#2 February 1987
Section 18.104.22.168.002.of the Artemis Data Book
M IS FOR MAN-IN-THE-MOON:
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
M IS FOR MARKET:
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
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!
M IS FOR METROPOLIS:
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.
Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto