- transitioning to an ever expanding settlement -


Who will the initial settlers be? Most of them will have three characteristics in common:
- They will have lived long enough to save up enough money to afford the ticket and living costs.
- They will be free of child-rearing responsibilities.
- They will be free of occupational responsibilities.
Retirees fit this profile perfectly. There can be little doubt that retirees will be over-represented among the first settlers.

It is anticipated that private settlers will start arriving on the Moon and on Mars towards the end of their respective international exploration phases. They will not only pay for their own transport but would have to pre-pay for their housing and life support for the remainder of their life (homelessness is not an allowable option on the Moon). These private settlers could arrive in two phases:
   1) The Early (Founder) Private Settlers: This would be a unique and very historic group of people. They would fully pay their way and be willing to contribute their skills (usually voluntarily) for the purpose of playing an historic role in getting the settlement ready to grow in population size. Those private settlers with certain anticipated needed skills (e.g. dentists) would find themselves being pushed towards the front of the line.
   2) The Later (Regular) Private Settlers: This group include those who may have higher quality of life requirements and/or who would rather be fully retired than be doing a lot of work in their retirement. And/or it may be that their spouses will want to wait until the lunar settlement has a lot of amenities.

It is understandable that some will question how an initial settlement would be able to provide the services needed and desired by settlers, especially retirees who may be used to having a lot of conveniences. To understand how this can be addressed, consider the likely order in which settlement will occur. It would start with the Initial Crew who are essentially astronauts who require no amenities but are happy to be fulfilling their life dream. The next phase would be up to 500 international astronauts also fairly young, healthy, and happy to suffer some deprivation for the purpose of building up the infrastructure necessary for settlement.

Likewise, the Early Private Settlers will be a select group of people. They would need to be healthy so as to not burden the lunar medical system with conditions that it is not prepared to meet. Paying their own way they would need to be wealthy. But they cannot be part of this group unless they are also willing to give of their skills and experience for the growth of the base in preparation for the next phase. The organization determining which settler goes when will have a roadmap of what skills are needed at what point of development and settlement size. Later Settlers can be more typical of retirees with higher expectations and poorer health. By the time that they arrive the quality of life and medical care will be at a level which they expect.

Older people would receive special benefits from living in the 1/6th gravity of the Moon. For starters, the pain of arthritis would be relieved by having less weight bearing down on their feet, knees, and backs. They would be able to more easily arise from a seated position. But more than this, older people on the Moon would be able to do unimaginable feats such as back flips.

Very importantly, older people would be able to be active in a manner that they had never been before. They would be able to jump higher than they've ever been able to jump before. The dance classes would be particular popular as everyone would be able to be airborne longer than even Baryshnikov. Physical activity is very important for maintaining health during older age.

Certainly, osteoporosis is a concern in the elderly and 1/6th gravity could speed this process. But the increased activity including impact exercise would help and momentum is maintained on the Moon so the impacts should have the same effect as on Earth. With exercise being more fun, the amount of exercise done each day would likely increase and, with the new type of exercise being done on the International Space Station bone mineral density loss has almost been stopped.

Compared to Mars, the Moon offers retirees certain advantages. The most significant will be proximity to the grand kids. This factor alone will probably make settlement on Mars less likely than settlement on the Moon. The round trip time delay for telecommunications between the Moon and Earth is about 2.6 seconds. This is short enough to allow telepresence at family events such as graduations, weddings, and holiday gatherings. For Mars it averages 14 minutes which limits communications to sending video emails. Business consulting is likewise better from the Moon than Mars. Also, the Moon's 1/6th gravity allows for more amazing activities than can be done on Mars (38% of Earth's gravity). Finally, anyone would find the month-long confinement in a craft going to Mars inconvenient. For the Moon, the trip is only three days.

However, settlers (whether to the Moon or Mars) will want to take advantage of sight-seeing opportunities along the way. So settlers going to the Moon will want to spend a good amount of time in a hotel in low Earth orbit (LEO). Likewise, settlers going to Mars will want to take advantage of hanging out in the LEO hotel and take the Grand Tour of the Moon before the long journey to Mars.

Retirees will be the main ones with the free time and money to be able to move off Earth.

Next: Motivation