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The Moon

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mol207
1148357.  Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:18 pm Reply with quote

Also a bit late for the M series, but still interesting.

Who was the first person to discuss a Moon colony in writing?

Bishop John Wilkins is considered the first person to discuss the possibility of a Moon colony in his book A Discovery of a New World, or A Discourse Tending to Prove, that ‘tis Probable there may be another Habitable World in the Moon, written in 1638 (1).

Wilkins wrote that the Moon had seas and land as well as mountains and valleys (2). He also pointed out that the Moon couldn't have any light of its own because it would become brighter during an eclipse instead of darker if it had its own light (3). Plus, Wilkins argued that the Earth probably shines in the Moon’s sky similarly to the way the Moon shines in our sky (4).

Therefore, he thought it probable that the Moon was inhabited (5), and he was convinced that in the future, people would find a way to travel to the Moon to trade with its inhabitants (6). He proposed that people could create their own wings and fly there because angels, the Roman god Mercury, and the ancient Greek inventor Daedalus either had or created wings that allowed them to fly (7). Another option would be to train a Rukh (a legendary bird from Madagascar) to carry people to the Moon (8). Finally, Wilkins wrote that if those didn’t work, people could definitely create a “flying chariot” big enough not only to carry multiple people, but also the food and other necessities needed to get to the Moon (9).

We did indeed create a “flying chariot” to take us to the Moon, and we saw the Earth shine in the Moon’s sky just like the Moon shines in ours. We also know that the Moon doesn’t give off its own light, but merely reflects the Sun’s, just like the Earth does.

We also found some rather interesting rocks. What color were the rocks the Apollo 17 mission brought back from the Moon?

Orange! (10)

Astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, the first geologist in space, discovered the orange rocks while he and Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan were exploring Shorty Crater (11). Cernan thought, “We’ve been here too long; he’s running out of oxygen,” when Schmitt announced his discovery (12).

However, Schmitt had actually found orange rocks. Initially, Schmitt and Cernan thought oxidation might give the rocks their color, but the rocks are actually titanium-rich volcanic glass (13). NASA believes the orange glass formed about 3.64 billion years ago when moon magma sprayed hundreds of meters high, covering tens of kilometers because the gas in the magma separated out explosively as it reached the surface (14). (Think of a shaken can of soda spraying all over). This indicates that parts of the Moon’s interior are rich in titanium (15).

Apollo 15 brought back green, magnesium-rich glass (16).

(As a side note: Schmitt and Cernan also sang “The Fountain in the Park” by Ed Haley while on the Moon; the video of it is rather amusing). (17)

(1) Johnson, S. W. & Leonard, R. S. “Evolution of Concepts for Lunar Bases.” Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century. Houston: 1985. Pg. 48. <http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu//full/1985lbsa.conf...47J/0000056.000.html>

(2) Wilkins, John. A Discovery of a New World, or A Discourse Tending to Prove, that ‘tis Probable there may be another Habitable World in the Moon. London: 1638. Pg. 90. <https://books.google.com/books?id=v3FZCkl16BAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=a+discourse+concerning+a+new+world&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAGoVChMIlbWWr8DExwIVyPceCh3odQsR#v=onepage&q=colony&f=false>

(3) Ibid. Pg. 54.

(4) Ibid. Pg. 126.

(5) Ibid. Pg. 142.

(6) Ibid. Pg. 156.

(7) Ibid. Pg. 183-184.

(8) Ibid. Pg. 184.

(9) Ibid. Pg. 184.

(10) Lunar Planetary Institute. “Apollo 17 Mission.” <http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/apollo/apollo_17/samples/>

(11) Robinson, Mark. “Just Another Crater?” Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera. Tempe: 2011. <http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/posts/417>

(12) Sunata, Stephanie and Meghan Leach. “Apollo astronauts visit Chicago's Adler Planetarium for a special exhibit addition.” Chicago Parent. Chicago: 2012. <http’://www.chicagoparent.com/magazines/web-only/2012-november/apollo>

(13) Robinson, Mark. “Just Another Crater?” Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera. Tempe: 2011. <http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/posts/417>

(14) Ibid.

(15) Taylor, G. Jeffrey. “Recipe for High-Titanium Lunar Magmas.” Planetary Science Research Discoveries. Honolulu: 2000. <http://www.psrd.hawaii.edu/Dec00/highTi.html>

(16) Lunar Planetary Institute. “Apollo 15.” <http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/apollo/apollo_15/samples/>

(17) NASA. “I was strolling on the Moon one day.” NASA’s 40th Anniversary: Apollo Audio and Movie Segments. <http://history.nasa.gov/40thann/videos.htm>

 
Jenny
1148423.  Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:16 am Reply with quote

Welcome mol207 and thank you for that :-)

As you say, too late for the M series, but maybe N for New Worlds?

 
mol207
1148555.  Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:24 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Welcome mol207 and thank you for that :-)

As you say, too late for the M series, but maybe N for New Worlds?


An episode about New Worlds would definitely get my vote!

Scientists recently discovered fish and other animals in a remote area of Antarctica where they were sure they would find only microbes--if even those. This is great news for the possibility of life on Europa. ("Life at Hells Gate." Scientific American. July 2015.)

Also, with new technologies, divers are now able to stay underwater longer at greater depths, allowing them more time to explore shipwrecks and underwater towns and giving us more insight into a new-old world. ("In Search of Sunken Treasure." Scientific American. January 2015.)

 
AspiringElf
1163131.  Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:28 pm Reply with quote

Good stuff. One thing: parts of the Wilkins book - especially the bit about the giant bird - sound as though they might not be intended entirely seriously. Still, I do not actually know that book.

 

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