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.
Jean held up the open end of the pipe to his eye and studied the surface. It was clean. Unblemished by nicks, tears or even the slightest hint of unconformity. He aimed the other open end toward the light and gently rotated the long, black cylinder. Straight as a photon’s track. His eyes never lied. He whistled to himself in admiration and said to no one in particular, “These graphene tubes are light as a feather and stay true even after suffering every resonating vibration from trucks to rockets to landers. And nary a mark. It’s a pity the construction material on Earth didn’t have the same quality.”
“Don’t get too hung up by the pipe. They don’t have interest in your pity.” chimed in Zara over the intercom. “I, on the other hand, have a decided interest in you. I want you back here soon enough. And with energy to burn too.”
Jean laughed a little louder. “Have you found any more dusty video flicks? Each time we watch one of those I want to reprogram the overhead lights to make them look like a disco ball.”
Which is exactly what he did a few weeks ago. The effect was fantastic. Both he and Zara had put on their boogie shoes and rocked the room. For a number of songs. Until Xu had walked in and uttered a very uncharacteristic expletive while at the same time quickly switching the Hab into survival mode. A mode that came with a standard, steady white light from all overhead sources. They stopped. He and Zara felt only slightly chastened. Not repentant. They just had to be a bit more careful with their timing.
Taking his eyes off the pipe, Jean looked over at the toolset and started back into work. He was in the Haven now. And he was preparing a secondary heat distribution system. This system will contain glycol. And the glycol would transfer heat from hot areas to cool areas. Or vice versa. He didn’t need to know much more. But in actuality, he was building a very complex, efficient and maintainable energy system.
Each join of the system had a valve and a temperature sensor. Controllers ensured that leaks were immediately isolated. These same controllers worked fans that ensured that the ambient air and surface temperature inside the Haven stayed within a comfortable temperature range for people wearing simple shirt-sleeves. No hot or cold zones would ever exist.
The Haven’s internal heat generation was waste heat. Heat from people, heat from computing devices and heat from decaying food matter. As the Haven was, for the most part, insulated from the surrounding regolith and bedrock, it held a temperature with very little fluctuation. While a radiant heater could raise the temperature, not much energy from it was needed. Conduits deep into the bedrock served as a reliable heat sink should the internal heat rise too much. Though the waste heat kept things comfortable for the residents.
The colonists had even taken occasional turns at spending a few days and nights living in the Haven as a way to test the accommodations. And as a way to relax. To be apart from the others. Much as each loved the other dearly, they also liked their ‘alone’ time. Or with one other. Jean enjoyed vacationing there with Zara. It was their time together. It was brief. But it was memorable. He happily smiled on envisioning their next tryst together in the Haven. With whichever sound and light show they concocted. Thus turning their time together into very memorable hours.
Have you ever wondered what its like being so rich that you can have everything? Well almost anything. Seems accumulating even the largest amount of money of anyone in the world is not enough to let humankind take the next step. Sure it’s a lot; over a hundred billion dollars. But the International Space Station cost more than that. And many, many countries contributed to it. So being singularly rich isn’t enough to get humans living off-world.
Yet we are making progress. Mostly the progress comes from governments spending on research. Research that benefits everyone on Earth. And enables us to travel in space. And industry contributes. Designing and building optimal constructs are their fortés. And this only comes about from you. Yes, your support ensures that politicians continue to fund this progress. With the expectation that the progress makes for a better world for our children.
There are also ways for you to contribute even if your aren’t overly wealthy. You can join our organization, the Lunar Colony Fund. We are non-partisan, non-profit and fully focused on having people live on the surface of the Earth’s Moon. They were there before. Join us and let’s ensure it happens again.
