#103 March 1997
Section 220.127.116.11.103.of the Artemis Data Book
by Peter Kokh
Relevant Reading From Past Issues of MMM
MMM # 18 SEP '88, pp. 3-4: "A Strategy for Following Up Lunar Soil-Processing With Industrial M.U.S./c.l.e; the Importance of the Lunar M.U.S./c.l.e Plan for the Opening of Mars"
MMM # 62 FEB '93, p. 3: "The Triangle of Trade: Economics Behind Lunar Settlement and the Opening of Mars"
Suppose [humor me!] the "powers that be," and/or any free enterprise forces that may choose to ignore them, do decide to begin resource-using lunar settlement in advance of any serious effort to open Mars as a frontier (whatever the timetable for an initial human exploration sortie). Of what assistance could [an] established industrial lunar settlement[s] be to the eventual pioneers of Mars?
(1) The Moon is a place where most of the systems and equipment needed to make a Mars outpost work successfully, can be field-tested -- under real sustained live-use conditions -- and debugged within easy range of resupply, repair, and rescue from Earth. This includes:
To risk first sustained use of such systems on Mars where resupply, repair, and rescue if needed are as much as two and a half years away would be reckless bravado of a kind deserving no applause, should the gamble pay off. At stake are human lives.
(2) Early lunar industries will concentrate on the manufacture of more massive, unitary (items needed in considerable quantity), and simple components to complement and/or be mated to more complex, lightweight, or electronic components manufactured on Earth -- the so-called "M.U.S.-c.l.e. strategy" for getting the greatest cost reduction in the import burden from the smallest import investment of capital equipment-- the fast road to off-planet industrialization. The punch line is that anything lunar pioneers can make from such starter industries will be available for export at a competitive advantage over admittedly more sophisticated terrestrial manufacturers, to all space locations: LEO, GEO, L5, the asteroids -- and the Mars system. If Martians choose and order the equipment they need designed, manufactured, and sourced by the Lunan "M.U.S./c.l.e. system, they will save money. And for early Martian pioneers, with few if any ready-to-sell exports, saving money will be make-or-break important. The same buck will buy them more and take them further, with Lunan pioneers to order from. "Frontier-made, tougher, simpler, less breakdown-prone, easier to repair, cheaper." That's quite a sell.
Such exports might include:
(3) The availability of Lunan industrial know-how and field-proven methods will prove invaluable. This kind of intellectual property export could include:
All of this expertise will already have been field-tested in a setting that permits intervention, rescue and resupply, and expert staff relief.
(4) The availability of Lunan field-experienced experts for assistance in setup, problem-solving, maintenance, and a host of many other "experience helpful" positions.
Would-be Martian frontier pioneers, if they have the benefit of standing on the shoulders of Lunan pioneers who have preceded them, will have an incalculable advantage over those who would attempt to open Mars "inventing the wheel from scratch" in a setting where the slightest setback -- equipment or systems failure -- could well prove fatal to all.
Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto