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LUNA:  Industrial Wasteland

The moon has been the goal of space travelers since before the first rocket reached orbit.  Today it is often just a first step or a sidestep to some further destination.  But over a million people live on or below its rocky surface.

Most travelers visit the major settlements: Tranquility for its history and gaming, Copernicus for its government offices, Farside for its scientific showcases.  But most Lunar residents are focused on what makes the moon a viable home: industry, not tourism, government, or science. Hundreds of small settlements, like Herbertville in a lonely crater in Lacus Temporis, eke out a living by mining and industry.

The moon has its pockets and concentrations of minerals, extruded in ancient lava fields or deposited by asteroid bombardments.  Its regolith is peppered with Helium 3 from the solar wind.  On the moon, nobody cares about the wastes of industrial development. Vast areas of the surface have been stripped away.  Deep pit mines and the resultant slag pock the surface, and giant fusion plants, heat radiating off into space, provide the heavy industry that the earth's ecosystem can no longer support.

Half-buried settlements of a few hundred or thousand people produce goods for markets on Earth and the colonies: refined metals, non-organic superconductors, red oxygen power cells, even metallic oxygen fuels.  Launched by translunar shuttles or hauled by magrail to the accelerators at Tranquility or Mare Smythii, these goods provide the lifeblood of the Moon.  Something to remember next time you're playing robopoker in a Tranquility casino.

--Grand Tour 2150: A Guide to the Solar System, Euphoria Press
 

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