LDC 2023 Topic: Why Lunar Settlement will Happen First
Abstract: 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.