The motivation for survival is inherent within every biological species. The problem is that a natural catastrophic event, such as the collision of a large asteroid or comet with the Earth, could destroy all human life. Although steps are being taken to minimize the threat to our survival from human-made and natural disasters, the best assurance for the indefinite continuance of the human species is to establish permanent, self-sustaining settlements on other worlds. Beyond survival, there is a second consideration for the advancement of humans into the space frontier: the concept that humans are, on balance, a positive force in nature. Humans obviously have shortcomings, but the trend of human cultural development is, arguably, in a positive direction. For example, the global record on human rights is gradually improving and there is increasing international attention being paid to environmental protection.
There is the possibility that other intelligent life exists in the universe but, until contact is made with intelligent beings, we should assume that our civilization is unique. Based upon these considerations, the migration of humankind to the Moon and other destinations in the solar system will not only assure our survival as a species, but will extend the positive force of human life to the farthese reaches of space.
The lunar industrial base will eventually be able to produce all of the hardware that is needed for a greatly expanded program of space exploration from the Moon. Mass production techniques will be used to create large numbers of miniature, specific-function satellites, and all of the components of larger manned and unmanned spacecraft, including computers, cameras, sensors, and aerobraking heat shields. These spacecraft can be launched by electromagnetic mass drivers from the Moon to the planets, their satellites, and to the asteroid belt. In this manner, the Moon will replace the Earth as the principal base for the exploration of space.
Near-Earth objects will be explored and mined for their resources. In particular, those objects that pose a threat of collision with the Earth or the Moon will be maneuvered out of harm's way and mined for their water, hydrocarbon, and metal contents - which will then be delivered to the Earth and the Moon. The space exploration capabilities of the "Planet Moon'' will enable humankind to undertake the global exploration and human settlement of Mars and conduct in-depth explorations of other planets and their moons. With continuing advances, it may be possible to launch robotic missions to nearby star systems within two or three decades after the commissioning of the first lunar base.
Was this article helpful?