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When the first American walked on the moon in July of 1969, few could have envisioned the massive public support, and huge public and private investment that would take place over the next few decades. The United States has been on the moon continuously since the establishment of its first exploratory bases in 1972. By 1978 its main base, Alpha (now Nixon City), had reached a population of 160 and was supporting several other small bases. With the new Neptune VI fully re-usable rockets which has dropped the per lbs cost of launching cargo to a fraction of the old Saturn V's and the NERVA nuclear rockets which pushed the payloads from LEO to higher orbits or trans-Lunar orbit, the cost to moving to LEO or the moon was now relatively cheap.
Alpha base was set up to receive prefabricated modules on a daily bases and support a growing work force. With large nuclear-powered deep-hole drilling rigs, the bases could rapidly expand. Add to the fact that there are no EPA concerns, as there is no water or air to pollute and the background radiation is hundreds of times higher then a full nuclear meltdown could ever produce. Adding hundreds of residents monthly as the base construction ramped-up was no real problem. Adding to its growth was the setting up of a Electro-magnetic catapult launching site by Microrocket, a company specializing in this new technology that only a dozen years ago was only a few equations and concept papers. The electro-magnetic catapult was first used to transport rocket fuel for the orbital "tug-like" NERVA rockets, but soon after were man-rated and getting off the moon cost next to nothing.By 1980 Alpha's population had reached 550 people and dozens of small communities which had from a few workers to a few dozen workers, the moon was growing rapidly. With all these bases many nothing more than a mining operation with people there to fix automated machines that were very primitive and programing was poor. As the early communities grew many workers or scientists had their families moved up added to the growing pains.
There was a great amount of confusion in the tax code for the new colonists who did not want to pay the state taxes of their previous home states. There was also a growing amount of administrative costs associated with launching timetable, food and water costs and a steady air supply and who is responsible for problems, shortages and price gouging and finally a lack of leadership from NASA which was mostly 250,000 miles away on Earth.With dozens of new major bases authorized the few established communities needed to take control of the situation. Most of the earlier meetings took place via telephone. However, little was getting done. The first face-to-face meeting between the communities' organizers also saw business leaders and NASA officials. The group pointed out that they were not trying to "sneak around" or start a revolution; especially in light of the fact that the early communities were in no way able to "do it own their own," under any circumstance. With 70% of food still being shipped up and new colonists arriving faster than food, expansion could keep up with.
After the first meeting, a committee to lay out the goals of the group was set up and the group sent a Letter of Intent to the President of the United States and Congress. While many people on and off the moon thought it was premature, as the population was only several thousand, the United States government quickly embraced the idea as many believed that NASA held too much power and had made too many mistakes.It was quickly decided the statehood could not be seriously considered but that some kind of representative democracy in the American tradition was the only possible choice. While some believed that a new type of government, more in line with socialism, would make more sense, due to the need for a constant and reliable air supply, in addition to water and food. In response to these concerns a new group the Socialist Party of Tranquility was quickly set up. The new party set up conferences in the different communities to explain their point of view. However, both of America's traditional political parties quickly followed suit and as most people were already capable of legally voting and members of either the democratic or republican party; the socialists quickly lost their footing.
The debates over how each communities should be set up, how the overall Luna community should be set up, and how NASA would turn over control, quickly became the talk of the moon. While the American communities were by far the largest on the moon and only the Soviets had bases at this time; a growing fear of the Soviets was that the Americans were going to seize the whole moon. This fear was felt more in Moscow then on the moon as little contact between the Soviets and Americans on the moon took place as it was. At this time there was no Luna Commission to solve problems or disputes among the various groups. But since neither the Soviets nor Americans had any military force in space or on the moon only saber-rattling took place and a watch and see attitude by the Soviets.However, a growing paranoia within the communities against the Socialists, in the belief that the Socialists were planning to overthrow the communities and join the Soviets, became a real problem. Many ever believed that recent arrivals from Earth were part of a conspiracy to seize control.
