Invasion Base on the Moon (Apr, 1948)
Invasion Base on the Moon
“The first nation to establish a lunar military outpost will rule the earth” says Willy Ley, expert in rocket research.
THE man in the moon may plot the attack that will open World War III. For the man in the moon will be a powerful “spy in the sky” rocketed to the earth’s satellite by the aggressor nation to prepare the way for an all-out assault to conquer the world.
Soon after a 20th-century Columbus pilots his rocket to the moon, the nation that sent him there will have a lunar base that will expose any spot on earth to celestial spying and sudden rocket invasion.
The moon’s terrain, scarred with countless craters, has thousands of excellent sites for offensive bases. The aggressor who sets up the first interplanetary outpost on the moon can dominate not only the world but the entire solar system.
As the moon-bound rocket zooms out of the world, the space explorer will see that the earth has become a great display window for him. In a single historic flight he will have eliminated from the vocabulary of the world’s nations the term “military security.”
From the barren lunar wasteland or towering volcano to which he anchors his rocket he will focus high-powered telescopic lenses on the earth. These lenses will be 5 times more powerful on the moon than on earth, since the moon has no atmosphere to limit magnification. Thus, he will be able to observe, at one time, great factories operating in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. As the earth rotates on its axis, he will see similar activity in London, in Moscow and in Tokyo. The new man in the moon will be able to watch as each nation works on its railroads, ports or factories—or stockpiles of atom bombs for war.
The pioneers who plan to build a base on the moon won’t find their task too tough, even on the basis of what we know today about conditions there.
Like the earth, the moon has a day and night. One complete night-and-day cycle on the moon, however, lasts a month. Fourteen earth days of cold night anywhere on the moon follow a similar period of intense heat when that same part of the moon’s surface is exposed to the sun. During a “moon day,” the great satellite’s surface is heated to a temperature of 392 degrees. “Moon nights” will approach absolute zero in coldness.
As a result of these extremes of temperature, the moon pioneers will find its surface covered with rock debris, chips and dust, since no rock can stand such sudden heat changes without cracking. And since there is no air on the moon, the moon men will find no surface water.
The base builders, then, will face a double problem of maintaining an even temperature and providing themselves with air and water.
By going underground they will solve the temperature problem, since the extremes of temperature occasioned by the month-long lunar cycle are strictly surface phenomena. The first expedition to the moon will look for a large, deep cave, because the temperature below the surface debris, although probably cold, will be even. If the moon men find no natural cave, they can make an artificial one by tunneling about 500 feet into a mountain.
Before the earthmen can solve any problems on the moon, however, they will have to set up an atomic pile; this will be the key to their permanency on the moon. The atomic pile will produce the heat, and this, in turn, will produce the steam which will run any construction equipment needed. And eventually the pile will produce the air and the water by which the moon pioneers will live.
While the moon men build their atomic engines, they will live on the rocket ship that brought them to the moon, and use a supply of air and water from the earth. Space suits, with airtight joints. Plexiglas head bubbles and built-in heating units will enable them to work away from their ship on the lunar terrain.
The cave shelter will be sealed off by an airlock, a set of two airtight doors with a space between them. In this way, only the air in the space between the two doors will be lost each time someone enters or leaves.
Additional fresh air will be made right on the moon. Since oxygen atoms are locked in most rock compounds, decomposing the rock will liberate breathable oxygen. Hydrogen— needed to combine with oxygen to form water—also is hidden in many minerals. These elements can be liberated from their rocky prisons by energy from the atomic pile, which produces this energy continuously by transforming heavy atoms into lighter atoms. With this unlimited atomic energy, many of the necessities of life can be extracted from the rocks forming the mountains of the moon.
With the cave supplied with air and water, the moon men will draw further on their atomic pile for heat and light, by steam and steam turbine, and electric generator.
The lamps which light the cave will be Vitamin-D-producing sun lamps capable of supporting plant life. Since the crushed rock of the moon’s surface will be useless as soil, hydroponic gardens will produce tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and other vegetables. The breath of the men in the cave will supply the carbon dioxide necessary for these plants. The plants, in turn, will give off oxygen.
A moon crater will make a natural base for invasion rockets. The high, circular rim of the crater will act as a bunker against external bomb blasts, and the upthrust of the lava rock in the center will provide an elevated platform for a control dome.
Almost impossible to spot among the maze of surrounding pits, the crater is easy to guard against ground invasion and can be destroyed only by a direct atom-bomb hit—a practically impossible feat from our atmosphere-blinded earth.
The rocket-base construction will be comparatively simple. It will only be necessary to build a ring of concrete launching pits and connecting service roads, easily laid on the level pumice that fills the crater.
Thus, an atomic pile and a few simple elements are all that will be required for an invasion base on the moon, once the interplanetary explorer “stakes” the earth’s satellite for his country. When this happens, the moon may lose its “June-spoon” romance.
Then it will set the scene for world-shattering war, unless earthmen meanwhile find peaceful means of settling their disputes. •