Logbook #82

Desai pinged the URL again. As before, nothing came in response. It couldn’t be the network. He had direct links to a couple of constellations. Each on their own could receive from anywhere on the Earth’s surface. But together they acted much like the Internet in that if one failed then the others would seamlessly replace. No it wasn’t them. It must be the ground station.

The ground stations were simple antenna dishes connected to simple receivers and decoders. For security, they were air gapped. A person with the right access could interact with any ground station of Desai’s private network. But each person with access had certain restrictions. The restrictions allowed them to utilize only prescriptive capabilities. Such as, only some could access the World Wide Web. And only via a transponder on the Moon’s surface. They had no direct connection to the Earth’s Net.

Desai had been a bit over-the-top when designing the security for his network. But, it’s proven its worth many times over. Just a few weeks ago his agent in Hyderabad had provided a perverse and somewhat salacious account of government bureaucrats who spent all their time auditing transcripts of supposed private conversations. These bureacrats had contacted his agent regarding a shipment of rice coming in from Africa that had imaginatively been described as pure genetic contortions. While this description may have been true, neither the agent nor Desai wanted the government to know. So the agent had to make a story about meaning geriatric not genetic. As well he had to feign innocence on all things of recombinant biology. From this, Desai’s agent learnt to never discuss business on any public electronic media platform.

Perhaps more disturbing for Desai is that this wasn’t the first time. Recently he’d been told that one of his sites in Brasilia had been steamrolled. Quite literally. Apparently someone had resolved a grudge by compressing their enemy’s car into a heap about an inch high. And then they kept driving the steam roller into the adjacent building which housed Desai’s ground station. On the surface, Desai thought little of the loss and he attributed no blame. His ground stations were fairly inexpensive and readily constructed almost anywhere. However, there was always some explaining to do when authorities asked about the antenna dish. Desai had begun thinking that there may be some order to this destruction. As if a malevolent intent had identified him as a target.

While debating on trying to ping a third time, Desai thought again about the construction on the Moon’s north pole. It had continued apace. Maybe a little slower than before. But the big change had been the appearance of a satellite orbiting the Moon. The satellite didn’t seem to have any function. It seemed mostly a frame. The surprising thing was that something had been seen to travel from the frame to the north pole site and apparently back to the frame. It may be an autonomous transfer vehicle. Either bringing something from the north pole site to the frame or from the frame to the north pole site. It had happened only once. But it had demonstrated a capability that they didn’t have on their southern site. Desai wondered if somehow there was an association between the owners of the north pole site and the ongoing destruction of his network.

Perhaps the owners of the north pole site viewed the south pole installation as a threat. They may be targeting anything and everything related to the south pole’s habitation efforts. Including his on-Earth activities.

Desai was frustrated. And worried. He had yet to identify the people responsible for the construction at the Moon’s north pole. He knew the companies making the components and the facilities used to fabricate and launch the space vehicles. But he didn’t know the source of the funds. And this worried him. Immensely. He tried to ping once more without any luck. He set the communicator to repeatedly try connecting regularly for the next 24 hours. If still no response then he would have to acknowledge the loss of a second ground station. Though he would send a ground agent to confirm. Desai greatly disliked not knowing; not getting immediate answers. He hoped this wasn’t a sign of things to come.


Bulletin #60

Cultures distinguish groups and promote nationalism. The accompanying fervour can empower individuals to astounding heights; as we see at every Olympic games. Cultures also tie us to the past. We use it as a string connecting us to generations long gone. Perhaps we also equate our success with that of our culture.

Yet, cultures are notoriously bound to geographical regions. Perhaps it’s due to a near Mesolithic like desire for safety. For example, the dawn of the space age saw two cultures vie for optimal ascension with the winner claiming bragging rights. In this, as with the Olympics, peaceful competition was a practical method.

