Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Back to the Moon

I find it astounding that the entire lunar surface was not mapped to at least a one-meter resolution decades ago, before the Apollo missions.

Until now, the best resolution of the moon's south pole was generated by the Clementine spacecraft, whose images showed lunar terrain features near the south pole at one kilometer per pixel. The new images generated by JPL are 50 times more detailed, NASA said.
This means Mars has been mapped earlier in much greater detail, even though these studies of the moon can be done from Earth!?!?

Mars is great, but we should have mapped the moon down to the square centimeter by now. Using remote presence, we could navigate our rovers on the moon in near-real-time, with a second or two delay. People on Earth could log into their rover or robot for exploring the surface or building the facilities so that the hotels and greenhouses are ready by the time we send our meat bodies up to occupy the bases.

People are almost always unrealistic about human frontiers, and sometimes they get ahead of themselves. We ought to not overlook the oceans, Antarctica, the Earth's atmosphere, low-Earth orbit, and the moon as frontiers for exploration.

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