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Dogecoin (DOGE) started in 2013, coming into the crypto industry when it was still in its infancy. For many crypto users, blockchains weren’t meant to be named after a meme and certainly not for “joke” purposes. This attracted holders in their hoards to see what the meme coin could do, but also a lot of skepticism about the volatility DOGE presented. However, curiosity won over, and for a token that wasn’t created to have any real-world utility, it recorded an unexpected height- though below the dollar- in 2023. WhaleStats’ analysis of the top 100 Dogecoin holders on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) indicates a whopping 414% rise in trading volumes as well as a 10% increase in active addresses. This follows as Dogecoin returns among the top 10 purchased tokens for the 100 biggest BSC whales in the last 24 hours. Notably, large transactions, which typically refer to those above $100,000 on the Dogecoin network, were up 17% in the last 24 hours, per IntoTheBlock data. Dogecoin (DOGE) presented a unique proposal unlike seen when it launched. There wasn’t any public sale to boost the coin’s worth. Instead, they set a cap of 100 billion coins and told anyone with average computing power to begin mining Doge immediately. It also had a random block reward system until things were fixed to give miners fair chances of earning more.
Dogecoin (DOGE) started in 2013, coming into the crypto industry when it was still in its infancy. For many crypto users, blockchains weren’t meant to be named after a meme and certainly not for “joke” purposes. This attracted holders in their hoards to see what the meme coin could do, but also a lot of skepticism about the volatility DOGE presented. However, curiosity won over, and for a token that wasn’t created to have any real-world utility, it recorded an unexpected height- though below the dollar- in 2023. WhaleStats’ analysis of the top 100 Dogecoin holders on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) indicates a whopping 414% rise in trading volumes as well as a 10% increase in active addresses. This follows as Dogecoin returns among the top 10 purchased tokens for the 100 biggest BSC whales in the last 24 hours. Notably, large transactions, which typically refer to those above $100,000 on the Dogecoin network, were up 17% in the last 24 hours, per IntoTheBlock data. Dogecoin (DOGE) presented a unique proposal unlike seen when it launched. There wasn’t any public sale to boost the coin’s worth. Instead, they set a cap of 100 billion coins and told anyone with average computing power to begin mining Doge immediately. It also had a random block reward system until things were fixed to give miners fair chances of earning more. A renowned crypto trader and analyst, anonymously known as Smart Contracter, believes that dogecoin (DOGE) is all set for a massive bull run. The trader informed his Twitter fanbase of 210,500 that DOGE might be headed towards an enormous bull run, after experiencing a bearish market for several months.
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Dogecoin did what no other cryptocurrency had done before
Prior to December 2013, no one in the history of mankind had built a currency based on a dog. And not just any dog. But a Japanese Shiba Inu hunting dog named Kusama.
If you’ve had an Internet connection in the past 10 years, you can’t have missed out on the ‘doge’ meme featuring Kusama and typically surrounded by Comic Sans phrases like ‘wow’, ‘what r u doing?’, ‘so scare’, ‘concern’ and ‘keep your hands away from me’.
Two software engineers – Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer – decided to satirise wild speculation in the 2013 crypto market by creating Dogecoin. The DOGE token had zero utility and an unlimited supply. It was the most wild-card currency ever invented.
Not even the founders believed Dogecoin had a future.
As of July 2023, Dogecoin is the tenth largest cryptocurrency by market cap ($8 billion) and is very serious business. The top 100 Dogecoin wallets are all worth over $6 million – the top five Dogecoin whales have wallets worth over $60 million.
Even during a bear market in July 2023 the price of Dogecoin is still 78,000% above its all-time lows. Had you bought $100 of the joke when no one else was interested, you would have a wallet worth $78,000 today.
The question today: is Dogecoin still a good investment in July 2023?
Read on to find out.What is Dogecoin (DOGE)?
Following the launch of Bitcoin in 2009 – and the Bitcoin Pizza Day in May 22, 2010 – there was an explosion of new cryptocurrencies all vying for investor attention.
(Bitcoin Pizza Day refers to the first documented pricing of Bitcoin, when a Florida man paid 10,000 BTC for two pizzas.)