Desai looked around and felt a shiver of unease crawl the length of his spine. As if the brush of an insidious shadow had maneuvered across his own in a vain attempt to suffocate it out of existence. And in result, who would he be if he didn’t even have a shadow? Desai always felt this way while striding about the dust encumbered hills and valleys surrounding the Hab. Even inside the Haven, a purposefully designed enclosure of refuge, he felt a sense of caution and concern contort his thinking. Only when he was inside the Hab did he feel totally comfortable. He had contemplated this oddity often as he wanted to understand and control his emotions. Yet, no answer presented itself. He slowly let out a breath of air, tried to loosen all his muscles just a bit more and then he continued his journey to the Overlook.
Somehow he had become the champion of the border patrols; the reason for his trip to Overlook. Whenever someone had to visit an area, to demonstrate a presence, a sense of ownership, his name would come up. Around the breakfast table this morning, everyone had waxed eloquently on their upcoming work tasks. Xu was meeting the Lunar Colony Fund’s Board of Directors to confirm the expectations for infrastructure build-out. Jean was returning to the Haven to continue the installation of a new airlock. Zara was adjourning to the geochemical lab to run tests on some samples that Woof had recently returned. And Aditya had a full day planned in the horticultural sections to sample and measure plant growth. Just before Desai was going to remind them that he had an equally full day planned at the computer workstation, Xu had piped up with a precocious smile and asked that he return to the Overlook.
Inwardly he had groaned at the request. Outwardly he quickly agreed. No-one wanted to be on Xu’s bad side. Misfortune always seemed to befall a person so oriented. Thus, agreement was his automatic response. He had asked why but Xu had just responded that it was time. He wondered how she kept her sense of time.
He slowly continued his journey up the embankment. One foot shuffling forward past the other.
“In a way,” he thought, “it’s amazing how humans are so structurally adept at moving about on the Earth’s surface and equally adept at moving about on the Moon’s surface. Was it manifest destiny or some sort of commonality of physical laws?”
About 30 metres to his right, Woof was making his own path toward the Overlook. They both had the destination’s co-ordinates embedded in their path-logic. Woof’s route was set to accommodate the limits of his robotic limbs. Desai’s had his route finding set to cover as much area as possible. It constantly updated depending upon his last few steps. To Desai the whole journey was another forlorn attempt at waving the flag. Claiming this patch of the Moon as theirs.
“Honestly.” went his thinking “Who would want any of this? And how would we possibly stop anyone if they decided to land here for whatever reason?”
Then it dawned upon Desai. Last night at supper, he had made an offhand remark that the vehicles at the Moon’s north pole seemed to be traveling further south than ever before. One had even been seen sniffing along the edges of Anaxagoras crater. He had thought nothing of it. Perhaps Xu had thought otherwise. Or someone on Earth had thought of it and they had advised Xu. Desai contemplated again the value of thinking before setting his mouth into action. He thought some more about lunar conquest.
“If these robots were on a mission to dominate the Moon’s surface” wondered Desai. “they’d need to refuel, much like Opportunity does on Mars. So refueling is already occurring on worlds other than Earth. So there’s no reason why malevolent robots couldn’t be anywhere. Everywhere. Including here at the south pole. And what if they were to start getting in the way? Who would be responsible if they damaged some of the colony’s sintered pathways. Or worse, if they damaged any of their life-supporting infrastructure? It wouldn’t take much to disrupt their water extraction facilities. Those were little more than buckshee arrangements of metal poles and a few motors. A lunar Meccano set without formal definition or design.”
Desai didn’t pause his shuffling. Continually forward up-hill. Around large rocks. Carefully across shallow depressions. Always wary of pits and protuberances.
“Why did the up-hills always seemed so much longer and higher than the down-hills? Like the paradigm of bicycle riders.” he asked himself.
If he had been in the Hab instead of on this journey then he could have used some of his time at the workstation to investigate this idea of lunar domination. But if he had been in the Hab, he might never have made the connection between foreign robots and the colonists’ survival.
Desai was annoyed. He wanted to focus upon his ambition to influence the Earth’s global food supply system. He didn’t want to have to worry about invaders while here on the Moon. How could he manage his earthly affairs if he had to defend against some unfettered robotic interloper descending from the other pole. Rationalizing this concern made another spasm of unease travel along his spine.