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  • We've all seen the meme: “I don't want to live on this planet anymore”.

  • Well, did you know the US military apparently feels the same way, because they are putting

  • some big plans in motion for the Moon.

  • That's right, besides being the reason why the tides change and, according to your astrologically-inclined

  • friends, the reason why you've been so irritated this week, the Moon is also the next big frontier

  • for the US army.

  • So what exactly is this high-level operational plan the US military has for the big orb in

  • the night sky?

  • We sent our investigators into the secret files of the Pentagon - something we probably

  • shouldn't admit online - to find out.

  • When you hear about people colonizing the Moon, you might be imagining domed, high-tech

  • cities with jets whizzing around and holograms everywhere.

  • These visions of space colonization have been around for decades, if not centuries.

  • After all, plans to get people on the Moon are nothing new.

  • Before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin even landed on the Moon in 1969, when the US'

  • obsession with space was at its peak, the government was already proposing military

  • bases on the crater-filled rock that orbits us.

  • Project Horizon, a study done in 1959, looked into how feasible a military base on the Moon

  • might be, with twelve soldiers stationed there by 1966 to safeguard it.

  • We're not quite sure what they thought the Moon needed safeguarding from, but based on

  • the year and the object of US paranoia at the time, we're going to assume it was communists.

  • Either way, the idea was scrapped by Eisenhower, who, although being a fan of space and the

  • founder of NASA, decided to focus on more earthly projects like economic growth and

  • building an Interstate Highway System.

  • In the present day, now that we have either a) apparently solved all our Earth issues

  • or b) are starting to suspect Earth doesn't want us around for that much longer, the US

  • military is once again seriously setting its sights on these other corners of our galaxy,

  • starting with what NASA callsthe gateway to our solar system” - the Moon.

  • However, the first thing the US military aims to build is something that might sound a little

  • mundane to those of us envisioning the new Star Wars-like future: factories.

  • It does make sense in some ways.

  • If the US military is going to set up permanent dwellings and habitats on the Moon, those

  • structures all need to be manufactured, assembled, and built somewhere.

  • And as we've previously discussed on this channel, carrying large loads into space is

  • prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.

  • So what's the solution?

  • Build it all in space instead!

  • More specifically, in orbit or on the lunar surface - for now, anyway.

  • DARPA - the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and definitely not the supervillain

  • conglomerate it sounds like - has started a new program to build manufacturing technologies

  • that can be implemented off-Earth.

  • The program is called NOM4D - Novel Orbital and Moon Manufacturing, Materials and Mass-efficient

  • Design.

  • In addition to research projects, DARPA also apparently specializes in tongue twisters.

  • As Bill Carter, the program manager of the Defense Sciences Office stated, the point

  • of the program is to, “develop foundational materials, processes, and designs needed to

  • realize in-space manufacturing of large, precise, and resilient Defense Department Systems”.

  • In other words, this means we as a species have to completely reconceptualize how we

  • go about designing, manufacturing, and creating structures, as they have to adapt to a - quite

  • literally - alien atmosphere.

  • One idea is to use lunar regolith from the Moon - similar to volcanic sand on Earth - to

  • build such structures.

  • Professor Matthias Sperl, who has worked with the German Space Agency, says these materials

  • would allow engineers to build igloo-like structures on the Moon's surface.

  • While theoretically, lunar regolith can be made as strong as concrete, we do not yet

  • have the technology to do so.

  • So far, only one-fifth of concrete's strength has been achieved with regolith.

  • But this is why DARPA wants private proposals for Moon manufacturing - there has to be a

  • solution people haven't thought of, or, invented yet.

  • More advanced systems like antennas and solar panels will be made from materials transported

  • from Earth, but assembled on the Moon, which will make them more precise and weight efficient

  • in the lunar atmosphere.

  • Besides the fact that it makes more logistical sense to build space structures in space using

  • local materials, instead of having to transport everything from Earth, the idea behind NOM4D

  • is also that technologies and structures made in space to begin with will be better able

  • to withstand the extreme conditions of life on the Moon.

  • The structures can also be more reliably tested in the atmosphere and conditions which they

  • will end up occupying.

