What space development is really about, and why the Moon is still important.

 At a fundamental level, space development is really about fundamental quantities: Energy, Mass, and Volume. 

It is inescapably true that these resources are limited on the planet Earth. Expanding our purview, however, destroys this limitation, opening up myriad new possibilities.


Various arguments have been presented for why Mars is the greater objective than the Moon. But in the end, it's not really an either-or question. We can do both, we should do both, and we will do both.

Some key elements of the argument for Mars are:

  1. Sheer mass and real estate available
  2. Possibility of terraforming
  3. Atmosphere (protection from radiation and meteoroids)
  4. Day/night cycle and surface temperature
  5. Gravitation
The first and second are, less arguably, inescapable and interlinked. The remaining arguments, however, can conceivably be overcome with technology.

Meanwhile, one enormous argument for the Moon is the solar constant: the amount of energy being delivered by the sun per square meter. Without energy, little can be accomplished, and with it, a great deal can be accomplished. 

Another argument for the Moon is its proximity to Earth, which simplifies mission logistics.

Disarming arguments 3-5 of the Mars list seems easy enough in theory. 3: Spacecraft already deal with shielding concerns; why not apply the same solutions to Lunar ground installations? 4: With energy, great things are possible. 5: Rotating habitats can provide what the Lunar body's natural gravitation does not -- if this is even found to be necessary. What do we actually know about long-term explosure to low, but not micro, gravity? It's conceivable that even Luna's G/6 is sufficient to support long-term human health.

Luna's G/6 may also prove useful in other ways, opening up new possibilities in manufacturing, logistics, structures/architecture, and more. So don't count that silver orb out just yet. 

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