ASI W9900768r1.0

Moon Miners' Manifesto

#2 February 1987

Section the Artemis Data Book

Essays in "M"

by Peter Kokh


Man-in-the-Moon my foot! Looks to me more like a fetus in the Moon, the fetus of the human civilization that could arise and flourish there, given the development and utilization of our present capacities and lots of dedicated non-mercenary hard work. Otherwise, the fetus-in-the-Moon will surely be stillborn, or worse, aborted. And then we will have the Ghost-in-the-Moon.


The customary "prospectus" for the Moon is that it will be a major, or the major, supplier of liquid oxygen to low Earth orbit depots and of raw ores to L5 colonies or "Space Settlements" where it will be turned into metal alloy components of more space colonies and solar power satellites, the slag left over being used for shielding. Really, this depends on where people actually choose to live, how big the lunar settlement becomes, and whether it chooses to deliver low value raw materials or higher price value-added processed materials and / or finished goods. The assumption that the great bulk of manufacturing will be done at L5 rather than on the Moon on the grounds that humans cannot tolerate 1/6th G for long is an untested, unproven, unwarranted, and gratuitous opinion. There is enough room, enough of a market, and enough volunteers for both kinds of settlements. The rivalry between L5 colonies and the Moon will be both healthy and productive.

LUNOX Corporation, selling liquid oxygen to the various low Earth orbit (LEO) space stations and staging depots, probably in exchange for equal volumes of liquid hydrogen ( nitrogen, ammonia, methane will also be needed ) may well be the Moon's first employer. But current writing shows lack of imagination. Raw materials from the Moon can be processed into many things that can be sold and delivered to LEO at great cost advantage, e.g. modules and trusses of the space station itself, windows and glassware, ceramic table ware, fiberglass insulation and fabrics, tools and instruments, some furniture items, and so on. And all of these items will find a market in GEO ( Earth synchronous orbit ) and L5 as well. LUNOX will supply oxygen not only as fuel oxidizer but as the major component of water and the breathable component of air. Even food items grown on the Moon with "upported" hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen are still about 50% lunar oxygen and can be delivered to LEO, GEO, and L5 more cheaply from the Moon than from the Earth.

Even the heavy parts of satellites might better be made on the Moon to be mated with the lighter "works" in an LEO or L1 station. The hulls for ships to take men to Mars might better be made on the Moon, and on and on and on. The day may come when competition from the Moon restricts Earth-bound aerospace giants to producing high value light weight components that require materials that are not abundant on the Moon, e.g. copper, gold, platinum, silver, tin, niobium, hydrocarbon plastics, etc.

Yes, the markets are there, and the Moon can pay its way!


It has been estimated that it takes a community of about 250,000 minimum to provide all the various goods and services in a diversified economy to be substantially independent of imports. When anyone speaks of their belief that a Lunar or Martian settlement of a few hundred persons can be autonomous, they are either being naive or are defining autonomy loosely. Such a small settlement might achieve 50-60% self-sufficiency, but a metropolis of a quarter million could be 95% self-sufficient. No wooden nickels, please! Let's go for broke or quit kidding ourselves.

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