Satoshi's Sidewalk #21: Bootstrapping Starbases
Or how @ElonMusk can bootstrap @SpaceX infrastructure to the Moon and beyond.
Elon’s new Starship is going to need a base - in outer space. Let’s call it a…Starbase. This is not to be confused with Starbase, TX which is obviously trolling on Elon’s part, it should be called Terrabase.
Building one Starbase is going to be an expensive venture. Building more than one…now we’re talking about a lot of cheddar. How does Elon afford to build one? Can he recoup some of the costs? How does each Starbase pay for itself in addition to being a launchpad for further exploration?
Easy. Take the old railroad town building approach: each new Starbase built doubles as a local marketplace.
West of the Mississippi River towns are approximately every 10 miles. Why is that? Land grants given by the US government were given in 100 sq. mile sections and no two abutting sections could be granted to the same grantee. To recapture the investments, railroads would partner with the developers of their day to plat as many towns as possible along the rail line to control the market. This improved the line’s returns and cemented the line’s financial stability. Private towns would pop up after railroad towns were settled and competition for survival was fierce. (Interesting read)
In the end, there were too many towns. By hook or by crook a minority of the railroad pop-up towns survived. The Union Pacific was notorious for finding ideal locations for towns in their sections - which just so happened to be where the Secretary of War purchased land and established forts. Many of those towns turned into cities and are still around today: Tacoma, Billings, Fresno, Reno, Cheyenne, and Albuquerque. *eyeroll*
SpaceX should take the same approach with establishing starbases. The distance to Mars is great and waypoints can (and should) be built. Establishing footholds for space travel and building artificial geographic land around it to create a marketplace in space. Whether for trading, traveling, hotel stay, or production. Doesn’t matter. Human action not related to Starbase’s primary operations should take place. Wealth creation, generally speaking.
What would a Starbase look like? Don’t know, but if you could hear in space I know what it would sound like.
The whirring of ASICs mining bitcoin.
Bitcoin enables remote human settlements around energy sources which are otherwise too far from civilization. A remote corner of Earth would be the logical starting point for establishing a new town specifically around harvesting a stranded energy source to mine bitcoin. Taking this idea one step (for man) further, and Lunar-based mining is a real thing.
We know from the Law of Hash Horizons that the Center of Hash will (probably always) be a few light-seconds from Earth - but - the moon is not far enough away to be discounted as competition in the Terran hash pool. SpaceX can get started on this right away by partnerning with The International Space Station to start mining bitcoin. Mining in Earth’s orbit would be a great way to test energy production, rigs and methods.
Once lunar-based mining is operational humans can setup other markets - such as exporting Helium-3 back to Earth (or Earth’s orbit). With a primary economic driver up and running, lower order goods and services pop up to support humans working on higher order goods. Collecting, consuming, and converting energy available in the universe to monetary energy is the tip of the proverbial spear for humans life to become interplanetary.
Starbases go whirrrrrrr.