  • If they were being built on Earth, an exact recreation of lunar conditions to test structures

  • in would be almost impossible to do.

  • Why?

  • Though it might look pretty and romantic to us down here on Earth - or like a big pizza

  • pie according to one Mr. Dean Martin - the Moon is shockingly inhospitable to human life,

  • and therefore, also to most of what humans have built.

  • Temperatures hover between 127 and -173 degrees Celsius, or approximately 260 and -343 degrees

  • Fahrenheit, much of it depending on if you're on the shade; aka the dark side of the Moon.

  • Think of this temperature fluctuation like having to put on a jacket after the sun goes

  • down, except a thousand times more extreme and the weather immediately kills you.

  • So actually, nothing like that.

  • To give you an idea of how insane these temperature jumps are, the lowest temperature ever recorded

  • on Earth was -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica, compared

  • to the Moon's low of -343 degrees.

  • Meanwhile, the Moon's high of 260 degrees is about 50 degrees higher than the temperature

  • for boiling water.

  • To add to the hindrances of life and industry on the Moon, one lunar day is about 29 Earth

  • days.

  • The means there are two weeks of sunshine, and then two weeks of darkness.

  • So using solar power, which might otherwise be a great idea for a celestial body that

  • spends a good amount of time getting pelted by the sun, will also pose challenges.

  • There's no wind for wind power, and the lunar atmosphere means we can't exactly

  • recreate a lot of the energy generating sources we use here on Earth.

  • However, DARPA is dead set on overcoming these challenges.

  • The agency has already publicly stated that in its plans it assumes anestablished

  • space ecosphere by 2030 comprising reliable logistics and facilities.”

  • So human inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs need to get the ball rolling on Moon manufacturing,

  • and fast.

  • The point is to createdesigns so mass efficient that they can only be built off-Earth”.

  • But what does that mean?

  • Well, first of all, because the Moon's gravity is approximately six times weaker than ours,

  • a structure on the Moon only needs to have one-sixth of the load bearing strength than

  • it would here - [pause] - in this video we're assuming everyone reading this is currently

  • on planet Earth.

  • In addition to this efficiency though, other factors need to be taken into consideration.

  • One of the most important is shielding.

  • The surface of the Moon is pelted with continuous solar and cosmic radiation, as well as meteorite

  • impacts.

  • In order to have any kind of longevity, structures have to be able to withstand these dramatic

  • environmental pressures.

  • Even worse, if you've ever been in a dust storm or in the general direction of Nevada,

  • you know how annoying dry dust clinging to the air all around you can be.

  • The Moon's surface is covered with fine particles which frequently and easily get

  • shot up into the atmosphere and hang around, especially because there is less gravity to

  • bring them down fast.

  • That means building surfaces, air-locks, and any other exposed areas have to take this

  • constant dust exposure into consideration as well.

  • Lastly, the Moon is surrounded by a vacuum.

  • Certain construction materials will not be chemically or molecularly stable under vacuum

  • conditions.

  • Creating such lunar-resilient structures may sound like an impossible achievement at this

  • point; however, you might also be thinking, how much is all this going to cost?!

  • After all, even the best, most ingenious design will need money, and most likely lots of it,

  • to be implemented.

  • Well, in 2016 MarketWatch had estimated that reaching the Moon costs between $7 and $13

  • billion, and constructing structures and bases would cost between $28 and $57 billion.

  • These might sound like astronomical sums, but keep in mind that this is a US military

  • project.

  • An average aircraft carrier costs around $13 billion.

  • The US Defense Department had a budget of $705 billion in 2020, but total US military

  • spending came out closer to $934 billion.

  • So while getting to the Moon and building on it may be costly, it's not an unreasonable

  • amount of money for something the US military deems a priority.

  • As for why the US might be moving a Moon base higher up on its priority list, the answer

  • is simple: competition.

  • The China National Space Administration - CNSA for short - and European Space Agency - ESA

  • - have already unveiled plans to build Moon bases, with the ESA first announcing its plan

  • as early as 2016.

  • In fact, even private enterprises have become involved in this newMoon race”.

