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332 comments

Obligatory (0)

partyguerrilla (1597357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005134)

That's no moon...

Re:Obligatory (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005880)

Shit... for all our recorded history, we thought it was a moon, but it was actually a death star?

We DESERVE to be blown up if we didn't notice. Landed on it and everything.

Whatever gets the space program more funding... (5, Interesting)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005150)

Are you reading this, The U.S. Government? The moon is of endless strategic military value! You could be the most powerful military on earth if you had the most advanced space programs.

Divert some of that ridiculously high military funding toward space programs, as much as you can spare!

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (4, Interesting)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005214)

Funnily enough, it could very much be not just strategic but also of value as a raw source of minerals.

It would give a military somewhere to put whatever the fuck they want:
Dirty nukes?
Toxic weapons?

Not to mention the ability to do research on virus strains as weapons without any fear of the subject 'getting loose'.

Now, throw in the fact that china are being very cagey of late about letting anyone have a share of their rare minerals and the moon becomes more use further, both for mining as well as a staging point for asteroid mining, with a much lower requirement on vehicles needing to leave its surface in regards to escape velocity.

Give me some science reports and a few half-whacko strategists and I am sure I could write up a few hundred pages of document as to why it must be seized immediately, if only to deny 'the enemy' the chance :)

Yeah, tons of speculation, but I have a few cups of good Earl Grey in me, there's not much else to do at this stage.

The moon is a harsh mistress. (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005326)

You don't need nuclear weapons from the moon, nor toxic weapons either. Apparently the moon has a rich supply of these mysterious city-killing weapons called "rocks" which, when catapulted out of the moon's gravity well naturally fall into Earth's. The Earth's gravity operates on the mass of the rocks, accelerating them to great terminal energy - enough to look as much like nuclear weapons as makes little difference. Done with sufficient precision, or simply enough quantity, it should be more than enough force to get the Earth to capitulate. Scary thought: the entire moon is made up of these disastrous weapons of mass destruction, which require no fine art to deploy. I read a book about it once, a long time ago. Wish I could remember the title.

Odd note of geek trivia: the "Toynbee Tiles" enigma is precisely about this.

Re:The moon is a harsh mistress. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005386)

You'd have to lob off a pretty large chunk of the moon to do any damage to something on earth, at least on the scale you're speaking of. The atmosphere would eat a lot of what you throw at it on entry.

Re:The moon is a harsh mistress. (2)

ppanon (16583) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005998)

Yeah, you need to throw something about the size of a semi-trailer or boxcar. So what?
a) the moon has no atmosphere so you can use a magnetic accelerator.
b) the moon's gravity is about 1/6th of earth's, its escape velocity is less than 1/4 that of Earth's, and the energy needed to launch a given mass is about 1/22 that from Earth. So to launch that 50+ ton projectile from the moon you need about the energy it would take to throw a 2 ton pickup from Earth, without the loss of energy at launch from atmospheric drag. In fact you ordinarily need much less than lunar escape if you're shooting at the Earth - you just need to get to the transition point in the trajectory where Earth's gravity becomes stronger than the moon's.

However, if you're willing to spend a little more energy and wait a little longer for your projectile to land, you won't be sending your projectile at an angle that makes it travel thousands of miles through atmosphere to get nicely ablated, you'll plan the orbit so that you get minimal atmospheric interaction and maximum mass surviving to impact, or else the most intense atmospheric shockwave directed at the target (something that doesn't happen with most meteors).

There are some significant challenges though. With much of the lunar dirt being aluminium oxide and lighter elements, the hardest problem may be finding some ferro-magnetic alloy from local resources to wrap your projectile in so that you can accelerate it. Lunar escape still works out to ~9000km/hr so it's not trivial if you're not aiming at something near the Terran equator where Lunar rotation and Earth's gravity can help you launch under that relative threshold. Unless you've got some buried superconducting cable running halfway around the planet, some vulnerable orbital mirrors, or some really big batteries, that launch accelerator is only going to have power 14 out of 28 days - for the other 14 it will be a big sitting duck. Finally, lateral aiming of a kilometers-long linear accelerator to hit a target away from the equator is left as an exercise to the reader; even if you only do it in the last 20th of the launch track, it means you're going to need it to adjustably curve to match the desired lateral acceleration, with little room for error. You won't want to waste reaction mass for adjustment rockets to do mid-transit course corrections; Earth has plenty of that but the Moon sure doesn't.

