The year is 2030. The US has set up a moon base with about 2,000 people. The base can theoretically survive indefinitely, growing its own food and 3D-printing supplies, but in practice it needs trade with earth to get critical resources like lithium (no asteroid mining, yet).
This colony decides to declare independence in a way that they come out looking like the "good guys" (the US government, which they already didn't like, refused to let them give humanitarian aid to an "enemy" base, and tried to arrest them when they did anyways). The US military decides that it needs to reconquer the base within a year or two, or the American people will demand peace. Public support for the war is already lukewarm at best. Until this point, no space weapon systems have been built (though some may have been designed in secret).
My question is, how would the US go about re-conquering the lunar-colony?
- Technology is very close to present day. The war will end after 2 years at most, so there isn't much time to develop any radically new techs.
- Both sides are flying a mostly-reusable BFR-style rocket, which will cost the US military about 50 million per launch. The number of launches will be limited at first, unless they scale up production.
- China also has a moon base, on the south pole (the rebellious base is in a crater near the north pole). Chinese launch capabilities are more limited, but they could possibly supply the rebels with resources and equipment, if they can transport it long distances across the lunar surface. Russia and India are also willing to help the rebels, but they would need to hard-land payloads near the base, limiting their effectiveness.
- The rebels have about 6 BFRs, 3D printing capacity, and the ability to produce rocket fuel from water ice. They are also extremely technically adept (they're basically all brilliant engineers), and will be working on counter-measures.
- The moon base is one large structure that's mostly buried under ground. There are airlocks all over the place, and several large doors leading to the surface. The landing-pad is a few km away, and they travel back and forth in souped-up lunar rovers. These rovers can, theoretically, travel all the way to the moon's south pole, but only if they bring tons of solar panels to recharge along the way.
- The colony is powered by a massive solar array that surrounds part of it.
- Both sides start the conflict hoping to inflict as few casualties as possible. Politically, the US would rather give up the moon-base than see it fully destroyed. The rebels, meanwhile, will never even consider attacking civilians on Earth, although they will go after military targets if they feel they have to. Their support for the war is also lukewarm at best.
The two plans that come to mind are to either try to blockade Chinese resupply missions (though I'm not sure if the US has the ability to hit a convoy of lunar rovers), or to give spacesuits to a bunch of marines and have them storm the base Starship Troopers-style (though this seems incredibly dangerous and would result in high casualties). Neither of these plans seems great, so I'm curious to hear your thoughts?