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Moon Space Science

Site for Moon Base Determined 738

Posted by Zonk
from the roadtrip! dept.
Deinhard writes "Going hand-in-hand with the recent discussion on Moon Bases, Space.com is reporting that the perfect spot for a moon base has been found. According to the article, 'the best spot to settle on the Moon may be on the northern rim of Peary crater, close to the north pole.' What makes the location so important is that it is permanently lit, with a balmy -58 Fahrenheit (-50 C)."
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Site for Moon Base Determined

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:49PM (#12235098)
    We are Mooninites from the inner core of the Moon. Our race is hundreds of years behind yours. Some would say that the Earth is our moon, but that would belittle the name of our moon, which is The Moon.

    For one thing, the Moon has one third less gravity than your Earth. I don't know if you can understand that, but our vertical leap is beyond all measurement.

    On the Moon, nerds get their pants pulled down and they are spanked with Moonrocks.
    • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:50PM (#12235125)
      Fine, I'll build my own moon base! With blackjack...and hookers...in fact, forget the base!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:51PM (#12235138)
      So I suppose you'd be a good person to ask who wrote "The Moon Rulez" on my car with a key.
    • Let's build it after science discovers the anti-dollar. You know, that amount that you have, exactly inverse to the debt held as foreign reserves.

      Morons.

    • Hello, beloved earthlings.

      We have been observing your earthworld with moonminds vast and merry for many moonyears. You earthtechnological earthachievements are moonimpressive to our moonminds.

      Unfortunately, we mooninites are fighting a civil moonwar. Moonsibling is killing moonsibling. As Moonheir to the Moonthrone, I am trusted with protecting the ample Moontreasury.

      Fellow sapients, the Moon needs your earthhelp. I need to transfer the equivalent of $50,000 USD to two thousand and one Earth banking accounts. In order to do so, my moonsubterfuge moonskills will have to deceive the earthbankers.

      I plead with you on my moonknees.

      Please let me transfer $50,000 USD to your earthaccount. The moonmoney will have to stay earthhidden for at least pi earthdecades. I trust you will earthsafeguard it from the moonpretenders to the Moonthrone.

      We will moonreward all earthhumans moongenerously.

      In order for me to transfer $50,000 to you, I need an initial earthmoney fund to earthbribe the earthbankers. Please send me $500 now, and I will moonreimburse you in the transfer.

      The Moon cries out for your earthhelp as the moonpretenders moonrape, moonravage, and moonraze their way to my moonpalace. Please take my $50,000.
    • OK these figure seem to be getting misquoted a lot lately on Slashdot.
      The Moon has about 1/6 Earth Gravity
      Mars has about 1/3 Earth Gravity.

      Assuming a 6-foot man can jump 6 feet on Earth, he could jump about 1/(1/6)*3 + 3 feet for a total of 21 feet on The Moon, 1/(1/3)*3 +3 for a total of 12 feet on Mars. Keep in mind when a 6-foot man jumps 6 feet here on Earth he is only lifting his CENTER of gravity 3 feet with a starting height of 3 feet for it.

      • I'm not sure where you're getting your equations, but clearly the man will be able to jump six times as high on the moon as on the earth, and three times as high on Mars.

        When you jump, you provide kinetic energy to your body. As you rise, the kinetic energy gets transformed to potential energy. At the top of your jump, all the kinetic energy has been converted to potential energy and you come to a stop. The potential energy then gets reconverted to kinetic energy as you fall. The potenial energy is de
  • is make sure that no one owns that parcel;-)
  • And now... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tuxedo Jack (648130) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:51PM (#12235131) Homepage
    They can build the Alan Parsons Project.
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:51PM (#12235136)
    Record debt and deficits, and the Senate is right now discussing removing the Estate Tax. There is no money for this in your lifetime, it is scifi.
    • by bobbis.u (703273) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:55PM (#12235208)
      There are other countries in space besides the USA.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Right - congress is doing what it should be: ensuring that we reestablish monied lineages in this society. If you're wildly successful, it's the least you can do for your progeny, to ensure them that nobody with your last name from your line will ever have to work again.

      Things like moonbases are just extraneous.
    • by JasonMaggini (190142) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:57PM (#12235228)
      Who says it's the government that has to build it?
    • by stinkyfingers (588428) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:23PM (#12235599)
      And why would that stop the US Government? It didn't stop it from going to war, or continuing it, or providing an extension in welfare programs (drug benefit).
    • Five years ago, we had plenty of money, and we were paying down the national debt, to the consternation of the debt holders.