Many new cryptocurrencies had zero utility. But the possibility for developers to build new tokens, with their own blockchain network, led Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus to make fun of the trend with Dogecoin.
Against the odds, Dogecoin became an instant fan favourite.
Dogecoin started off as a currency for tipping on Reddit. But then, a group of Dogecoin supporters raised more than $30,000 in 2014 to help send the Jamaican bobsleigh team to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The official Dogecoin Foundation has continued to promote charitable endeavours, turning DOGE into an acronym for Do Only Good Everyday.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, became interested in Dogecoin in 2023 and began writing Tweets in support of the decentralised meme-coin. Musk’s appearance on Saturday Night Live in early May 2023 triggered a huge price rally that took Dogecoin to $0.7376 – the DOGE all-time high.
The news grabbed headlines around the world. Even more news media became interested when Glauber Contessoto (aka SlumDOGE Millionaire) revealed in April of 2023 he’d become the first Dogecoin millionaire after investing his life savings – $250,000 – in DOGE back in February.Are Cryptocurrencies Still Founded on Memes in 2023?
Dogecoin was the first meme-coin – but it was far from the last.
Shiba Inu is the next most famous meme-coin and currently sits at 14th place in the cryptocurrency market cap rankings. There’s also ApeCoin, which loosely references the popular BAYC NFT collection, as well as Baby Doge Coin, Dogelon Mars, Pitbull, MonaCoin, Samoyedcoin, and hundreds more.
But success is not a given for meme-coins – and in many occasions, they are either flash-in-the-pan hypes or outright scams.
One of the newest cryptocurrencies to take the market by storm is EverGrow Coin. The EGC token has become hugely popular as one of the newest cryptos that’s most likely to explode in 2023.
While the meme-coin market is saturated, EverGrow Coin is leading a new breed of reflection tokens. EverGrow Coin charges a 14% transaction tax and its investors are rewarded with 8% of that, every day, in the BUSD stablecoin.
The popularity of the token – and the $37 million paid out in BUSD stablecoin rewards since launching in late 2023 – are making many analysts believe that 2023 is the year where a reflection token will become the next top 20 cryptocurrency.5 Reasons why Dogecoin is a Good Investment in July 2023 1. Dogecoin is Decentralised
Dogecoin dipped under the radar before Elon Musk brought it back into the spotlight in 2023.
Since then, many of Dogecoin’s original developers returned to improve the Dogecoin code and support the global adoption of DOGE. Key to Dogecoin’s success is that anyone can mine DOGE without requiring complex equipment.
Decentralisation also has seen hundreds of Dogecoin-supporting projects spring up around the world. The Dogecoin Foundation aims to bring Dogecoin closer to the 1.7 billion unbanked people in the world, through projects like Gigawallet and RadioDoge.2. Doge is a Fan Favourite
Dogecoin will also remain the first meme-coin in cryptocurrency.
Every new meme-coin project will have to do something increasingly extraordinary to take DOGE’s spot – and no one has flipped its market cap to date.
Dogecoin has a huge community with almost 5 million Dogecoin wallets across the world. Dogecoin is the go-to meme-coin for any interested cryptocurrency investor and – crucially – is readily available to buy on most leading exchanges and platforms.
The backing from Elon Musk and investor Mark Cuban have bolstered the Dogecoin community, and will continue to do until the end of 2023 and beyond.3. Dogecoin Has its Own Blockchain Network
Unlike Shiba Inu and Baby Doge Coin, Dogecoin has its own blockchain network.
Transactions on the Dogecoin network are low-cost and far lower than the cost of sending Bitcoin or Ethereum. The blockchain platform is decentralised and protects the uncensored, cryptographic, globally transferable and scalable features that made crypto a success.
Furthermore, Dogecoin code continues to be updated by software engineers who are also invested in the network by mining or running DOGE-related projects. Even if the Dogecoin Foundation and other central parties lose interest in Dogecoin, that won’t stop others from stepping in to take up the torch.4. Merchant adoption
Dogecoin is one of the most widely accepted cryptocurrencies by merchants.
Dogecoin is accepted by the BitPay payment service provider, which powers more than big-name 250 companies and stores and thousands more small to medium-sized eCommerce and shopfront businesses.