One more - No more mutually assured destruction (3, Insightful)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005390)

If they have a self-sufficient moon base, the whole "mutually assured destruction" (MAD) theory of avoiding nuclear war with the soviets go away.

As they described it to us -- since both the commies and the US had enough nukes to kill everyone, noone would be crazy enough to launch.

However if one country has a colony on the moon; the whole MAD equation changes. Suddenly instead of "everyone dies", the result is "hey, if everyone on earth dies; I and my 144000 other colonists on this base will own everything!!!!"

Re:One more - No more mutually assured destruction (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005522)

Just take one of the space rockets that the US, Russia, China, ESA, India +++ has and add a nuke as payload. Or hell just send it to impact on the base, should be plenty. Bye-bye moon base. Unless you're going to bring a missile shield up there too, but that will probably set of a space arms race to ensure MAD is sustained.

Re:One more - No more mutually assured destruction (1)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005816)

Then major militaries of the world spend billions on space defence. Bettering space tech for all. I'm all for militarization of space.

Re:One more - No more mutually assured destruction (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005954)

However if one country has a colony on the moon; the whole MAD equation changes. Suddenly instead of "everyone dies", the result is "hey, if everyone on earth dies; I and my 144000 other colonists on this base will own everything!!!!"

Lets worry about that if and when world leaders start moving themselves, their upper command, and a bunch of hot women to the moon.

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005452)

As for rare earth minerals, they're not that rare. Even the most expensive minerals only cost about $100k/kilo, meaning a $100 million dollar expedition - not even a Mars Rover - would have to bring back a ton in 100% pure form. And that needs to cover a full excavation, processing and launch system plus operating costs of such.

Something like gold is only $3k/kilo, so more like 300+ tons. It's doubtful you could turn a profit even if there were 24 carat gold bars lying on the moon surface waiting to be picked up. Maybe someday in the future we will become far more desperate for this, but most likely it's cheaper to exploit every vein, dig up every land fill and recycle every last gram rather than try getting it from space.

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005544)

As of today, gold 24k is closer to $50 than $3.... and it's been on the rise for some years. There are also those rare metals that china banned export and Korea does not have. So perhaps it might get easier to justify....

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005686)

would have to bring back a ton

of course they would, mining operations usually get a ton or two of whatever mineral it is they are after.

Just toss them (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005722)

It's doubtful you could turn a profit even if there were 24 carat gold bars lying on the moon surface waiting to be picked up.

Just need to repurpose that military mass driver (qf. earlier comment about flinging moon rocks as weapons). Of course, catching them might be problematic.

Parachutes would help. And come to think of it, you wouldn't even have to fold them up first.

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005456)

Nukes? Toxic Weapons? If you controlled the moon why would you need any of those? If you controlled the moon you could rule the world with only one piece of technology... a catapult. You see the moon sits atop a gravity well with the earth at the bottom you could kill everyone on earth just by throwing rocks at them. This is why I'm currently doing research to get myself up there.

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005506)

Funnily enough, it could very much be not just strategic but also of value as a raw source of minerals.

And if some of those raw minerals were accidentally dropped on America's enemies... well that couldn't be helped could it?

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005932)

Not to mention the ability to do research on virus strains as weapons without any fear of the subject 'getting loose'.

Couldn't you do that for a small fraction the cost in, say, a submarine equipped with a self-destruct device? Even the ISS seems like it would be cheaper.

And of course the cheapest of all would be to take the cheapest option and just put it in a less populated area and plan on nuking it if it gets out. If you're making a doomsday virus weapon, you might be less concerned about the serfs' lives in rural Iowa and more concerned with keeping down costs.

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (4, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005280)

    There's a pesky thing that the US and a few other countries (those with space programs, and those who wanted to play nice with the US, Russia, and China) have ratified named the "Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies", or simply "Space Treaty". One of the major points of it is the agreement that no one will militarize space.

    If anyone did militarize space, it would be nasty. It would either curtail all space exploration, or cause some pretty nasty wars. All the countries with space programs are very limited to what they can do right now. We can worry about nukes raining down from space, but for as much effort is involved, it could easily be eliminated at the cost of billions of dollars and a few lives. Consider if the shuttle were completely packed with any weapons. That would be a total capacity of approximately 8,400 pounds. Sure, it saves the required fuel capacity, but it's only the equivalent of a single Trident II warhead. It would still require fuel for it's deorbit burn. It's a lot cheaper and easier to have ground, sea, and air based deployment systems in place.

