Near-Term Business Scenario
Short-Term Business Scenario
A Basis for Lunar Business Plans
One of the essentials in the short term is the push past the purely scientific and exploratory Apollo style mission, and move interest away from government funded infrastructure building, and onto commercial applications. An aggressive public awareness program would be necessary to get the people of the world reinvested in space, and a so called “killer-app” would need to be discovered to gain corporate interest.
NASA will build basic infrastructure, after that it is up to commercial development. As shown in NASA Exploration Strategy.
Lunar Resource Extraction Settlement
The first economic application for the Moon will likely be a Schmitt mining settlement to harvest Helium-3 and other Volatiles. The settlement would be located at either of the poles or at the equator. The settlement would ideally be started immediately following the astronaut exploration stage, lest interest collapse and the entire plan be scrapped. This settlement will serve as the first small economic toe-hold on the Moon.
Settlement Business Environment
The Settlement would likely be 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 will be encouraged and supported to be entrepreneurs, and will be afforded intellectual property rights. The Company will buy 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, will help keep lunar people sane and happy
Scope of Plans
Communication with Earth
A Moon settlement would be the first human settling endeavor which has a large bandwidth with its home country. The effect of this on the settlement will be to greatly lessen the isolation of the settlement in the minds of its inhabitants. They will have all of the comforts of home from books to movies to the internet; they will be the best connected settlers in human history.
Shipment back to Earth
Shipments back to Earth will be strictly limited, and will be overseen by a Cargo Supervisor.
Small ballast can top off shipments: cheap, low in mass (grams). Could be replacements for radiation shields with contained lunar mass on return trip
Dedicated robot shipments: An empty ship sent from Earth, lunar hydrogen and oxygen for return rocket, lunar reentry shield, load in tens of kilograms, slow trip, expensive. More of these flights are possible in long-term than in the short term.
Short-term Specific Assumptions
The Short-term Scenario will have the following specific features;
Miners will have some free time
It takes more people to handle emergencies than for normal operations.
Prototype Shop time is available to miners
The Bone Yard available to miners to get basic parts from descent vehicles, broken parts, etc. for use in the Prototype shop.
Personal activities and interpersonal contacts are critical to good mental health.
Strengths of the Short-Term
Enormous buy-in for the mission is expected.
Cutting edge technologies are available, and individuals interested in the technology field will flourish in the environment.
Nationalism plays a role with competition between countries.
Limitations in the Short-Term
Challenges to be overcome:
Low manpower available
Low electrical power available
Limited living space
Expensive shipment to and from Earth
Quick start required
Ideas not meeting this short-term scenario simply belong in some other category like Long-term.
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