Issue Date: August 13, 2007
A Moon Base and Sustainability
When I read the letters to the editor on "Debating a Moon Base" and further saw the "Spotlight on Sustainability" piece about ACS President Catherine T. Hunt's meeting symposia, it seemed to me that the two have an evident connection (C&EN, April 2, pages 6 and 12). The science, technology, research, and engineering required to sustain life for a long space journey or maintain a base in the inhospitable environment of our moon must be also useful in enhancing the sustainability of civilization here on Earth. If managed by rational individuals, these two endeavors should enhance and complement each other.
It may be difficult to maintain momentum toward "sustainable" life on Earth, since it appears difficult to get agreement on what to do in what order and on what the consequences of a given action or inaction will be. It's obvious what will happen to manned space missions and moon bases if the choices made are incorrect or the engineering is inept.
In addition to the romantic and heroic attraction of manned space exploration, mankind stands to reap benefits beyond current understanding from the pursuit of this endeavor in parallel with pursuit of increased sustainability of life here on Earth.
Wilson M. Gulick Jr.
Santa Fe, N.M.
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