What If We Built Cities on the Moon?

If you could, would you live on the moon not as one of the courageous early settlers, but as a citizen of a fully functioning Moon city? What would these cities be built of? How different would your everyday life be and why would these cities be important? This is what if, and here's what would happen if we built cities on the moon. In 2005, a design called the Shackleton Dome caused a thrill in the aerospace industry. This 40 kilometer in diameter and 15124 meter high glass Dome would arch over the Shackleton Crater on the Moon housing the first Moon city. How viable was this design? Domes are the strongest structural objects and the most efficient shape to hold air pressure. So building domes to protect people from the hazards of space is a good idea. But smaller interconnected domes based off the Shackleton Dome would be quicker and cheaper to build. They would be made of glass and titanium and anchored to bedrock, allowing moon cities to thrive inside. The cities themselves would look ultra modern, and not because of any stylistic taste, but because aluminum and silicon, the main components of glass, are the elements found in a northite. A northite is a mineral found on the moon and would be an important local resource for construction. With so much of it in the surrounding landscape, it would be foolish not to use it liberally. Another popular construction material used in this futuristic city would be a concrete like geopolymer created from two additional readily available materials, moon dirt and your pee. Yes, your moon house would be made from urine. What would life be like in these futuristic cities? Well, you wouldn't experience normal days and nights anymore. 1 lunar day is 29 Earth days, which means there are two weeks of darkness and two weeks of light. But because cities would be built around the moon's poles, you would only have to experience 4 consecutive Earth days of darkness at a time. Your diet would also change due to the finite resources and limited space. Moon cities wouldn't raise animals for food production, so your diet would be mainly plant based. You might have the option of eating fish, but any other meat would have to come frozen from Earth, so that wouldn't be very practical. The Moon's major industry would be mining and exporting Helium 3A renewable source of energy and other materials. You'd probably have a career as a scientist, engineer, or miner. As the Earth continues to use up its precious resources, the demand for helium 3 would grow. Helium 3 is an efficient fuel source in fusion reactors and sells for roughly $40,000 US per oz. Just 25 tons of it would power the entire United States for one year. While rare on Earth, it's found in abundance on the Moon. This export, combined with space exploration and Moon tourism, would bring a lot of wealth to Moon cities and help repay the expensive price tag of initial settlement and construction. NASA estimates it would take $10 billion to build a settlement on the moon, with an extra 2 billion per year in ongoing costs. Building cities on the moon would have to be an international combination of corporate and government partnerships. Currently, treaties prevent any one country from owning the moon. If a single country built a metropolis on the moon, it could be seen as a violation of those treaties. With no single country or nation, the citizens of moon cities would probably try and form their own self governing nation once they became self-sufficient. While domed moon centers sound like science fiction, they are realistically in our distant future. Settling the moon would open up opportunities for science, engineering, new ways of thinking, and further space exploration. It would be a necessity to create a viable space space to branch out to other parts of our universe. But before we could construct immense cities on our moon, we would first have to build initial smaller colonies, which involve their own galactic hurdles. But that's a story for another What if?

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