Section 1.2.
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What Luna City Will Be Like in 100 Years

People frequently wonder what our facilities might look like in the future. How far in the future shall we look? Picture this, about 100 years hence, give or take a few decades.

Facilities on Earth

On Earth, we'd have a group of 50-story office buildings; rather dramatic architecture with atrium lobbies; lots of arches in the decor to reflect the geometry one sees in crescent moons and circular craters. Six floors of this office complex are dedicated to spacecraft development and operation; the others are the home of the supporting industries.

Surround the office buildings with a large parking lot -- perhaps covered parking and lots of trees. Out back we have an enormous industrial facility, connected to the office buildings with enclosed walkways or underground tunnels. Maybe three classic high-bay buildings built together, with a smaller office building attached. Big doors roll up at each end of the high bays. Has to be near transportation routes, clear access to the Interstate highway system, and to a major airport we can fly a Superguppy into.

There's an antenna farm somewhere around here, some big, fixed dishes pointed to geosynch but at least three 20+ foot diameter dishes on maneuverable mounts, pointing at the moon and our spacecraft in transit.

Facilities on Luna

On the moon we have a collection of pressure vessels mostly covered with moon dirt. Some of them -- the biolabs -- are in a sunburst pattern like the spokes of a wheel linked to a circular node. The wheel is a series of concentric rings, each ring half transparent and half opaque.

All these things are connected on the surface by a system of pressurized tunnels, and underground by a few more tunnels. Not too many tunnels underground; tunnelling through the lunar rock is going to be a chore so we'll probably opt for surface tunnels protected by piles of moon dust. Maybe a few domed gardens, and some domes that look like a hemisphere on top of a cylinder. Those domes are actually full spheres, with garlands of regolith bags hanging over the side.

A mile or so away is the spaceport: several circular pads distinctly marked with circles and cross-hatches to make the target very visible to pilots when they land. These are connected by roadways, a uniform dark gray color made from the regolith.

The lunar community is separated from the spaceport by a shield wall made of concreted regolith. Some control towers poke their heads over the top of the shield wall, and next to the wall are storage facilities -- warehouses, y'know; big airlock doors with tracks leading up to them.

Vehicles, lots of vehicles: cylinders with hemispherical ends on big, big wheels; some robots and unpressurized rovers. Some of the vehicles are involved in exploring the moon, and others in mining the regolith; but at the moment the majority are devoted to the construction of the first mass-driver launcher.

Opposite the spaceport, hidden around the edge of a natural mountain range formed by the remnants of an ancient crater, is the power station. This is a collection of solar panels, with solar dynamic engines surrounded by fields of mirrors that reflect sunlight to a central heat engine. Power lines run from the generator stations into an artificial cave where we've hidden the power storage facility. Inside that cave we find rows of large spherical tanks filled with hydrogen and oxygen. The gasses cycle back and forth through fuel cells that charge and discharge each lunar day and night.

Now for the good part: somewhere in the lunar community with lots of tunnels leading into it is a large transparent dome. A maneuverable sun-following mirror dominates the interior of this dome. A 40-foot-wide circular shaft descends vertically from that dome, down more than half a mile where it abruptly ends in the roof of a huge cave. The shaft is a bit off center where it contacts the roof of the cave; we missed.

That big mirror reflects sunlight down into the shaft. Long rectangular mirrors, arranged in a wedge, disperse the raw sunlight where it enters the cave at the bottom end of the shaft.

More shafts are under construction up and down the tube.

The cave is a bit irregular, a long snaking cylinder averaging 350 feet in diameter. Its roof and walls undulate a bit, and have lots of tiny little pits in them, but the floor is quite flat. Instead of being spherical, its cross section has a bit of a tear-drop shape. Unlike Earth caves, there's hardly any dust in this lava tube; nothing to make dust. Some stalactites have formed, hanging from the ceiling. Water tends to drip from them.

The cave isn't quite horizontal; its floor slopes gently away. There are lots of fissures leading away from it. The low end of the cave is plugged by a wall of cold lunar lava; the high end breaks up into a labyrinth of smaller caves and fissures. We've filled the low end with water, forming a large underground lake. There are other lakes here and there, where water has gathered in depressions in the cave floor. Little streams run down from the sides and high end of the cave.

Electric light fixtures, rank after rank of flourescent tubes, hang from the ceiling.

The landscape is mostly irrigated fields and a few wild forests growing in clumps here and there. Trees are huge, oaks a couple hundred feet tall. Some folks have chosen to live in tree houses, and fly to work and play from their balconies. The main underground city is just beneath the first shaft. The buildings are light, airy structures made from lunar concrete and metal. The city is mature enough that we're beginning to see some variation in architecture. A few single-family dwellings dot the landscape.

Everywhere you look, you see plants, even downtown. Each building is designed to support terraces of planters. Rooftops are cultivated into gardens and savannahs. There are lots of citrus trees; we have a somewhat tempered subtropical climate going in here.

Traffic is mostly small pedal-powered or electric aircraft, with some roads for electric cars and foot traffic. People get around with a skippity-hop motion, gliding along the roads and pathways.

And somewhere in all this, either in the surface community or down in the underground city, or in one of those vehicles out exploring the moon, is your place.


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