What then is the best way to achieve goals that require multiple cultures to unite? Is colonizing the Moon of this scale? Will only a gathering of cultures succeed? Or will it be a conglomeration of organizations? Or is the string attaching us to the past too strong? Join us at the Lunar Colony Fund as we advance our optimal approach to ascending.

Mark Mortimer
Lunar Colony Fund

What can you imagine here?


Logbook #81

Valentina drummed her pencil on the table top. Forms,letters and agreements were strewn all across. A keyboard jutted out like a forlorn, wave-washed, granite peninsula. Teetering opposite, at the very edge,was a collection of monitors. Each showed graphs, lists, connections and official looking, bureaucratic documents. Her life had become a verisimilitude of bureaucracy and it didn’t appeal to her.

“Did you ever imagine that something as simple as setting a trade agreement could be so convoluted?” she asked Max who was sitting outside on the balcony enjoying the Sun and the breeze.

“I wasn’t the one who had over sized dreams of grandeur” he replied. “Perhaps the World Trade Organization isn’t ready for an out-of-this-world relationship.” He smiled to himself on reflecting upon his pun.

“You can’t be serious can you?” she answered.”The WTO is supposed to ensure that trade is open, free and transparent between nations. The colonists on the Moon are a nation. They have every right to free and open trade with any nation on Earth!”

“But there is no free trade on Earth.” he answered. “For all the fuss and bother, it’s like always. The strong make  the rules and the weak do whatever it takes to survive. At least until they become the strong ones. And then they get to make the rules.”

“But that’s just not fair. How can people on the Moon ever hope to develop an economy if industries on Earth only want to maximize their returns? If the top 5 or 10 industries of a nation request tariffs on Lunar goods then we won’t have a chance at entering its market. We probably can’t do much but offer esoteric luxury goods anyway. Who’s it going to hurt if we sell a few million dollars worth of lunar rock to collectors on Earth?”

“You and I both know that it’s not the breccia that’s got the Earthlings scared. It’s the energy potential. Now that we’ve recharged the batteries on a satellite they realize that the Moon does have potential. A lot of electrical potential!” He smiled again. Two puns in one sitting must be some sort of personal record he thought.

“That doesn’t really count. It was a demonstration and it had so many restrictions that it barely occurred. And it wasn’t very many Joules. If we were to become a major energy supplier to the Earth then we’d have to cover half the lunar surface in solar collectors. Think of all the material that would have to be carried from the Earth to the Moon to make that happen.”

“Yes, that’s a lot of material. But as we both know,we’re developing home-grown solar collectors. Now just imagine if the Moon becomes an energy exporter to an energy deprived Earth. Then, which trade partner will be the weaker and which will be the stronger?” Valentina drummed her pencil a little longer on the table. But she wasn’t seeing anything in front of her anymore. She was back on the Moon, in the Hab, looking at all the results from the assaying. “Max was right!” she thought. There was a huge potential on the Moon. She would need to balance the blood-lust of the developers against the needs of the colonists.And with careful teetering, the Earth would get energy and the colonists would get expanded infrastructure. Infrastructure leading them ever closer to self-sufficiency. She stopped drumming, leaned back and returned to planning,planning for the reams of bureaucratic communiqu├ęs.


Remote Ecological Web

People need to eat. It’s just simply part of being within the ecosystem on Earth. When we voyage off Earth, as in an airplane ride or a visit to the International Space Station, then we bring our foods with us. And any waste gets carried along to re-enter into the Earth’s system when we land.

Not so if we want to put a colony on the Moon. On the Moon there’s no ecosystem. Nor is there any medium like flowing water or blowing atmosphere with which to transfer chemicals and energy from one life form to another. On the Moon or any other non-Earth location, people must bring along their own, artificial system.

And if we decide that we don’t like the system on Earth then we can even use the same concept here. Just as Seven-Eleven Japan has decided to do. Which may be a boon to space enthusiasts. But what does it say about the Earth ecosystem?