The February, 1985 issue of The Futurist magazine featured a piece about a permanent settlement on the moon by 2007.
NASA envisions the completion of a permanent settlement on the moon by the year 2007, the fiftieth anniversary of the space age. The final design of the base should be completed by the early 1990s, and construction might begin by the end of the decade.
The lunar base was the topic of a recent three-day conference in Washington, D.C., that brought together scientists, engineers, former astronauts, anthropologists, and lawyers to discuss the future of the space program.
The moon settlement would be the home of scientists and perhaps workers from private industry, NASA officials say. The base might be an international project, including Europeans, Japanese, and Soviets.
The shuttle now operates on a relatively steady schedule, ferrying aloft a variety of experiments as well as scientists. NASA is also moving forward on plans for a permanently manned space station, due for completion in the early 1990s. These two programs are major steps toward establishing the lunar base. The shuttle would fly material and personnel to low earth orbit, and transfer them to the space station, which would serve as a "halfway house" between earth and moon. Objects brought to the space station by the shuttle would transfer into another reusable craft for the trip into higher orbits and eventually to the moon.
The lunar base will probably be built mostly underground to protect the crew from cosmic radiation; unlike earth, the moon has no protective atmosphere to stop cosmic rays. The crew will number about one dozen; stays would vary between three months and one year, and the facility would be permanently staffed.
Transport will be expensive and supplies costly. A pound of water brought to the moon today would cost as much as a pound of gold on earth. Fortunately, the moon is rich in many elements. Most of the materials needed for the base are available on the moon itself; over half the moon, for example, is made up of oxygen. Titanium, silicon, and aluminum are also found in abundance. But hydrogen - an essential constituent of water - is missing. Unless water is locked away at the lunar poles in the form of ice, this important element will have to be supplied from earth in order for the crew to have water.
Previously on Paleo-Future: