Moon, Mars, Asteroid and orbital colonzation and cities

Andy Weir wrote the Martian. His new book is about a lunar colony of 2000 people late in the 21st century.

He looked at the science and economics of a lunar colony.

Eighty-five percent of the rocks on the surface of the lunar highlands are anorthite, which contains aluminum as well as a massive supply of oxygen. Smelting aluminum in the quantities necessary to construct and maintain Artemis would produce so much excess oxygen—eight atoms for every two of aluminum—that they would be constantly venting it.

For every kilogram of payload, you need an additional 3.73 kilos of fuel. So a one-way ticket to the moon is calculated to eventually cost about $33,000.

Moon, Mars or Asteroids for colonies

Where will humans live in space? That was the focus of a good-natured debate that took place at this week’s “New Space Age” conference at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

Chris Lewicki, president and CEO of Redmond, Wash.-based Planetary Resources, took up the case for going to asteroids and Mars. Seattle-area entrepreneur Naveen Jain, co-founder and chairman of Florida-based Moon Express, spoke for the moon.

John Logsdon, retired director of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute, argued for the null hypothesis: that humans would, by and large, stick with Earth for the foreseeable future.

Jain – the Moon has water for humans to drink and for fuel for spaceships. The moon has giant lava tubes to make protected habitats.
Lewicki – Getting water and resources from asteroids will be easier
Logsdon – bases built on the moon as well as Mars will be along the lines of Antarctic outposts than an underground metropolis.

Nextbigfuture believes we should colonize and develop all of the space locations.

Nextbigfuture and space colonization

We can look at the cost and tourists to dangerous and desolate locations to get an idea of the likely adventure market potential for lunar destinations.

Over 1 million people visited Death Valley last year, making this the eighth consecutive year that visitation to the vast desert park has increased. Last year saw 1.17 million recreational users visit Death Valley, a 6-percent increase over 2014. The costs are not that high but people are willing to go to more desolate locations.

Over 40,000 walk each year to Everest’s base camp. More than 4,400 people have successfully climbed Mount Everest (with some doing this multiple times, such as sherpas and climbing guides). It’s likely that around double this number have attempted the climb though, as the success rate can dip well below 50%. In recent years, around 500 climbers a year reach the summit.

Since records began 1922 until May 2016 – 286 people died on Mt. Everest. This around a 3.5% fatality percentage of those who climb the mountain. Some estimates peg the trip to the base camp has 2 to 3 casualties per year.

The typical cost when climbing the Everest with a Western agency is $45,000 and above. With a local Nepali operator it can be between $25,000 and $40,000. The cost includes the royalty fee of $11,000 for the peak.

It is about $1300 to go the base camp (not including flying to and from Tibet). The ascent via the southeast ridge begins with a trek to Base Camp at 5,380 meters (17,600 ft) on the south side of Everest in Nepal. Travelers would need to first make a few less demanding trips with ascents to 3000 meters.

Far larger and better telescope observatories can be made on the moon compared to Earth telescopes. Even larger observatories could be made in free space or lagrange points. Much of the construction will be automated but there will be a need for scientists and humans to oversee some research and facility work.

Astronomers such as Harlan Smith of the University of Texas and many others campaign for lunar-based astronomy. Telescope using a spinning disk of liquid with a reflective surface, lining the interior of one of the millions of bowl-shaped craters on the Moon. Such an instrument would extend for kilometers, making a gigantic “eye” to look at the universe. Liquid mirror telescopes already have been constructed on Earth.

Arrays of telescopes could be constructed at thousands of craters and hypertelescope arrays should be placed in free space or lagrange points.

The construction of tourist or science facilities will be made far cheaper using local moon, Mars or asteroid resources. This means developing larger and larger mining and industrial facilities at each space location.