Dr. Doug Plata Bio

Doug Plata

LDC 2023 Topic: Why Lunar Settlement will Happen First


The Moon has certain factors which greatly increases its attractiveness for settlement compared with Mars and free space settlements.  Compared with Mars, the Moon’s proximity allows for a more convenient travel time, telepresence back to loved ones on Earth, teleconstruction, quick Earth return, and most importantly, lower ticket price.  Mars has advantages but which do not dominate consideration including, more easily accessible resources, more interesting tourism sites, and more favorable growing conditions including length of day and atmospheric shielding.  This presentation explains why quantity of resources and day length are not significant advantages.  Compared to free space (specifically equatorial LEO), the Moon has the advantage of immediately available resources which can reduce the cost of construction by as much as 25-fold.  The view along equatorial LEO is not sufficiently compelling.


Doug Plata is a physician in Redlands, CA. He is the President and Founder of the Space Development Network, a free-to-join organization of space advocates networked to advance space development projects. Doug has served on multiple committees of different space advocacy organizations. He has made dozens of appearances and presentations at conferences and the radio. He recently oversaw the completion of a full-scale Moon-Mars base mock-up named the InstaBase which is to be displayed during major Starship launches. His primary interest is the establishment of large, inflatable, and sustainable bases as the initial permanent bases on both the Moon and Mars. The Space Development Network’s website is at: DevelopSpace.info.