This fear started an international incident when a group of cosmonauts on a damaged Soviet rover from a damaged surface base tried to seek shelter in an American mining community. The newly built mining base had at first denied the right to enter, despite international laws requiring immediate help for anyone in the open and seeking assistance. Not doing so can leave the person dead very quickly. The Americans thought they were being invaded. It was this incident that led to the forming of the Luna Commission in 1989.In addition to the incident with the Soviets a witch hunt-like, rampage was taking place in the communities. The offices of the Tranquility Socialist in Alpha Base (now Nixon City) were robbed by someone looking for names. Fortunately, there were no injuries and the loyalties of the socialists were proven to be without question. During and after these incidents, the work of forming a government was taking place. It was decided that as the bases grow to village-size communities and larger, they would have their own local governments. While mining or industrial bases away from the larger communities would fall under the oversight of the United Communities. This system was very similar to any government in the United States. However, the socialists won the argument about the air supply within the larger communities that would be solely under governmental control and freely distributed. Private production was legal and necessary in the smaller bases but travelers in need could not be denied air or shelter. The first election for assemblymen, community leaders and mayors was organized by the end of 1985. While an interim moon-wide government was formed and headed by Admiral John McCain. Admiral McCain in early 1986 resigned his commission to become eligible to run for a full term. With the basis of a government set up and the federal government on board, taxes and immigration to the moon became the leading issues. One thing that needed to be established was control on all Americans moving to the moon. With cost, too, entering LEO already reduced to the level anyone with a dream of space travel or to start over somewhere new, could afford with just a small amount of savings. Other options were to seek out employment with one of the many spacefaring companies or upstarts all of which paid very well.
It was, of course, very difficult for anyone moving to the moon, as there was constant danger. However, there was so much government and private money going into research and development as well as construction and mining that all anyone really needed was a desire to go up. The biggest driving force in the early years was the mining of recently discovered ores. Since the start of colonization movement in the early 1970's both orbital and Lunar efforts centered around the launching of low cost prefabricated modules that were launched as fast as possible. Now the orbital colonies are capable of being built from "scratch" and that requires massive amounts of ores for their construction. With the head start that the moon has had in regards to mining the "belt prospectors" have been unable to effect the steady growth of the Lunar communities.
Efforts on the moon now centered around digging of large sub-Luna caverns that offered "outside" like spaces. The building of these underground homes attracted even more people to migrate "up." With little slow down in sight, the population is expected to to quadruple over the next decade.
See Science and Technology for further discussion on the science and construction of the Luna Communities.
The current Secretary-General of the United Communities is Barack Obama, he
|Intermin||June 16,1985-January 2, 1987|
|John McCain||January 2,1987-January 3,1993||R|
|Paul Allen||January 3,1993-January 3,1999||D|
|Robert Zubrin||January 3,1999-January3, 2005||D|
|Barack Obama||January 3,2005-Current||TS|
has held this office since January 3, 2005 after he successfully defeated Robert Zubrin who was seeking a third term. Obama has called the moon his home since late 1984.
The government of the United Communities is similar to the United Nations with the biggest difference being that the Secretary-General and assemblymen are all voted into office by eligible voters. The primary role of the body is to legislate laws that effect the smooth movement of goods and services between the Communities, the regulation and enforcement of mining operations (however there was no body to investigate until 2003) and set standards for community construction.
The role of the Secretary-General is to head the United Communities Secretariat; the Secretariat is charged with gathering information from the communities, conducting studies and make recommendations to the assembly. The Secretary-General's role is to head the Secretariat. He is also the de facto chief mediator between quarreling parties (a role that continues even after the court system was set up in 1999). Finally the Secretary-General meets dignitaries from non-American communities and works to represent American interests on the moon.
The population of the United Communities has grown dramatically since its creation. It is currently 139,809 as of July 1, 2012 and has grown 98% since the official census in 2000. The population is highly diverse and is largely a mirror image of the general American population. It does have a very large amount of non-American working in the science along with American scientists. There is also worker from several nations taking up temporary residency within the United Communities until their own bases are completed.
