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15 Ambitious Plans to Colonize the Moon

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Wikimedia Commons

Back in 1638, clergyman John Wilkins wrote an entire science fiction book devoted to the prospect of a lunar voyage. In Discovery of a World in the Moon, he proposed different methods of traveling to the Moon—including an idea where “large birds might be trained to carry the traveller aloft.” Contrary to many other astronomers in the 17th century, Wilkins insisted that the Moon was made of solid matter that human beings could walk and live on. Since Wilkins’ radical proposal, many others have followed in his footsteps by dreaming of ways we could live on the moon.

1. Electromagnetic Cannons

In 1954, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke proposed the idea of constructing a lunar base with inflatable modules covered in lunar dust for insulation. These modules—similar to igloos—would be equipped with an inflatable radio mast, algae-based air purifiers, and nuclear reactors. Clarke even went so far as to predict the use of electromagnetic cannons to blast cargo to interplanetary ships in space.

2. The Lunex Project

In 1958, the U.S. Air Force researched an expedition plan called the Lunex Project, which called for the 1967 deployment of a 21-airman underground lunar base and was expected to cost $7.5 billion.

3. Floating Moon Base

Amid beliefs that the Moon was comprised of mile-deep dust oceans, John S. Rinehart wrote an essay proposing floating Moon bases in 1959. His idea involved creating vessels that could float in the dust oceans within half-cylinders that linked different areas. The pathway would be created with a micrometeoroid shield to protect travelers.

4. Project Horizon

Also in 1959, the Army Ballistic Missile Agency presented the U.S. Army with plans for a Lunar Military Outpost, which would be manned by 12 soldiers and was predicted to cost somewhere around $6 billion. The outpost would be situated somewhere near the Eratosthenes crater or the Montes Apenninus mountain range, and would even be equipped with nuclear warheads and modified Claymore mines to guard against overland attacks. Soldiers would command lunar vehicles to haul cargo, explore the surface of the Moon, and rescue people in distress; a parabolic antenna would be used to communicate with Earth.

5. Sub-Surface Colonies

In 1962, two engineers—John DeNike and Stanley Zahn—published a possible lunar base model in Aerospace Engineering. They believed that the ideal location would be within the Sea of Tranquility, a large crater on the Moon’s surface that later became the site of first Apollo lunar landing in 1969. Most of the lunar base, operated by 21 crewmembers, would be linked by underground tunnels beneath the Moon’s surface to guard against radiation poisoning.

6. Lunar Farming

Currently, NASA is researching farming methods for Moon colonies and astronauts on lengthy missions. These crops would have a dual purpose: the plants would provide astronauts with a healthy diet and also replace toxic carbon dioxide with oxygen. But growing crops on the Moon is obviously nothing like farming on Earth; scientists must figure out the perfect combination of light, temperature, and carbon dioxide to grow plants outside of Earth’s atmosphere. NASA is currently studying varieties of radishes, lettuce, and green onions within plant growth chambers where samples are grown hydroponically using nutrient-enriched fluid inside hydroponic chambers.

7. The Lunar Noah’s Ark

Scientists at the European Space Agency believe that the Moon is a perfect place to store human DNA in the case of a global disaster. While some scientists have been collecting the DNA of endangered species for years, others are beginning to entertain the idea of collecting human DNA for future research or creating unique organisms. If these DNA samples were stored on the Moon in a dry, cold, and protected environment, they could last for thousands of years—so if an asteroid, nuclear war, or a widespread virus wiped out most of humanity, DNA samples would be stored safely on the Moon to continue the human race.

8. Lunar Observatories

Many astronomers have discussed the possibility of constructing a lunar observatory on the Moon’s surface, which would give them a far better view of the universe than what they can currently see from Earth. Since the Moon does not have an atmosphere, wind or clouds would not blur the view from a telescope. Even better: If scientists could place a telescope on the far side of the Moon (the side that constantly faces away from the Earth), radio interference would completely disappear. However, astronomers are quick to point out that the Moon (especially the far side) is an extreme environment that is not easily inhabitable.