      Now we are pumping almost a quarter of our national tax revenues into paying the interest on the exploding debt. The average schmo got $300, the wealthy got hundreds of billions in tax cuts, and we are BROKE. Not an accident; now come the cuts in every guvmint expenditure hated by the right, along with huge increases in defense and surveillance spending.

      We aren't going to buy any moo
      • by HMA2000 (728266) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:17PM (#12236345)
        The US was never paying down the debt for any extended period of time (I believe our longest period of paying it down was 9 months.) Take a look for yourself, you'll see the number never goes down.

        http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdpenny.htm

        Also, a large part of the "surplus" was unsustainable. To some degree the surplus was a result of cost cutting but mostly it was the result of increased revenue in the form of capital gains tax. Around the late 90's the government was collecting incredible amounts of capital gains tax due to stock market bubble. This was not a sustainable form of revenue.

        The "debt holders" are a sundry group with many different agendas and motives. To suggest that they were all worried about the debt being paid off (which wasn't happening anyway) is misleading at best.

        Considering how much misleading crap you were able to pack into your first sentence I think it is safe for people to disregard the rest of your hyper-biased post.

        As an aside, I understand it is fashionable to hate Bush on this board and to suggest that he is somehow some evil genius/dumb monkey pulling all the strings to make the rich richer but you do yourself and your politcal cause a huge disservice when you exaggerate (and lie about) your claims.
        • Try plotting the data on the website you suggest. It is fascinating. There are three distinct periods:
          (1) Before 1992, when the debt is dramatically increasing (second derivitive greater than 0)
          (2) Between 1992 and 2000, when the debt is increasing, but the rate of increase slows every year (second derivitive less than 0). In fact, the debt is nearly constant between 1999 and 2000. But this was not a trend confined to the late 90's (dot com era), it started dramatically in 1992.
          (3) After 2000, when
      • Why is pointing out we-can't-go-'cause-we've-made-ourselves-broke flamebait to any knowledgeable person? It's the simple truth. It's only "flamebait" if you somehow have convinced yourself that we AREN'T taxcutting ourselves broke.

        We're broke.
      • Just to correct a small point:

        Let's assume for the sake of argument that the definition of "the wealthy" is any family who earns more than $320,000 per year. (I am using the "Married Filing Jointly" status for this comparison. There are significant differences (unmarried individuals can earn $320,000 before entering the highest bracket, but married couples can total no more than the same $320,000 -- or about $160,000 each))

        Let's also assume that the "average schmo" is family earning, oh... $58,500 per y
    • Since When... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gillbates (106458)

      Have lower taxes ever kept politicians from spending money they don't have?

      Especially considering the current administration is spending money like a drunken democrat?

      Congress just has to write a check. They'll let someone else (i.e. the American taxpayers) figure out how to pay for it.

  • I was expecting this as Slashdot was looking for volonteers.
  • Too bad... (Score:5, Funny)

    by polyp2000 (444682) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:52PM (#12235150) Homepage Journal
    I own that bit of the moon, i have a certificate [lunarregistry.com] to prove it.
  • -50c?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:52PM (#12235152)
    "But Keptin, this is the Garden spot of Ceti Alpha 6"
  • Always??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Fnagaton (580019) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:52PM (#12235154) Homepage Journal
    "What makes the location so important is that it is permanently lit"

    Even during a lunar eclipse? ;)
    • Re:Always??? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ayaress (662020) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:57PM (#12235241) Journal
      Eclipses are relatively rare. It's one thing to have to run off stored energy for a few hours a couple times a year tops, it's another one to have to run off batteries for half of every month.
    • Well since I built my Astro's baseball field there offcourse it is going to be always lit with my stadium lights....DUH!!!!
    • I sense a Michael Crighton novel coming on...

  • by tquinlan (868483) <tom AT thomasquinlan DOT com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:52PM (#12235161) Homepage
    ...we've had the technology for years [amazon.com] as Robert Zubrin points out in his book. The moon is just a big rock, and we've been there before.

    (Seriously, read the book, and if you're not convinced, well, you should be. ;) )

    • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:07PM (#12235385)
      The moon is just a big rock

      Yes, just a big rock, chock full of raw materials we need for your trip to Mars, and with only 1/6 the gravity and no atmosphere, it's easy to get those materials into orbit.

      "Skipping" the moon is sheer lunacy (pardon the pun). Once established, the Moon Base will py for itself countless times over.
      • by tquinlan (868483) <tom AT thomasquinlan DOT com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:39PM (#12235798) Homepage
        Actually, read the book. It is actually *more* costly to go to the moon first, since you have to take off, land, then take off again. That there is 1/6th the gravity does not mean that there is no gravity; consequently, you have to expend fuel to take off again.