The United Communities has a relatively young population. However, growth of both the young and the old seemingly are occurring at the same time. This is happening because many older people are migrating to the low gravity of the moon in hopes that it will extend their lives. As the orbital communities continue to grow and the larger stations spinning at full gravity, many older residents also feel "crowded in" the confined spaces of the orbital space stations.
The youth population is also growing rapidly. Many earlier workers, who came up on construction contracts, have returned or continue to stayed on, they have had their spouses and children move-up. While children have been moving to the moon since the early 1980's, it wasn't until 1989 that the first birth to take place on the moon occurred. Before that women who became pregnant went to a space station in Lunar orbit. There is a great amount of concern for the children born in low gravity; it is difficult for these children to adapt to a full gravity environment. The ethics of children on the moon has been going on for some thirty years and most do realize that abandoning space (as some on Earth still advocate, as unnatural and a waste of resources) is now next to impossible.
The population of the communities have grown steadily since the first bases were established. The pace of this growth has also increased in pure numbers, though the percentage has slowed recently. The choices of the early communities was largely due to the location of minerals or for scientific curiosity. The growth of those locations however was due more to name recognition. As many people went to location that meant something to them.
EconomyThe GDP of the United Communities is $150 billion; with a per capita income of $107,000 the highest within the United States of America when ranking compared to the 51 States. The United Communities still receives huge subsidies from the government for many operations. The United Communities has a very active mining operations and provide 99% of the raw materials needed in the orbital communities. It also produces nearly one billion tons of fuel for use in the hundreds of small ships traveling in the near earth habitation zones as well as the fuel for deep space ships. With the massive influx of capital into R&D, the moon has also become a large research station providing hundreds of research position. It still lacks food independence and produces few consumer goods but some investors have started to send-up research teams to study what is practical or worthwhile. One item that is manufactured in quantity and is exported are custom-fitted space suits which are needed throughout manned-space. The Lunar communities also have a growing tourist business and has thousands of rooms and suites. Being creative is perhaps the most important element within the tourist industry as visitors are somewhat limited to where they can go.
While most economic activities on the moon take place in US dollars or are exchanged into another nation's currency, a large portion (11%-14%) takes place with the bartering of goods or services. This has allowed the formation of barter markets or swap meets which work without any money. Those individuals or businesses that become members go to the exchanges with unneeded goods and exchange those good for what they need. Ofter multiple parties are involved to satisfy the needs of all.
The lower gravity of the moon (one sixth that of Earth) and the total lack of an atmosphere or a road system allowed the development of low-powered rocket buses and cargo truck for quick "jumps" from one Communities to another. For local travel outside of the communities, small community buggies are available to people, personal transports are rare but with the rapidly growing population more people are seeking that luxury. Within the communities themselves most people "hop" from one place to another or ride a moon-bike. The fastest growing form of Luna transportation within the communities in human-powered flight in the open caverns of the largest cities and towns.
The United Communities also have two dozen electromagnetic catapults giving the citizens the ability to go into orbit on a regular basis. But more importantly these catapults sent a continuous flow of ores to the orbital habitats.
The primary energy source throughout the United Communities is nuclear power. When the first bases were established in the 1970's the efficiently of solar power was low and the ability to store the energy was limited. This realization pushed the option of nuclear to the front. This require a program to quickly develop nuclear power plants that were small, transportable to the moon and could be cooled without a large water source. It was under the direction of Admiral Hyman Rickover at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the United States designed an early reactor that meet those requirements. Since then the United Communities has had a very active nuclear research program, as much of the initial research and some researchers came to the moon to start the National Nuclear Luna Research Program near Aldrin (crater).
While nuclear power is the primary energy source for the large communities, solar has became an important source of power for smaller communities. With advanced batteries and other energy storage devices, solar is finally starting to become more acceptable .
