Elon Musk and Richard Branson are reaching for the stars, but they will start with the Moon. It seems that the Moon is being equipped with cell phone towers already, in preparation for its first lunar clients. Moon orbit tourism has its first flight tentatively scheduled for late 2018.
Richard Branson is focused on the Moon, while Elon Musk has his eyes on Mars. NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay explains on Science Alert why the Moon is just the first stop on mankind’s adventure in space colonization.
“My interest is not the Moon. To me, the Moon is as dull as a ball of concrete, but we’re not going to have a research base on Mars until we can learn how to do it on the Moon first. The Moon provides a blueprint to Mars.”
Introducing Elon Musk and Richard Branson to what was formerly NASA’s territory has helped lower the projected cost of a Moon colony, space travel, and Mars colonization substantially. The first Moon landing cost NASA $150 billion dollars in today’s money when adjusted for inflation.
Now NASA, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and others are looking at a price tag of only $10 billion to put humans into a small lunar outpost on the surface of the Moon. Chris McKay explains to Popular Science that seemingly unrelated technological advances account for most of the savings.
“The big takeaway is that new technologies, some of which have nothing to do with space–like self-driving cars and waste-recycling toilets–are going to be incredibly useful in space, and are driving down the cost of a Moon base to the point where it might be easy to do.”
Elon Musk is paving the way to the Moon. Elon Musk’s Tesla Corporation pioneered self-driving cars. Further, Elon Musk’s lithium ion batteries, which are already making solar energy a viable alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear energy on earth, will make life possible on the Moon.
Lunar nights can last at least four days, even at the poles where nights are shortest. Elon Musk’s new batteries could make a huge difference in storing solar energy on the Moon.
Both Elon Musk’s Space X and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic have plans to provide commercial space travel within a decade. They both want to build colonies in outer space, but they are not alone. Many companies and various nations of the world are cooperating to move human beings off the earth and into space.
Billionaires like Elon Musk and Richard Branson are heavily invested in space travel, and other corporations are eager to become involved. A German company called Part Time Scientists is currently planning to establish cell service on the Moon in 2018.
Part Time Scientists has a contract with Elon Musk’s Space X to establish LTE base stations on the Moon, according to Space. Communications both with earth and locally will be set up long before colonists arrive.
Elon Musk’s plan is to use cell phone technology at first with unmanned vehicles exploring the Moon’s surface. Later those systems will work for humans to communicate from the Moon. LTE technology uses far less energy than radio transmissions, according to Science Alert.
Richard Branson’s Virgin and Elon Musk’s Space X and many other corporations are teaming with NASA to begin a gradual path to Moon colonization. At first, manned visits to the Moon will be relatively short in duration.
The life support technology used in the Space Station will be incorporated to house Moon visitors. Later though, the Moon’s inhabitants will increase the length of their visits and hopefully develop new technology for long term survival there.
Elon Musk and Richard Branson through Space X and Virgin will soon be offering space travel to paying passengers, first to the Moon and eventually to Mars. Eventually, passengers will be purchasing one-way flights to Mars for the purpose of colonization. Estimates for the time table vary, but Elon Musk is optimistic that he will see the Mars Colony in his lifetime.
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NASA, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson are committed to the colonization of the Moon, Mars, and perhaps other planets in the foreseeable future.
[Featured Image by Vadim Sadovski/NASA/Shutterstock]