Andy Weir Discusses Lunar Settlements and His New Book Artemis

In a recent interview with Business Insider, The Martian author Andy Weir discussed the viability of Lunar and Martian settlements. Following his hit first novel, the author is set to return with his new book Artemis, a story that envisages a sprawling Lunar resort complex.

View the full interview here.

Andy Weir shot to prominence with his debut novel The Martian in 2011. His book was adapted for the big screen in 2015 with Matt Damon playing the chief protagonist, Mark Watney. Critics and readers agree that what makes The Martian so enthralling is its insistence on realism. Weir grounds his action in scientific buildup, a combination that enables the reader to become completely invested in the outcome of the novel’s conflict.

When Weir began writing his latest novel Artemis, he began by talking the same approach. To do this, he needed to ground a Lunar settlement within an economic framework that could justify the massive commercial expenditure. After considering a number of options, Weir concluded that tourism would be the most likely drive for a lunar settlement. “The only thing that I can think of is if humans being there is inherently part of the economy — and the only way that happens is tourism,” he explained.

To illustrate how a resort facility would facilitate the growth of human settlement on the moon, Weir provided the following:

“Also, I based Artemis’ internal economy — and kind of its social structure that emerges as a result — on resort towns, tourism towns. Imagine a resort town in the Caribbean, where there’s some high-end hotels, casinos, whatever, along the shoreline. And then behind that are the more, shall we say, “austere” living environments of the people who live and work there.”

He continued to explain that, “It doesn’t matter if it’s on the moon: Economics determines how these things pan out.” Justifying a Lunar settlement as a consequence of economic necessity rather than a scientific or humanitarian effort illuminates just how facile most other approaches to Lunar and Martian settlements have been.

So when can we expect our first Lunar holiday? Well, the events of Artemis take place in the 2080s with construction having commenced in the 2060s. Weir admitted, however, that although he believes a human settlement on the Moon could realistically happen this century, there are still many scientific hurdles we need to overcome first.

Artemis goes on sale on November 14.

Image Credit: SpaceX

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.