Al Globus makes an argument that orbiting space colonies are better than lunar colonies. I agree with some of what he says, but he only shows one side of it.
His agreements amount to:
- Orbital colonies are easier to build
- There's more space
- Orbital Colonists can live at 1 g.
To address point 3 first, there is little evidence of the effects of 1/6 g on the human body. So it is not a given that Lunnies could not visit Earth. But it might be a valid point.
Argument 2 is true, but I am not sure it matters. As he admits, the Earth is nearly uninhabited by area, so how are we going to fill up huge colonies in the near future, when we don't even fill up our home.About point 1, he states:
Getting back and forth to orbit is far easier than getting to the Moon or Mars, which is why we've had space stations circling Earth for thirty years and have yet to see the first base on the Moon much less on Mars.
First, we have not had large circling stations in orbit for any years. Skylab, Mir, and ISS together could hold maybe 20 people, if they liked each other. And they all cost a fortune to build. In orbit, everything you build has to come from somewhere else. On the Moon, it could (potentially) come from the dust beneath your feet.
I think it is yet to be seen whether orbital or lunar colonies will be better. Hopefully we will have both along with many other colonies on many other moons and planets in the coming centuries. I think I will lean on the side of the moon for our first foray.