  • Elon Musk - you didn't think we'd have a discussion about space exploration and somehow

  • leave out SpaceX's quirky founder did you?

  • - revealed plans for a lunar colony in August 2017.

  • Musk is a big believer in making humanityinterplanetary”, and is already offering

  • advance booking for humans to go up into space on one of SpaceX's many rockets.

  • DARPA seeks to draw on private sector innovators like Musk, and commercial space companies

  • in general to come up with their next big breakthrough, and most importantly, pull ahead

  • of China in the new race to the Moon.

  • The US government is concerned that if China establishes a base prior to the US, it will

  • be able to claim the best location and resources as well as establish the general rules of

  • conduct for governments on the Moon going forward.

  • The good news is, the US space agency's Artemis program - Artemis being the goddess

  • of the hunt and the Moon in Greek mythology - aims to have astronauts on the Moon by 2024

  • to start setting up a permanent human presence.

  • And surprisingly, there are some natural resources on the Moon that could be used to aid the

  • construction of a human habitat.

  • Some scientists hope to tap into the water and material deposits beneath the Moon's

  • surface to help set up a permanent human colony.

  • While a more permanent human settlement is being set up, DARPA hopes these manufacturing

  • facilities will operate mostly with the aid of highly advanced robots, which may be better

  • adapted to Moon living.

  • It's a great inconvenience for us that humans need things like water, food, and, oh yeah,

  • a breathable atmosphere to survive.

  • However, we seem to be OK with destroying those resources on our planet as well, so

  • perhaps there's another way to live we don't yet know of.

  • Currently, the NOM4D program has already officially started.

  • On February 26, 2021, DARPA held a Proposers' Day event for companies interested in pitching

  • their mass-efficient lunar designs.

  • The rest of the program will then be divided into three 18-month phases to createsub-scale

  • exemplar structures” - a fancy way of saying smaller samples - so DARPA can adequately

  • evaluate each proposal's material, manufacturing and design capabilities in order to pick the

  • proposal best suited to lunar manufacturing.

  • Phase I is proof of concept for the proposed materials and designs.

  • They must prove that they can meet the structural efficiency targets of the military using DARPA's

  • exemplar problem of a 1-megawatt solar array.

  • In Phase II, based on the example of a 100 meter diameter radio frequency reflector,

  • companies' designs must focus on risk reduction and surviving the technical maturation of

  • their technology to continue meeting structural targets while maintaining the precision such

  • advanced technology requires.

  • Finally, in Phase III, the proposals must pass through the most stringent test yet,

  • enabling infrared reflective structures suitable for use in a long-wave infrared telescope.

  • All these phases are programmed to test technologies and designs for the majority of the hardships

  • they will face on the lunar surface.

  • Now for the final, and perhaps most important, question: what exactly will these structures

  • and manufacturing facilities do on the Moon?

  • Well...we're not exactly sure.

  • Since the testing phases have to do with solar arrays, infrared telescopes and radio frequency

  • antennas, it's probable that DARPA hopes to establish some scientific and military

  • activity on their lunar base.

  • However, the US military has not fully disclosed their plans.

  • The European Space Agency's director-general, Jan Woerner, has a vision for a “Moon village

  • that would include scientists, tourism, and artists.

  • And China, quite naturally, refuses to say much at all.

  • So far, their National Space Administration has just shared plans to build a lunar base

  • that will be shared by multiple countries.

  • Their exploration efforts have focused on the Moon's South Pole, an area many scientists

  • consider amenable to human habitation - as amenable as any area on the Moon can be - due

  • to the presence of water ice.

  • No matter what the outcome of the NOM4D program is, one thing is clear.

  • After a long pause, we are once again in a new Space Race; or, more accurately, Moon

  • Race.

  • When do you think the US Military will build bases on the Moon?

  • And what do you think they will do there?

  • Comment and share your thoughts below!

  • In the meantime, while you wait for your new Moon home to be built to see if life is any

  • better there, check out this video right here or another one to pass the time!

We've all seen the meme: “I don't want to live on this planet anymore”.

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B1 moon lunar darpa military space manufacturing

The US Military's FULL PLAN For the Moon

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    Summer posted on 2021/04/20
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