That’s the real question, isn’t it? I wish I could say I had a clear vision and all the answers. Unfortunately, I have neither. I’m making it up as I go; just like everyone else. We’re just going to have to forge ahead and do our best.
Here’s my “plan” on how to get the first (of many) Lunar Homestead built. Plan is in quotes because it implies that there are detailed steps that must be completed to reach a defined goal. At this point, Lunar Homestead isn’t that refined.
Research the technology and techniques
This is the at the core of Lunar Homestead. We aren’t going anywhere without the appropriate technology and techniques (tech). Sure, we can try to do it with NASA tech but that’s neither cheap or low-tech enough for Homesteads to replicate. There are organizations and people doing research “the NASA way” but few working on sustainable settlement.
We (LH and humanity in general) need solutions to as many settlement issues as possible BEFORE we start putting lots of people at risk. The public barely tolerates the risk a handful of select, and highly trained, astronauts take when they fly to Low Earth Orbit. The fallout from large numbers of settlers dying on Luna would be catastrophic. And WAY more catastrophic for the settlers themselves.
More fundamentally, we’re not going to get even medium numbers of people on Luna if we don’t hammer out basic life support and quality of life issues. Very few people will sign up for a permanent ascetic monastic lifestyle with the constant threat of instant death just outside the pressure hull. Homesteads need to be nice, comfortable places to live.
“Big Science” (governments and corporations) is working on the shiny problems. Making a faster/reusable rocket is sexy. Figuring out how to make an airlock completely from local materials with an almost non-existent industrial base is not. We are going to focus on the small-scale, non-sexy, absolutely critical problems.
Recruit people to help with the research
How is one person, or even a small group, going to get all this research done? He/she/they are not. There’s just too much to do. So, the other core component of Lunar Homestead is to get lots of people motivated to conduct their own research and to help them do it. Research can be as simple as an Internet search to gather data on a specific topic and as complex as building physical prototypes. All research is valuable.
To do this we’re going to need to spread the LH concept far and wide. There has to be many people out there passionate about space settlement, frustrated with the pace of progress, looking for a way to make a difference, and willing to invest the effort to help make it happen. We just need to expose them to LH. Notice that mountains of money or advanced degrees are not mandatory.
Here are some of my ideas on how to reach more people. And bring in money to conduct research:
- Books (like this one)
- Present at conferences
Lunar Homestead can become the hub for grassroots space settlement research. We can help coordinate activities, provide assistance, and be the repository for all the data collected and produced. Eventually, we’ll be the place to go to for open sourced Lunar settlement plans and designs. Let me know if I’ve missed something obvious. I’m sure I have.
Build the tech
OK, we’ve got the research and we’ve got some dedicated people. Now we need to actually build the tech. This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. We’re not building rockets or monster regolith-devouring robots. Very little of the tech actually has to be “flight rated” because most of it is deliberately designed to be operated in a habitable environment. I’ll go over that in the next chapter.
The goal is to have standardized “off-the-shelf” equipment that other scientists, engineers, and Homesteaders grab and use with minimal effort. Entrepreneurs can use this tech to make money on Earth or in the cis-Lunar economy. To get to this point we’ll have to build multiple versions of each piece of gear and field test the crap out of it. Obviously, we can’t test it on Luna but we can test it in a decent simulated Lunar Homestead environment.
The ultimate goal is to build fully functional Lunar Homestead Kits. Figure out the tech necessary to start with nothing on the Lunar surface and end up with a viable Homestead. Then anyone with enough money can buy the Kits they desire and go settle the Lunar Frontier.
Notice that actually creating Homesteads on Luna is NOT part of the plan. The mission of LH is to create the tech and make it available to everyone. Other people and organizations can then use the tech to create their own Homesteads. LH, or perhaps some other organization, could provide technical advice. But that’s so far in the future that I’m not even thinking about it.
We’ve got a lot of work to do and we need YOU. Look around this site to find out what we’re up to. Then join the Crew and help us make it happen.