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The Overstated Dangers of Meteors

A person rambling about on the Moon's surface has much less chance of being adversely affected by a meteorite (small or large) than do any of us in our everyday surface ramblings on Earth of being hit by lightning, basketball-sized hail, or a motor fallen off a plane. Yes, it could happen, but if you are such a worrywart, just stay home. The crater-pocked surface of the Moon was largely created in a period from 4 to 3.5 billion years ago when the inner solar system was filled with debris. The debris remaining is infinitesimal in comparison.

On the other hand, the Earth-Moon system periodically passes through orbiting rivers of comet-derived dust creating the famous meteor showers, like the Perseids in mid-August. There may be lunar "weather alerts" for narrowly defined windows such as these. Of much greater concern are solar flare storms (If you saw the '91 ABC movie release "Plymouth" you will recall such an incident - not at all exaggerated). Warning time for solar flares can be a problem. On the other hand, they are seasonal (in terms of 22-year-long season-cycles) in expectancy and probability. A network of monitor stations in solar orbit closer in than Mercury and able to keep in view the total circumference of the Sun, should allow timely advance notice "high probability" warnings leaving ample time to "take cover."

Every frontier has brought with it a new set of potential dangers and pitfalls. The settlers and pioneers learn to take those in stride and adjust their habits accordingly. Why should it not be different on the Moon?

Lunar Surface Operations

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