Arms Control Wonk speculates on a prospective moonbase that may or may not have a military component.
NASA’s Lunar Architecture Team, chartered in May 2006, concluded that the most advantageous approach is to develop a solar-powered lunar base and to locate it near one of the poles of the moon. With such an outpost, NASA can learn to use the moon’s natural resources to live off the land, make preparations for a journey to Mars, conduct a wide range of scientific investigations and encourage international participation."Lunar Architecture Team" - words to conjure with!
Dr. Lewis also links to a survey of military moonbase ideas from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. It includes Project Horizon, a pipe-dream concocted by good ol' Werner von Braun, which "argued that a lunar outpost was 'required to develop and protect potential United States interests on the moon'."
Chief among which, I'd say, is advertising. As a logical extension of the late nineteenth century's flirtation with "celestial advertising," by means of which the clouds would "be turned into hideous and gigantic hoardings," a visionary named Hawkins proposed to advertise on the moon's surface by means of a giant reflector, so that "every man, woman, and child in all the world could read its messages."
We've come a long way since those quaint days, and you can't deny that a lunar Coca-Cola logo would do a great deal to offset the costs of installing a moonbase (and to check the rampages of foreign pretenders like Sockerdricka and Doogh). Decrepit old men and spectral rabbits are well and good, up to a point, but their branding potential is limited, to say the least. I say it's time to make the moon earn its keep. This idea for turning the moon into a high-definition television could be just the ticket.
Lunar television would be a boon for America's Most Wanted, which could hang a different mugshot in the heavens each week. Better yet, it could be used to implement Defense Tech's brilliant idea for testing the active-denial system, which incapacitates "evildoers" with excruciatingly painful millimeter-wave beams:
So why not turn the ADS testing into a live show? That way millions of people could see for themselves exactly what the pain beam does. Familiarity would dispel all the myths about it, and thorough medical examinations (and perhaps the odd lawsuit) would settle any questions its safety once and for all. Even better, because it's a matter of the nation's defence, we can rope in anyone we want from the worlds of sport, entertainment and politics to ensure we get the ratings....We'll have to screen these contestants carefully - much as we currently test athletes for steroids - to make sure they're not protecting themselves with shields made of Inertron or Adamantium.
If you're thinking that this would be a good time to move below ground - to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, for instance - think again. BLDGBLOG discusses the earthquake array, a fascinating desideratum of the Air Force:
Intriguingly, the shockwave will cause all regional tunnels, bunkers, mines, sewers, nightclubs, basement TV rooms, commercial show caves, etc., to collapse – which means that the bomb is actually a kind of landscape weapon, de-caving the earth from within.Thank goodness the innocent have nothing to fear!
(Image via Dreams of Space, which has compiled an incredible collection of space art in children's books from 1883 to 1970.)