Since humans reached the moon, the next goal has been to reach Mars, and since they have not yet landed on the red planet, this goal is considered out of reach.
It takes the longest non-stop flight on the planet and carries passengers about 20 hours, during which it travels a distance of 17,000 kilometers, a journey that many people may not bear inside a closed plane.
Therefore, the idea of ”transit” travel – which means stopping for a short period while transiting or passing from one country to another – is the perfect solution to this problem in order to refuel aircraft, as well as to relieve travelers of very long distances.
The same may be appropriate for space travel outside the planet, especially with long distances estimated in years, and the goals that international space agencies want to achieve, such as the arrival of humans to Mars.
Since humans reached the moon, the next goal has been to reach Mars, and since they have not yet landed on the red planet, this goal is far from being reached, as the distance between Earth and Mars is on average 225 million kilometers, according to NASA.
It takes at least 3 years to send astronauts to Mars, round trip.
So, a lunar space station might provide future space missions with a pause between leaving Earth and reaching the solar system or even the Milky Way, but why haven’t we heard of building an international space station on the moon to help with these missions?
Nobody travels to the moon
Answers Ian Whitaker, Senior Lecturer in Physics at Nottingham Trent University in Article – Commodity On The Conversation website in the Curious Kids series, he says that one of the reasons we haven’t built a space station on the moon is that we don’t send people there much, we’ve only managed to send astronauts to the moon 6 times so far, landings on it occurred in a 3-year period between 1969 and 1972, and were part of a series of space missions called the Apollo missions.
The type of rocket used to get astronauts to the moon was so powerful it’s called the Saturn V, which isn’t produced anymore, meaning that right now we don’t have a rocket that’s powerful enough to take people to the moon, let alone build a space station. over there.
According to Whitaker, we’re starting to build powerful rockets again, as space exploration company SpaceX builds newer and larger rockets capable of carrying astronauts’ weight to the moon.
NASA is also planning new missions to take astronauts to the moon, however there is a big difference between a short trip to the moon and building a space station there, which is very difficult, and one way to do this is to build the station on Earth in pieces, and then move those pieces to Moon and assembled there.
It would be similar to the way the International Space Station was built, with the pieces taken into space and then assembled by astronauts on the space shuttle.
However, the International Space Station is only 400 km from the surface of the Earth, and the Moon is 384,000 km, and each trip to the Moon will take about 3 days and require huge amounts of fuel, which increases the climate problems on Earth.
A better idea would be to build that station on the Moon by building as much of its base as possible out of materials already on the Moon, and to test lunar concrete on Earth as a potential building material.
On Earth, concrete is made of gravel or sand, cement and water, but we don’t have any of these things on the moon, but what we have there is moon dust and sulfur, and they can be melted and mixed together, and once this mixture cools, it produces a solid stronger than many materials that we use on Earth.
Food and Energy Challenge
We also need to think about what the astronauts residing in the space station need. The most important things are food, breathable air, and electricity to run the equipment.
Scientists are currently working on learning how to grow food in space, and astronauts aboard the International Space Station are conducting experiments to try to grow vegetables using soil pillows, and the other option may be to grow plants using hydroponics, which means that plants It grows in water, not soil.
Getting energy on the Moon will be more complicated, and the best way is to use solar energy directly from the Sun.
However, the moon completes its revolution around the earth every 28 days, and it faces the sun only 14 days, and this means that a space station in a fixed location on the moon will be facing the sun for 14 days, then it will enter the dark phase for another 14 days, and without light it will not Equipment that operates on solar energy, if there is no significant improvement in the process of storing energy in batteries.
One way to overcome this problem is to build a space station at the north or south poles of the moon, and raise the solar panels above the surface, and the panels will get constant sunlight, because they can rotate and not be blocked by the planet at all.
Instead, says Whitaker, we may not need a lunar base at all, as NASA plans to build a satellite to orbit the moon, and while rockets launched from the moon’s surface may use more fuel to escape the moon’s gravity, this will not It would be very difficult if it was done from a satellite, which means that it would be better than a fixed base on the moon as a gateway for missions to the solar system.
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