Humanity Should Settle On The Moon Ahead Of Going To Mars, Says Astronaut Chris Hadfield

‘The moon is now within our grasp. Not just to explore but actually to settle,’ says the retired astronaut.

Pavel Chagochkin / Shutterstock

‘The moon is now within our grasp. Not just to explore but actually to settle,’ says the retired astronaut.

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield believes that living on the moon is not as far-fetched as it sounds. In a recent article penned for the Guardian, the Canadian spaceman argues that going on the moon is our “next logical step” before attempting to send astronauts to Mars.

“The moon is now within our grasp. Not just to explore but actually to settle,” writes Hadfield, noting that it would be a lot easier to establish a colony on the moon than on the much more distant Red Planet.

While humanity is gearing up for our first manned exploration mission to Mars, the retired astronaut believes we should pause to consider a lunar colony instead.

Hadfield makes his case by showing that the moon is just three days away from Earth — by comparison, it takes more than 200 days to get to Mars — which makes is a somewhat safer destination for space travel.

In addition, a close proximity to home would make it easier for humans to build a safe environment for a future colony to thrive in because it would be less complicated to ship out technology and science equipment to the moon.

“I would go so far as to say we now have a real chance of establishing lunar habitation,” says Hadfield, who advocates that the best way to do it is for governments and the private sector to pool their resources and work together.

Teaming Up With The Private Sector

As Hadfield explains, the latest exploits of private space companies, such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, have given the public a new perspective on space exploration and particularly on going to Mars.

The Canadian astronaut shows that the growing public interest in the privately funded initiatives of these space companies “will encourage the intensification of meaningful space exploration.”

Hadfield points out that getting the private sector involved in our efforts to expand our horizons and search for new habitations “is healthy, normal and the right thing to do,” as having more options is bound to increase our chances of success.

“Governments should work with private space companies to make lunar colonies a reality in our lifetime.”

Living On The Moon

The retired spaceman notes that building a lunar settlement is like establishing an outpost on any other unfamiliar territory.

As he points out, we have only begun exploring New Zealand some 1,000 years ago, while Antarctica has remained unvisited until the last century or so.

Hadfield argues that space exploration, which only began 60 years ago, is very similar to setting foot for the first time on the unknown regions of our own planet, and that all it takes to pull it off is building adequate technology.

“We could not survive winter in many places on Earth without knowing how to harness fire, build shelter, make clothing and process food. And technology will enable us to do things we’ve only dreamed of until recently.”

The former astronaut points out that, as soon as we figure out how to find water on the moon and how to create a reliable power source to provide heat and fuel, our prospective lunar settlement will become self-sustaining.

3D illustration of a lunar settlement.
An artist’s rendition of what a future lunar settlement could look like. Pavel Chagochkin / Shutterstock

As the Inquisitr previously reported, a robotic campaign to the moon is already in the cards for next year and is aimed at launching scientific instruments to the lunar surface to help prepare for future manned exploration missions.

Meanwhile, NASA has already demonstrated a nuclear fission system that could be used to power long-term missions to the moon, the Inquisitr reported last month.

At the same time, a study published at the beginning of May announced that the moon could hold water under its surface and that future colonists on Earth’s natural satellite could be able to extract about 1.6 gallons of water per 36 cubic feet of lunar rock, as reported by the Inquisitr.