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Thread: Polluting the moon

  1. #1 Polluting the moon 
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    Hypothetically, if we colonized the moon in the future, could we possibly pollute it, and what adverse effects could that have on us here on the earth? I'm having an argument with someone.


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    To answer this you would have to define what you mean by pollution in the context of the moon.

    1. Could we pollute its atmosphere? No.
    2. Could we pollute its rivers? No.
    3. could we pollute its seas? No.
    4. Could we pollute its landscape? Visually we could very definitely do this, leaving waste materials around, carving huge chunks out of the topography, sifting through cubic miles of regolith to recover He3.
    5. Could we pollute the regolith? Very definitely, if we carelessly allowed a nuclear accident to occur.

    There would be no physical effects on the Earth. There could be an ethical impact on those who regretted such pollution that could in turn lead to some form of anti-establishment terrorism.


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  4. #3  
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    No, there is no way to pollute the moon. Nobody lives there, nor ever will, nor could they ever see or otherwise be affected by anything there.
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  5. #4  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Nobody lives there, nor ever will,.
    I know you wear glasses Harold, but I had no idea you were that shortsighted.
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    Pollution is generally seen as changing the local environment which would require a lot of people and a lot of time for the Moon. At present Man has just done a bit of littering on the Moon, by leaving unwanted equipment and debris behind, as well as dropping that satellite on the Moon.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Nobody lives there, nor ever will,.
    I know you wear glasses Harold, but I had no idea you were that shortsighted.
    I used to be shortsighted, but that was before my cataract operation.
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  8. #7  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    To answer this you would have to define what you mean by pollution in the context of the moon.

    1. Could we pollute its atmosphere? No.
    2. Could we pollute its rivers? No.
    3. could we pollute its seas? No.
    Going one step beyond that, with no water or air, there's absolutely no mechanism for waste to move from area of the Moon to another.

    This is the key difference between the Moon's ecosystem and our own. Every part of the Earth's ecosystem is entangled with every other part. But, the Moon's ecosystem is completely compartmentalized. On the one hand, this means pollution will not spread, but on the other hand it means it will never go away either. Of course, the concept of a "biohazard" is pretty much meaningless on the Moon. You already need radiation shielding in order to live there.

    And.., with the lower gravity, its entirely practical to eject garbage or waste out into space, or hurl it toward the Sun. And I can guarantee you, the sun is completely immune to pollution. You could dump the entire planet Earth into the Sun, and it would hardly have any effect at all.
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