Space

Once in a Red Moon

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red moon

At the moment, commercial space tourism (think: Space Adventures) is relying on Russian Soyuz rockets to get their sightseers off the planet. This seems to have put some ideas in the Ruskies' heads, because suddenly they're talking a big game about industrialization of the moon. Is the space race back on?

"It is time to think about industrial development of the moon. We are sometimes criticized for making such suggestions too early," the head of the Russian space company RKK Energia, Nikolai Sevastianov was quoted as saying in an interview released on Wednesday.

"But it is time to do this given the limits to natural reserves on Earth and the pace of civilization's progress. Nor can we dismiss the idea of outsourcing harmful industries into space."

Sevastianov said Energia was working on a new space transport system called Kliper/Parom.

"We can start flying to the moon using the Soyuz ships and those technologies that we already have. As for industrial development, that will be with the new technologies that the Kliper system will give us."

For more on the state of the private space travel industry, read thousands of words from me here.

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  1. Wouldn’t this anger Klaatu?

  2. Hmmm….time to find out the legal implications of our sticking a flag in that thing.

  3. About friggin time!

  4. I have a hard time seeing what sort of profitable endeavor one could base on the moon. But if Russia feels like pouring money into a losing endeavor, well, have at it.

    FWIW, we Americans are also pouring our money into a losing endeavor in Iraq, but at least a lunar enterprise will be far less deadly.

  5. Shouldn’t someone tell Nikolai Sevastianov that the moon is a harsh mistress?

    Or perhaps, there’s no such thing as a free launch.

    Hmmm? I suspect the overtones of a cold war style space race had me channeling the announcer from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.

  6. I have a hard time seeing what sort of profitable endeavor one could base on the moon. But if Russia feels like pouring money into a losing endeavor, well, have at it.

    I agree, and my conclusion is that if the Russians are serious about this it’s as a cover for a military project, where the moon really does have tremendous value.

  7. thoreau,

    You of all people know the threat presented by a lunar “laser”.

    I say we either nuke the Moon or terraform the bitch. Yeah, terraform. No one ever talks about doing that with the Moon, but what the heck? We just need to move a few billion tons of material to the right location, that’s all. Being sure not to drop any on the mother world, natch.

  8. The Russians can’t run efficient industries on Earth. [And any Russian does get too efficient gets hammered down by the Kremlin.]

    No bloody way they will develop industry in space.

    With respect to space tourism, I’d no more go into space on a Russian craft than I’d fly Aeroflop. [sic]I’ll wait for Richard Brandson and his competitors, thanks.

  9. I’m pretty sure that Peter the Great claimed the moon. Someone needs to pay his family for the development. Wait, are there any endangered species on the moon?

  10. There’s plenty of money to be made in lunar industry (mining for starters), IF the products can be economically shipped back to earth. I think that means we need to build the space elevator first. There’s a few respectable people talking that it’s time to start on that. I’m still skeptical, but hopeful.

  11. Warren – mining might be a okay, but watch out for the sergeant!

    hier

  12. FWIW, we Americans are also pouring our money into a losing endeavor in Iraq, but at least a lunar enterprise will be far less deadly.

    Won’t somebody think of the mooninites?

  13. If you ever want to find out if someone is an irrational environmentalist, ask them if they think we should be able to strip mine the moon. While there’s plenty of good arguments against earthly strip mining, none of these can apply to a barren rock in space. And yet people will argue passionately against strip mining as if it is an objective evil no matter where it is practiced.

  14. Ugh, our vile species should perish before we infect the universe anymore than we already have.

    Watch this Video.

  15. I’d like to fund an orbiter that projects gigantic images on the surface of the moon, viewable from Earth. Advertisements, movies, Mohammed cartoons…anything but rap videos. If I see a rap video on the moon I will personally go up there and kick the shit out of it.

  16. I, Pro Libertate, descendant of Artemis (she changed her mind about men in A.D. 278), hereby grant all of my ownership and interests in the Moon (see property description in Exhibit “A”) to the Senate and People of the United States. But not to the House or the POTUS–they bother me.

    Populating the Moon with humanity and assorted animals and plants is just cool. Frankly, I’m not going to be happy until we’ve spread ourselves to every major body in the Solar System. Well, except maybe Sol. Maybe we could stop with all of the military stuff and waste our ill-gotten tax dollars on taking over the rest of the system, instead. At least then we can drop rocks on our enemies, whatever else may happen here. And we’ll have endless supplies of ice and various mineral resources.

  17. I for one do not intend to go to sleep at night under the light of a communist moon.

  18. ed,

    I’d swear the “huge ads on the moon” thing was in a Heinlein short story.

  19. Well, if we do colonize the moon within my lifetime, I will be the first one to write about the cow that jumped over the Earth.

  20. and my fiance wants to be the first to make real moon pies.

  21. Wouldn’t this anger Klaatu?

    What anger? He’s a robot.

    and my fiance wants to be the first to make real moon pies.

    OK, but not those banana flavored ones. The vanilla ones are awesome if you microwave them for about 30 seconds.

  22. Dammit, the ‘remember me’ thing can make the funny celebrity poster gag go awry so quickly.

  23. Lunch:

    it’s all fun and games until someone gets subpoenaed.

    just go for a stroll at outofcontrol location.

  24. I’d swear the “huge ads on the moon” thing was in a Heinlein short story.

    Yeah, it was, but ed’s idea is better.

  25. Wouldn’t it be cool if the strip mining gave the man in the moon a moustache?

  26. He really needs some rhinoplasty.

  27. While there’s plenty of good arguments against earthly strip mining, none of these can apply to a barren rock in space.

    If you strip enough of it, you would put an end to the tide. Environmentalists all agree, that would be bad.

  28. Warren,
    How about we mine the moon, pulverize the rocks to dust, send the dust in orbit around the Earth?

    This would not only create pretty rings around our planet, but it would provide shade to combat global warming which is more dependant on solar fluctuations than man made causes.

    A win-win situation.

  29. …My idea is to nuke the moon; just say we thought we saw moon people or something. There is no one actually there to kill (unless we time it poorly) and everyone in the world could see the results. And all the other countries would exclaim, “Holy @$#%! They are nuking the moon! America has gone insane! I better go eat at McDonalds before they think I don’t like them.”

  30. We are sometimes criticized for making such suggestions too early,” the head of the Russian space company RKK Energia, Nikolai Sevastianov was quoted as saying in an interview released on Wednesday.

    “To early” would have been 1970.

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