How much do you value time? Would you spend a fortune to save 30 minutes? The Gotthard Base Tunnel does just this starting last year, 2016. It’s Swiss. The citizens chose to make the tunnel over 20 years ago. It cost over $12B. They are paying for it through a variety of surcharges and taxes. If residents of Earth were to vote for adding lunar infrastructure then what mechanism would pay for it?
Europe decided to create its own satellite-based navigation system; their Galileo satnav. Recently there’s news that its rubidium and hydrogen maser clocks are failing. If there’s a systemic problem then the whole satnav system may fail prematurely. It would be a great loss for Europe. Now imagine what sort of reliability is needed for a human occupied facility created on the Moon.
Welcome space enthusiasts to a brand new year. It’s nice to sit back and comfortably rely upon near certain Internet connectivity. And when stepping outside we can use the GPS constellation to keep our steps aligned. Technology has provided immeasurable benefits to our everyday lives. Keep telling your friends, families and co-workers of this. Then remind them that the Earth is only a very small part of the universe and there’s so much more from which to benefit and to which we can use our saved time. And then have them join us at the Lunar Colony Fund!
“Would a hen’s brood cause the same amount of concern and worry as my fellow colonists cause?” wondered Xu.
She watched in perplexion as Zara and Jean played Ping-Pong with a couple of dead circuit cards and a track ball from a dead mouse. She lamented the continual breakdown of parts and equipment as the nearest resupply store was a few hundred thousand kilometres away. And she also knew that this action was a prelude to a warmer physical playtime between her two colleagues. But most of all she cringed every time it looked like either the ball or one of the players was on a direct line with a wall or piece of equipment.
“Yes” she accepted “they’d played this ‘game’ many times before without harm but still I worry.”
She did her best not to cluck in disapproval. She also did her best not to worry about their infrastructure build-up. It was continuing apace but it seemed slower than her expectations.
They’d completed their surface explorations of the interior of Haworth crater. Some of its deepest pits probably had never seen a ray of sunshine. Yet they showed no significant difference to surface areas with solid days and nights. This lack of variety gave her some cause for concern as one expectation was for these deep pits at the poles to have appreciable traces of water-ice. Quite possibly whatever had made the crater had also mixed up the rock layers. The resulting lunar soil was thus a common mix of breccias and agglutinates as most anywhere else on the surface. While it meant that they’d not found any reason to go mining into the Moon’s crust they were going to keep looking much as Desai, Aditya and Woof were now doing out toward Shoemaker crater.
She’d be less worried of them if she didn’t keep seeing Desai and Aditya disparagingly laugh and taunt Woof. Sure if Woof were a dog then the attitudes of the two people wold be considered quite unpleasant. But Woof was a robot with software that could never understand the games being played at its expense. At least she hoped that the software coders had not included some subroutine out of the Terminator movie that would give Woof a little reactive capability. Still if these were all that worried her then she’d be OK.
However there was one other. The build-up on the Moon’s north pole was far outstripping theirs. Its newest infrastructure was a solid elliptical lip that ran around the midway point of Whipple crater. Their guess was that the lip was the base structure for a dome. If this was true then the facilities at the north pole would be much grander than anything they had here at the south pole. She continually wondered why the builders of that facility didn’t just join them at the south pole. By combining their resources then they’d have a much more substantial and reliable facility for a great many more people.
“Was it something about human nature that we’re doomed to live in perpetual competition?” she conjectured to herself and sighed.
Her sigh brought over the attention of Zara and Jean.
“How’s our base commander doing?” drawled out Zara who ended her sentence with one of her award winning smiles.
“Yaah that sounded like a person with the weight of the whole world being carried on her shoulders. And really there’s not much to this world.” continued Jean while reaching out to grab the mouse ball before it could cause any damage. “You want to take over for a while and show Zara some of your neat tricks?” he offered.
He knew that on Earth Xu had been a competitive table tennis player who could easily outplay any other colonist-in-training. Yet he’d noticed that she hadn’t bothered to tune her skills to match the gravity on the Moon. He sometimes wondered if she expected to return to Earth someday.
“Perhaps you’re right” replied Xu. “I do need to get myself thinking on a more positive angle. You’re both on. It’s me against the two of you and I’m not holding anything back.” Xu reached out to grab one of the remaining dead circuit cards and happily bounced over to the end of the makeshift table.