A moon colony, or lunar settlement, is a proposed establishment of human settelements in or on the moon's surface. Habitation of lunar land could potentially benefit Earth. Some examples include bountiful solar power, solving overpopulation, and elements such as Helium-3 to drive a pending fusion economy. Here, staging areas could also be constructed to launch future missions to Mars.
Assuming it feasible and the medical issues of low gravity is solved, there are many compelling reasons to found a society in and on the lunar surface in the short term, rather than other bodies of our solar system. These include:
- The Moon has low escape velocity. So if electrical launch from Moon to orbit is achieved, it would cost less to ship materials from the Moon to space or Earth than it would cost to ship materials from Mars. This exportation of lunar material to other places could pay off the large investment required for a functional, human/robot colony. This trade would benefits other places in need of moon material. (Furthering the income)
- There is a small, time lapse in Earth to Moon communication, nearly three seconds round trip communications delay. In the case of life threatening scenarios, humans on Earth would have more time to address the problem and send evacuation craft, increasing the probability of the colonist's survival. No other celestial body has such a dependably short communications delay.
- Because of the lack of atmosphere, combined with extremely slow rotations, sunlight could be harvested with virtually no intereference at the poles. The poles location also serves as a superb observation point to explore astronomical objects for days at a time.
- The moon's regolith is rich in elements, both rare and common. Oxygen, titanium, silicon, ..., ..., and traces of hydrogen are to name a few.
- Gazing at the moon serves somewhat of a psychological benefit to humans on Earth, which could temorarily gain polictal support for expansion, at least until bases on extra-terrestrial planets become common.
In order to create a thriving civilization, one must gain the support of the general public to pay for expense for importing matter etc.
Designs and Ideas
The 1950's science fiction ideas of geodistic domes and sheild generatators to solve both radiation and atmospheric requirements will be inadequate.
Difficulties to Solve
- If no electrical launch of material from the Moon to orbit is achieved, the cost of importing hydrogen and carbon for rocket fuel would make exporting material from the Moon more expensive than exporting material from Mars.
- Industrial processes to recover volatiles on the Moon will require the use of pressure vessels and air-locks. Air-lock doors require gaskets. Rubber and silicone used as gasket material on Earth require both hydrogen and carbon. Either sources of these materials which are scarce on the Moon must be found or a substitute material such as lead must be used. There is some doubt if there are any available sources of lead on the Moon.
- The highest concentrations of hydrogen so far detected on the Moon are estimated to be equivalent to about 1% ice by weight.  These concentrations of hydrogen are only found in the permanently shadowed bottoms of some craters in the polar regions of the Moon. The scarcity of hydrogen and the darkness and low temperatures where it is found combine to make the probable future cost of hydrogen on the Moon quite high, and there can be no colony without hydrogen.