Let's Build a Moon Base, THEN Colonize Mars, with Astronaut Ron Garan
There's no reason why humanity can't re-establish its moon presence while also keeping an eye on the red planet.
Ronald Garan, Jr. is a retired NASA astronaut who has traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet during more than 178 days in space and 27 hours and 3 minutes of EVA during four spacewalks. He flew on both the US Space Shuttle and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Ron is also an aquanaut and participated in the joint NASA-NOAA, NEEMO-9 mission, an exploration research mission held in Aquarius, the world's only undersea research laboratory. During this mission he and the crew spent 18 continuous days living and working on the ocean floor. Garan is a highly decorated fighter pilot and test pilot, explorer, entrepreneur and humanitarian.
Ron Garan: Should we go to the moon or should we go to Mars? We should go to both. But I guess the real question is, "Where do we go next? What’s the next step? And I think this goes back to The Orbital Perspective as well. I think The Orbital Perspective, you know, the part of The Orbital Perspective that talks about long-term planning. You know let’s look 20, 30, 40, 50 years down the road and see what affects our decisions that we make today will take us, you know, what trajectory will that put us on? Where will that get us in that timeframe? And so if we go to Mars first, which we can do. I’d say it would probably be 10 to 15 years from the time we make a decision to go to Mars we could probably get to Mars. But by making a decision that means we’ve allocated the necessary funding, et cetera, et cetera. But another path to Mars would be to go to the moon first. And by going to the moon first — and what I mean by that is by establishing a transportation infrastructure between the Earth and the moon and a permanent human presence on the moon.
So we have routine travel between Earth and its nearest neighbor. By doing that, that would open up the entire solar system. That enables us to use the resources that are on the moon. It enables us to launch in a much lower gravity field than Earth. It opens up tremendous benefits to the entire population of the Earth by making use of our nearest neighbor. There’s energy on the moon. There’s scientific discoveries on the moon. The list goes on and on all the benefits to Earth that the moon provides. And so not only would we get those benefits. Not only would we be able to have this traffic infrastructure for routine travel to the Earth and the moon, but we’d open up the rest of the solar system including Mars. So to me, from a long-term point of view it makes sense to have the next step being to return to the moon, this time to stay.
Astro Ron returns to Big Think to offer his take on the future of space exploration. Prominent voices in the astronomical community have argued over the past decade whether humanity should attempt a moon return to establish a permanent base or aim higher and set its sights on Mars. The ex-NASA astronaut and Big Think expert asserts that the two aren't mutually exclusive, but contends that normalizing Earth-to-moon travel will better prepare us for missions to Mars and beyond. Garan talks about this and more in his new book The Orbital Perspective.
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Inequality in wealth, gender, and race grew to unprecedented levels across the world, according to OxFam report.
- A new report by global poverty nonprofit OxFam finds inequality has increased in every country in the world.
- The alarming trend is made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, which strained most systems and governments.
- The gap in wealth, race and gender treatment will increase until governments step in with changes.
People wait in line to receive food at a food bank on April 28, 2020 in Brooklyn.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Credit: Oxfam International
A supernova exploded near Earth about 2.5 million years ago, possibly causing an extinction event.
- Researchers from the University of Munich find evidence of a supernova near Earth.
- A star exploded close to our planet about 2.5 million years ago.
- The scientists deduced this by finding unusual concentrations of isotopes, created by a supernova.
This Manganese crust started to form about 20 million years ago. Growing layer by layer, it resulted in minerals precipitated out of seawater. The presence of elevated concentrations of 60 Fe and 56 Mn in layers from 2.5 million years ago hints at a nearby supernova explosion around that time.
Credit: Dominik Koll/ TUM
The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.
- A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
- It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
- The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
The ocean depths are home to many creatures that some consider to be unnatural.<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU2NzY4My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTUwMzg0NX0.BTK3zVeXxoduyvXfsvp4QH40_9POsrgca_W5CQpjVtw/img.png?width=980" id="b6fb0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2739ec50d9f9a3bd0058f937b6d447ac" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1512" data-height="2224" />
What benefit does this find have for science? And is it as evil as it looks?<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="7XqcvwWp" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="8506fcd195866131efb93525ae42dec4"> <div id="botr_7XqcvwWp_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7XqcvwWp-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/7XqcvwWp-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7XqcvwWp-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The discovery of a new species is always a cause for celebration in zoology. That this is the discovery of an animal that inhabits the deeps of the sea, one of the least explored areas humans can get to, is the icing on the cake.</p><p>Helen Wong of the National University of Singapore, who co-authored the species' description, explained the importance of the discovery:</p><p>"The identification of this new species is an indication of just how little we know about the oceans. There is certainly more for us to explore in terms of biodiversity in the deep sea of our region." </p><p>The animal's visual similarity to Darth Vader is a result of its compound eyes and the curious shape of its <a href="https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/research/sjades2018/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" style="">head</a>. However, given the location of its discovery, the bottom of the remote seas, it may be associated with all manner of horrifically evil Elder Things and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu" target="_blank" rel="dofollow">Great Old Ones</a>. <em></em></p>
I spoke to 99 big thinkers about what our ‘world after coronavirus’ might look like – this is what I learned
There is no going "back to normal."
Back in March, my colleagues at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University thought that it might be useful to begin thinking about “the day after coronavirus."