You can use Dogecoin in shops and marketplaces, to buy Internet services, crypto services, business services, web development services, in gaming, for tourism, traveling and renting as well as to buy from big-name fashion outlets from Gucci and even buy Porsches and real estate from certain US-based companies.
Elon Musk recently announced his Boring Company will accept Dogecoin as payment for rides on its Las Vegas transit system, Loop.5. Dogecoin accumulation in July 2023
Despite the low Dogecoin prices in July 2023, the largest wallets are continuing to buy up DOGE and add to their totals.
Blockchain auditor @WhaleStats reported a huge uptick in Dogecoin accumulation in the first two weeks of July. In particular, Dogecoin was among the top 10 buys for BSC (Binance Smart Chain) whales – one BSC whale alone bought more than 18 million DOGE in July ($1.25 million).
While whales control a large amount of the Dogecoin supple, tracking their movements is key to predicting how DOGE will fair in 2023. At present in July 2023, things are looking positive.3 Reasons why Dogecoin is not a Good Investment in July 2023 1. Dogecoin is Inflationary
Dogecoin has an unlimited coin supply, with around 5 billion DOGE entering circulation each year (4% of current supply).
There is nothing in the Dogecoin code to stop inflation. This can have the effect of driving the Dogecoin price down unless accumulation continues at rates faster than inflation. This is completely different to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which have a fixed supply.2. Dogecoin Depends on Popularity
Dogecoin has zero utility. If big names like Elon Musk, Mark Cuban or the Dogecoin Foundation were to pull out of DOGE this could drastically affect the price.
Dogecoin has already seen its develop teams abandon the project – and even the Dogecoin co-founder Jackson Palmer has made public statements with that crypto was ‘over’, calling it a ‘ponzi’ scheme designed to make money from uninformed investors.
If prices fall, developers could leave the project in swathes. This would dent further market adoption and create a vicious cycle.3. Watch out for Dogecoin Pump and Dumps
As high as the Dogecoin highs have, so has DOGE regularly plummeted to lows.
Dogecoin is currently 92% down from the all-time high of $0.7376 last year. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is down 70% from the all-time high, and Ethereum is down 78%.
The top 20 individuals whales (i.e. not including exchange wallets) control more than 10% of the total Dogecoin supply. While there are only 60 wallets with more than $10 million worth of Dogecoin, there are 2.5 million wallets holding between $1 to $100 worth of DOGE.
With so much Dogecoin held in just a few hands, the chances of whales pumping and dumping is likely.How Do Other Cryptocurrencies Address Dogecoin’s Problems?
Inflation was a problem tackled by Bitcoin, with its fixed supply at 21 million, back in 2009.
But many newer cryptocurrencies go even further than having a fixed supply to become hyper-deflationary. These tokens actually have a decreasing supply, which tends to increase prices in the short and long term.
EverGrow Coin, with 53% of its initial supply already burned, is a great example.
The EverGrow Coin 14% transaction tax sees 2% set aside for strategic buyback and burn. When prices are low, the EverGrow Coin core development team use the buyback & burn fund to destroy EGC tokens, by sending them to a dead wallet.
EverGrow Coin is committed to being one the most transparent token in crypto – you can view the burn wallet on BSC Scan.
The core development team in EverGrow Coin also regularly publish their wallets, to prove they are not selling anything. Instead, they earn salaries from BUSD rewards like every other investor. The 14% transaction tax also discourages selling because a significant proportion is inevitably redistributed among all existing investors.
EverGrow Coin also has a whale tax which limits the order size to discourage any pump and dump activity.Dogecoin Price in July 2023 – is it a Good Buy?
Dogecoin is trading at a price range between $0.06 and $0.072 in July 2023.
Dogecoin prices are 65% down from the beginning of 2023, when DOGE had a value of $0.17. While prices are low currently, the lowest price of the year was $0.049 on June 18th.
The macroeconomic environment is volatile with CPI data at record highs, and the chance of the US economy going into a technical recession when Q2 GDP data is revealed. Interest rates are also expected to continue rising to battle inflation – each of these can suppress crypto prices in the short term.
