- transitioning to an ever expanding settlement -


It is fair to wonder why any settlers would choose to move off Earth especially given all of the beauty, convenience, and opportunities which Earth still offers. If retirement is the business case, how could an off-Earth settlement be sufficiently attractive to appeal to the first wave of settlers?

Prior to large-scale private settlement, a rather large international base will be established. International astronauts will be based there with the goal of conducting scientific exploration across the Moon. In many places and at various times, scientists have willingly endured the privations of a base in order to collect the science that so motivates them. During this phase, infrastructure will be built up which will provide greater convenience prior to the arrival of private settlers.

The concern that settlers will have to live for years in small aluminum modules is unjustified. Very large inflatable habitats can be shipped in small payloads. If inflatable habitats were shipped layer by layer with inner layers inserted after outer layers have been inflated then 20-tonne payloads could result in habitats with a footprint greater than 3 acres. Simulated outdoor environments, Olympic-sized swimming pools, etc would become possible. There is really no reason why an enjoyable environment cannot be created for settlers by settlers.

Prior to the development of such large habitats, early private settlers will arrive with the goal of creating an amazing settlement for later settlers to enjoy. For the earlier settlers, they have the benefit of being able to have a role in the historic period of time in which humanity was starting to move off. It is through their effort that this becomes a reality. That personal significance, of knowing that you are making history, along with the prestige among one's peers back on Earth will likely be the primary motivation for these earlier private settlers.

Settlers who come later may well need to have certain conveniences already in place. More specifically, their spouses may require this if they are going to go. So, it will become vital to the economic success of the settlement to make it a place that settlers and their spouses would want to come to. So, a beautiful architecture, beautiful interior design, enjoyable social events, a spa, and whatnot may not be nice to have but essential to attracting a large number of settlers.

As trite as it may seem, many wealthy people are motivated to be part of the "upper crust" of society. And there would be no more exclusive community than a lunar settlement. For starters, only the wealthy could afford to live in such a place. The settlement would be filled with people from around the world who have all been very successful and likely very interesting to get to know and associate with. These wealthy people could be able to afford to sponsor entertainment for their fellow settlers. So, imagine an evening, music event in which a well-known singer performs live for the lunar settlers via video transmission.

Whereas it is true that this sort of community could be constructed at much lower cost in the Sahara Desert or even the Antarctic. But the Moon does offer one very unique difference. In the 1/6th gravity, older retirees will be able to do things that they have never been able to do before. They will be able to do back flips, very high jumps, and perform dance moves not possible on Earth. Any arthritic joints would immediately be offloaded affording relief. Their increased mobility could lead to increased activity possibly resulting in health benefits.

Then too, a very unique aspect of the Moon is that it is the Moon! Practically all settlers would want to take advantage of the opportunity to tour the Moon including unique sites like lava tubes and famous sites like the Apollo 11 landing site.

It is the view of the Space Development Network that the mining of resources from the Moon can help reduce transportation and living expenses dramatically. This could help make a business case easier since the expense side of the budget could be reduced. But from the income side of the budget, the revenue would mostly come from the sales of transportation, touring, and providing services to the wealthy settlers. So, the motivation for the settlers themselves won't be to go in order to make a lot of money. On the contrary, retirement communities survive and thrive based upon the savings made in other markets at other times and places. They don't support themselves through mining activities, reality TV shows, producing intellectual property or whatnot. At least in the early years it will be based mostly upon people's savings.

By pre-defining the borders of future off-Earth countries, conflict can be prevented and settlement can be encouraged.

Next: Religion Off Earth