Guest post: Biology has been dismissed at every turn

Originally a comment by iknklast on You have to get water there.

This is my field, building and restoring ecosystems. Doing it on Earth we get it right less than 3% of the time. It is more than just water, and how likely are the lunar poles to provide enough water to keep more than a handful of humans for a short time? Who knows? There is research going on to determine how much water is on the moon…and other planets.

But there are a myriad of things we depend on, many of which we might not even know about. Fungus. Bacteria. Plants. Animals. Protozoans. Water. Soil. Atmosphere.

A moon colony – or any other planet – would not be more likely to succeed than an Earth colony, it would be less. And the expense is simply unacceptable to keep a handful of rich assholes in a colony on the moon while they strip the earth of its resources – because that is what they will do. And probably still die, because space is not friendly to human life.

The reality is our solutions will not come from purely technological ingenuity. That might be necessary (for instance, including nuclear power in the mix, though I remain skeptical it will ever be sufficient enough to replace all other forms of energy because of some limitations). There are technological things we can do, some we are doing, but space colonies are still the stuff of science fiction. EVERY TIME I talk to someone about this, I get the same sorts of answers. A writer I know (a prof in my writing program) has been writing a book about the moon from this standpoint. I asked him once if he planned to consult any scientists, since his sources didn’t include any so far. He said yes, he planned to talk to NASA psychologists about the possibility of mental problems in astronauts.

Really? You’re not going to consult ANY biologists? You’re talking about LIVING on the MOON, and you’re not going to listen to BIOLOGY, which is, simply defined, the study of LIFE?

Biology has been dismissed at every turn. I find it difficult to get environmental activists to consider biology. It is impossible to get those interested in space colonies to consider biology. Trans won’t consider biology. Creationists won’t consider biology. Quack herbalists and others won’t consider biology.

FACE IT, EVERYONE. Biology is the science of us. Of our pets. Of our crops. Of our forests and grasslands and hot springs and oceans and deserts and any other place life exists. If you dismiss biology, you dismiss life, and if you dismiss life, you really aren’t talking about LIFE on other planets, you’re talking about STUFF on other planets.

The basic requirements for life:

Food

Water

Shelter (at least for some forms of life)

Atmosphere

A livable temperature range

A livable pH range

An appropriate level of gravity

An appropriate level of pressure

Lack of exposure to radioactivity

At this point, few if any of these are available on other planets, or on the moon. Those who are in love with technology insist we can make them. Many of these are people who dismiss single-payer healthcare as too expensive.

Let that last sink in. Thank you.

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