There are businesses to take tourists to space. To send your payload to the Moon. Even to mine the asteroids. All of these businesses are raising millions of dollars, generating intellectual property and advancing the state of the art. While none of them are profitable (yet) and most will likely fail (just like any new start up) they are real and, most importantly, they are pushing humanity into space.
I am most interested in establishing permanent human communities in space. So why not establish a business to do that?
Why not a business to build villages in space?
The long-term vision of such a business would be to build the first permanent human community in space. It’s mission should be to figure out an incremental development path where each step makes fulfilling the vision easier and more likely to occur. For instance, each step on the path should generate its own revenue and each step should increase public excitement for the vision. Government funding should not be required to fulfill the vision but should be considered if it becomes available. Along the development path the business should seek to increase diversity in the aerospace community.
Ok so I really wanted to title this post “Trump Is Officially a Lunatic” but then this would get all political and bladdy-blah before you know I’ve lost my job. It’s never a good idea to call your boss – however far removed up the chain of command he may be – a lunatic. But, come on, it’s funny!
And, it’s sort of true. No I do not subscribe to the fevered conspiracy theories of cable news types who say our President is mentally unstable. What I’m talking about is space policy, people! Trump made it official: America is going back to the Moon! And what a yuge, big, beautiful, fantastic idea this is. Keep reading below as to why.
- It acknowledges reality. Humans are not going to Mars or even an asteroid any time soon. It’s just too hard. We’ll do it someday but not in the next two or three decades. Deal with it.
- It’s achievable. We’ve done the Moon before, we can do it again. But this time we need to stay.
- It will create jobs. There is a nascent non-governmental (commercial) sector of the American economy that will start hiring like crazy to support the governmental effort of a permanent return to the Moon.
- The military loves it. The USAF is (correctly) scared shitless the Chinese are going to somehow dominate the high ground of cislunar space. This new policy will start a space race that the US is well-placed to win due to our strong aerospace sector. Forcing the Chinese to spend their dwindling foreign exchange reserves on a space race they are likely to lose is smart policy.
Now, obviously, a better policy would have been supporting space tourism, highly reusable launch vehicles and a path to orbital settlement. But all that is kind of hard to put on a bumper sticker. Furthermore the Moon is a better policy that a Journey to
Nowhere Mars. So I’m all for Making the Moon Human Again!
In the course of doing research for my upcoming space settlement book (co-written with Al Globus) I stumbled across this article from the Fall 1975 edition of CoEvolution Quarterly. I loved it. Here is a neat excerpt:
Give your imagination a Space Colony of 1,000,000 inhabitants, each of whom has five acres of land….Any thoughts about how to organize its economy, politics, weather, land use, education, ‘ culture?
What would you do with your five acres?