Thursday, 3 January 2013

Day Three: Lunar Population Studies

Remember a post from a week or so ago where I talked about writing my friend Coley into this novel as part of a wedding gift? Well, I’m thinking about asking her if I can just age her up to the time period that I’m writing in…which right now looks to be about thirty or forty years from now.

This might seem…unusual…though I think that she would let me do it just to see how I imagine her as an old lady, but there’s another bit of reasoning behind it: Middle-aged and older people tend to do well in space. They’re more likely to have had any children that they’re going to, so the potential effects of radiation exposure on fertility aren’t that big of a deal, and they’re far enough into their lives (plus, and this is especially true of contemporary space agency personnel who have trained their whole lives just to break orbit, they’re dedicated to their work enough) that many of the other health concerns tied to living in an environment free of atmosphere and gravity aren’t that big of a deal for them. Older people also tend to be more safety conscious, psychologically stable, and capable of coping with physical inconveniences than younger people.

So, an older lunar population makes a certain amount of sense. There’s going to be a lot of research being done up there, which requires a lot of focused people with a bunch of advanced degrees and nothing much to hold them to Earth. There will be younger people, too, of course. Getting to the moon and staying there makes a lot of headway for large-scale orbital development. Privately held research stations, manufacturing, shuttle ports, stowage, deep-space mining. A strong international presence inspires a certain amount of nationalism and a high level of corporate development means a certain amount of advertising and brand recognition, both of which are things that hold a certain amount of glamor for younger people. It’s the big, fearless astronaut image, and the idea of being on the cutting edge of cool all rolled up into one thing.

That gives us a good population mix. The older people representing the permanent population of the lunar surface, with the younger people coming down from the orbitals for shore-leave or functioning as tourists. It works.

And there are probably about a couple of thousand people on the surface at any given time. That international presence lends us a certain amount of blended multiculturalism. Good diversity. Good gender mix. I’ve continued to think about Antarctica, and where I’d like for this to differ is in a strong UN presence. I’m thinking that the UN is a much stronger and more fully unified organization in this time, and that—while the different nations are allowed to have their own privately held research facilities and listening posts on the surface—the colony itself will fall fully under UN jurisdiction so that there’s no confusion about any one nation “owning” the moon. The fact that colonial security would also fall under the UN, also explains why my detective is specifically a UN employee rather than a representative of whichever member nation the dead man ends up being a citizen of.

More to come.

 

-Sean

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