ASI W9900781r1.0

Moon Miners' Manifesto

#8 September 1987

Section the Artemis Data Book


[The sixth in a series of articles on the need to pre-develop the SOFTWARE of a Lunar Civilization]
by Peter Kokh

Some months back, Myles Mullikin, current Milwaukee Lunar Reclamation Society chapter president, and I got into an interesting discussion on how a lunar settlement, more than a mere Moonbase, might be laid out. Myles favored a strictly linear one street city, or at least a single arterial spine, on the grounds that experience with computer architecture showed that this was the most efficient type of layout.

However, even if it means, as Myles pointed out, more atmospheric volume and hence more tonnage of preciously imported nitrogen, I tend to favor some sort of grid system for two reasons. First it enhances physical networking, allowing people to interconnect over shorter distances; but especially since the extra total length of streets per given population would provide the opportunity to plant extra living biomass. The more of this per person, the stronger will be the life-support flywheel for air and water purification, etc.

Parkway streets, pressurized and shielded but with solar access, could host such non-foodstuff plantings as pharmacopeic ( medicinal ) species; plants useful for preparing natural cosmetics; plants whose extract can be used to dye cotton, like indigo and henna; plants to support a carefully chosen "urban wildlife"; and last but not least, flowering and blossoming plants to support honeybee colonies [perhaps an Australian stingless species].

Such a utilitarian selection ( and here is where the software pre-development homework comes in ) will do double duty by refreshing the air outside agricultural areas of the settlement and at the same time providing a delightful and luxuriantly green "middoors" environment ( see MMM #5, Essays in ‘M’ ) in which the settlers can go about their daily business in the reassuring context of "nature".

There could be special fruits for children to pick in assigned season. Sidewalk cafes could grow their own special salad and desert ingredients on location. Care for street-side plantings could be left in the hands of neighborhood residence and / or business associations who could landscape to their desire, providing the opportunity for each neighborhood to have its own unique ambience.

MLRS member Louise Rachel in her article in last month's special premier Moon Miners’ REVUE issue entitled "Some Preliminary Considerations for Lunar Agriculture", reminded us that many of the temperate zone plants we are familiar with will not grow and reproduce full cycle in a climate in which the temperature never falls to a cold enough level to reset them. This means the settlement's parkway streets will have to be planted with mostly sub-tropical species and varieties. In the continental U.S. there is only one major city whose climate lies exclusively in our proposed lunar middoor range ( 55 degrees F - 85 degrees F ) -- San Diego. If you have ever been to this jewel of a city and noticed how different is the local vegetation where you live, you'll get the idea.

We need to know not only what will grow under such conditions but what sort of ecological relationships must be maintained. What animal species are required for pollination, etc.? Should we let some varieties in the lunar community, which will tend to sow themselves and find their own balance, or pick only those over which we can keep tight control? Which plants will need how much care? Above all, which can we import not as seedlings or mature plants but as nitrogen-packed seeds to make sure there are no stowaways? What trees can be grown in dwarf varieties? There is so much we have to learn and the homework can begin now, even by educated laymen, maybe by you!

Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto

Home Tour Join! Contents Team News Catalog Search Comm
Moon Miners' Manifesto is published 10 times a year by the Lunar Reclamation Society for Artemis Society International, several chapters of the National Space Society, and individual subscribers world-wide.
Copyright © 2001 Artemis Society International, for the contributors. All rights reserved. Updated Sat, May 6, 2000.
Maintained by Candace Dicks . Maintained with WebSite Director.