Plans for future space exploration are taking shape, and many of those are expected to be crewed. One such example involves the Moon, and if astronauts are to conduct extended stays on the lunar surface, then humankind will need to uncover the Moon’s valuable resources and ascertain ways to live off the land as opposed to relying on shipments from Earth as astronauts on the International Space Station do currently.
One of the most important things we’ll need to find first is water, and scientists are fairly certain that we’ll find lots of it residing in the craters on the Moon’s South pole, which never sees sunlight. Said water isn’t just sitting there in the form of frozen lakes, but rather frozen in the moon’s lunar soil. It would necessitate heavy processing to extract, but if the prediction models are correct, then there could be enough water there for both life support and for making rocket fuel for return trips to Earth.
Lunar astronauts would also need to set up heavy shelter, as the Moon lacks a robust atmosphere to shield visitors from the harmful radiation emanating from the Sun and outer space. The idea would be to develop life support modules that would be air-locked from the outside, and they’d be heavily shielded by 3D-printed layers that would protect from both radiation and space rock impacts.
In time, learning the steps necessary to ensure survival on another world without dependence on Earthly shipments could assist space agencies in their goal of nailing the requirements for deep space missions. Mars, for example, is a mutual interest between nations, and the things we learn right here in our own back yard could be useful as we move to place astronauts on another planet besides Earth in the name of science.