Thursday, January 13, 2011

Employment Opportunities on Luna and in the Military!

          Sorry about not posting yesterday.  I leaped out of bed to answer the phone and fell on my hand - damn near breaking my thumb.  It's still swollen but the pain has lessened enough to allow me to type today.  So, let's talk about Luna...

          Luna will be home to the oldest inter-planetary settlements in the system.  In the context of The Black Desert, Helium-3 will power the Lunar economy and justify colonization in the long term - though there is evidence that this will turnout to be just another species of McGuffinite in real life.  Anyway it's plausible enough, and absolutely necessary to making rockets cheap enough to be used as a plot device in an RPG.  So Luna is a collection of mining towns, with sponsor nations funding outposts to mine out the valuable isotope that makes stable fusion reactions possible.

          At least, until the Great War...

         In order to maintain a reasonable gold-standard in Hard SF goodness, I must theorize what the Lunar landscape will look like in the year 2210.  It's like this:  Luna will be home to outposts from a dozen competing - and hostile - nations mining the most valuable resource in history on a planet with the surface area of Africa.  Those who have studies WWII will recall that the North African theater was home to some pretty fierce we must imagine the effect on Luna's geography and more importantly, on the Lunarians themselves.

         Thanks to the L-Drive, travel to and fro the Moon is fairly cheap.  Because of this, working on Luna will be roughly analogous to working on an oil-rig in the Gulf today (minus the hurricanes, of course) There will not be many "lifers" living on Luna; most people will work specified period (say, one month on, two months off) and live on Terra.  Those who have permanently settled on Luna, most likely as part of the Destiny Foundation's colonization efforts (more on that in the Conestoga PDF), will be poor and spend most of their time eking out a living either through independent mining, subsistence hydroponics, or in the service industry supporting the mining towns' Terran populations.  Like any colonial culture, the native Lunarians will most likely be at the bottom of the socio-economic totem poll.

         Then, of course, there is the poor man's traditional way to earn money and visit exotic places, the military.

         Unfortunately for the poor in the Twenty-third century, the Black Desert and other locals off-Terra will not be friendly, and the military will most likely not be a viable option.  With the advent of robotics and quantum computing giving said robots at least canine-level intelligence, the enlisted sailor/soldier/airman will all but cease to exist.  Military personnel in space will be highly trained officers that supervise the robotic and computer-based elements of the war machine.  This is dictated by physics; the less air-breathing, eating  bodies on a spacecraft, the better.

          How few?  Well, the Missile Craft I mentioned in a previous post, including a Company-level Espatier dettachment, will total about 160.  This seems like a lot, but a Guided Missile Destroyer in the present day requires a crew of about 320 and a company of Marines has another 180 for an impossible total of 500.  So that's a reduction of 68%; you'll see this kind of thing across the board in jobs in space.

Really?  I mean, really?
          The next important question would be, "how long?".  Doing some math gives us a travel time from Terra to Mars of about a month.  Modern navy submarines, while totally wrong space travel, have certain traits we can rip off use as a starting point, such as the 90-day cruise.  It makes some sense for us; one month there, one on station, one back.  I haven't completely worked out how to use IPVs in this fashion yet; I doubts they would be wasted stationed among the cyclers when it's faster and easier to sail back to Earth for fuel and resupply.  But assume an Officer in the Space-Force-of-Your-Choice will spend three months in their ship, get combat pay, hazard pay, etc. at 2010 pay levels divided two to get an estimation of how much in LSU they can spend on shore leave on Mars or an asteroid.

        Okay, my hand is hurting pretty bad again, so I'm gonna go.  Tomorrow, for fun, I'll discuss military orginization in The Black Desert briefly before the weekend.   Enjoy, RocketFans!

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