When this planet is dead and gone, we can now possibly rely on a horrifying backup plan. After decades of wishes to turn The Moon into a liveable habitat, it appears that one team of scientists have found a way. However, it isn't ideal.
The Moon does have oxygen
Reported by The Conservation, a joint mission between the Australian Space Agency and NASA has resulted in new knowledge about the satellite. In the mission, a lunar rover was tasked with collecting lunar rocks to research oxygenation on the surface.
As it turns out, oxygen is plentiful on The Moon... just not in its thin, largely hydrogen atmosphere. Instead, Moon oxygen is trapped inside its soil, also known as regolith. This is the thick layer of harsh rocks and dust that makes up the surface of the satellite.
However, there's still not enough oxygen within the atmosphere to sustain any form of mammal. Furthermore, the atmosphere is so thin that current humanity would likely destroy it even if oxygen was present.
So, can humanity live there?
The Moon’s regolith is made up of 45% oxygen. However, that oxygen is not gaseous and is instead trapped in rock. That oxygen could be extracted, either through electrolysis or other means, but the amount of energy needed to sustain life that way would be immense.
The Conversation reports that, if fully optimised, The Moon has enough oxygen to support 8 billion humans for 100,000 years. However, moving the industrial buildings needed and generating enough power to do so.
In conclusion, there's a lot of oxygen available on our little night rock. But we probably shouldn't touch it. And that means no mining the moon!