That said, this summer is likely to see the bottom of the crypto market and the return to rising prices. So if you want to buy Dogecoin in 2023, July is likely the best month of the year to buy DOGE.
But the problems of inflation, pump & dump and popularity mean no one should go all in without significant risk to their portfolio.
A much wiser choice is to diversify investments, with Dogecoin, other major cryptocurrencies as well as small-market cap cryptocurrencies most likely to explode in 2023.
In the latter case, EverGrow Coin with a market cap of just $60 million – and built-in mechanisms which resolve many of Dogecoin’s problems already in place – is a great asset to any cryptocurrency investor’s portfolio.
Materials scientist and beauty icon, Dr Eric Pressly, was just 30 when he helped to create the world’s most famous hair-bonding product, Olaplex. Now he’s started his own brand, epres Hair Care, and it’s set to disrupt the multi-billion care industry.
Hair products were never part of the career plan for materials scientist, Dr Eric Pressly. He was interested in starting a pharmaceutical company after finishing his PhD and working on clinical trials. But a sliding doors moment in 2012 changed his career trajectory when he was approached by the founders of Olaplex, Dean and Darcy Christal to create a new hair care product.
Working tirelessly in his surfboard-littered garage in Santa Barbara, California, Dr Pressly developed a bond-building formula that would change the game. Today the products, used by the likes of Drew Barrymore and Kim Kardashian, are used in almost every leading hair salon in the world.
Pressly’s creation, a hair-bonding repair solution, is used by many leading hair salons around the world and is readily available as a “take home” solution from most major hair product retailers. Olaplex is now valued at around $US14 billion. Dr Pressly, himself, has more than 100 patents in bond-repair technology.A new direction, improved technology
When Pressly finally left Olaplex he wasn’t sure if he would stay in the hair product industry, he told Forbes Australia. As the father of a new baby son, he wanted to focus on his growing family, travel and the career of his wife, a singer-songwriter.
However, the pull of science and improving formulations eventually got the better of Dr Pressly, and he began working on improving his repair-bonding technology once again. He wanted the formula to not only repair hair damage, but reverse it altogether.
“I knew I had the better technology. So I focused on making it easier, simpler, more reliable and better for the planet than everything [I had created] in the past.
Dr Pressly’s plans to travel with his wife, a singer-songwriter, and new baby were derailed because of COVID, so he went back to the drawing board, creating new hair formulations that rivalled his previous inventions.
“What I really enjoy about the cosmetic space is the ease of getting into the market versus pharmaceuticals.”
He was approached by the now co-CEO of Epres, Michael Sampson – who has worked in leadership positions for a number of huge names in beauty, such as L’Oreal – to develop some new hair technology. At the time, Dr Pressly had just started his family and had admits had “got used to the simple life”.
“I knew if I hit the go button, is it going to be like this…busy! I was thinking about whether or not I wanted to do that. But the technology was too good not to.”
Unlike its main competitors that can take hours in the salon chair to work, Dr Pressly says epres TM has been designed to be a simple one-step solution that works within 10 minutes. He says it has also been developed with the environment in mind – containing only four vegan, biodegradable ingredients. He says the product was created for “performance first” – it needs to work “or people won’t use it again” – but it also needed to be quick to use and sustainable.
In February this year (long after Dr Pressly left the company), Olaplex was sued by 28 women who claim its products caused hair loss, blisters and other conditions. The company said in a statement on Instagram that its products “do not cause hair loss”. “We are prepared to vigorously defend our Company, our brand, and our products against these baseless accusations,” it said on the social media platform.
“epres TM is a testament to our commitment to balanced science and exceptional results and I consider it my best invention yet,” Dr Pressly said. “It’s the culmination of years of research and development, addressing various hair damage issues in a single step.
Look back on the week that was with hand-picked articles from Australia and around the world. Sign up to the Forbes Australia newsletter here or become a member here.
There is a growing trend in policing driven by forward-thinking leaders who recognize the potential for a mobile-first approach — one in which officers can access mission-critical information regardless of their assignment or proximity to a vehicle.