        Did you even read the book? I didn't think so.

      • Iraq is just a big desert

        Yes, just a big desert, chock full of raw materials we need our war against Iran, and with only 1/6 the popularity and no insurgents, it's easy to get those materials into the market. "Skipping" Iraq is just wack (pardon the pun). Once established, the Iraq war will pay for itself countless times over. --

      • The moon is too dry. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Mad Bad Rabbit (539142) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:43PM (#12235860)
        Yes, just a big rock, chock full of raw materials we need for your trip to Mars,

        The main requirement for a trip to Mars are volatiles for fuel and life support, and the moon has almost none of those.

        Sure, there is lots of metal oxide laying around on the moon for building an empty ship out of ; but even then, the standard processes we have for making steel or aluminum require large amounts of carbon (to reduce the oxides) and water (to cool down the molten metals afterwards). Again, the moon just doesn't have those.

        If we could find a Near-Earth asteroid with abundant volatiles like water ice and ammonia ice, it'd make more sense to build a base there than on the moon.

  • Slashdot polls work (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:53PM (#12235166)
    I bet it was all triggerd by our poll [slashdot.org]
  • Solar Radiation? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dubiousx99 (857639) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:53PM (#12235175)
    Wouldn't solar radiation be a hazard from the constant light?
    • Re:Solar Radiation? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MoralHazard (447833) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:19PM (#12235555)
      Have you ever heard of a little thing called the "International Space Station"? Yeah, exactly.

      If you leave Earth's protective envelope, you do become subject to larger exposures of radiation, but the danger can be minimized with shielding. People can take a decent amount of radiation exposure before they show any health effects, even the long-term cancer risks.

      Basically, you just have to build sheltered structures for the inhabitants to block the radiation. It can be a choice of construction materials, or you can just bury the structures and pile regolith on top--the old bomb shelter solution. All it takes is a bulldozer and some internal supports, and you've got a pretty nice shelter.

      Spacesuits aren't very good radiation protection, so they'll probably impose daily, monthly, and mission-specific limits on outdoor activities for inhabitants. If they also keep alert to solar activity, they can just head indoors when the worst stuff is coming.

      How can you keep alert to incoming radiation, you ask? The ionizing, harmful parts of solar radiation are mostly charged particles, which travel slower than the speed of light. Big emissions of charged particles happen in conjunction with particular types of electromagnetic radition, which DOES travel at the speed of light (duh). So we look for the EM radiation that signals a coming charged particle storm, and tell the moonies to get indoors quick.

      Not perfectly safe, but come on: they're on the fucking moon.
      • Re:Solar Radiation? (Score:4, Informative)

        by SydShamino (547793) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:56PM (#12236053)
        All of your points are very good, yes. It is possible to block radiation.

        But the International Space Station (altitude 220 to 224 miles) remains below the inner Van Allen radiation belt (min altitude 250 miles or so in some places).

        So using it as an example of people living with solar radiation is a bad idea. They get more exposure than people on the ground, yes, due to the lack of atmosphere to block radiation, but they avoid the worst of it by staying below the earth's magnetic shields.
  • Interesting.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by technomancer68 (865695) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:53PM (#12235180)
    This is going to be interesting to see how the man [lunarembassy.com] that "laid claim" to the moon is going to handle people that he's sold property to. I wonder how he will respond to the government building a base on "his" territory.. Hmmm wonder if this will turn into a court battle?
  • Up Nort' (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NETHED (258016)
    Hey, I lived in Wisconsin, and up nort', it did get this cold in the winter, and people were fine. Just that little problem of lack of atmosphere. Eh, the flannel shirt's will do.
    • Re:Up Nort' (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hoplite3 (671379) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:09PM (#12235409)
      The lack of atmosphere really changes the way heat flows. Our intuition about hot and cold is shaped by convection, where heat is transfered to gas molecules that bump against us and are then swept away. With no atmosphere, heat transfer slows down. The only heat loss on the moon would occur by conduction into the surface of the moon.

      How "cold" is the moon in human terms? I don't have any idea. I'd imagine sunlight would be more important for constant solar power (well, barring eclipses).
  • ice station zebra (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrLint (519792) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:54PM (#12235193) Journal
    Up at camp in the mountains in Feb. couple of years ago it was -40 in the daytime. Which is almost bearable if the wind isnt blowing... so as long as the wind isnt blowing on the moon... hmmmm well then there ya go:) no wind blowing on the moon
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:55PM (#12235211)
    -50 isn't so bad. Almost tolerable. To penguins or something. Maybe we could make a penguin farm on the moon.
    • send Minnesotans - when I was a kid, I had a neighbor that sat outside on a lawn chair every morning reading the morning paper, even in 30 below weather (I can only presume his wife kept his pad too hot for him, but you never know). If you're thinking he was bundled up, you'd be wrong - he sat out there in boxers and an undershirt.

