thing!

  8. FI you say “XYZ is just science fiction” you need to remember that science fiction has a habit of coming true: aeroplanes, computers, space travel, internet . . were all speculated about in science fiction.
    If humans do not spread out into space, we’re going to die here on Earth: “Grow or die” seems to be a lesson from nature.
    Space Renaissance International argues that the current malaise of civilization needs a “Space Renaissance” to revive.

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