A common question asked by those interested in astronomy is whether humans can live on the moon. Although theoretically it might be possible to live there, how easy would it be for us to make it a reality?
As you know, we have actually been to the moon several times in the past, but we haven’t been back there for some time. However, there are missions to the moon planned for the future too, meaning we may land on the moon’s surface sooner rather than later. But still, could we live on the moon? Well, let’s look at some reasons why we could live on the moon, and some reasons why we might not even want to live there anyway.
Can we live on the moon?
The correct answer is that if we’re talking hypothetically, then yes, humans could live on the moon. However, we would still need some assistance to live on the moon comfortably, as the moon isn’t the best environment for us to be in.
Much of the talk around humans living on the moon is based off a discovery that was a few years ago now. Astronomers discovered that there was actually water ice on the surface of the moon. This leads us to believe that there is water on the moon, however, it would be very little on its surface, as typically liquid water cannot survive on the surface of the moon. This discovery alone gives us more faith that we might actually be able to live on the moon.
The moon only has around 16% of the surface area of Earth. This means that if humans were to live there, there would be a lot less room for us to live on than Earth. If you want to find out more, then have a look at some moon facts to discover more about this interesting satellite. But now, we’ll look at why the moon might not be our most suitable habitat.
Why would humans avoid moving to the moon?
Although it would be hypothetically possible for humans to live on the moon, there are those that think that there really isn’t much point for us to do so. Why? Well, there are a few reasons why we might not want to actually live on the moon.
The Moon orbits Earth
Well firstly, the moon is actually smaller than the planet Earth, and it orbits our planet. At its closest, the moon is around 225,000 miles away from Earth, which is some journey.
The moon is about a quarter of the size of our planet, so it might not make much sense for us to move somewhere smaller than our current planet.
The Lack of Oxygen & Water
Because the moon has very little mass in comparison tpo Earth, it doesn’t have the same gravitational pull and it does not have the same atmosphere that Earth does. Earth’s atmosphere is made up of nitrogen and enough oxygen for us to breathe and survive comfortably.
However, there is a very thin atmosphere on the moon, and there is no more than trace amounts of oxygen in the air. This means that we couldn’t breathe on the moon, which makes it really hard for us to live there! Of course, the atmosphere is also what creates our weather, and importantly our rain. So, there would be no easy source of water for us either.
The moon in subject to some pretty extreme temperatures, which may make it un-liveable for us humans. There are no seasons on the moon like there are on Earth, as the moon orbits us, not the Sun.
At its hottest, the moon’s surface can get to highs of over 100°c, or up to 260° fahrenheit. At the other end, during a lunar night the moon can get as cold as -170°c, or 280° fahrenheit. These extended periods of cold and hot would make it pretty unbearable for a human.
Mars is better
The main reason why moving to Mars is of such interest for astronomers is that it’s much further away from the Sun than the Earth is. In billions of years time, it’s very likely that the Earth will actually end up being absorbed by the Sun. And before this, it will slowly expand, consuming both Mercury and Venus first.
So, the possibility that we could move to Mars might mean that mankind has the ability to survive longer than it would if we just stayed on Earth. However, there’s really no benefit of moving to the moon for this reason, because if the Earth dies, the moon will too!
All in all, it is actually possible for humans to live in the moon in the distant future. However, there are many obstacles that we’ll need to get over in the meantime for this to be a possibility. Plus, the red planet is likely to be a better option than the moon. So whilst it’s possible, it’s important that people like NASA are continuing to discover more and more about the moon by visiting it.