Far far away, in a different universe, there is a good organizer Elon Tusk. He is good at building rockets, spectacular rud's, nice engines and rocket revisions, 0 fear of failures and Kerbals ups a different story, creatures very similar to humans(ah okay let's call them kerbals), cheered it a lot.

So as there is a guy Torrent Zurbin, a long supporter of the idea of moving to a planet very similar to a Mars.

Those two things merged in some indirect way, and when Tusk said Mars is our destiny, then Kerbals cheered it a lot - colony on Mars. I heard them shouting something like - we will store eggs there - not sure it is exactly what they shouted, as it was not so crispy clear, a different universe after all.

They live on a planet which is very similar to earth and it also has a celestial body very similar to the Moon. (Surprisingly their whole stellar system is similar to ours, so I guess it is because of infinite universes thing)

They all are also at the beginning of their technological development, and as little girl Tretta explained to them that excess of carbon dioxide isn't good for the planet - there was on evil Kerbal guy, let's call him Mr.X, who was moved by that little girl a lot and started to think what kind of advantage Moon has in solving that problem, and he found some answers to that question but unfortunately he wasn't backed by one old kerbal, so he wasn't able to make a speech in a palace were all important kerbals gather.

in their society there are popular predominantly tree space exploration/conquering strategies:

  • Moving to Mars, build a colony there, a big one
  • build some small base on Moon
  • considering to float in space in space cylinders
  • there are also others and many but less well known among them.

one of Mr.X's important conclusions was that once Moon is considered a big thing, then it is the way to bring the benefits of space to the rest of kerbals who are on the planet. Meaning that they do not have to move into space, sell their houses for a ticket to get benefits from space exploration and development. which seems to be a clear distinction and the most important one compared to those three popular notions.

He tried different means to explain reasons and all the details - but it was futile. Mr.X is a small nobody, despite his evil nature he has no minions under his command to rely on.

How can we help that Mr.X? To explain how beneficial Moon can be for the rest of kerbals who do not move in space and stay on their planet.

I understand it more opinion-based, but Mr.X is in a distress, he used Morse code to communicate the situation, but due to low bitrate, it wasn't possible to get the situation in greater detail, however, we can ask him for more details if needs be, wrote frequency of the channel on a napkin.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you weed out the narrative and focus on the core of the problem? I find it hard to understand what you are asking $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Feb 26 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch question in the title. it not entirely correct but it could be like - how moon is more beneficial than mars for the whole kind of those creatures $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Feb 26 at 6:49
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    $\begingroup$ But I have the impression that some detail is given in the body, currently buried under the narrative. That's why I asked to weed it out. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Feb 26 at 6:57
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    $\begingroup$ Then maybe it would help to put a skinned to the bone section at the beginning, together with the question, then give the narrative after it. So that who wants to dive deeper can do it without affecting those who are not interested. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Feb 26 at 7:46
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    $\begingroup$ With poetry, of course. How many poems are highly speaking of the Moon, and how many of Mars? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 26 at 22:27

As you've written, there are basically three schools of thought in the Elon vs Zubrin vs Bezos debate, so first, let me go over them:

Elon says that the focus of human spaceflight should be establishing an outpost which eventually becomes a self-sufficient colony on Mars. He sees this as important because it's a first step in extra-planetary colonization and immunizes the human race to most extinction-level events.

Zubrin, while not in a purely antagonistic anti-Elon position, thinks that going straight from no space colony to Mars colony is overreaching and would prefer to build a Moon colony first. This would be used as a proving ground for future space technology and act as a fuel depot/casting off point for spacecraft that travel beyond Earth's SOI because getting fuel manufactured in-situ on the moon is more efficient than shipping it up out of Earth's gravity well and atmosphere.

Bezos believes that the future of humanity is in orbit, in man-made habitats with artificial gravity and all sorts of bells and whistles. He sees colonizing Mars as silly because Mars is nearly just as inhospitable as space and has the disadvantage of being down a gravity well which increases costs.

All of these approaches have different advantages and disadvantages, but one interesting observation is that they are not incompatible. For example, Zubrin's plan can be the logical precursor to Elon's plan: prove the habitats, rovers, and etc. on the Moon before using those designs and the lunar base as a staging point to launch Mars colonization. Similarly, the biggest issue in Bezos' plan is that it requires large amounts of raw material in orbit to construct the habitats. This would be extremely expensive to ship up from out of Earth's gravity well, but if the material can be shipped from the Moon or Mars? that significantly reduces the costs.

