Beyond the Cusp

January 30, 2012

American Moon Base; Newt says Yes, Obama No

Many have probably forgotten that one of the first pieces of business which Obama made a priority was to redirect the primary task for NASA. President Obama killed the funding for a return to the moon and for the Moon Base while assigning NASA to establish a Muslim outreach program to facilitate an Islamic positive connection to the Space Program. Meanwhile, during one of the most recent of the virtually uncountable Republican debates, Gingrich stood firmly in favor of the United States establishing a full time manned and operating Moon Base. This is not an article granting or denying an endorsement of any candidate, I just figured these different positions on the future of the Space Program gives me a chance to write on what I would like to see the United States accomplish in the future.

One thing I know with great assurance, if any country is going to build and manage the first Moon Base, the United States is probably the most likely to share their accomplishment with the rest of the planet and I personally doubt such could be claimed by almost any other nation. On the other hand, should the first Moon Base belong to China, some experts claim they would not be willing to share their accomplishment and would use it to claim sole rights to the Moon. If there does exist even the slightest of possibilities that such is true, then the rest of the people should hope and pray that the United States manages to accomplish this feat first. But, with the huge and ballooning debt the United States is generating, how could they afford such a project that is estimated to cost upwards of billions of dollars. There are answers that would use the most basic of human drives to accomplish building a Moon Base, greed.

The route I envision would grant the companies who worked with government to establish a working and permanently manned Moon Base with naming rights and initial priority in placing their interests on the base. We could see one or more of the fast food companies contributing towards such a venture for the right to have the initial exclusive twenty year lease for operating a restaurant on the base, or whatever period of time which is determined to give them sufficient initiative to take advantage of the advertising and sole proprietorship as an enticement. My bet is that Motel 6 and Hilton would be in line to have the first vacation resort on the moon and Six Flags would probably be interested in establishing a park both on the Moon and on a space station, a real space wheel style space station complete with rotational gravity.

There are other considerations as well. There would be benefits for many manufacturing companies to bid for the rights to be in on building the Moon Base and a space station. Also, I would bet that DOW or other similar manufacturer would be interested in being able to establish a research and manufacturing plant on a space station in order to have a zero gravity laboratory. There are also the mining, mineral, and energy rights that could be placed for bids. With the many different private company investments with government agreeing to match donations dollar for dollar, this would reduce the government outlay by half. Many might say that my idea is a bit fanciful, but it does have a historic corroboration. The British East India Company was granted exclusive rights by the crown of England and the Dutch East India Company was granted a twenty-one-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia. Both companies made great profits off their exclusive contracts and similar would be available to those companies with the foresight to take the step into the next great horizon of human adventurism, space. It starts with a Moon Base and a large and comfortable space station replete with building bays for the construction of exclusively space-going craft. Such craft could be used for mining the Asteroid Belt, another place where the company having the initial exclusive rights will make a potentially great profit. It was such government-private contracts that fueled the age of exploration where the European governments spread their reach around the globe and it will take a similar age of contract and opportunity to spark the initial steps into space. Once we get started, then who can even begin to imagine where such efforts will lead. Space is rather large and it has to be our future if mankind is to guarantee our survival.

Beyond the Cusp

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