The Apollo moon landing was perhaps the greatest achievement in the history of humankind more than half-a-century ago. The question before us is what will it mean for humankind to return to the moon in the 21st century in practical terms for many among us today?
Fast-forward, the anticipated moon landing, perhaps in 2024, will be led by the so-called Artemis Generation (Artemis is the mythical twin sister of the Greek god Apollo). A woman will lead the scientific and economic return to the moon with the first, yet to be named female in the queue. She shall set foot on the lunar south pole.
Governments, and privateers, from around the globe now plan to send astronauts, taikonauts, and cosmonauts to the surface of the moon late in this decade. Government and commercial interests shall land spacecraft and rovers on the surface in the several months ahead. Companies will seek to land larger payloads to begin building a moon surface habitat.
But very much unlike the Apollo-era, the Artemis Generation of astronauts will be going to the lunar surface to build an off-Earth economy. Private concern will work for scientific discovery leading to new knowledge and innovations, much likely beyond our current comprehension. The moon should be thought of as a new continent, and the ocean of space to cross, in terms of opportunity.
The moon has resources to help pull much of the Earth’s human population out of poverty and give a new meaning to quality of life on Earth through off-Earth resources. It holds unimaginable wealth in the form of minerals. This thought is not a utopian fantasy, but rather a realistic vision of opportunities for many a younger career-starters today.
What careers will be needed among those who will be among the first lunar villagers? Nearly every career will be needed by 2040. Many careers will be in high demand leading to high profit potential in the short-term.
Human life requires food for health and energy. Food necessitates the need for physicians to measure human health, nutritionists and farmers to cultivate quality food growth, soil conservationists, and moon miners to mine the mineral water-ice and transform it hydrogen, oxygen and water to survive, without these essential resources transported from Earth.
3D-printed housing will be needed on the lunar surface, creating the need for architects, structural and electrical engineers, and builders. These specialists are needed to create the lunar concrete with strength to protect humans from solar and cosmic radiation and the impact of micrometeorites. The lunar base village will require autonomous robots, and human engineers capable of their operation, and robot maintenance and repair as the demand impairs usability. Lunar habitat interior designers will be needed to make lunar life more livable over time.
Electrical and nuclear engineers will be a requirement to support the high-energy demand generated from solar panels and plutonium, or future fusion reactors, to support the habitats and the lunar research laboratories.
Yes, there will be a need for unique tailors, fashion designers and materials scientists — outfitters — to create more flexible, wearable and comfortable designer clothing for those traversing the surface of the moon, or simply being about the interior to the lunar village.
Creating the sustainability of a lunar village with food, housing, energy and clothing are the basics of life anywhere humans go throughout the solar system in the 21st century. The technological trade expertise referenced will have a significant market need as the lunar continent development unfolds through 2040.
Nonetheless, it only sets the stage for the next phase of research, development which will involve large-scale production and manufacturing leading to an economic profit to make a lunar village worthy of the sustainability. New off-Earth governance structures, likely hybrids of the Earthly human experiences, also will lead to the need of international social scientists. Many are already thought leaders in this niche.
In the short-term, more undergraduate and graduate schools need to give young career thinkers exposure to off-Earth thought leaders.
The year 2021 is remarkable for the commercialization of passenger space travel; 2022 will likely lead to the commercialization of space movie sets and theater; 2023 will likely lead to the latest circumnavigation of the moon by private citizens; and, 2024 will likely bear witness the dawn of the Artemis Generation setting foot on the lunar south pole, culminating greater musing of the careers needed over the balance of the decade to make life sustainable on an alien celestial body, if only 250,000 miles away.
Kennedy owns and operates XploreThePlanet.com, which encourages domestic and international adventure travel to American spaceports, and international scholarly exchange programs to Cape Canaveral, Florida. He lives in Wise.