Afternoon Inquisition

AI: To The Moon! Maybe?

Today’s Afternoon Inquisition comes courtesy of last week’s Comment o’ the Week winner Zapski:

NASA has been talking off and on about establishing a permanent presence on the moon. Putting aside for the moment whether or not you actually want to go, what unique talents do you possess that make you a candidate for the base team?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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  1. June 3, 2009 at 3:06 pm —

    That’s no moon! It’s a space station!

    An ability to find a Star Wars quote for any conversation is about all I have. :o(

  2. June 3, 2009 at 3:07 pm —

    Eddie is an alien rescued from the planet Psychon and had the ability to metamorphose. Eddie was able to change into any animal, including ugly space monsters, for about an hour. He used his ability to get the crew of Moonbase Alpha out of a variety of problematic situations.

  3. June 3, 2009 at 3:08 pm —

    I once, while sick in bed, watched a few crucial minutes of a program about Michael Jackson and his patented Moon Walk.

  4. June 3, 2009 at 3:11 pm —

    Does the ability to don a red shirt and to dramatically die just to show how bad the situation is count as a skill? I might just be the man for the job.

  5. June 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm —

    I saw it once. At least, I think I did – a big bright round thing up in the sky. It was right over there….shit, where did it go? I’m sure I saw it right over there.

  6. June 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm —

    I do really great snow angels so I guess I could transfer my skill set and do really great regolith angels for everyone to see and appreciate. But alas I could always just jump around and act all crazy like Neil did.

  7. June 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm —

    I can cobble together useful things using available materials. Very handy when the nearest Ace Hardware is a couple hundred thousand miles away. Just be sure to send lots of duct tape and paperclips.

  8. June 3, 2009 at 3:21 pm —

    I can see the moon from my house! That’s enough to qualify me.

    Also, I’m somewhat lazy, so I’d never complain about the low gravity and I’d actually like it.

  9. June 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm —

    I can finally answer the question that has vexed mankind since we first discovered the moon: Is it easier to juggle five balls in low gravity?

  10. June 3, 2009 at 3:38 pm —

    I like cheese?

    Seriously, though I could work on various electronics and automation for water recycling.

  11. June 3, 2009 at 3:40 pm —

    Sadly, it seems my moon base skills are just about like my post-apocalypse ones; I can be used as food.

    Because cannibalism isn’t necessarily the last resort.

  12. June 3, 2009 at 3:41 pm —

    I’m a great juggler.

    Or, at least, I would be, in lunar gravity.

  13. June 3, 2009 at 3:44 pm —

    Moon Senses. My Extraordinary Moon Senses.

  14. June 3, 2009 at 3:44 pm —

    Low gravity golf shots followed by low gravity tequila shots.

  15. June 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm —

    I know how to pilot an Eagle Transporter.

  16. June 3, 2009 at 4:02 pm —

    I’ve spent time playing Orbiter, often doing Earth-Moon runs. So I could be a shuttle pilot or something!

    I mean, assuming you don’t mind landing precisely on target but just a liiiiiiiiiiiiiitle bit two fast. I mean, what’s a few kilometres per second between friends?

  17. June 3, 2009 at 4:03 pm —

    I have really bad luck at gambling so if the food supplies ran out and we had to draw straws to see gets eaten I’d lose. Well, almost certainly. Definitely more often that random chance would predict.

  18. June 3, 2009 at 4:03 pm —

    I happen to posess a quad laser. No one can defeat the quad laser! The bullet is enormous, there is no escaping!

  19. June 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm —

    I’ve read every Heinlein story like 10 times.

  20. June 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm —

    Sure, that may have been an Aquateen reference, but consider:

  21. June 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm —

    I’m a trained Analytical Chemist, expert in chromatography, various atomic spectroscopic methods, UV-vis, IR, X-ray & Laser diffraction, electrochemical and “wet” chemical methods.

    Admittedly my NMR is not up to much, but I doubt it’d be worth setting up several tonnes of NHR equipment on the moon when samples could be sent home for that kind of analysis.

    So, if your planning to do any science on the moon base, I’d be the most important member of the team after the autopilot.

  22. June 3, 2009 at 4:33 pm —

    @Manly Bowler:

    Only if I can be the chick in the short red skirt that dies dramatically after the captain falls in love with me.

  23. June 3, 2009 at 4:40 pm —

    @Zapski Thanks. Now I have coffee in my sinuses.

