Moon colonization. The very idea whips up images of interconnected biodomes, hovercrafts cruising the pockmarked surface, and ships darting to Earth and back again. The moon is the only planetary object whose features can be seen without the aid of a telescope. It's also the closest object to our planet large enough for humans to inhabit. When considering long-term space exploration and living, building a moon colony seems like the next logical step. We have the technology to get there and the innovative thinking to be successful. But what are the benefits of a moon colony? Do the risks outweigh the gains? How is such an expensive undertaking feasible in uncertain economic climates? Will we build on the moon in the next decade, or will the dream of a moon colony continue to hang on the horizon, just out of reach?
Let's take a look at some of the pros -- and cons -- of colonizing the moon.