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

Escape & Quarantine A Survival Colony would need to implement quarantine protocols to ensure its survival. Ultimately the Colony must be able to spread to avoid resource depletion.

The purpose of a Survival Colony is to be unconnected from Earth in case some existential, technologic infection were to be developed and spread across Earth necessitating a second, independent branch of humanity off Earth. But, if there are ships traveling between Earth and the colony on an ongoing basis then, whatever technologic infection developed on Earth could be transmitted to the colony via the lunar lander. What the colony needs is a quarantine system to prevent this.

How a quarantine system would work is as follows. An Initial Habitat is set up and the Initial Crew sets up home there. Landers would bring cargo including stockpiles from Earth with no attempt to observe quarantine protocols. But, after the Initial Crew demonstrated that they were able to produce their simpler-to-produce supplies and they had stockpiles of the harder-to-produce supplies to buy them sufficient time to complete protocols to produce good enough replacements then the initial Survival Colony would start implementing quarantine protocols.

How quarantine protocols works is that landers with payloads from Earth would still be sent, but they would be landed in a location within easy reach of the Survival Colony. But the Survival Colony would only access those stockpiles in one of two circumstances:

  • If the stockpiles had been away from Earth for a long enough period of time (e.g. 6 months)
  • If they ran out of an item and were unable to produce good enough replacements
In this way, the Survival Colony could still be supported from Earth and could grow at as fast a rate as a fully-connected colony yet it would remain protected from any technologic infection from Earth.

In the very long run, local resources will run out and one has to move on to where there are more resources. For the Moon, although it is quite dry, it is believed that there is enough water ice to supply a lunar city that recycles of a million people for about 1,600 years before the water runs out. This would give ample time to develop the capability to import water from elsewhere such as from the asteroids. But alternately, the settlers could move on to settle somewhere such as Mars if Mars had not already been settled already. Likewise, the asteroid belt between the Moon and Mars is with within travel times less than a round trip to Mars and back.

However, one has to consider the (hopefully small) possibility that a self-sufficient base could be established on the Moon prior to a self-sufficient base was established on Mars and that both were cut off from Earth during this time period. In this case the lunar colonists would eventually need to be able to leave the Moon and colonize further out. This would be a vulnerable period of time in which the lunar base was vulnerable to a catastrophe such as a modest-sized meteor strike. So the colony should have information available that would help them travel beyond the Moon and set up self-sustaining colonies further out. But it could take them a very long time to develop that capability on their own.

To ensure the survival of a Survival Colony, quarantine measures would need to be in place.

Next: The Moon-Mars Analogue Base