- how will we pay for space development and settlement? -


As described in the Earth independence section of this website, seeking to produce increasing amounts of what one needs from local resources has two benefits:
   1) It reduces the cost of growing and supporting a base / settlement
   2) If one is able to achieve full Earth independence, humanity can have the safety of being established in two separate locations.

Developing the systems necessary for all of the aspects of Earth independence will take time and money. Fortunately, because achieving increasing levels of Earth independence reduces shipping costs any permanent base will be motivated to seek higher and higher levels of Earth independence. In other words, governments with their deep pockets can fund the development of Earth independence for financial reasons having nothing to do with the goal of ensuring the survival of humanity.

However, there comes a point in development in which it is cheaper to just to ship the items rather than go through all of the hassle of developing the capability of producing those items at the colony. Electronics fit squarely in this category. A CPU chip weighs something like a couple of grams. So, the cost to ship that chip to the lunar surface (at $20,000 per kg) would be about four cents! Do the math to confirm it. Yet electronics will probably be necessary in order to become fully Earth independent. For those who seek the goal of complete Earth independence, how can they fund such development? Trading with Earth for those items makes for good economics but it isn't complete Earth independence if that is a desired goal.

It would seem as though philanthropic funding will be needed in order to develop the off-Earth systems needed to develop such technologies. This could be done on Earth and produce good enough substitutes (e.g. 8086 chips = Apollo lander equivalent). Between philanthropic funding and people with expertise in the field volunteering some of their expertise, it may be possible that the few technologies needed to achieve full Earth independence could be funded to completion.

Partial independence can be funded by governments to lower costs but full independence requires philanthropic support.

Next: Funding Settlement