Saturday, August 25, 2012

Man on the Moon

The Final Frontier 

 William Halal's chapter on the Final Frontier (Technology's Promise) puts space exploration into the limelight for a technology forecast. I read this chapter as part forecast and part roadmap to manned space exploration since since the ideas feed off one another and there are some synergies between the ideas. For example, Space Tourism could lead to a desire for the Moon Base. The Moon Base can be used as a launch point for a manned mission to Mars...

Tech Forecast

 The tech forecast I chose to focus on was the Moon Base. The Moon Base was funded by President George W. Bush to allow NASA to set up a manned colony on the moon, with the idea of using the Moon Base as a launching point for a mission to Mars. There are also efforts being funded by the European Union for a manned moon colony called Aurora. Halal reports that the tech forecasters believe(d)with 50% confidence that a Moon Base would be established sometime around 2028. The site has since updated this estimate to 2032.

Impacting Forces

There are several forces impacting the progress towards a Moon Base.


The most impactful one I believe is an economical force. The current economic environment in the United States, and the European Union makes it difficult to justify spending on Space Exploration. With the economic hardships being felt around the world, what world leader would be willing to take brunt of an attack by establishing a policy to fund a Moon Base? Without a real, driving need for a Moon Base funding will be scarce for the foreseeable future.


There are also global considerations that need to be taken into consideration. Who has the property rights to establish a moon colony? The first one's there? Will this be the space equivalent to the Oklahoma land rush? I don't think so. The precedent has been set with the International Space Station to have a joint venture into this environment. I do believe there will be conflict over the settlement though since not all countries are part of the ISS project.

My Forecast

Based upon the two forces listed, along with others, I believe the Moon Base will occur much later than the forecast of 2032.  With the current situation I believe the Moon Base won't occur until 2045 or later.

Technologies Promise, Ch 7; William E. Halal

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