This is why, as Mr. X, I'd argue that it doesn't matter if we build space cylinders or go to Mars, the important thing is to take a first step and that step should logically be the Moon for the capabilities it provides.

  • $\begingroup$ yes, they aren't mutually exclusive. exactly necessity of the first step is what separates people in different camps, it is a money issue, things aren't cheap. Maybe 5% in each camp sees the connection, but not only they see it differently, but also they aren't defining the discourse and rally slogans of each camp. And btw Zubrin had a slight change of opinions only recently before it was moderate Elon minus few packs of steroids, Bezos is keener on the moon. Mmm moon has no strong proponent, NASA 30%, Bezos 30%, Zubrin 10%, Elon 3%, anonymous 15%. Mr.X - tried that, and thanks u for u efforts $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Feb 26 at 10:46
  • $\begingroup$ Fully agree with Bezos. Our first real step into space needs to be getting to asteroids and returning building material to earth orbit. This unlocks future exploration very cheaply. Mars is just another planet with no actual real benefit besides PR, and one covered in toxic perchlorates, something the wannabe colonizers always gloss over. Spend all the money on getting to Mars and then what have you, a guy on Mars. Nowhere closer to colonizing anything. $\endgroup$ – Innovine Mar 29 at 7:53

What about the Children!

Well what exactly?

  • You see the mars is far away, 8 months at the best of times and while you can get there faster, most kerbals aren't exactly Elon in terms of net wealth and economy is slow. No child could reasonably hope to get there, and there is the very big chance that something will happen and who exactly is going to pull good boy diddy out of the problem? Why aren't you thinking of the children?
  • A Big floating metal can can indeed be just up there around the equator whizzing past every half hour or so, so the children could certainly visit. But that's just it, its a meteor the size of several skyscrappers, and what goes up must come down! You wouldn't want your child taken out by skyscrapper in freefall would you?! Just this decade a small ball of iron exploded over a small town and broke buildings! Oh won't someone think of the children!!
  • The moon is a beautiful rock. While true it has recently been proven to be alarming lacking in cheese, it is both close enough that the children can go and visit, a rescue party can get there in under a few hours (a couple of days for earth-moon, but the mun is much closer) and also has a 3.5 billion year track record of not cratering into Kerbin! Think of the Children!!!

If anyone tries to suggest otherwise, point out that the Mun is simply safer for all the children. And they should feel ashamed for having not considered their needs as well as you have. After all Mr X needs workers on the Mun and children are very cheap.

  • $\begingroup$ Cheap child labor - oh yeah, Mr.X likes it a lot. unfortunately living on the moon isn't exactly the thing that he advocates Moon for, specifics we leave for follow-up questions if any, he means to bring benefits of space to the inhabitants of the planet, those who stay(where more children and cheap labor, u know, eh). Also, he knows people who would disband families by a snap of the finger if Mars calling happens. However, the approach is noted, and clearly, if he gets in public with a speech he will mention children 10 times, or eleven and will think about how to incorporate this weapon. $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Feb 26 at 21:20

Neither position is optimal in my opinion, but the Moon is the closest to optimal.

A large, self-sufficient colony on the Moon.

The Moon is "half-way to everywhere else", with a shallow gravitational well. It offers access to the Interplanetary Transfer Network. The Moon colony can more easily support both the "cosmic road" option and the "Lagrange colonies" option, at least unless a skyhook can be built - with current materials, that doesn't seem really near.

Water and construction materials are available (in the soil, but still).

If necessary, M asteroids can be prospected and mined more cheaply from the Moon (lifting that much mass from the Earth is probably environmentally unsustainable - you'd need to develop a methane/hydrogen engine and get the methane from atmospheric CO2 to close the cycle, powering the process with renewable sources. Even so, a rocket engine exhaust is hot and inevitably produces nitrogen oxides when running in Earth's nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere; nitrogen oxides at high altitudes are an important factor in acid rains).

Once the operation is really established, you can ship raw materials from the asteroids and several moons to the Moon using the ITN, for free.

At the same time, the Moon is always reasonably near to Earth, there are no optimal "windows" that must not be missed, as is the case with Mars.

It would be cheaper, and almost surely faster, to get the "spaceport" up and running, and leverage the Mars colony from there (after establishing a terminal on Phobos), than to try and set up Mars from the Earth. The same reasoning applies for Lagrange colonies.

  • $\begingroup$ Noted. In general it can be just a place spewing regolit chunks in space, wrapped/compressed/whatever for further processing in space/orbital facilities. So moon is more like most convinient source of materials, at our orbit $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Mar 27 at 19:42

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