- establishing humanity's first, permanent foothold off Earth -

Once human-rated, the first crew of eight would then be sent to the Moon. Ideally, they would be a commercial crew for the purpose of maintaining and expanding the telerobotic, ice-harvesting workforce and preparing another habitat for national astronauts not just from the US but from around the world.

It is likely that even the first crew would be able to safely remain on the Moon for several years and perhaps indefinitely. As such, it would be ideal that their social status was such that they didn't have a dependent child back on Earth and that they brought any spouse with them.

People moving off Earth and establishing new homes is settlement and as such would be as historically significant as what was accomplished by Columbus and the Pilgrims. This historic step should be taken by the United States and it should lead the rest of the world off Earth rather than leaving it to others to play that leading role.

And if that is not inspiring enough, a female dog could be the ninth member of the team. Later, the dog's mate could be sent leading to you know what -- Yes, Moon puppies!

The whole experience of the initial crew could be immensely inspiring if done with a mind that we are writing history. Four men and women, all Americans but many having come from other countries to join America as naturalized citizens.

If properly selected, they could speak to about 70% of the world in a language they can understand. People on Earth could watch a TV series and use virtual reality and be inspired as living life on the Moon is demonstrated including:

  • growing plants and fish,
  • harvesting and producing metals for replacement parts,
  • assembling more telerobots,
  • producing a variety of organic and inorganic materials,
  • conducting studies with animals to determine the artificial gravity prescription for healthy gestation and childhood,
  • celebrating holidays,
  • performing music (e.g. string quartet), and
  • husband and wife dancing in 1/6 gravity.

The initial habitat could be covered protecting the crew from radiation. An indoor centrifuge would provide up to four hours of full, artificial gravity each day. And various measures would be taken to prevent the risk of dust. A small crew, living in a limited space for a long time could create some psychological challenges which would need to be addressed.

When the indoor centrifuge is not being used for the crew, it can be used to for a series of animal studies to determine the artificial gravity prescription for healthy pregnancy and childhood. The goal of this research would be the healthy birth of first off-Earth child. Click to read about the ethics of doing this.

If the Initial Crew avoided the considerable risk of crew rotation but remained on the Moon until any biomedical indicators passed a threshold then they would likely be able to remain on the Moon for at least several years. They could sell their Earth homes and settle down on the Moon. They would be humanity's first space settlers. Click here to better understand what space settlement is.

The International Lunar Exploration Phase would see about 500 astronauts from around the world remain behind on the Moon growing it into a good sized colony. Subsequently, private settlers could join them as lunar settlers or as Martian settlers taking a side vacation on the Moon.

A growing colony would need a master plan for growth including ensuring the medical needs were met and a plan for governance.

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