you want to find the most starry-eyed predictions about the
future of lunar colonisation, then you needn't go any further than
Neil P. Ruzic's 1969 book Where the Wind's Sleep.
According to Ruzic, the Moon landings don't end with Apollo 17 in
1972, but continue with increasing aggressiveness until some fifty
people walk on the lunar soil by 1975 when permanent settlements
are already being established.
It turns out that colonisation isn't that difficult at all. The
Moon has minerals lying about on the surface for easy gathering, there
are huge glaciers of permafrost in the deeper craters and valleys, and
even small deposits of oil. It also turns out that trying to
work in a spacesuit in hard vacuum is a breeze
and gigantic earthmoving enterprises that would put the Chunnel to
shame are no problem.
Soon the Russian and American settlements begin to boom like a dot-com
bubble and by the year 2000 the lunar population
is 1500 and by
2045 hundreds of thousands are living on the Moon. Frankly,
they make Clavius
look like a Yukon gold
rush town by comparison. There are
huge underground cities on the near and far side of the Moon tunnelled beneath the largest lunar
craters and topped with gigantic air domes for everything from
scientific agriculture to low-gravity ballet to a sort of flying
lacrosse with men flitting about with strap-on wings. These
fledgling metropolises are linked by an
incredible system of maglev trains that span across thousands of miles and
built with less difficulty than stringing a telegraph line.
It's no surprise that life in these lunar cities is the best thing
this side of Heaven with people breathing "perfect" air and living to
at least 120 in the low gravity, which doesn't seem to have any
adverse effects whatsoever.
And, of course, life is rich, harmonious, and productive since this is
a colony made up of an elite of scientists and not that uncouth rabble that tended
to be in the first wave to the New World and Australia back on Earth--
though the question of how all these cities, mines, factories,
observatories, spaceports, and maglev systems are built and run
without armies of labourers is not mentioned. Never mind that
most societies made up of academics tend to be composed of
back-biters, head cases, fanatics, and egomaniacs
trapped in a situation of too many chiefs and not enough Indians; this
time it works out perfectly with the American and Russian
colonists throwing off their earthly differences and uniting in lunar
harmony for no readily apparent reason.
In fact, these Lunarians, as Ruzic call them, are
out-right supermen. They not only read four times faster than
ordinary humans, but are incredibly healthy, intelligent, resourceful,
co-operative, peaceful; and possessed of a form of organisation that
Ruzic calls a "multiple psych-team" that obviates mistakes,
misinterpretations, or corruption, but which sounds pretty much like
good old fashioned rule by committee.
Now that is what I call optimism.