a reply to: oldcarpy
I don't think that there are any power issues arising from an orbital observatory as moving it uses propellant which has nothing to do with operating
Ah, but think about that for a second. Yes, propulsion itself is often achieved by way of releasing gas of some kind. But there has to be a system on
board to do that, a system for firing and controlling the gas flow, the pipes to carry it, the weight of gas necessary to last some time, and so on
and so forth.
Resupplying a Moon based one would prove expensive.
Resupplying with what though? Sure, you could have it manned, but what I am proposing is that the thing be automated, largely speaking, only requiring
human interaction (after the completion of its construction at least), if something goes wrong. The whole idea would be to create an observatory which
uses no finite resource. It would need to be solar powered of course, and a communications relay point would need to be established on the Earth
facing side of the moon, so that instructions could be sent to the observatory, directing it to acquire a new target region of space for examination.
But like I say, you could very well man the base, and it would be a project of some significant import, not to mention scientific interest. No matter
whether we think in terms of the sociological and biological stresses applied to people that far from home, for that long, or whether we are
interested in the environmental factors, increased risk of radiation damage, prolonged exposure to low gravity conditions, and so on and so forth,
there is something to be learned, JUST in the doing of the thing. When you add the potential value of a large, powerful observatory on the Moon
though, the whole idea takes on a totally different scope (see what I did there?).
But yes, I would like to see a Moon based habitat - perhaps a bit like Moonbase Alpha?
Perhaps. Probably less complex, without the flying vehicles and over the top moon buggies the size of small houses. There is a great deal more to
learn about our Moon than many are willing to credit it with. Couple that with the need for better data about the space immediate to us, as well as
the space beyond, as well as the often overlooked importance of early warning for the approach of asteroids, I think it is a project which ought to go
ahead. WHEN we, the human race, return to the Moon, it should be with the intention of making use of the fact that this is an orbiting body that we do
not need to control the orbit of, that this orbiting body provides advantages to an observation effort, that no mere man made satellite can provide.
And in all honesty, I think that when we return, we should do so with the intention that some of the people who go, should stay a significant while.