9. The International Park

On November 5 of this year, Popular Science published an article about why we should consider making the Moon an international park. It’s been almost 45 years since Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin first set foot on the Moon—and now that space exploration and lunar colonies are closer to becoming a reality, some believe that the world should establish boundaries for the Moon’s use, and that the historic sites of the Apollo lunar landings need to be preserved for future generations. This past summer, Congress reviewed a bill to eventually nominate the landing locations as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This bill, however, could conflict with the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Accepted by 101 countries, the treaty declares that “no nation can claim the Moon as sovereign territory,” which is an official prerequisite for nomination.

10. A Stepping Stone for Future Colonies

Some astronomers argue that lunar colonization could serve as a model for future colonies on other planets. While NASA has simulators that mimic life on the surface of the Moon, these simulators do not compare to the firsthand experience that astronauts would gather from living on the Moon. Every experience, whether good or bad, would affect and improve future technology and safety standards for other colonies.

11. Lunar Lava Tube Outpost

In 2010, scientists discovered a lunar lava tube—a giant hole in the Moon’s surface covered with a thin layer of lava. Scientists believe that this thin sheet of lava could protect inhabitants from extreme temperatures and meteorite impacts. The lava tubes are stable structures within the Moon that have been carved out by lava flows, volcanic eruptions, or seismic activity.

12. Moon Capital

Also in 2010, the Moon Capital Competition created a contest to encourage designers to create potential models for a lunar habitat. Ideally, the habitat would be an underground commercial center that could support 60 staffers. The competition encouraged contestants to create designs that could be self-sufficient with food supplies and regenerative life support. The models were designed as multi-faceted sites that could sustain commercial, scientific, and technological development. Within the capital, several different activities could take place, including growing food, manufacturing equipment for labs and vehicles, and prospecting for minerals.

13. Lunar Space Elevator

As colonies grow and develop on the Moon’s surface, transportation will need to develop accordingly. Some scientists have put forth the idea of a lunar space elevator, which would act as a docking station. This station would allow cargo and important supplies to be more easily transported between Earth and the Moon. For instance, astronauts could mine materials from a lunar well and lift them by elevator to a convenient docking station. The materials could then be picked up and carried back to Earth. Scientists also argue that the space elevator would reduce launch costs for vessels traveling from Earth to the Moon. These benefits could aid in future space exploration.

14. U.S., Japanese, and Russian Moon Colonies

Similar to the space race that dominated the 1960s, countries are racing to develop the first manned lunar base. In 2006, Japan announced its goal of building a lunar base by 2030. Satoki Kurokawa from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency explained that their Moon base would be essential for the development of robotics.

In 2007, Russia announced a similar plan: they would establish a permanent base on the moon by 2025. Unlike Japan, however, Russia’s goal focuses more on lunar tourism. Most of the revenue for Russia’s space agency has come from space tourist flights. Tickets were priced at $30 million and at least five wealthy adventurers have purchased those tickets for space travel.

During the 2012 election, even Newt Gingrich proposed the construction of a lunar colony—although most Americans determined his plan was too far-fetched. Gingrich declared that by 2020, an American base would be built on the Moon’s surface.

15. Lunar Boom Town

Lunar Boom Town is “a set of strategic engineering simulations intended to help interested parties and organization with research and education efforts"—essentially, an open-source platform where participants can discuss and refine issues associated with Moon colonization. Business plans created so far for a Lunar Boom Town include air plants, chicken farms, casinos, and even a McDonald’s.

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7 Places To Grab a Bite of Elvis
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Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

August 16, 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, reportedly from hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with atherosclerotic heart disease. Just 42 years old at the time of his passing, the King of Rock 'n' Roll had a reputation for loving rich, decadent food as much as he loved music, with the infamous fried peanut butter and banana sandwich being one of his favorite delicacies.

While we can’t recommend them as part of your daily diet, there are Elvis-inspired indulgences to be found at eateries across the country. If you’re ever in the mood for a taste of Elvis, here’s where to go.


With roots stretching back well over half a century, Forth Worth's T&P Tavern used to be a rail station stopover for notables including Elvis Presley himself. To honor their history, the bar offers the Elvis—a martini flavored with peanut butter, banana, and bacon.


