Could we ever match the collecting power of a government? They are awesome! They can enforce the submission of taxes from both individuals and corporations. All for the common good. Will people on Earth ever agree to their taxes, their tithes being used for off-world development? Even if it meant a better world on Earth? Or, using other words, who’s leading this parade?
Let’s divide purchasing into two paradigms. One paradigm has a purchase being off-the-shelf. For example when buying a home we can purchase from a land developer and select one of their designs. The other paradigm is to singularly define your purchase, i.e. design your unique home. The former usually is less expensive as development costs get spread across all copies of the same design. The later will have every feature, every characteristic you desire. But the cost is significantly greater. While there aren’t any land developers on the Moon, what’s the best way to choose a home?
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Desai was alone with his thoughts as he traipsed around their sintered pathway. He recalled during the morning how Xu had volunteered him to again do the boundary stroll. He was as adamant as she that the colonists continue to exercise their existence on the south pole. To wave the flag as it were. But really there weren’t any potential interlopers. After all there was no one else on the Moon and no one was likely to invade. The Moon just didn’t have the resource potential as some of the embattled places on Earth had. However when he voiced his opinion Xu had quickly turned around and faced him. Then in a very determined, low voice she re-iterated her wishes in a way that no one could mistake.
“Go,” she demanded.
He acquiesced. But from this Desai wondered to himself, “Does she know?”
He thought again of his machinations, his weaving of a vicarious, steel-like net about Valentina. He singularly smiled to himself when recalling his success at getting her returned to Earth. Then smiled again with the memory of having her elected to the board of the Lunar Colony Fund. All was going as he had planned. But then he saw Valentina building up a great deal of support. And her objectives weren’t matching his. He had tried to dissuade her. But from a distance of hundreds of thousands of kilometres, he wasn’t having much success. He had tried to change things up.
As he replayed the events he stumbled on a hidden depression on the pathway. Their sintering had failed and he dutifully marked the location for later repair.
Zara’s voice piped up into his comms, probably from his accelerometers’ alarms flashing on her screen.
“How’s the scenery?” she joked, “Sounds like you found a nasty.”
“Yah. Nothing to worry about. Just a discontinuity in the pathway. I’ve marked it for maintenance,” he offered.
“Ok. Fine. If you need any help don’t hesitate and we’ll send out Woof to escort you back,” she laughed.
She knew as well as everyone else that Desai held a special contempt for Woof and that he’d never ask it for help.
“We’ll see you after lunchtime,” she finished and signed off.
Desair trudged on. There was a little less jump to his step as his mind played between his memories and his dislike of the mechanical dog. He remembered the time, not that long ago, when he had made the decision to slow up Valentina. He figured that if he could keep her moribund for a while then her support would lessen and her objectives would fade away. He had envisioned a broken leg at worst. But he hadn’t made his intentions clear enough when he directed his staff over the comms.
“Dammed those open comms!” he exclaimed internally. And he absentmindedly kicked at the dog that was nowhere in sight.
When news had arrived that Valentina had been in a car accident and had narrowly escaped with her life he had been almost physically sick. He had managed to hide his feelings from the other colonists. But just barely. Even now as he walked the pathway his eyes conjured up the image of Valentina lying in a hospital bed. And he felt ill all over again.
Nevertheless he wasn’t going to waste this opportunity now that it had happened. With both Valentina and Max temporarily out of the picture he could push his own agenda. He was calling for Moon-polar orbiting satellites with video capability. These were being argued as both a safety feature for the colonists outdoors and as a redundancy for communications. Of course Max wanted to expand the structures while Valentina wanted to increase their risk tolerance. Yet Desai still felt a general, bone-chilling unease whenever he thought of the activities at the north pole. He wanted this orbiting, Moon constellation so as to keep a much closer eye on their northerly neighbour.
He had been acting on this unease with his Earth based group of investigators. They had started to reveal a little of what was behind that northerly endeavour. The northern installation was funded by a group of industrialists and financiers. Their riches allowed them to get payloads launched with very little inspection. Yes they had a few failures as with the rover stuck on a dirt pile. But also their infrastructure had made a great impact upon the relatively smooth northern plain. Berms, pathways, shelters, solar collectors. The lot! But he still wasn’t clear on their purpose. Their design. Their goal. And he didn’t want to learn by surprise. He didn’t like surprises.
If you have the money and want the product then you buy it. If you don’t have the money and still want it then you borrow the money. Like getting a mortgage for a house. But this process only works if people with excess money are willing to lend it to you. Do you know any investor willing to fund infrastructure upon the Moon’s surface?
Maybe it’s because it’s nearing the end of the year but there seems an awful lot of news about space activities. And in returning to the Moon. One would have to look into national budgets to determine how much is real. And one would have to look into a crystal ball to determine if they will remain real in the decades required to bring them to fruition. Are there enough investors willing to wait decades for a return?
Luckily we at the Lunar Colony Fund don’t have a schedule that we have to meet. At least we hope that we don’t. As long as the economy keeps growing then it’s business as usual for us and the rest of the world. That’s the optimist in us as we invest our lives into building a better future for humankind. In space. Join us. It’s the best return that you’ll ever receive.
Let’s try comparing the values of our society. On one side we have a launch of significant material to the Moon for less than $500M. On the other side we have $450M being paid for one painting. Sure the painting might be a da Vinci. But still, should they be so similar in value? What is this preoccupation with the past? wouldn’t there be a greater return on investment if you built infrastructure on the Moon? If you agree then tell us that you agree with this value statement and we can make this forward-looking investment.
Yet there does seem to be some vision into the future. Australia has just created its own space agency and Egypt is looking to make one for itself. It positively warms the cockles of our hearts to see this interest. And it’s nice to see countries like Ecuador putting up home built satellites. While most space agency effort goes into earth observation hopefully there will be an increase in outward facing endeavours.
We at the Lunar Colony Fund do have a distinct, practical vision for the future. We agree that the survival of our species depends upon our ability to live off-Earth. That’s why we remain focused outward, preparing for infrastructure upon the Moon. Join us in making this a reality.