If you’ve been paying any attention to NASA and SpaceX lately, then you might’ve caught wind about their mutual interest in colonizing Mars within just a few decades. But if you’re like the rest of the population, you might be asking yourself: why don’t we start small and colonize our Moon first? After all, it’s closer.
It’s a great question to be asking, but the Moon is most likely being overlooked because Mars promises to be a new frontier in space exploration. Humans once stepped on the lunar surface, but never Mars. That said, colonizing Mars would be a significant achievement if done correctly.
Other reasons likely contribute to the disinterest in lunar colonization. For one, the Moon lacks an atmosphere to protect human visitors from radiation and space rock impacts. Mars’ atmosphere may not be as robust as the Earth’s, but it’s more robust than the Moon’s by a long shot. Additionally, Mars may contain a greater abundance of valuable resources, such as water.
That aside, recent discoveries suggest that the Moon contains more traces of permanently-frozen water than initially thought, so there may be valuable resources on the Moon too. Furthermore, underground lava tubes could provide colonists with the protection they’d need from harmful radiation and space rock impacts.
Given the recent discoveries, isn’t it time we re-think colonizing the Moon? It's proximity to Earth makes it ideal for practicing otherworldly colonization. Additionally, if anything were to go wrong, colonists wouldn't be as far out of reach as they would be they traveled to Mars.
Whether you're for or against lunar colonization, it's worth thinking about.