    If any country were to militarize space, they wouldn't have a distinct advantage, because there are too many traditional deployment systems in place that meet or exceed the capability.

    If, for example, the US did militarize space with the space shuttle, it wouldn't be long before future missions would be under threat of being shot down. Since too many countries depend on each other to make space missions work, it's not advantageous for any of them to create such a situation.

    But hey, if it'd get humanity back into serious space missions, maybe it's not a bad idea. Being that it's been decades since a human was any farther than just orbiting the Earth, it may not be all that bad. Well, until some country sets up a space based weapons platform. We have enough problems with the existing weapons systems, do we need to even consider having any more?

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (3, Insightful)

bds1986 (1268378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005396)

If anyone did militarize space, it would be nasty. It would either curtail all space exploration, or cause some pretty nasty wars.

It's highly unlikely militarisation of space would curtail exploration any more than militarisation of the sea curtailed exploration here on earth. As for the wars, perhaps.

On the flip side, the military has been the driving force behind many of the great technologies humanity has developed. Aeronautics, explosives, rocketry, computing, long-distance communications, the internet, optics, nuclear power, emergency medicine, navigation, and composites, too name a few, were all either invented or rapidly matured in response to military needs. Most of these technologies then furthered peaceful means. If there's no short-term profit in developing a technology, the military is the next best bet, provided it can somehow be adapted to make killing people easier.

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005498)

First they need to convince you people that there is a terrorist menace in there. Then occupy.

But for such a menace to exist, they need people in there first. So, military occupation needs civil occupation.

They could offer moon mansions for the people in Detroit. It's not like their place is getting any better soon... And then forge some terrorist attack on the moon, and finally send the soldiers!

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005548)

If it is people from Detroit there would be no need to forge it. Just wait a bit.

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005688)

First they need to convince you people that there is a terrorist menace in there. Then occupy.

The main requirement for a terrorist threat is the presence of oil, otherwise the US would have invaded Saudi, Lybia, North Korea, Oklahoma, etc.

Not to say that's not a good reason for the U.S. to invade and occupy a country -- the country relies on oil -- just don't get confused about "terrorism".

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (0)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005900)

Saudi (Arabia) doesn't have oil? Damn, never knew.
The reason the US doesn't invade is because the royalty there was put in place by the US and doesn't have any big qualms with them. They do support Al Quaida, but they haven't threatened to cut the oil flow for years. And that's what really matters of course.

Re:Whatever gets the space program more funding... (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005764)

The moon is of endless strategic military value!

Why? What can you do from the moon that you can't do from earth or orbit? Oh yes, destroy continents. But what's that worth? Also, there is quite a travel time after starting an attack. So the strategic value of a militarized moon is that you can threaten to kill everyone. Great. We already have enough nuclear bombs to do that.

No thank you. Keep weapons out of space. If you don't, you set a precedent for China, Russia, India, Iran, Brazil, ... Lets stick to the treaty.

The moon? No. (5, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005168)

Low Earth Orbit? Yes!

Military wants the high ground, and in terms of Earth-focused warfare the most you need is LEO. Lunar puts you 3 days out at Apollo speeds, and at the bottom of a gravity well (even if it is significantly weaker.) LEO puts you over any potential target every 90 minutes and less than a day away from resupply.

Until you've got strategically valuable positions in space between the Earth and Moon, the Moon itself will hold no value militarily.

Re:The moon? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005194)

Until you've got strategically valuable positions in space between the Earth and Moon

uhm, satellites?

Re:The moon? No. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005290)

The moon enables you to dig in. Spy satellites in LEO can be destroyed easily. OTH there is only one Moon. Perhaps the military need to capture asteroids and place them in the L1 and L2 positions.

Re:The moon? No. (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005308)

From a warfare standpoint, I'd tend to agree. About the only advantage to weapons on the moon, pointed at Earth, is it's the proverbial doomsday device. If your country is destroyed, you can rain death upon your enemies from your moon base.

One possible use I can think of--though the technology doesn't exist--would be as a giant "spy satellite." Now, obviously, we don't have the ability to read a license plate from the Moon, which supposedly current spy satellites in orbit can do. On the other hand, a mobile system on the Moon would have three days to avoid any attempt to destroy it.

