- where advocates can develop approaches to space development -


Undoubtedly, any master plan imagined at this early date will have to change when confronted by reality. But the attempt to figure out how things will probably play out is useful for two reasons:
     1) It inspires people with a vision of what is possible,
     2) It serves as a reference point to help planners thing through the relevant factors.

The Master Plan laid out here is based upon the idea that there are natural factors which will drive the direction of development. Being natural, we may be able to understand how they will likely play out.

Most everything starts small before growing large. A lunar base would be no different. The first habitat would likely not be a specialty hab but a general hab in which an Initial Crew would be able to have most all of their needs met within the habitat. These pages argue that the Initial Crew should be private workers for companies in a public-private partnership with NASA. These crew would help establish the infrastructure needed by all of the following phases.

Being mostly funded via NASA using US taxpayer dollars, the initial habitat would be followed by a number of US habitats and long-term US astronauts. Besides some lunar exploration missions, these American crew would also begin to set up certain specialty habs which will prepare the way for the next phase.

This phase is the main phase in which a permanent settlement becomes reality. The pages dealing with the International Lunar Exploration Phase goes into some detail showing that most all countries could afford at least one seat on a mission of lunar exploration. The result is that somewhere around 300-500, highly-trained international astronauts could populate a growing international base.

It is during this phase that most all of the specialty habs would be first set up and modified until working well. This work would establish the foundation upon which all remaining private settlement would be established. Not only would the know-how be established but the infrastructure itself will be established making private settlement far less costly and robust.

An international base would also need to have clarity on certain governance issues and the reality of a coming, permanent base would give the exact push necessary to get people to finally make decisions regarding off-Earth property rights, resources, and eventually, political independence of future colonies.

Retirees will undoubtedly make up a disproportionate percentage of the initial private settlers. These older people may find it difficult to learn the common language (e.g. English) of the international base. For this reason, we can envision language-specific sections of the international base developing in which different languages are commonly spoken in different areas of the base. These linguistic, national, religious, and philosophical sections would lay the foundation for small colonies probably located in the polar region still close to the international base.

The south lunar pole has hundreds of square kilometers of areas with increased sunlight throughout the lunar day. About 13 distinct areas have been identified each with nearby permanently-shadowed craters. Colonies in each of these areas would still be connected to the international base and to each other via tubes or rails. These colonies could grow as large as tens of thousands of residents with sufficient space, water, organic, and other resources from the local region.

The term "territories" is used to describe pre-defined areas of the Moon that could, one day, become an independent lunar country. If there are no boundaries pre-drawn for colonies at the poles nor boundaries pre-drawn in the rest of the Moon then people groups could grow up intertwined with each other and future border disputes could arise. America's history of how it handled the Northwest Territories demonstrates a rational and peaceful way of establishing future, political entities. Before different people groups start settling the Moon or Mars, we need to have enough foresight to realize that, one day in the future, where borders are drawn will be a significant issue. It is best to prevent conflict then by establishing boundaries now while there is little at stake.

Whereas the Outer Space Treaty (OST) prevents signators from claiming property for national sovereignty, it is unreasonable to believe that never in the future will people living on the Moon or Mars want to declare their independence. They will. And when they do, those new political entities will not be signators of the OST and so it would be entirely reasonable for them to claim sovereignty over the land that they reside on. It is impossible to determine with exactness what those countries might be. But it is reasonable to guess that they might be based upon the same factors that people group themselves on Earth including: linguistic, national, religious, and philosophical differences. It may be that countries on the Moon or Mars may arrange themselves into a federation in which they govern themselves and yet have representation of all of the people on the planetary body.

Whereas few point to the Martian poles as the logical starting point for Martian colonies, most of everything else would follow similarly to how the colonies play out on the Moon.

As a permanent international base grows, it will naturally lead to different groups developing even to the point of independent nations.

Next: UniHab