Thursday, January 28, 2010
Here's a pretty detailed comment from a user on Reddit on just how useful the Moon is to us. Often the idea of colonizing the Moon is derided by those that haven't really given much thought to just what can be accomplished up there compared to either here on Earth or in LEO. Idea #13 is particularly interesting as it involves something not strictly scientific - many religions rely upon the phases of the Moon, and a cathedral or some sort of outpost there would provide accurate information on the phases of the Moon that otherwise have to be estimated from the Earth.
The most interesting aspect for me in the first few years would be seeing the effect of 1/6 gravity on humans over the long term, since we know that astronauts can stay in zero g for over two years without any adverse effects on health (as long as the astronaut is exercising regularly), but we simply have no idea what partial gravity would do. Even Mars-first proponents should be interested in this since if humans are capable of long-term residence on the Moon without any ill effects then Mars' gravity would be no problem either.