Brian Brown

There’s decadent, and then there’s Las Vegas. To match the city’s reputation for excess, Mr. Lucky’s—the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's 24-hour diner—can reinvigorate patrons pulling all-nighters with the King. It’s an enormous plate of 14 banana pancakes served with Nutella, whipped cream, powdered sugar, and 14 slices of bacon. Before ordering, don't forget to tell your family you love them.


In 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama paid a visit to Johnny J's while on the campaign trail.

Johnny J’s specializes in burgers named after influential rock stars, including Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and, of course, Elvis Presley. With the Elvis, patrons can expect a slab of beef topped with red chili and melted cheddar jack cheese, served open faced—without a single banana in sight.


This reworked early 20th-century pharmacy underwent renovations for reopening in 2010. Like any proper soda fountain, they're all about sundaes and milkshakes—including The Elvis, a vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter, banana, and candied bacon.



The Memphis Mojo Cafe and food truck are go-to spots for burgers, but it’s their dessert that will send Elvis fanatics into a sugar frenzy. Their Elvis Dippers are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in maple waffle batter, deep-fried, and dunked in butterscotch banana cream.


The menu at OatMeals offers something for everyone, even if that someone is into Sriracha-covered oatmeal. But the standout might be The Elvis, a bowl of oats topped with peanut butter, banana, bacon, and sea salt.


Marlowe's Ribs & Restaurant

Just a few minutes from Graceland, it’s almost a prerequisite that Marlowe’s Ribs & Restaurant would have a surplus of Elvis-inspired items on their menu—and they don’t disappoint. Among their specialties: the Elvis Burger, which comes topped with bacon, smoked ham, and American cheese. For dessert, the Crispy Creme Banana Foster Sundae—a donut with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter sauce, sauteed bananas, and whipped cream—is a modern take on some of the King's favorite treats.

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Beyond CSI: 10 Fascinating Forensic Careers
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If you were to believe everything you saw on television about a day in the life of a forensic science professional, it would be all crime scene investigation all the time. As pulse-poundingly exciting as the investigative antics on CSI, NCIS, Dexter, and Criminal Minds may be, the day-to-day duties of forensic professionals aren’t always so cinematic. From accountants to astronomers, here are 10 lesser-known—but entirely fascinating—forensic careers.


From pronunciation to word order, the patterns with which a person communicates are almost as distinct as the sound of his or her voice. Which makes them an identifiable piece of evidence in a criminal investigation, particularly in cases where fraud or plagiarism are concerned. Though the field of forensic linguistics emerged in the late 1960s, it didn’t come into popular use in the U.S. until the mid-1990s, when FBI forensic linguist James Fitzgerald convinced his employer that publishing the Unabomber's “manifesto” could possibly help them catch the man who had killed three people and injured nearly two dozen others with the homemade bombs he’d been mailing to unsuspecting victims for nearly two decades. It worked. Several people called in tips after reading the manifesto, recognizing the writing style, which eventually led them to Ted Kaczynski.

If you've been watching Discovery's Manhunt: Unabomber, you've already gotten a sense of what Fitzgerald's job entails. He's portrayed by Sam Worthington in the series, and Fitzgerald, a.k.a. "Fitz," has been impressed with the series' accuracy. "They are in the high 80 percentile [of accuracy]," Fitzgerald told Bustle, noting that "the Fitz character is a composite character." He describes the series as "a metaphorical look at my role in the Unabomber case, as well as bits and pieces of other agents who did it. It’s relatively factual. I will say, if it is about language analysis that is shown on the screen, that was me. That was the real Fitz."


Diagnosing astigmatism and glaucoma is all in a day’s work for an optometrist. Catching a murderer? Not so much. But Graham Strong has spent more than two decades doing just that, helping to prove the ownership of eyewear evidence left behind at crime scenes. It all started in 1989, when he assisted investigators in proving that the glasses found beneath the body of a murder victim were the same ones that their key suspect was wearing in an earlier mug shot. “I obtained more than 20 measurements that enabled me to conclude that the glasses found at the scene were identical to photographs in every way,” Strong explained of his investigative process. The evidence resulted in a first-degree murder conviction.


