- transitioning to an ever expanding settlement -


Should the government take it upon itself to initiate settlement or should it be done strictly on a private basis? Different people have different views on this matter.

Ultimately, settlement will be a private matter. Establishing a home and settling down is very much a private matter with individuals making the decision as to where to settle down and how to do so.

Yet, some space advocates argue that space settlement advances the nation's interest by ensuring that American interests and values are advanced as humanity starts moving out beyond the Earth. They are attempting to get the concept of space settlement formally incorporated into NASA's objectives.

In the final analysis, it probably doesn't matter whether space settlement becomes a part of NASA's objectives or not. The reason for this is because a permanent, government base designed to support scientific exploration would look little different than a budding, private colony. That is to say, the technologies and infrastructure for the first would be directly applicable to the latter.

A permanent government base would need long-duration, surface habitats. They would need power systems, recycling systems, and safety systems. In order to reduce the cost of a growing base, the development and use of local resources would be important. But these technologies would also directly apply to keeping down the cost of cargo shipments to supply a settlement.

More important than passing a bill adding settlement to NASA's portfolio would be for NASA to develop those technologies of use to both its own scientific base and private colonies.

A permanent government base will provide much of the development necessary for the first private settlers to build off of.

Next: Where First?