Re:The moon? No. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005504)

Consider doing long baseline interferometry using optical telescopes at the lunar north and south poles and on the equator 90 degrees away. You could get a lot of resolution that way but the bad guys would know to be good when the moon was in the sky. Maybe lunar rock could be of use in high orbit though. Fire it to L1 and L2 with an induction catapult then bury your observation platforms in piles of rubble.

Re:The moon? No. (1)

Rollgunner (630808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005540)

A decent size particle accelerator placed on the moon could hit targets in earth orbit with about a 1.2 second delay between firing and impact; fairly negligible when your target is incapable of dodging (or detecting the incoming fire, for that matter). With a minimum of interference from the "vacuum" of space, a stream of charged particles at near lightspeed would at minimum wreak holy electronic havoc on any satellite, and at maximum partially vaporize it and/or shove it spinning uncontrollably into a decaying orbit.

Neither cheap nor easy to implement, but horrifically effective against any target in Earth orbit. Heck, you might even be able to justify it under the pretense that it would be fairly useless in attacking anything on the surface of the Earth.

Re:The moon? No. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005650)

Brings to mind an early Heinliein idea: vacuum tubes could be built on the lunar surface using the existing airless environment. How about power amplifiers the size of electricity substations? How about turning rock into streams of alpha particles at all but a fraction of the speed of light?

Re:The moon? No. (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35006012)

I'm not sure that a doomsday device on the Moon is as effective as one on Earth. We still have one here in the form of thousands of ICBMs based in USA and Russia (used to be the USSR). It has worked very well so far in keeping us alive so we can say that it is believed to be very effective.

You can put backup missiles on the Moon but your enemy is going to do the same. The two Moon bases will bomb each other if anything bad happens on Earth. All you get for that investment is a chance to drop bombs on your enemy on Earth a second time two or three days after the start (and the end) of the war. Probably everybody is already dead by then. In turn that means that your enemy can spare the money to build a Moon base and spend them in another way, from more ICBMs to pop corns. The result of the war won't change: everybody die.

Weapons on low Earth orbit are much more effective because they have a shorter fly time compared to an ICBM (well, if you can make them orbit above the target at the right time). They were deemed effective enough to convince the USA and the USSR to agree not to use them because they would have doomed the MAD strategy and made military and governments willing to fire them before the other did it.

This reporter Mark Whittington (2, Informative)

prakslash (681585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005550)

This reporter, Mark Whittington, is a Republican/Conservative reporter. Read any of his news reports on any issue such as the Gitmo prison, WikiLeaks, the financial regulations, the Ground Zero Islamic Center or the health care reform. He will start off bthis report by factually quoting a few people on either side of a given issue but will always slip in his opinion or editorial that is always pro-conservative and anti-Obama. You can check yourself by reading any of his reports. They are available by clicking on his name in the linked web page.

Even on this issue, notice the last paragraph written by him "The decision of the Obama administration to abandon the moon and apparent Chinese ambitions toward that celestial body has grave implications for the balance of power on Earth later this century." Oooooohh. Be very afraid.... Yeah, right! He is just like many other RepubliCons who hang out at the Weekly Standard or the National Review. They will will pick anything to bash the Obama administration.

Re:This reporter Mark Whittington (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005748)

tl;dr: "This guy has different political opinions to my own. Therefore anything he says is a lie. Praise be Obama!"

Re:This reporter Mark Whittington (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005760)

Yeah, that's so unfair. Democrats would NEVER do something like that, even though they staff all the major newspapers and broadcast networks, and always have. No, Democrats are always honest, neutral and objective, and have never unfairly criticized a sitting president who's politics they just happen to disagree with.

Hells yea... (2, Interesting)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005216)

Ever read Heinlein? Lots of good/bad ideas. Rocks are easier to throw downhill. So are nukes. Lots of nefarious uses you could put it to if you wanted.

Strategically, it's the equivalent of taking the castle on top of the hill...much easier to fight invaders coming up, and to reign death down upon anything lower than it.

But like that castle, it is in a precarious position in that supplies can be cut off...

Re:Hells yea... (5, Funny)

tm2b (42473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005268)

Read a great quote a while back. "There are two kinds of Libertarians: those who don't know Heinlein was writing fiction, and those who don't know Ayn Rand was writing fiction."

Re:Hells yea... (1, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005478)

That's a dumb quote. Both of them were using fiction to communicate their ideas.

Re:Hells yea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005846)

It's a dumb quote because obviously there's a third kind.

