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July 17th, 2009

About steps and stuff


On 21 July 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first human being to walk on the moon with his famous one small step for man... line.

A few hundred years later, the First Step has become a site for pilgrimage for hyper-religious Moon Dwellers. Y'know, an ode to the superiority of the human race, and in the absence of any regular-type holiday destinations.

Just what you wanted to know.

Eeeeww question

If you went outside on the Moon, in your ordinary clothes, without any protection (no suit, no breathing apparatus) what would happen to you.

Obviously, you'd die. Duh. But what else apart from the fact that you can't breathe? Would anything happen to your eyes or skin from lack of pressure? Would you suffer burst veins in your face and/or burns/frostbite depending on the time of day? Anything else?

Geez - things we come up with in fiction.

ETA: I got a lot of answers very quickly, and this totally cool link to NASA information from Merrilee Faber. Thanks.

As a scuba diver, I know about the mechanics of air pressure or the lack thereof. I was wondering what it does to your skin. The reason I was asking this was because Greg Bear in Moving Mars (which felt to me like a scientifically justified novel) has people suffering burst blood vessels from pressure differences. This is on Mars, but it doesn't have an atmosphere either, so the effect wouldn't be much different.

In any case, the person is already dead. We're at a funeral, and I was wondering if I could safely leave the lid off the coffin and have the girl still appear pretty. I think I can, with a bit of make-up to cover burns maybe, but I'm fine with that.

and the point of it all being...

So we have a colony on the moon. Cool. Great, just what we'd always though we'd like to have. You know, humanity expanding into space.

Next question: what are they actually doing there? What's the point of having the colony. It can't just be there for the sake of being there.

I can see the following options:

Mining: Apparently, or at least according to Wikipedia, the Moon is relatively rich in Helium-3, which is a very useful element in nuclear fusion (which in turn might be used for propulsion of space craft). On Earth, Helium-3 is rare and excessively expensive. It could be mined on the Moon. How? Buggered if I know, but there you go. There could be other things to mine, most notably water, also a very useful thing to have in space, and not just for drinking. You can make oxygen and rocket fuel (aka hydrogen) out of it. Other things? Aluminium? Other metals?

Construction and industry: There are several advantages to this. Certain processes of metallurgy are hard on Earth because gravity stuffs things up. At lower gravity, it may be possible to create alloys with very useful properties that are impossible to create on Earth (insert much opportunity of semi-scientific BS here).

Launch pad: Due to shit gravity, the cost of shooting things into space would be much smaller than from Earth, but there would be much more space to expand and build than in a floating space station.


After reading some stuff, I think a colony would have to exist on one of the poles. The lunar day is - well - a month, because the moon and Earth are tidally locked, and the Moon orbits Earth at the same speed as it rotates around its axis - which is why we never see the other side of the Moon. Most moons do this, btw. The temperature differences between the lunar day and night are pretty vicious. At both poles, there is a region where there is always sunlight (and Earth is always visible). These regions are also where the ice has been discovered.

Any votes on what a colony would be employed doing?


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