Using smartphones to “untether” officers gives traditional vehicle patrols greater flexibility. Personnel on bike or foot patrol assignments, as well as motor and plainclothes details, can now have the same capabilities previously limited to those with access to a desktop or vehicle-mounted computer, wherever operations take them.The power of Samsung DeX
A relatively new approach, introduced by Samsung DeX, marries a docked smartphone with a larger touchscreen and keyboard to provide a fully functional computer in the patrol car. If your computer-aided dispatch (CAD) vendor provides a mobile client for their product or you are using a cloud-based CAD, there’s a strong likelihood that DeX can perform for you.Achieve Mobile CJIS Compliance at Your Agency
A full DeX transition can save a department a lot of money, as demonstrated in an in-depth Public Safety Network study. It’s important to note that DeX can also replace traditional desktops sitting in the report writing room and on detectives’ desks.Planning for CJIS compliance
Smartphones provide an impressive level of utility simply with their base-level features. However, law enforcement operations generally require access to criminal justice information (CJI), and conventional in-vehicle computers are routinely used to run queries and check databases such as those maintained by the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
Accordingly, if an agency intends to make a transition to smartphone-based computing and maintain full functionality for its users, officers will need to have the same level of access to CJI. This means that agencies will have to comply with the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy and follow any relevant protocols established by their respective state’s CJIS oversight and auditing entity, commonly known as a CJIS Systems Agency (CSA). Failure to comply can result in termination of access to databases that are essential to police operations.
The rules for CJIS compliance are complex — the latest CJIS policy is more than 250 pages long — and subject to a degree of interpretation by the state-level CSA. Following are some important considerations when considering mobile access to CJI.Good news, challenging news
Smartphones with an Android operating system (OS) are considered by CJIS to have a limited-feature OS, which brings specific considerations. For example, a limited-feature OS means the device is inherently more resistant to certain types of network-based technical attacks than a full-feature OS.How to achieve mobile CJIS compliance
Start by determining the current use of CJI within your agency, and identify the person responsible for working with your state’s CSA. This is often the person managing your connection to NCIC and/or the periodically required CJI access training. If your agency is already conducting CJIS queries from devices outside of the building (for example, in-vehicle computers), it is quite likely that there is already a secure and encrypted “backhaul” which can be utilized by mobile devices.
You should also check with other agencies, approval authorities and your vendors to determine if any agencies in your region have a robust and successful smartphone program. It’s best to find an agency within your state, because there is some degree of subjectivity in determining CJIS compliance, and that determination is made at the state level.
Start with a small pilot group of selected participants who are supportive of going mobile and agree to provide feedback. Stress the importance of the project and the value of their input. A pilot group lets you address unexpected challenges on a smaller scale and permits corrections without major expense.
Once you have devices functioning in the field, you can scale up your deployment as funding permits. This can be coordinated with equipment that would be normally scheduled for replacement or during new vehicle installations. Doing so will save the cost of having to uninstall old equipment before installing the hardware relevant to your mobile program.Go mobile to streamline operations
Today’s mobile devices can support a wide range of police operations, and the more officers can accomplish with a single device, the more effective they will be. Smartphones allow officers to work much more efficiently in the field, providing an unrivaled level of utility that will improve officer effectiveness and increase overall situational awareness.
Establishing a robust and effective CJIS-compliant smartphone program will provide a significant return on investment by allowing officers to have full access to mission-critical information, regardless of their assignment or proximity to a patrol vehicle.
After facing cancellation, resumption, Congressional hearing drama, COVID-19, technical delays, and more technical delays, NASA’s decades-long push to return to the moon is finally about to get off the ground.
“The team is beyond excited,” says Cliff Lanham, an operations manager at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s east coast, where Artemis 1 will launch. “We still have a few weeks of work to do, so we gotta temper that.”
Here’s what’s going on with the launch—and what has to happen first.Last season: Learning from rehearsals
You might remember that, a few months ago, NASA had some issues with fuel leaks that called off test runs.
NASA engineers called those tests “wet-dress rehearsals” (WDR). They were what they sound like: placing the rocket on the pad and going through the motions of launch day. The WDRs’ other purpose was to suss out issues like those very leaks, which aren’t exactly uncommon with highly complex systems such as large rockets.
