If you’re looking for a place to settle down, it’s all about the location. And that’s the case whether you’re changing addresses or changing worlds. Colonists on the Moon, for example, would want a spot with a good view of home and easy access to power and raw materials. Two locations probably fill all of those requirements: the north and south poles.
In particular, deep craters with tall rims could provide everything a settler would need. The tall rim would offer a non-stop view of the Sun, with no nighttime. So banks of solar arrays could track the Sun across the sky. With no night and no clouds, that would provide non-stop power. The rim would also provide a good line-of-sight to Earth, offering good communications with home.
The deep part of the crater would be equally important. Orbiting spacecraft have detected big deposits of frozen water deep inside many craters at the lunar poles. The bottoms of the craters never see sunlight, so the ice stays frozen solid. Not only could the ice provide drinking water, but it could be separated to provide oxygen as well as propellants for rockets and fuel cells.
So for that perfect location on the Moon, think the north and south poles.
And the Moon puts on a good show tonight with the star Aldebaran. They’re low in the east at nightfall, with Aldebaran — the orange “eye” of Taurus — just to the lower right of the Moon. They stay close as they arc across the south during the night.
Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2013
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