Touring the Moon
It is the year 2082 and the moon is a settled world. There are 50,000 people who consider themselves Lunarians and who accept the moon as their home, and of these more than 5,000 have been born here and have never visited Earth.When tourism is at its height the total population is well in excess of 100,000.
Lunarians view tourists with mixed emotions.On the one hand, tourists crowd the space lanes and, at times, overload the moon's living facilities— and the moon, despite all the advances of the past century, is still not an open world. Its available air and water must be carefully recycled and every drop of water replacement (hundreds of thousands of gallons per year) must be imported.
On the other hand, the Lunarians are proud of their world, have an almost feverish desire to counter the stereotype of the moon as a bleak and desolate place, and (let us admit) can make use of the money that tourists bring.
Most tourists who arrive are first-timers, people who have never left Earth before.They arrive after a three-day journey in which they have experienced the thrills and inconveniences of weightlessness, and look forward with relief to reaching the surface of a world where up is up and down is down. Despite all indoctrination, however, they seem to expect only one kind of world, one with Earth's surface gravity.
This misconception is heightened by the fact that every effort is made to give the moon an Earth-like appearance.The ship does not land on the surface, which is undeniably bleak (though Lunarians never use the word and would prefer to banish it from the dictionaries). The ship sinks into a huge