Of course, it is impossible to give hard figures, in advance, about just how much Lunar land claims recognition legislation will benefit the overall economy, but there is a generally accepted way to make a reasonable estimate. Using those standard methods we can estimate the total effect on economic growth generally will be at least 350 Billion dollars ($350,000,000,000) and could possibly end up approaching a Trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) from development and a decade of operations.
Here's how we calculate that. First, the hardest part, we have to estimate how much money will have to be raised from venture capitalists (some from overseas, of course) and invested in space development to meet all the requirements necessary to make a land claim under the law. Those requirements are:
Develop safe, reliable affordable transport to and from the Moon as well as the infrastructure for a permanent Lunar settlement
Set up and operate a space "airline" going back and forth to bring in the permanent residents and fare-paying visitors
Support the settlement until other revenue sources can take over
Dr. Eric Rice, the CEO of Orbitec and the leader of a NASA funded study of land claims recognition legislation estimates that will take between $50 and $75 billion in current year dollars if done by private enterprise.*
Of course, each initial dollar raised and spent will produce multiple dollars of benefit to the economy as the settlement company buys products from prime suppliers, who buy from secondary suppliers, who in turn buy from raw material companies, etc., and each level hires workers (creating thousands of well-paying aerospace jobs) who, in turn, spend their new income buying things like houses and supporting service businesses like restaurants, etc.
Traditionally, in estimating the effect of aerospace spending on the overall economy, the generally accepted practice has been to assume a multiplier of 7 times the initial investment.
Using that standard, if Dr. Rice is right about the investment needed, it indicates that even one team working to establish a settlement and space line will add between $350 and $525 Billion ($50 to $75 Billion times 7) to our economy, even before the economic benefits of the land sales themselves and spinoff activities.
Of course, if multiple teams were to compete, the benefit to the general economy will also be multiplied by the number of competitors. Therefore, if land claims recognition legislation were to set off a commercial space race, it is not impossible that the total effect on economic growth generally could end up approaching a Trillion dollars.
But again, remember these are what is called "forward looking statements" which can only be our best estimates as to what will happen, not statements of provable fact.
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*Dr. Rice says he's assuming an effort that "includes the following scope: the initial development, placement and 10 years of operations of a: (1) reliable, safe, and cost-effective Lunar Space Transportation System infrastructure, including: reusable low-cost Earth launchers, a reusable crew vehicle with wheels, Earth and Lunar orbiting propellant and servicing depots, totally reusable orbit transfer and Lunar landing vehicles, and (2) Lunar facilities at the south pole, including space and surface transport infrastructure, habitats, life support systems, space resource processing, surface vehicles, manufacturing facilities, power stations, etc."
Note: The first 25 FAQs below are reprinted from the Space Settlement Initiative website.
The FAQs above cover basic questions about Lunar Land Claims Recognition. The following questions address more advanced issues.
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