    My hearing is really acute. If something starts to go wrong, my ears will pick it up. “You hear that? No shut up. You hear that? The buzzing. Shut up. You hear that?”

  24. June 3, 2009 at 4:40 pm —

    My amazing stamina would allow us to repopulate the moon after the Earth is deystroyed by the ultimate pro-life protest of abortion. I would be a father to the people.

  25. June 3, 2009 at 4:43 pm —

    Qualifications…. Let’s see.

    I read a book by Heinlein once, I’m well-versed in Byzantine History, I used to do helicopter maintainance for the Army, and I’m willing to pee into a vacuum hose.

  26. June 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm —

    The ability to sit at a typewriter for long periods of time, hitting random letters. If I do it long enoug, I’ll eventually write Shakespeare.

  27. June 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm —

    @tiger kitty: Is that the one where she gets turned into a styrofoam D20?

  28. June 3, 2009 at 4:59 pm —

    I’m an inorganic/analytical chemist trained for use of various equipment including UV-Vis, IR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, fluoremetry, XRF, XRD, and various “wet” methods such as russellsugden. As an inorganic chemist, I’m also particularly familiar with crystal structures and and other related concepts including d-block and f-block chemistry that cover the transition and lanthanide/actinide metals.

  29. June 3, 2009 at 5:02 pm —

    I don’t want to be on the base team. Ask me again when they build a high school.

    Or if they’re going to research low gravity sex, I do have a penis.

  30. June 3, 2009 at 5:07 pm —

    @Joshua:I mean, what’s a few kilometres per second between friends?

    The difference between a moon rock and “hard vacuum” space.

    OK, that pun was a stretch.

  31. June 3, 2009 at 5:11 pm —

    Ok, Intelligent and willing to be alone for extended periods of time

    , but if I was really applying:
    1. Pro and Amateur astronomer
    2. Nuclear physics background
    3. Solar power background
    4. I can drive bulldozers and forklifts (seriously that would be needed)

  32. June 3, 2009 at 5:12 pm —

    @tiger kitty: C’me on, tiger kitty, this is the 21. century. You sure he won’t fall in love with me instead? :-p

  33. June 3, 2009 at 5:13 pm —

    @LtStorm: I, too, am familiar with “various wet methods”.

    @MiddleMan: Ad astra per punnis.

  34. June 3, 2009 at 5:14 pm —

    Crushed….I was crushed.
    @Manly Bowler: Hmmm… got me there, but sadly, we both still die.

  35. June 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm —

    Cripplingly-large genitalia. You have no idea how horrible it is. Sit-ups are a nightmare for me.

    That’s why I should go to the moon.

  36. June 3, 2009 at 5:59 pm —

    I can handle a broom and a dustpan with the best of em.

  37. June 3, 2009 at 6:20 pm —

    I totally rock at Moon Patrol!

  38. June 3, 2009 at 6:55 pm —

    You obviously must have read the TinTin comic book where he goes to the moon.

    Like, duh.

  39. June 3, 2009 at 7:02 pm —

    I make my own wine and wine is a necessity anywhere.

  40. June 3, 2009 at 7:16 pm —

    Having the same name as a famous relative of Ben Franklin, startup a myth that I am an immortal vampire, deciding how to spend my time: With Remorse, With Revenge, or With (damn senior moment) …

    And looking up at the Earth and saying: “I was there” and punching people.

  41. June 3, 2009 at 8:52 pm —

    I can serve as a tripod.

  42. June 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm —

    I invented and demonstrated an electrostatic separator that can separate ice particles from ground basalt (the major component of lunar regolith) at -100 C at a few kwhr/ton.

  43. June 4, 2009 at 12:54 am —

    I can dance to techno music, and even glowstring/poi like nobody’s business. And juggle. Those things ought to be studied in Moon gravity.

    @tiger kitty: @Manly Bowler: @tiger kitty: These 3 comments are totally COTW!!!!

  44. June 4, 2009 at 1:30 am —

    Yesterday I lost my eyeglasses, so I went downtown and bought new ones. Today my car broke and called the mechanic; when I jumped into the passenger seat, there were my lost eyeglasses!


    Think about it.

  45. June 4, 2009 at 8:27 am —

    I just started following this blog, but this post sparked my imagination and inspired me to comment.