Re:Hells yea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005994)

But... I didn't know either of them was writing fiction! ;P

(And I actually agree with clarkkent09. That's a really dumb quote.)

Re:Hells yea... (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005270)

The problem is that the first 70,000 miles or so is uphill.

p.s. dear God in heaven, all this white space is burning my retinas!!!!

Re:Hells yea... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005346)

It isn't downhill. You may have noticed that the Moon hasn't fallen into the pacific ocean recently.

Re:Hells yea... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005562)

Moon to Earth is "downhill" (obviously not literally, but in the sense that it's a hell of a lot easier to go downhill than uphill) compared to Earth to Moon. In a war between Moon and Earth, Moon has the advantage which is where I believe the Heinlein mention comes from. Not sure how that has any relevance to a was between two nations on Earth though.

So what would happen... (1)

oblonski (1077335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005222)

if any of these 'superpowers' staking claims on the moon does some stupid test and blows it up e.g. drilling a deep hole and dropping in powerful explosives and... what will the effect be for gravitational pull, tides, seasons, the spinning of a twirling little ball? I know it sounds stupid, but is this not a realistic military threat to all mankind? *puts*on*tinfoil*hat*

Re:So what would happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005420)

No, because physically blowing up the moon is impossible with any conceivable technology in the possession of humans.

Re:So what would happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005492)

For some reason I'm still surprised when I see someone posting on slashdot without even a basic understanding of science.

Does the moon have military value (1)

maweki (999634) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005228)

This one? No.
Even Darth Vader had to build an own death-one.
But I guess, he wasn't the shiniest helmet in the Empire.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, anyone? (1)

anom (809433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005236)

Any kind of launch system that is on the moon will require less energy to use due to the diminished effect of gravity and lack of atmosphere. While getting any such system to the moon obviously has it's difficulties, lobbing rocks/missiles/whatevers from the moon is going to be way easier than doing the same from the Earth. Furthermore, there is simply more room than any station one could build in space to house a base, "ammunition" for any type of weapons system, etc.

Yes. (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005286)

What you have to do, is build a "giant laser" on the moon. Then you can hold the world ransom for 1 million dollars! MUAHAHAHA.

Star Wars? (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005298)

Moon based laser.

Sure there's a lil downtime every month, but when it's up...
watch out!

-AI

Re:Star Wars? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005458)

What downtime? You don't seriously think daylight will prevent the said "giant laser" from shooting, do you?

Re:Star Wars? (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005684)

What downtime?

When Sun is between the Moon and the Earth, you know, the lunar eclipse which happens once a month. Still, I think Sun's gravity will bend the laser, so you could shoot around it...

Re:Star Wars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005696)

Unless it's solar-powered, that shouldn't be a problem. In fact, that's the best time to launch the death ray -- they'll never see it coming.

Get the high ground. (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005302)

Get the high ground.

Two things come to mind.
      + rail guns
      + big honking telescopes.

The lack of infrastructure will slow any deployment
but not stop it. There was a blog or something about
ow hard and difficult is to build a toaster without global
resources so it will be HARD to build anything interesting
on the moon (or Mars)

What the heck is the format change all about.

Giant fricking "laser" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005332)

On the "moon"

Tes, it has a lot of significance. For the Nazis. (1)

porttikivi (93246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005336)

http://www.ironsky.net/

(From the people who brought you Sky Wreck)

One slight problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005412)

We'd need to find a way to take out that jumping cow that's guarding the moon. Also, green cheese is really not the best substrate for building a moon base.

In one word, yes (1)

bkmoore (1910118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005424)

It has military value if it causes a nation to divert resources from other, more pressing security and social issues in order to militarize the moon. But its military value is probably negative as previously stated by the other posts, but value none the less.

Taking the high ground in Solar system (1)

haruvatu (1005347) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005558)

Of course one of the previous posts said that the moon is the high ground and that is said in reference to Earth. But I would let a more sci/fi attitude to that, the planet without outer defences in solar system is ripe for destruction and we have no military resources out there. Even dealing with natural threat of asteroids we have better chances if we have outposts out there. On the other side what kind of chance do we have against a single ship out there bombing us with KEVs? No chance at all without posts in solar system. Moon should be the start. Of course that there are those who will see another round of weapons race and maybe he will also be partially right. But the truth is future of humanity is out there and we can hope that we will survive space weapons race as we did the nuclear race. Also who knows what awaits out there? But on the other side perhaps maybe someone knows more then us. What are we in the sea of starts? The survival of human race will probably take many changes in our society and for sure we wont like it at all.

