- how an off-Earth base could quickly become self-sufficient -

The Plan presented here proposes a practical path for how humanity's first, off-Earth base could become increasingly (and even completely) self-reliant. This means that the amount of material shipped from Earth in support of the base / colony would decrease to the point where no further resupply was necessary in order for it to survive indefinitely.

In order to achieve this, all materials (all life support, equipment, and habitats) would need to be able to be extracted, processed, and produced from local resources using only the capability of the base. Doing so would steadily reduce the cost of supporting the base but would ultimately lead to humanity having a second, independent foothold in the solar system.

In these pages and videos, we identify six primary areas that need to be fully developed in order to achieve this goal:

  • Life support equipment and material
  • Metals for equipment and structures
  • Food
  • Power systems and electronics
  • Indefinite genetic survival
  • The information necessary to achieve a self-sustaining capability

Help us as we work to discuss, describe, illustrate, and demonstrate these capabilities by joining the Space Development Network.


  What is Self-reliance? Self-reliance is calculated by measuring how much mass no longer needs to be shipped as the base produces things for itself.
  Resources It appears that all of the necessary resources needed for self-reliance are present on the Moon and likely Mars.
  Machining & Metallurgy It is complex, but we have a good idea of the source of metals and how to melt, cast, and machine it into parts.
  Chemistry The source of organics is well known on both the Moon and Mars. Producing things like plastics is fairly straightforward.
  Artificial Gravity Will partial gravity be sufficient for generational reproduction. If not, hopefully artificial gravity will help.
  Habitats Obviously, to survive long term, the colony will have to produce its own habitats. How can this be done?
  Growing Food It's very complex but hydroponics seems to be up to the job to produce all of the food that self-sustaining colonists will need.
  Nutrition A self-reliant base would need to meet the nutritional and culinary needs of its crew. How?
  Power Excellent laboratory work has been done demonstrating that solar cells can be produced from known lunar material.
  Electronics Shipping a "sufficient supply" of electronics would buy time to implement protocols to produce good enough electronics.
  Genetics Studies show that frozen embryos are viable for decades and perhaps longer.
  Information What information will the colonists need and how best to store and retrieve it?
  Escape Surviving is one thing. But ultimately, humanity will have to spread yet further.
  The Moon-Mars Analogue Base OK. So, how do advocates go from theorizing self-reliant to demonstrating it starting with an analogue base?

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