Moon base: Location, location, location

If, as planned, the United States eventually establishes a lunar base in 2020, one of the most tempting patches of moonscape is Shackleton Crater at the south pole.

There may be water ice for drinking or converting to rocket fuel, the nearly constant sunlight at the rim is ideal for solar power, and the temperature is relatively bearable.

But perhaps the most compelling reason is something far more primal: surviving the lunar night, which lasts 14 Earth days and can hit temperatures so cold that oxygen turns to liquid.

Amid the many challenges that face America’s bid to send four astronauts to inhabit a moon base for 180 days at a stretch, the lunar night is among the hardest to unravel – and for now, scientists think the rim of Shackleton Crater might be the best place to find solutions.

“If you want to explore the moon, you have to start with the first requirement: surviving a lunar night,” says James Head III, a planetary geologist at Brown University.

Although this is all very interesting, should a country which can’t even manage to provide routine health care (and dental care) to all of its citizens be thinking about establishing a camp on the moon?

Do you realize how many new technologies, including medical ones, have resulted from the space program and military research?

It’s not the government’s responsibility to provide dental and health care to its citizens.

I believe the answer to that question is yes, without a doubt, it should. As another poster mentioned, there are many technology spinoffs from the space program that have advanced so many Earth-based fields, including healthcare, that I think restricting or abandoning the space program will represent a loss in technological advancement. And the space enthusiast in me realizes that this moon base is the first step to colonizing space, which is full of valuable resources. One small step at a time, I suppose.


Now that is what I would call a jobs program.


“and dental care”??? What about tummy tucks and botox? What about tattoo removal…oops. Guess the government is already going to pay for that one.

Yes! Yes! Well done. Thank you, ckempston! :clapping:

Heart pump, anyone? :heart:

And that’s just one single example. For those who would like to know more, please do take a look:

The discoveries made within the space program have benefited humanity in general … not just those members of humanity within the space program.


You might as well: the countries that pay for all that free health care sure can’t afford to send people to the moon!

Is it the government’s responsibility to create a base on the moon?

I’m not sure what to think of the proposed changes to US health care financing. But I do think it is the government’s responsibility to make sure that all of its citizens are able to get the care they need. How that best can be done will be debated in the coming months.

I would classify those as luxuries. I don’t think of teeth as a luxury.

Even Adam Smith, in his 1776 The Wealth of Nations, discussed the need for laissez-faire governments to provide support for certain enterprises as partial or total monopolies, if there would be substantial opportunity for discovery or invention from the process, and if it was far too expensive for a private business to make a profit from it. In his day and age, he was primarily thinking about naval exploration of the globe, but the space program almost certainly would have fit the bill. The long term benefits from the new technologies will likely spur on entirely new categories of industry, which the US will then be in a position to dominate, and which will provide jobs.

Most dental care is cosmetic, particularly the most expensive stuff. Is the government also going to pay for eyeglasses, contacts, etc? Is the government going to pay for the various psychotropics that, e.g., many Medicaid and Medicare patients take in abundance; not because they would perish without them, but because they just feel better when they take them?

I’m not personally persuaded that mining the moon is a worthwhile project (although some say that’s the key to fusion energy) but I do shudder to think how free, or heavily subsidized healthcare is going to devour resources.

Government plans usually distinguish between cosmetic procedures and procedures that are needed. For example, teeth whitening would not be covered, but filling cavities would be covered. Actually, private insurance plans do that too.

You shouldn’t minimize the need people have for psychological medication. Those people suffer a lot, and having medication can make a difference between a wasted painful life and a life of tax-paying productivity.

Dental coverage is expensive. I have to buy my own health insurance, and will continue to do so under any Obama plan I know about. Sometimes I can afford the dental coverage, and sometimes I can’t. So, I guess my fellow citizens in the Obama demographic will have dental coverage for, e.g., root canals and caps, at my expense, whereas I will either have to pay for them myself or simply have teeth pulled. depending on what coverage I can afford at any given time. I wasn’t talking about teeth whitening.

Having had extensive experience with medical records and diagnostic criteria, I am quite aware that some people are absolutely dependant on their psychotropics to function at all. I am also quite aware that many, many people are prescribed “feel better” drugs, usually by Family Practitioners, when they are perfectly capable of living without them. They pass them out like candy. Many of those drugs have side effects that require amelioration by other drugs that cause digestive symptoms that require yet other drugs. On and on and on.

Free medical care is virtually synonymous with overutilized medical care. Not always, but so often it is simply jaw-dropping.

Yes, insurance programs get abused - but that includes private insurance as well. In Ontario dental isn’t covered unless you are on welfare. It’s up to your employer to provide the dental insurance. And I’ve seen all the waste that goes on with the dental insurance - the dentist always wants you to get some ridiculous procedure that isn’t necessary. But that’s with a private company.

With public health insurance, the government can legislate how much it will pay for things, so it wastes less money. But you are right, when people get free medicine, the doctors over-prescribe. But the same goes for private insurance.

I rarely agree with liberals and rarely do I criticise the United States but I think that it is disgraceful that the wealthiest,most powerful nation in the world is the only First World Country without comprehensive universal health care for its citizens.You spend more per capita on health care than we do but only 60% of your citizens have coverage.Dental-schmental most other first world nations do not have that either.You guys are being hoodwinked by your insurance companies and 3rd party health providers.Cut out the middleman.That’s not socialistic that’s fiscal common sense.

“The middleman” is not what makes it expensive. After all, government programs are all administered by the same insurance companies that sell health insurance. Also, health insurers pay far less for procedures than do the uninsured for the same thing. I used to negotiate provider contracts, and I know.

A big part of the problem in the U.S. is “gold plating”. Supposedly the government (Medicare, etc) gets a discount from “reasonable and necessary” costs. However, the government recognizes that even discounted costs have to pay, so it allows providers to incorporate all their costs in not just “reasonable and necessary” but in the discounted prices themselves. It encourages duplication, plush facilities, new construction and “state of the art” things that stand idle a good part of the time. Until that is reformed, nothing else can be reformed.

The U.S. government itself is utterly incapable of actually administering a payment system, let along a widspread healthcare system. If now it attempts it, it will have to start from scratch. In the course of doing it, it will absolutely have to ration care. The only alternative is out-of-control overutilization. It will also have to turn the medical tort system on its head, virtually eliminating it as it has done with, e.g., VA hospitals and clinics.

Hay, I thought this was about the Moon Base and jobs.


Okay. You’re right. I recall reading somewhere that there is some element or other, plentiful on the moon, rare here, that some scientists think is the key to controlled fusion energy. If so, I say “go for it”. If not, it seems to me putting a base on the moon is about the silliest thing imaginable.

It is called helium-3. Here is a brief discussion of it:

Putting a base on the moon (which is in actuality, among other things, meant to be a “nearby” training location for the Mars expedition) should be done for the same reasons that we have research bases in Antarctica. It’s not so much for mining (although that may end up being important too), as for serious scientific exploration. The new technologies that will have to be developed to live on the moon will be vast, and they may well aid society in ways that we don’t even know yet. Thanks to the first moon program, we have things today like microwave ovens, personal computers, velcro, satellite communication, instant food, and of course, Tang!

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