Lifestyle and CultureLife throughout the United Communities is difficult with constant shortages and few luxuries more than half of people who move-up straight from Earth do not last. However, those who migrate from an orbital community have a much better chance of lasting. With the ongoing digging of the underground "open spaces" a high level of excitement has became the driving force of the communities.
With so many differences in the United Communities compared to what people left behind, those who are trying to make the best of the situation have become very inventive and creative. This pro-active attitude has lead to the adapting of most sports to the moon low gravity. With just one-sixth the Earth's gravity amazingly high jumps are possible, as well hop-like movements allow for a quick and interesting races. Many of the sports like basketball require the hoop to be far higher than on Earth making the watching of these sports on earth very popular. One sport in particular has become extremely popular is moon buggy racing both on a track and off-road. With the movement of the vehicles so different then on Earth it has become a major hit.
Food and Water
Food has been an issue since the earliest days on the moon. From the freeze dried and tube-like containers of the 1960's to the seemingly constants shortages of fresh fruit and vegetable to the near total absences of meat, their seems to always be a new problem. It is these problems that have created incredible innovation in the areas of food production. Small hydroponic gardens have been used since Alpha Base was first constructed, however the yields were low and the variety was limited. This has lead to the development of larger and more efficiency closed-in farms. Lighting is largely artificial since there is no "natural lighting" for 14 days a month, due to the rotation of the moon around the Earth.
With so little fresh meat and the moving of large animals to the moon seen as impractical, the raising of small animals for consumption was seen as an alternative. In early 1982 a pair of goats were quickly brought up named Able and Mable. Goats were chosen because they will eat just about anything and produce meat at a high rate compared to the amount of food consumed. The goats also produce fresh milk another item that was in short supply. Though it took many years to build up several herds, people quickly develop a taste for them.
Even with an increasingly steady flow of meat, there never seemed to be enough. This problem helped to speed up research into soy-based artificial meats, but also increase research into growing meat culture that would provide another alternative. Both of which are a reality, in regards to cultured meat, which was first produced on Earth, was first tasted and consumed on the moon. The first small piece of cow tissue grown to "bite-size" was fried and eaten by a specially trained rat, the rat chose the meat over several other pieces of artificial flavored meat. These tests were enough for the first human taste test. The production of this meat as well as many other grown meats are popular on all space habitats and has a strong and growing popularity on Earth as being more humane to animals.Water is also a hot topic in the United Communities. While some water has been discovered in the polar regions (near Nixon City), it is shared with other countries. The ice asteroid in Earth orbit provides an abundant supply but must be transported to the moon. While the cost of transporting is relativity reasonable, conservation and recycling are already ingrained in the general population. Many still believe that the supply from orbit could be cut off from a war or an effort to gain control over the United Communities. Most, however, just believe a solid supply is needed for any community on or off earth.
Water is also mechanically purified using advance reverse osmosis. However, sensitivities over drinking water straight from that process is hard to swallow. As people know that the water just minutes earlier may have been dishwater or human waste. Because of that water is sent though hydroponic farms and other "natural" areas before going into the drinking water. Similar psychological problems occur in the orbital habitats and on Earth.
Maintaining a steady and fresh air supply is without question the most important element to survival. While it is possible to extract oxygen from Luna ores and to recycle the air using scrubbing technologies, similar to those developed on submarines most people didn't "sense it" as being "fresh air." Because of this Lunar citizens have developed habits and rituals around air and keeping it clean and as fresh and natural as possible. While people on earth may have and water their lawns, have flower or vegetable garden as well as household planet. Within the United Communities plants are everywhere.
The "greening" of the sub-Luna communities is a very human desire and make it seem more livable but more importantly it recycles and "freshens" the air in a natural way reducing the artificial feel to the air. While on earth, a lawn is "outside"; on the moon, a lawn may be your living room, bedroom or any other space in your private homes and the common areas such as corridors and office spaces. Much of the labor involved usually has self-programing mini-robots doing the watering and cutting. Many other types of plants are grown throughout the communities especially fruit bearing plants.