      Build him a little habitrail and biodome and he'd be set.
  • ...that it is permanently lit, with a balmy -58 Fahrenheit (-50 C)."

    Wow, you think they'll have cruise ships there? I'm checking Orbitz now...
  • by Greg Wright (104533) * on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:57PM (#12235235) Journal
    One proposal for a moon base I found interesting was using lava
    tubes as pre-built bases. It provided radiation as well as
    meteorite protection. They actually did a bunch of research in
    lave caves in Oregon some time ago.

    http://www.oregonl5.org/lbrt/l5ombrr1.html
    • by El (94934)
      Huh? Are you sure your not talking about lava tubes on Mars? I don't know of any volcanic activity on our moon...
      • I also know of no volcanic activity that has taken place in the past,
        however, I think they *are* talking about Lunar(our moon) bases. At
        least what I can gather from this:

        "Evolving Lunar Lava Tube Base Simulations with
        Integral Instructional Capabilities"

        http://www.oregonl5.org/lbrt/l5lbi88.html

        In part:

        "The concept of lunar bases inside lunar lava tubes was suggested by
        F. Horz in his 1985 paper, "Lava Tubes: Potential Shelters for
        Habitats." Lava tubes are made by crusting over of lava channels
        (Greeley, 19
    • by natoochtoniket (763630) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:27PM (#12235642)
      Great idea. Oregon would be an ideal place to build a moon base. Not only could we use the lava tubes for potection against solar radiation, but the logistics would be much simpler and cheaper. Putting everything on rockets and sending it a quarter million (or so) miles to the moon would be really difficult and expensive. It would so much easier to just have it delivered to Oregon in the first place. UPS and Fedex even go there, already.
  • Why bother? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chris09876 (643289) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:57PM (#12235237)
    What's the purpose of a moon base? Bush said he wants to use it as a stepping stone for Mars... but are there really any savings gained? Earth is where the ship manufacturing takes place... and (at the moment) is the source of fuel. Any materials obtained here would still need to be sent to the moon, and then to Mars.

    Does it have something to do with the moon's lower gravity making it easier to blast off a ship?
    • Re:Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:02PM (#12235302)
      Build it in parts here, assemble on the moon. Easier to launch a bigger ship from there.
    • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ogive17 (691899)
      Current space ships use up most of their fuel leaving Earth's atmosphere. If a manned trip to Mars was to happen, they would have to refuel unless they wanted to take 3 or 4 years to get there (and the water/food needed for that trip would make a launch straight from Earth basically impossible).
    • Moonbase Pluses (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TiggertheMad (556308) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:14PM (#12235488) Homepage Journal
      Any materials obtained here would still need to be sent to the moon, and then to Mars.

      Except the tons and tons of hydrogen, oxygen, and water that you are going to extract from the ice frozen in the ice caps in the poles. In addition, they might be thinking of mining the ice, which would involve tunneling. To me this makes a lot of sense, as several meters of rock is wonderful protection from high speed rocks, is wonderful insulation to help maintain a constant tempature, and is a cheap way to add to the size of the space station without having to build entire new modules. The moon would be a good place to put a telescope, since it is massive enough to be stable, unlike an inhabited orbital platform, and could be the start of a massive Very Long Baseline array for looking at really distant objects. Plus, it could be the start of permanent off world colonies. Mars is a good idea, but it's kind of a long first trip. Plus, It will give us extra time, as invading aliens will probably stop to level the moonbase before attacking earth.
    • Re:Why bother? (Score:4, Informative)

      by brontus3927 (865730) <edwardra3NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:17PM (#12235523) Homepage Journal
      While I support going to the Moon, I don't think the "stepping stone" arguement is valid, for the reasons you list above. As Zubrin points out in his Case for Mars, greater delta v (change in velocity, which equates to fuel) is required to get from Earth to Moon to Mars than Earth to Mars. However, it's not the only reason to go. Why go:
      • "Dark" or Far side of the Moon. Great for radio astronomy because you have a giant rock (the Moon) permenantly between the disk and the source of noice (Earth radio).
      • Abundant source of Helium-3 He3 is an isotope of Helium with only one neutron. Fusion research currently deals with Dueterium (D)-Tritium (T) (Hydrogen with 1 neutron and with 2 neutrons respectively) fussion which is "dirty" in the respect that is spews radioactive neutrons. D-He3 fusion, on the other hand, has very little radioactivity (most of it due to unspent fuel). Helium 3 is relatively rare on Earth, but could meat current power needs for 100 years (IIRC). By that time, we should have the tech to scope He3 out of Jupiter's atmosphere.
      • low-G (not zero/micro-G) research. It has applications.
      • retirement? low-G is easier on the heart & bones withouth the pesky decalicification.
      • Solid base for manufacturing. All the benefits of zero-G manufacturing, but something solid to bolt the machinary to.
  • by amstrad (60839) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:57PM (#12235239)
    Wouldn't putting a moonbase so close to the Moon's limb will cause line of sight communication problems during parts of the month due to lunar libration [nasa.gov]?

