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The State of the Moon in 2078

Saturday, Sep 28, 2019

Welcome again to MoonMonth! It started a week ago and will go until I’ve said all I can say. We’re looking at how Vekllei conquered the moon today.

Vekllei unequivocally won the space race. Not because it had the first man in space — the Soviets succeeded in that. Nor were they the first to the moon — the Americans had been there for nearly a century. But Vekllei was the first to establish permanent habitation of the Moon’s southern pole, and its claims of territory were reluctantly accepted in the early 2070s after nearly a decade of heated diplomacy. Although the value of the Southern Pole had been known for some time, it was Vekllei that leapfrogged the world’s largest powers to secure the moon’s most valuable real estate.

From Vekllei’s Mt Io, which the rest of the world knows as the Malapert Massif, Vekllei’s largest city enjoys more sunlight year-round than the arctic home country, and parts of the Copette Basin (Shackleton Basin in English) have peaks of eternal light. It enjoys uninterrupted microwave visibility to the Earth. A thick smooth regolith has supported a permanent, concrete settlement and landing areas. It also sits adjacent to regions of permanent shade, which are home to valuable gasses and water which supply Vekllei’s spacecraft with fuel, and assist in fusion research.

The Vekllei Moon Zone has expanded several times in the thirty years of its existence. At first it claimed only a few hundred square kilometres around Mt Io, but has since come to dominate much of the territory around the moon’s Southern Pole.

Today, it is a thriving colony of invaluable economic and psychological importance to the city-state back home. It includes Moidonnet, a city of 50,000 people with all the luxuries of home — plus a few more, like biome domes and zero-gravity museums. Traismodonnet is a military city in the Aitkin Basin that houses much of Vekllei’s classified research into fusion technology. An enormous cosmodrome sits in the Huay Crater (named after Vekllei’s largest cosmodrome on Earth), supported by a military landing site a few hundred kilometres away in the Schrödinger Crater. Prohibited zones litter the Vekllei Moon Zone, including areas allocated for hydrogen and water extraction (such as the SPA Basin Mining Zone, the largest of its kind on the moon) and the Aero Prohibited Area, which extraterrestrial landing craft and weapons in view of the disputed territories.

Valuable real estate is scarce on the moon, especially when costs for travel and infrastructure remain so high. The moon is rife with claims and counter-claims, which often escalate into border skirmishes. These claims sit alongside vast unclaimed territories, largely on the far side of the moon. Any claim made on this vast Terra Nullius will trigger a reaction of counter-claims, and escalate a declining world further into conflict.

That is the moon today. A place of military espionage and tremendous scientific advancement, largely distributed between a handful of superpowers and Vekllei’s jewel in orbit.