If one believed in plans and predictions then we’re almost there. If you don’t then we’re still stuck in the morass of desire without substance. Lately, seems every nation with space capability has the Moon in their target. Major players are vouchsafing the return of humans. But traveling to the Moon is expensive. Are constituents ready to foot the bill? How do you believe they will vote and express their preference when the time comes?
NASA, the traditional space leader, wants a sustained human return to the moon. CNSA is aiming for the ‘dark’ side of the Moon and both lunar poles. Roscomos and ESA bespoke a lunar village. ISRO equally wants to take part. These account for most of humanity as well as for most of the global GDP. The desire seems there. But is there enough momentum to a gateway to the stars?
We at the Lunar Colony Fund agree that a future in space is essential for the survival of people on Earth. Yes, it will be expensive. And yes, it will be costly for many, many years. However, it is the only direction for expansion. Join us and let’s make it happen.
“Now where on Earth would they be going?” Valentina mused to herself. She was watching a live stream of a mass of humanity. They appeared to be purposefully, powerfully walking. As if all were trying to leave an inhospitable home. At the same time. With nothing but the clothes on their backs. None showed a pretense of purpose or a clear idea of where to go or what to do upon getting there. Just a throng. Following the loudest exalter. Who preached of a better place. All quite oblivious to the notion that the Earth had filled up. The Earth had nowhere to migrate. The Earth was full.
She sighed and looked around her. The desk and the walls were covered with graphics and images of the lunar surface. Many pictures showed her friends. Digging in. Building a livable accommodation. Establishing the roots of a colony. So few but yet each critical in the shaping of a new home for humanity.
The pictures struck her as being in stark contrast to the images from stories by Herodotus. These glorified the adventurer. The Greek youth who’d set out, carefree and easy, sailing about the Mediterranean looking for a place to build a house and call home. Even then the prime locations on the shores of the Mediterranean were already occupied. Sometimes the youth built a home in a less-desirable region. Other times they simply got absorbed into the local community.
Neither option was available to the colonists on the Moon. The colonists couldn’t live off the land. They could only survive in the artificial environment being built using material from the Earth. No lunar pictures had a backdrop showing an ocean side, a range of trees or even a blue sky. She doubted that Herodotus would understand the complexity of the lunar endeavour. But she was sure that he would understand the rationale.
“Hey Max” she shouted. “Have you been watching any of the news feeds?”
“Why” he answered while toweling himself dry and sauntering into the office with nothing on but a smile.
“It’s showing a large mass of people from the Transvaal. The climate there has pushed arid to the extreme. They are heading south to find cooler land. But they’re pretty close to the southern limit of the continent. Where on Earth do you think they’re going?”
“It’s a pretty rough show over there” Max replied. “I’ve heard that food prices vary faster than the weather. Sometimes when the harvest is good, the prices are high. Sometimes when there’s no harvest, the prices are low. I suspect that those people are following an illusory promise of better living to the south. Not sure why though. Living isn’t easy anywhere. Especially when basics like food aren’t reliably available.”
“I’ve noticed the same thing” continued Valentina. “It’s not just southern Africa. Food prices seem to be out of whack over much of the world. Rice prices in the orient fluctuate wildly. The cost of grain in North America is more a guessing game than anything based upon capitalism. And potatoes! Usually a staple for nearly half the planet, potatoes surge from overabundance to a blighted dearth. With prices that make no sense.”
“Yah, I’d noticed similar on occasion. Maybe governments are trying to manipulate their citizens to go to particular locations. Or maybe the global conglomerates are flexing their muscle. Whichever it is, let’s hope that it remains focused upon the Earth. Our lunar build-out plans need a predictable resource base. We can’t support our colonists if the world food supply becomes unstable.”
They stared at the screen in silence for a little while longer. Each wondering if this was an isolated instance of a small group of people looking for a better lifestyle. Or if it was the start of a general reshaping of civilization. And if a reshaping then a reshaping into what?
Valentina closed the video stream and strode over to the window. Outside she saw the bright blue sky dotted with some clouds. Birds flitted amongst the branches. Lush grass spread across the fields right up to the nearby forest.
“Was that natural beauty” she thought “or was she encased in an artificial bubble as extreme as the Hab on the Moon?” She wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer.
Capitalism emphasizes the economic value of activities. A consumer usually benefits as they can choose and thus influence industry. Which can lead to products better suited to their liking. In the common marketplace, capitalism may be best. But what of the uncommon marketplace? Such as a rocket flight that costs hundreds of millions of dollars? Is capitalism sufficient for this or is there need of another method to lead industry and build infrastructure?
The Chinese seem to be approaching their space business with open arms. They’ve set their upcoming space station as being for all countries of the United Nations. Will this mean that countries will be choosing between the Gaganyaan, Lunar Gateway or Tiangong? Further, will every country need its own geographical positioning system? Is this the sort of competition needed to drive space commerce? Is there enough investment capital for all?
How do you want the future to unfold? Do you want one with several weak attempts at space colonization? Or do you prefer a few strong pathways? Or even one? Join us and let’s find the optimal.