Mid-Term Business Scenario
Introduction to Mid-Term
The first mining settlements are not enough to begin forming a real economy on the Moon. It is of the utmost importance that after the success of the mining settlements is shown, other industries join the move to the Moon. Real industry is essential for the settlement to grow into anything more.
All mid-term lunar settlement scenarios will contain the following assumptions.
NASA has built basic infrastructure, now it is up to commercial development. This is just as NASA promised in NASA Exploration Strategy.
Lunar Resource Extraction Settlement
The first economic application for the Moon were Schmitt mining settlements which are still harvesting Helium-3 and other Volatiles. The settlements are located at either of the poles. The settlements started immediately following the astronaut exploration stage, and interest did not collapse and the entire plan wasn’t scrapped. This settlement served as the first small economic toe-hold on the Moon.
For more information about the estimated time of this scenario, please see Timelines.
Settlement Business Environment
The settlements are run by a consortium of aerospace companies collaborating on the project. This conglomeration will be referred to here as the Company.
People on the Moon
The goal of People living on the Moon is an expensive and difficult proposition. Individuals on the Moon are encouraged and supported to be entrepreneurs, and are afforded intellectual property rights. The Company buys ideas from the settlers while also funding the ore extraction and then having proprietary rights to sell it. Interactions with people on Earth, including economic interactions, help keep lunar people sane and happy
Communications and Technology
A communications network exists via satellites in orbit around the Moon. The second is that fusion power has become feasible, and thus He-3 has an application beyond research and medicine. Shipments from the Moon could be conducted more often with greater mass per shipment as more efficient means of propulsion from new chemical fuels to ion drives are employed.
Industrial operations started within a decade of the first settlement. These industries serve as the foundations upon which a lunar economy will be built. With out them, the probability of a lunar settlement advancing to a lunar civilization drops to almost nil.
A mid-term settlement has much greater power requirements. Accordingly, lunar solar panel operation will have been optimized, and many more solar farms will have been built. After the power requirement is taken care of, the settlements can take advantage of economies of scale. This adds a truly enormous amount of value to the settlement.
By the mid-term stage, we know how to live and work on the Moon in significant numbers, and how to produce significant returns on that labor.
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