    Possible solutions:
    1) very tall antenna
    2) relay satellite

  • and the location will be Lot 7 at Paramount studios where they filmed the moon landings.
  • by Zapraki (737378) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:59PM (#12235267)
    in the permanently shadowed depths of craters around the lunar north pole, water ice may lurk...

    Wow, I didn't realize that the moon was going to be so dangerous, what with water ice lurking in the inky blackness and all.

    Kinda reminds me of playing Xcom2: Terror from the Deep...

    • Wow, I didn't realize that the moon was going to be so dangerous, what with water ice lurking in the inky blackness and all.

      It is pitch black. You are likely to be drowned by Water.
      >light lantern
      That does nothing. It appears the lantern's batteries are dead.
      >scream for help
      In space, no one can hear you scream.
  • Perfect contest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shanmuha (668499) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:04PM (#12235334) Homepage
    Now that we have 'official' private space launches, I implore all those zillonaires-with-more-money-than -they-know-what-to-do-with, to come up and sponsor a x-prize like prize for the first moonbase!
  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:04PM (#12235338) Homepage Journal
    It's important to me that my moon base have all 4 seasons.

    Will I get that there?
  • No problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El (94934) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:13PM (#12235477)
    Growing up in Alaska, I've been outside in -60F weather, and it's not so bad (you can always put on more insulation). You just have to keep every part of your body covered, including wearing a face mask. Once you solved the problem of a total lack of oxygen, solving the problem of keeping warm should be trivial.
  • Moon race, part 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by salimma (115327) * on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:17PM (#12235529) Homepage Journal
    Now that the Chinese, Indian and Japanese all profess an interest in colonizing the moon.. the question is, will the first nation who reach the site claim its entirety, and how valid would that claim be?
  • by RevRigel (90335) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:55PM (#12236039)
    TFA claims there are no constantly sunlit spots near the south pole, but remembering an article I saw a few years ago, I looked up Malapert Mountain [space.com], also in a space.com article. Same story..constantly lit, on a crater rim, and the inside of the crater is constantly dark, so it would be perfect for an optical telescope with a short cable run to the moon base at the crater rim. They even suspect strongly that there's water ice in the crater there. So, what gives? Is the previous article wrong or are the people in the current article suffering from amnesia/not-discovered-here? They seem to both be using data from Clementine. Here [angelfire.com]'s another, more informative site on Malapert with lots of pretty pictures.
  • by Fillymon (862501) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:48PM (#12236817)
    you sure wouldn't want to stick it where the sun don't shine.
  • by theolein (316044) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @03:51PM (#12237596) Journal
    The biggest problem of any Lunar undertaking is water, or more appropriately, hydrogen, as there's loads of Oxygen.

    Now, what if there just isn't that much ice in those lunar polar craters. AFAIK, there's only speculation that there may be ice there, but nothing has been proven, has it? The data is inconclusive at the moment. And even if there is ice there, there seems to be good amount of evidence that it will not be all that much, ranging from one small lake to a "sea" the size of Connecticut.

    A lot of industrial processes need water in large quantities and this may prove to be exhaustive of what little lunar ice there may be. In other words, lunar industry for water and rocket fuel might just deplete the moon's natural resources as fast as our need for oil does.

    If this worst case scenario turns out to be true, what would possible solutions be? Would it be realistic to smash an ice asteroid into the moon? I don't think we are quite capable of that just yet.

    What about artificially creating hydrogen as a by product of nuclear fission or some such process that strips a proton off an atom? According to a quick Google search, it is quite possible [climatetechnology.gov] with today's technology and there seems to be quite a lot of Uranium [msn.com] on the moon as opposed to hydrogen.

    I think that artificially generating hydrogen might actually make a lunar base more flexible with respect to positioning, although placing the base in a polar crater might help to shield it from Solar eruptions and meteor impacts.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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