Monday, August 29, 2011

Altered Luna

When mankind began to generate more energy than it could easily consume, it turned its sights to the Moon, and dreams of a second, 'real' home. Two hundred years of man-made cometary bombardment and genetic bio-engineering have created the Moon of the 28th century. 

The Moon of the 28th century.  Click to zoom in.
While the atmosphere is not thick enough to support life beyond simple algae and lichen, the lunar seas seethe with bright green genetically altered single and multi-cellular organisms hard at work removing toxins from the environment and creating greenhouse gases as an after-effect. Lack of a breathable atmosphere has not stopped people from building cities on the moon, as can be seen by the lights in the southeastern shaded area.

From ancient times, this area has been called Mare Fecunditatis, but modern inhabitants prefer to refer to it as 'the Sea of Nookie.' Scientists say that we are still two hundred years from having a proper beach party and skinny-dip there.

[Image done with lots of fiddling and painting in Adobe Photoshop.  Thanks goes out to NASA & JPL, for gathering the data, NOAA, for some nifty clouds to steal, and Arthur C. Clarke, a man who inspired me to play with fantasy in a framework of science.]

- Ark


  1. Even if the moon had an atmosphere, would it have the gravitational mass necessary to maintain it?

  2. @Erin - Nope. The moon is a lightweight where keeping an atmosphere is concerned. It would all go away. I could never find time estimates that agree with one another, but there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.

    But if more atmosphere could be created than what was lost, perhaps by using a combination of superdense but inert gases and cometary water cracking stations, then it would be maintainable - proving humanity had enough spare energy to devote to the process.

    The amount of energy would be ridiculous, I'm sure. But then again, the concept of keeping my house nice and comfy on 110 degree summer days was once thought a fantasy as well.

    All you have to do is convince the Lunar real estate developers there will be a profit in terraforming the moon, and I'm sure they will figure out how. :)

    - Ark

  3. This might sound crazy but depending on the tech levels your playing with the type of artifical gravity used on most movie and TV Science-Fiction ships could solve the problem.

    Relatively inexpensive gravity generators, large tracks of them, could be placed underneath the lunar surface. Hydroponic fields placed over the generators could produce oxygen that would likewise be 'held back' from leaving the moon by said grav systems.

    It would take monumental amounts of time, money and resources to perform this type of terraforming and it would not be able to operate alone (shall we say, 'in a vacuum'). However I can see it being pulled off in the Star Trek universe as well as the canon milieu of the Traveller RPG.

    I also like the idea of 'The Gravity Fields of Luna'.


  5. @Barker - Thast's a pretty cool idea. Heck, you could terraform small asteroids that way. :)

    @Timeshadow - Aha! That solves the problem, doesn't it? No nasty terraforming needed. Just tweak the human genome to be able to survive on an atmosphere made of sparse sodium atoms!

    - Ark