"Unsinkable Carrier" (5, Interesting)

Dails (1798748) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005584)

I am reminded of the Battle of Midway, where Midway island was thought of as an "unsinkable carrier" and the plans for defense included heavy use of the airstrips on the island. The island was also far from resupply or support. Once the battle started, the Japanese, who knew exactly where Midway was, bombed the hell out of it. The primary strength of aircraft carrier is their ability to move; when properly used they're hard to find even while employing their airpower in combat. The moon, I think, is analogous in both the unambiguous location and difficulty of resupply.

Re:"Unsinkable Carrier" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005730)

Mod parent up! Presently, Moon has about same military significance as Antarctica, or less. However, military significance of place doesn't come only from tactical advantage it provides in conflict. If humanity finds any significant utility of Moon (such as actual use for He-3), it will instantly become military significant. For that matter, after we face a major global fresh-water crisis because of global warming, melting of mountain glaciers and drying up of greats rivers supplied by them, Antarctica will become military significant, too.

Yes (2)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005706)

See "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Heinlein.

The Moon is high ground relative to Earth, contains a ready source of very large rocks, and is a shallow enough gravity well that it would not be hard to throw the aforementioned rocks at the Earth with readily available technology.

Re:Yes (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005804)

Yeah its been covered about a hundred times up the page. On the downside you won't have much control authority after you throw each rock. The large mass means that you would need a lot of energy to change its trajectory. Each rock would spend about two days falling to Earth and it would be easy to spot with radar. Almost immediately it would be possible to identify the city it was aimed at. A few hours from impact the impact location should be known to within a few or so. The best countermeasure might be to move humans and some other assets out of the way. A five metre rock (say 500 tonnes) at 11km/s okay thats going to make a crater smaller than Barringer Crater [wikipedia.org] so lets say you get a 500 metre crater. Based on lunar experience the ejecta blanket will go out to 5km and it will be relatively safe at 10km from the impact point. So worst case is it hits the centre of Tokyo but the number of targets like that is limited. Seoul, London, Beijing, etc.

Not too useful (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005788)

We already have plenty of ways to deliver large bombs to targets, ranging from ICBMs to trucks. Shooting them from the moon doesn't help. If you're going to attack assets in Earth orbit, they're far closer to Earth than the moon. The "helium-3" thing is a crock. We can't even build a deuterium fusion reactor, and that's easier than a helium-3 one. The only advantage to helium-3 fusion is that there are fewer radioactive byproducts. We can make helium-3; tritium decays into helium-3, and we can and do make tritium in fission reactors. That's probably cheaper than trying to mine a sizable fraction of the moon's surface for a very low density of He3.

Re:Not too useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35006030)

You have a small imagination; part of the point of launching rocks from the moon is being able to place them in long term decaying orbits; long term sustained orbits, or, place thrusters on them that shield their point of origin, making them appear to be on an unexplained and uninfluenced orbit. Any trace of the thrusters is destroyed on impact, and there is no nuclear fallout.

In any form of gravity-well based conflict, the party higher up in the gravity well is almost certain to win. A serious moon present if we once again reach a dual super-power state will be necessary.

The Gate Is Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35005916)

The Gate Is Down.

That, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress — that is all.

Moon sharks with frickin' laser beams... (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35005926)

Cover a hundred kilometers square of moon with solar cells, collecting roughly 100 Watts/meter^2 (or one TW, peak). Don't worry, we just build robots that mine the materials and smelt and install the cells in place, using local materials.

Now build a really, really big maser. I'm talking big, now, Godzilla-sized. Remember, it's all a vacuum, so you can build uber-cheap, uber large tubes by just hanging the parts on the walls of simple stone partitions. Think of a kilometer high Klystron, or a Magnetron the size of the Metrodome! point the "waveguide" at the end back at Earth. Justify it all as a "solar energy project" that will beam all of that energy down to earth to power our flying cars by means of a simple antenna for free, no moving parts. Consumers can even cook hot dogs by just hanging them out the window!

But we will know better, mmwahahahah! If we just flip this switch here (oomph) and pull this lever then GZZZZAAAP! We've built a totally rad TW-scale death ray capable of focussing all of that energy on a target the size of, well, the size of...

Montana? How much would a 1 cm coherent TW beam spread out over 384,000 km, anyway?

rgb
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