    1. I know how to cut shape and weld all kinds of metal, skills needed to build the base or at least expand it.
    2. I’m an amateur roboticist and electrician.
    3. I have excellent visual-spacial skills (I’m a sculptor).
    4. I have a level, goal oriented thought process, meaning that if life support fails, I’m not going to panic, I’m going to try and fix it.
    5. I know how to use computer controlled fabrication systems such as a laser cutter, and a CNC router.

    My application would go something like
    “Ah can make stuff”

  46. June 4, 2009 at 9:12 am —

    Head dunsel.

  47. June 4, 2009 at 9:18 am —

    I’m a sweet mechanical engineer, and I can build awesome sand castles. Combining the two, I could build sweet sand castles out of moon dust and plastic, probably to the scale of a shelter.

    Also, I’m nasty at the Rock Band song “Bark at the Moon”

  48. June 4, 2009 at 9:27 am —

    I’ve long complained about the earth’s gravity being way too high. I would be perfectly acclimated for the moon. Also I’m a misanthropic loner, so being mostly alone on the moon for a 6 month stint would be perfect for me.

  49. June 4, 2009 at 11:14 am —

    @jeffreyellis: “Also I’m a misanthropic loner, so being mostly alone on the moon for a 6 month stint would be perfect for me.”

    I hear you. The problem would be having to come back after six months.

  50. June 4, 2009 at 11:50 am —

    I’m the Horticulturalist/Air Scrubber dude. I can make weeds grow anywhere, Moon included…

  51. June 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm —

    I make really good spaceship noises.
    Oh…i’ll brew the tea as well…Lapsang Souchong anyone?

  52. June 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm —

    @QuestionAuthority: “Head dunsel.”

    Even though I know what that means, it still sounds dirty…

  53. June 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm —

    I’ve got a great sense of humor, and I knit. I can keep everyone in the base team in socks. I spin, too, and I’d love to experiment with a spinning wheel in low gravity. It’d be research.

    Basically I’d be a good all-around useful person, and I’m good at grunt work.

  54. June 4, 2009 at 1:07 pm —

    Oh, yeah–I’m an anthropologist as well, so I’d be a great person to document the whole thing. Sign me up!

  55. June 4, 2009 at 1:09 pm —


    I figured SOMEONE on here would know what that is… :-D

  56. June 4, 2009 at 1:16 pm —

    I have my own red shirt!

  57. June 4, 2009 at 1:49 pm —

    @tiger kitty: Cool, you got it! <3

    @QuestionAuthority: Cool, I got it! <3

  58. June 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm —

    I’m a proficient reader. Whenever the crew who can actually do things get tired, I will read them a story. … Or have sex with them… I’m pretty proficient at that too.

  59. June 4, 2009 at 2:24 pm —

    I have a Next Generation Command Red uniform, too. Hardly used.

    With the history of red in Star Trek, I never could figure out why they put the commanders in red… :-)

  60. June 4, 2009 at 2:32 pm —

    @MiddleMan: <3 right back at you for trying to be tricky. ;)

  61. June 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm —

    @tiger kitty: Who? Me?

  62. June 4, 2009 at 4:09 pm —

    @MiddleMan: Yeah, you, Middle Man, or is it Trelane??? hmmmm

  63. June 4, 2009 at 7:27 pm —

    I think i get to win this contest hands down seeing as i’m actually building something for my thesis project for said moon base.
    Hopefully that would allow them to over look the fact that without glasses or contacts i’m legally blind. That would be ok though because equipment pretty much just runs it self these days.

  64. June 4, 2009 at 8:17 pm —

    @tiger kitty: Was it just me, or did Trelane remind you of Liberace?

  65. June 4, 2009 at 8:20 pm —
  66. June 4, 2009 at 8:43 pm —

    I can utilize sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates, releasing oxygen as a byproduct.

    I am a Hedge

  67. June 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm —

    @tiger kitty: Oh, you’re really good. ;)

    @Im a Hedge: Did some hear something from those bushes?

  68. June 4, 2009 at 9:21 pm —

    @MiddleMan: lol. Yes, indeed.

  69. June 5, 2009 at 7:36 am —

    @MiddleMan: Yeah, he did look and act like Liberace, come to think of it. Must have been the ruffled sleeves…

  70. June 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm —

    I can paint and possess a strong desire to knock the admittedly incredibly awesome Alan Bean off his perch as the only artist to have visited another world.

    I can also belch the alphabet.

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