The WDRs are quietly very useful; workers at NASA use the results to write the checklist for the Artemis 1 launch. It’s perhaps not the most glamorous step of launch prep. But without these trials, the rocket launch likely couldn’t happen.
[Related: In pictures: NASA’s powerful moonshot rocket debuts at Kennedy Space Center]
After some tinkering, NASA held the final tests in June. Despite another fuel leak, engineers elected to call it there and end the tests, believing they could resolve the issues by returning the rocket to its assembly building for repairs.One month to launch: Readying the rocket
Engineers still need to complete a few tasks before they can send Artemis 1 on its way.
A critical one is to charge up the rocket’s batteries, whose power SLS draws upon to control its components. But those batteries have a limited life, and engineers can’t fill them too early. Lanham says that charging those batteries is a careful balancing act of planning for an uncertain launch date.
Furthermore, although Artemis 1 won’t have any human crew, its Orion capsule will carry a trio of passengers: three mannequins, dummies that’ll test the elements human astronauts will face on their lunar journeys.
Already, the first of those has boarded. Its name is Moonikin Campos. It bears accelerometers and vibration sensors to test how rocky the ride will be, as well as detectors that measure radiation exposure on the lunar flightpath. Before the launch, two fake torsos will join, outfitted with test vests that future astronauts might wear in order to mitigate that radiation.
NASA will also load a Snoopy plushy—the zero-gravity indicator, which will float when the rocket is in space—and a Shaun the Sheep doll that’ll ride with the mannequins around the moon and back.One week to launch: Checking the calendar
NASA can’t just plop the 5.8-million-pound Artemis 1 on the pad at a whim. Many factors have to come together for a successful launch, and the rocket is only one of them. Earth, moon, and sun have to be in the right spots so the spacecraft’s flight maneuvers get it to the proper place. The sun is especially critical, because Artemis 1 is powered in part by solar panels.
NASA planners have identified three possible dates that fit the requirements: August 29, September 2, and September 5.
Selecting one of those dates will likely happen just days before launch. The US Navy, which recovers the fallen husks of discarded rocket stages, has to be ready. The pad, also used by SpaceX vehicles, has to be clear of other rockets. And the weather has to be cooperative. “We’re in hurricane season down here in Florida,” Lanham says.
[Related: This is why rocket launches always get delayed]
If none of those dates pan out, the next opportunities will come in late September or early October. If that again doesn’t work out, there’s another set of openings in late October. NASA officials hope it won’t come to that. Artemis would have to dodge a partial solar eclipse that could compromise its solar power.After the launch: A lunar future
Artemis 1, if it’s successful, will refute that pattern. And Dreier says there’s good reason to be optimistic about this particular attempt. Despite the Artemis program’s ballooning costs, returning to the moon is a prospect that enjoys broad support in Washington that crosses political party lines and presidential administrations. They’ll no doubt be happy to see their support finally paying off.
Then, assuming Artemis 1 is successful, it will be just the first mission of a much larger list. “This is not really the culmination,” says Lanham. “It’s just the beginning.”
The timeline of the first crewed Artemis 2 mission—which will fly around the moon and return to Earth, much like Apollo 8—is still hazy, but current plans have it launching around 2024. After that would come the first human steps on lunar soil since 1972.
“The lunar landings have almost receded into myth at this point,” says Dreier. “For the first time, we have a real, viable chance at seeing humans walk on the moon again.”
Mining lunar water could pave the way to human colonies on the moon and Mars . But is the Space Act of 2024 up to the task?.
“You are here to help humanity become a spacefaring species.”
So said the opening line of a brochure for a workshop that took place in August 2014. It was a meeting of some of the greatest scientists and professionals in the space business and beyond, including gene editing maverick George Church and Peter Diamandis from the XPrize Foundation. The workshop’s goal: to explore and develop low-cost options for building a human settlement on the moon.
“You are here to make this moonshot a reality,” said the brochure.
One giant expense for mankind
The history-making Apollo missions would have cost $150 billion by today’s standards. With new ways of thinking, it might be possible to set up a lunar station for $10 billion.
NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay helped organize the meeting, and then he edited a special issue in the journal New Space to publish the papers that came out of the workshop. Those papers just came online this morning, and Popular Science had exclusive pre-publication access. Together, the 9 papers help to build momentum for an idea that’s growing throughout the planetary science and commercial space communities. The details differ between papers, they all say roughly the same thing: that we can set up a permanent, inhabited base on the moon, soon, and without breaking the bank.
Of course, this isn’t the first time scientists have talked about returning to the moon.
“The reason all the previous plans for going back to the moon have failed is that they’re just way too expensive,” says McKay. “The space program is living in a delusion of unlimited budgets, which traces back to Apollo.”
The Apollo program that put the first men on the moon would have cost $150 billion by today’s standards. For reference, NASA’s entire budget for the year of 2024 is $19.3 billion.“The space program is living in a delusion of unlimited budgets, which traces back to Apollo.”
The New Space papers, by contrast, conclude that we could set up a small lunar base for $10 billion or less, and we could do it by 2023.
“The big takeaway,” says McKay, “is that new technologies, some of which have nothing to do with space–like self-driving cars and waste-recycling toilets–are going to be incredibly useful in space, and are driving down the cost of a moon base to the point where it might be easy to do.”Why go back to the moon?
Currently, NASA has no plans to send humans back to the moon–instead it’s focusing on getting to Mars in the 2030s. But McKay and others think we can’t possibly go hiking on Mars if we don’t first learn to camp in our own backyard.
“My interest is not the moon. To me the moon is as dull as a ball of concrete,” says the astrobiologist. “But we’re not going to have a research base on Mars until we can learn how to do it on the Moon first. The moon provides a blueprint to Mars.”
A lunar base would provide a valuable opportunity to test out new propulsion systems, habitats, communications, and life support systems before astronauts bring them to Mars–a 9-month trip away, versus just a few days to the moon.
The trouble is, NASA tends to think it can only afford to go to either the moon, or Mars. If McKay and his colleagues are right, we can afford to do both–it just takes a new way of thinking about it.“The moon provides a blueprint to Mars.”
There are other reasons to go back. We’ve explored only a tiny portion of the lunar surface, and a permanent base would certainly fuel some interesting science.
Mine on the moon
Extracting water from the moon and breaking it apart into hydrogen and oxygen–i.e. rocket fuel–could turn a moon base into a profitable investment.
Plus, everyone else is doing it. China, Russia, and the European Space Agency have all expressed interest in setting up a base on the moon. Instead of getting left behind, cooperating with other nations on building a lunar station would lower NASA’s costs, much like in building the International Space Station.
Private space companies are also ready and raring to go back to the moon. Many hope to extract water from the moon and split it into hydrogen and oxygen–i.e. rocket fuel–that can be used to top off the gas tanks of spacecraft headed for Mars. Lunar tourism could also become a hot market.
“And if private industry goes, NASA’s going to go just to establish the rule of law,” says McKay. “The fastest way to get NASA to the moon is to get other people to go.”How do we do it?
The exact strategy for building a lunar base differs depending on who you ask.
After the habitat modules arrive, robotic “Lunar Surface Mules” could help set them up so they’ll be ready when the humans arrive.
Home sweet home?
Another artist concept of a moon base.
Human occupation of the moon would likely begin slowly, with a few short stays by a small crew. The missions would get longer and larger over time, until you have a permanently occupied station, much like the International Space Station. Eventually the station could evolve into a complex, multi-use settlement with hundreds of people, and their children, living there permanently.
Some teams imagine the lunar station as a scientific base, while others picture it evolving into something more commercial.
“Some of the possible export options include: water from the permanently shadowed craters, precious metals from asteroid impact sites, and even [helium-3] that could fuel a pollution-free terrestrial civilization for many centuries,” writes one team. “As transportation to and from the Moon becomes more frequent and cheaper, the lunar tourism mark should begin to emerge and could become a significant source of income in the future.”What technologies do we need to survive?
At a basic level, we already know how to survive on the Moon, because humans have been living on the International Space Station for years.
“PLSS technologies have been proved in space for the past 14 years on the International Space Station,” writes one group, referring to the life support system that recycles the water on the space station and balances out the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. “[W]e have access to sufficient life support technologies to support implementation of the first human settlement on the Moon today.”
