Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Oregon L5 Society
Space & Robotics 2002

Click Here to download this docment in Adobe Acrobat format"As long as we're here...":
Secondary Profit Generators for Moon and Mars Bases

Bryce Walden, Cheryl Lynn York, Thomas L. Billings, and Robert D. McGown
(Copyright © 2002 by the American Society of Civil Engineers)


Lunar and Mars base planners concentrate on one or two economic drivers to justify a base. This is like the "killer app" in the computer world, the single indispensable application that justifies the computer purchase. "Secondary profit generators," numerous economic activities that make a complex lunar or Mars base work, have received less attention.

Trade with Earth is a special case. Due to Earth's deep gravity well, transportation costs are far from reciprocal. Earth industry produces vital items unavailable elsewhere; however, Earth's large population represents a huge market for offworld products.

Space commerce among bases on the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere in space brings opportunities in transportation, sales, legal services, and trade in minerals and volatiles, to name a few.

As bases specialize, an interbase economy will develop. Bases can specialize in power production or construction, for example. Precious volatiles could be traded, as long as they remain onworld.

Intrabase economy, or commerce within a single base, opens up a range of small business possibilities including repair shops, laundry, professional services, and others.

The more secondary profit generators a base can develop, the stronger and more resilient the base economy will be. Settlements initiated as "company towns" will transition to diversified economies. Ultimately, the aggregate of secondary profit generators could dominate base balance sheets and do away with the need for a single economic driver to make a base a viable, going concern.

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