NASA plans human base on the Moon

Making camp: The US space agency NASA hopes to build a permanent human settlement by 2030.

Should the Moon belong to us all? In October, the US Space Agency discovered water there. Many powerful countries are interested in setting up lunar bases – but who should be in charge?

What’s happening

The astronaut wakes up in her underground cabin to the sound of her alarm clock. She gets up, climbs into her spacesuit, grabs her bag and walks to her thick metal front door.

Outside, her rocket is being filled with water fuel. When it is full, it will be ready for her trip to Mars.

Find out more

The scene may seem like science fiction, but it could be a reality by 2030. Last month, NASA found traces of water on the Moon. There could be enough to support a human base there.

The discovery might mean humans could live for longer in space because they would not have to import water from Earth.

Water could also be used as a new fuel for rockets. If this happens, the Moon could act like a petrol station for spacecraft travelling further into space.

Many countries are interested in the discovery. Ice mining could make lots of money in the future. NASA has made a set of rules about the Moon – but some countries refused to sign it. They say it gives the American agency too much power.

Should the Moon belong to us all?

Some say…

Yes! This is a discovery that affects all humans. The best way to make the most of it is to work together. The United Nations is the right choice for control of the Moon. Its goals are to encourage peace. It will make sure no countries go to war about how to share the Moon, and it will make the most of our amazing new discovery.

Others think…

No – a bit of competition between countries is not dangerous. In fact, it is what sent humans to the Moon in the first place. In the 1960s there was a race between the US and the USSR about which country could make more progress in space. If there was no competition, we may never have sent human beings into space at all.

You Decide

  1. Would you like to live on the Moon?

Activities

  1. Write a story about a day in the life of somebody who lives in a city on the Moon. Think about what they eat and how they might move around in space.

Some People Say...

“I think the generation today is the Mars generation.”

Dr Jim Green, Nasa chief scientist

What do you think?

Word Watch

Fuel
Anything such as wood or gasoline that is burned as a source of energy. Cars, planes and spacecraft all need fuel to work.
Science fiction
Stories in books, films and television programmes based on an imagined future that usually includes exciting new technology. A lot of science fiction is based in space.
NASA
The space agency connected to the US government.
Import
To bring in from another country – or in this case, planet.
Ice mining
Mining is the act of digging up a useful resource from underground. On Earth, this is often coal or minerals. On the Moon, there could be valuable ice hidden under the surface.
USSR
Short for “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”. The country no longer exists but was also known as the Soviet Union. The capital was Moscow.

Subjects

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