With those essentials taken care of, the team estimates that at today’s launch prices, SpaceX could deliver the rest of the food and essential supplies for a crew of 10 for $350 million or less per year.“Self-driving cars and waste-recycling toilets are driving down the cost of a moon base to the point where it might be easy to do.”
Other technologies could be adapted to lower the costs of a moon base. Virtual reality, for example, could aid in the planning efforts.
3D printing could replace small components that break on the lunar station, shaving down launch costs.
The era of NASA’s spinoff technologies may be coming to an end. Instead of developing highly specialized (and expensive) technologies for spaceflight that later turn out to be everyday products, everyday products could be adapted for spaceflight, says McKay. “One of my favorites is the Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.” The program encourages new ways to clean human waste and recycle it into energy, clean water, and nutrients that could be used in farming.
“NASA could spend billions developing a space-rated toilet,” says McKay, “or we could just buy the blue toilet developed by the Gates Foundation.”Next generation technologies
Many of the proposals for an affordable moon base rely on technologies that don’t quite exist yet. But neither are they far from reality.
Bigelow Aerospace’s BA-330 inflatable habitat could one day provide lodgings on the moon. In 2024, a smaller version of the habitat will be tested on the International Space Station.
Bigelow Aerospace’s inflatable habitat is a top contender for future moon lodgings. These flexible living modules could be folded up to fit in a rocket’s cargo bay, then expand like a pop-up tent on the lunar surface. The company plans to launch a test version of the habitat to the International Space Station this year. However, the larger, pill-shaped “BA-330” modules won’t launch until 2023. And since Bigelow is mainly focused on using these habitats to set up commercial space stations in Earth orbit, the design might have to be adapted to operate on the moon, where radiation levels are considerably higher.Where should we live on the moon?
There are four fundamental things to consider when choosing real estate on the moon, according to one paper: power availability; communications; proximity to resources; and surface mobility.
The sun will likely be the primary source of power for future lunar stations. Trouble is, most places on the moon have “nights” that are 354 hours (about 15 days) long. That’s a long time to rely on battery power. By comparison, the poles receive much more sunlight, with nights lasting closer to 100 hours (4 days). So the first lunar station will probably have to be at one of the poles.
Communications would be easier from the moon’s near-side, which constantly faces Earth, compared to the poles, but a relay station on the moon or in orbit should provide a reliable connection.
And it’s lucky the poles receive so much sunlight, because they’re also expected to contain large amounts of frozen water in their deep, dark craters. That water could be extracted to provide water and oxygen to the lunar station, or to turn into rocket fuel for a profit.“The cost is getting so low, maybe we don’t even need to think of NASA doing it.”
And although the lunar north and the south poles receive similar amounts of light, the north pole came out ahead of the south in this survey because it has a smoother terrain that’s easier to travel across.
In particular, the paper singles out the rim of Peary crater as being the top spot to develop a low-cost lunar station. Radar and remote sensing indicate it may contain water or other hydrogen-bearing molecules, and it has a relatively smooth floor, making it easier for robots to roll through its icy depths to extract resources.
Some upcoming missions–including NASA’s Lunar Flashlight and IceCube aim to map the distribution of water on the moon, which could help to further refine the lunar real estate options.How much would it cost?
Overall the consensus in these papers is that NASA could build a lunar base for $10 billion, with upkeep costs of about $2 billion or less per year, which is about as much as NASA puts toward the International Space Station every year. These are estimates that, with a little rearranging, could fit inside NASA’s current budget.
And NASA wouldn’t have to foot the bill alone.
“The cost is getting so low, maybe we don’t even need to think of NASA doing it,” says McKay. “It could be a private company.”
A study from last year estimated that if water exists in large deposits on the moon, a base could pay for itself, generating $40 billion in rocket propellant per year.
What’s more, such a base could potentially be up and running within the next decade.
Actually making it happen will certainly take longer than that, requiring political changes and technological developments. But McKay thinks the psychological barrier is the most significant.
“The biggest obstacle is getting everybody together, and getting a vision of a low-cost base as the starting point. If people think it’s going to kill the budget, that just stops the conversation and brainstorming. If we can change the mindset, that starts the conversation and gets people thinking about how to make it a reality.”
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