Turns Out We Probably Can’t Colonize the Moon

Remember being a kid, looking up at the moon, and imagining that you lived up there? Even as adults, sometimes we can’t help but imagine what it would be like to live on the moon. Sure, we all knew the atmosphere isn’t compatible with humans and we’d have to set up an alternate, artificial source of air, and we know the planet is a rocky, dusty, inhospitable heap. Regardless, there has always been that tiny part of each of us that held on to that childhood wanderlust we felt when looking up at the moon. Welp. Childhood wanderlust over, friends.

Turns out the moon is an even harsher mistress than we all thought. Not only does it not support life, but it turns out those charming craters aren’t just lovable scars from millions of years ago. Nope, the moon is constantly bombarded with small but fast-moving space projectiles. Arizona State University has been studying the moon, and they recently let everyone know that those projectiles are smacking into our friendly moon 100 times faster than originally thought. As Gizmodo reports, this discovery came thanks to images provided by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA-led study of the moon that’s been going on since ’09. The images showed craters that ranged anywhere from a few feet to over 140 feet wide, which is definitely a deal-breaker for colonization. Let’s be honest—nothing ruins the intergalactic curb appeal of freshly-colonized moon neighborhoods like a 140-foot crater.But the constant barrage of space debris isn’t the only thing happening with the moon; its actual surface is also changing because it is constantly being hit. In fact, the team from ASU told Nature that our ancestors looking up at the moon over 81,000 years ago probably saw a moon that looked profoundly different to what we see today. Sure, 81,000 years is a long time, but to live on a place that gets such a severe facelift would be tough to handle.

So it would seem that building any sort of inhabitable colony on the moon would be nearly impossible, or at least extremely challenging. Thankfully we still have plenty of organizations like SpaceX trying to colonize Mars, so the dream of living on another planet can live within us all a bit longer.

Did you ever have secret dreams of visiting the moon? What do you think of ASU’s study? Let’s talk space in the comments!

Featured Image: Gabrielle Szekely/ Flickr

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