Kevin Winter/Getty Images

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Bones, you kinda sorta know what’s in a forensic anthropologist’s job description: to help identify and investigate decayed or damaged skeletal remains. If the science in the show seems sound, that’s because (for the most part) it is: The series, which ended its 12-season run in March 2017, is based on the life, work, and writing of Kathy Reichs, who is one of only 100 forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (she’s also a best-selling author and was one of the show’s producer).


Part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes, forensic archaeologists work with the police and other government agencies to locate, excavate, and analyze historical evidence, from buried personal items to mass graves. Employing the same techniques they would at a dig site, forensic archaeologists help to organize a crime scene and preserve potential evidence and are being increasingly called upon by organizations such as the United Nations in genocide investigations in Rwanda, Argentina, and Bosnia. 


Some investigators carry a gun; others wield an adding machine. Consider this: When the FBI was founded in 1908, 12 of its 34 original investigators were bank examiners. Today, about 400 of the FBI’s special agents are accountants. Forensic accountants are also found in accounting firms of varying sizes, as well as in law firms and police and government agencies, where they investigate a range of crimes that have been committed in the name of financial gain, which could include anything from murder to securities fraud. 



Not even Copernicus could have likely imagined that the field he pioneered would one day be able to aid in the delivery of legal justice. But the celestial bodies that continue to confound us regular folk have been used in much more practical ways for several centuries now, dating all the way back to Abraham Lincoln’s days as a lawyer, when he successfully defended a client against murder by being able to establish the position of the moon on the night of the altercation (which disproved the testimony of the prosecution’s key witness).


In the late 1960s, there was a serial killer and rapist on the loose in Montreal who earned the nickname “The Vampire Rapist” because of the signature bite marks he left on the breasts of his victims. That vicious calling card became the undoing of Wayne Boden, the 23-year-old former model who was arrested in 1971 when Gordon Swann, a local orthodontist, was able to show 29 points of similarity between Boden’s chompers and the marks left on the body of Elizabeth Porteous, his final victim. Boden’s conviction was the first in North America to rest on odontological evidence, but certainly not the last; in 1979, forensic odontologist Richard Souviron was a key witness in the prosecution of Ted Bundy for the Chi Omega murders at Florida State University.


Forensic pathologists—medical doctors tasked with examining corpses to determine identity and the cause and manner of death—have found themselves in the spotlight in recent years with the popularity of reality television series like Dr. G: Medical Examiner, which followed Dr. Jan Garavaglia, Orlando’s Chief Medical Examiner, who famously identified the remains of Caylee Anthony. A decade earlier, HBO premiered Autopsy, a documentary series in which Dr. Michael Baden—the former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City—explained the science behind some of the most notorious crimes of the century, including the assassination of JFK, the death of Sid Vicious, and the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. Lesser-known Autopsy cases examined how maggots, tattoos, breast implants, and chewing gum have all helped solve crimes. 



The most damning evidence at a crime scene is usually the kind that is impossible to see with the naked eye. Enter forensic microscopy, the science of trace evidence, which can offer valuable clues in solving a crime by examining a variety of substances such as hairs, fibers, soil, dust, building materials, paint chips, botanicals, and food. Skip Palenik has spent a lifetime using microscropy to solve real-world crimes, analyzing trace evidence in the cases of the Hillside Strangler, JonBenét Ramsey, the Unabomber, and the Green River Killer. In 1992, he founded Microtrace LLC, an independent laboratory and consultation firm focused on small particle analysis. 


Nurses are the first point of contact for many a crime victim, so it only makes sense that they would play an important role in the legal system. From collecting blood and DNA samples to counseling crime victims, the specializations of a forensic nurse can vary, as can their training. Writer-producer Serita Stevens—a forensic nurse herself—explores the field in depth in her book Forensic Nurse: The New Role of the Nurse in Law Enforcement, which notes of the job that “When the human body itself is a crime scene, [the forensic nurse] is the most critical investigator of all.”


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