None! No seriously, I want to keep this as real as possible and not paint too rosy of a picture. Lunar Homesteads do come with some disadvantages.
Disadvantages over other paradigms
- LH is new and untried. Not that current and past paradigms have had a lot of success with establishing space settlements. We have a lot to figure out before we can decide if it’s viable. And even more before anyone can go. We may sink a lot of time and effort into Lunar Homesteading only to find out that it won’t work.
- Lunar Homesteads don’t look or operate like traditional Lunar settlements. There’s no sprawling surface base. No people wandering around in spacesuits or driving cool rovers. No mega-machines strip mining the Lunar regolith. And not much of the shiny high-tech we all know and love. Creating realistic and inspiring art is going to be a bit of a challenge. Convincing people that the future may not look like Star Trek will probably be an even bigger challenge.
- Political, professional, and public hostility. All new ideas that challenge the establish interests are considered threats. It’s how humans operate. The German philosopher said it best, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”. Right now, Lunar Homesteading is in the first stage. Actually, it’s even before that because hardly anyone knows about it.
Disadvantages of living in a Lunar Homestead
I’ve already talked about the discomforts and hazards of creating a Homestead but what about the disadvantages of living in a fully operational one?
- Danger. Even a fully mature Homestead will still have some danger associated with it. But it’s not like living on Earth isn’t dangerous. Life is dangerous, and eventually fatal. At least until we can download our consciousness into computers.
- Inconvenience. Living in an off-Earth settlement will require a higher level of awareness, vigilance, and social responsibility. Keeping everyone alive and healthy is going to require doing, or enduring, some pretty inconvenient things. Constantly adhering to stringent safety protocols comes to mind. So does putting the well-being of the group ahead of the individual. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.” – Spock.
- Remoteness. Lunar Homesteaders can’t just get in their buggy and pop on down to the local theater for a show. Even visiting a nearby Homestead could be impossible; depending on whether the Homestead has its own sub-orbital transportation or access to a reliable surface vehicle. Either would still be rather dangerous until shielded public transportation, or something like the Deep Roads from Dragon Age, are available.
- Limited recreational travel opportunities. Those of us with the means to travel for fun are incredibly spoiled. Lunar Homesteaders aren’t going to be able to catch the first ship to Mars for a weekend getaway. Even cruising around cis-Lunar space would be prohibitively expensive. Like for most of human history, Lunar Homesteaders are going to be relative homebodies.
- Limited consumer opportunities. No instant Amazon delivery! No grocery stores with thousands of choices! No malls! How will they survive? It may seem impossible for those of us surrounded by the material abundance of our modern society but people have thrived throughout history with a lot less stuff.
Obviously, I think Lunar Homesteading is the way to go. I’d be happy to hear why I’m wrong. I might add your reason(s) to the list.