clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Guest opinion: Returning to the moon

Collected during Apollo 15, a 3.5 billion years old basalt rock similar to rocks formed around Hawaii, is displayed in a pressurized nitrogen-filled examination case inside the lunar lab at the NASA Johnson Space Center Monday, June 17, 2019, in Houston.
Collected during Apollo 15, a 3.5 billion years old basalt rock similar to rocks formed around Hawaii, is displayed in a pressurized nitrogen-filled examination case inside the lunar lab at the NASA Johnson Space Center Monday, June 17, 2019, in Houston. For the first time in decades, NASA is about to open some of the pristine samples and let geologists take a crack at them with 21st-century technology. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke, FR33763 AP

From a spiritual perspective, space exploration gives us the opportunity to have a better look at God’s vast space creations, made for the benefit of all humanity. Appreciation for these God-given wonders contributes to recognizing the hand of the Lord in all things. When Apollo 8 orbited the moon on Christmas Eve 1968, the astronauts acknowledged the hand of the Lord in creation by giving much of the largely secular world the Genesis account of the Earth’s creation. They ended their broadcast by saying, "God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth."

Along with the expansion of scientific knowledge of the moon and solar system, there are also practical down-to-earth technological benefits that resulted from developing the technology needed to send astronauts to the moon and back, as well as from other space exploration programs. New businesses and industries resulted that literally employed millions of people. The benefits we receive from space exploration are seven to 10 times the money spent on developing the technology. Today NASA maintains a spinoff database containing thousands of innovative technological concepts. NASA sharing technology with business and industry is called technology transfer. One example is a water filter that can take viruses out of water, make dirty water clean and even de-salinize salt water cheaply. Many benefits to medicine have come out of space technology. The MRI is one example.

On the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk, we have a new goal to return to the moon by the year 2024. Lunar mining can be cost-effective by mining helium 3 from lunar soil, and also rare Earth metals. Benefits increase as space transportation costs come down.

One way of reducing space transportation costs would be to use outer space resources, such as gases and water, to make fuel to propel spacecraft within the solar system. Another approach is the space elevator. A specially designed cable unwraps as a spacecraft is flown into Earth or lunar orbit. Supplies and space-made products can travel up and down the elevator from outer space. The most exotic and most promising prospect is quantum vacuum engineering, or propellantless propulsion. Vacuum fluctuation energy near a spacecraft is used to produce space travel, and possibly even practical star travel.

In Earth's orbit we also have zero gravity, or microgravity that can make possible manufacturing processes not possible on Earth. One possibility would be to manufacture vast amounts of medical serums that can only be extracted in small quantities, at great expense in Earth’s gravitational field. As space transportation costs reduce, opportunities for space tourism will also increase. Space exploration benefits mankind.