Suppose large settlements are established on the moon with lots of people and industrial activity.

Based on what we know, what chemicals that are needed for human life and industry might be lacking? We know the basic breakdown of rock composition from Apollo: oxygen, silicon, iron, calcium, aluminum, magnesium are there. And we are trying to find out how much water might be at the poles in dark zones.

What about carbon and nitrogen that are needed for agriculture and plastics? What other chemicals would be needed that have not been found in exploitable concentrations?


1 Answer 1


The Moon is depleted of carbon, and what little carbon there is is in form of nonorganic compounds. Except for CO2 (which is nonorganic), life likes to work with organic compounds as opposed to nonorganic compounds. The Moon is also depleted of nitrogen (not surprising), but also potassium, sodium, and zinc. Potassium and sodium are critical elements for life. Zinc is an essential trace element.


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