Natural satellites contain resources and sometimes atmospheres, and are close to their parent and sometimes lots of other moons. Couldn’t we use a base there to colonise its parent or a neighbouring moon?

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    $\begingroup$ The two moons of Mars are too small to be of any significance in our abilities to colonize Mars. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Oct 10, 2022 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ On top of what @Fred said, the lack of moons around Venus and Mercury has essentially nothing to do with the difficulty of colonizing them. And that pretty much exhausts the list of candidate planets. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2022 at 19:19
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, having a natural satellite is definitely an advantage for colonising a planet's satellite system. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Oct 10, 2022 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ @A.N Asker Mars's moons are about the size of a base by themselves :| $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2022 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I'm really not so sure about that! - vacuous truth and all that. "Are all of Venus's moons colonized?" "Yes, they are." "So, none that we haven't colonized?" "Nope!" "Great! <tick> that was cheap! How's Jupiter coming along?" "Ah." :-) $\endgroup$
    – SusanW
    Mar 3, 2023 at 11:32

1 Answer 1


Whether a moon can facilitate colonization depends on the situation, but in general it's not a big advantage. If you are colonizing the planet then it most likely has most of what you need, if it was deficient in a lot of areas you wouldn't choose it to colonize in the first place. Unless a moon has some sort of significant resources that the planet doesn't it's not going to be particularly useful in colonization, and if it's habitable enough we'd probably colonize that instead.

The main advantage of a moon is its smaller gravity well, which helps in exploring out from a planet. Launches from higher gravity are expensive and you can only launch limited weights (unless you build massive rockets), building spacecraft on a moon with lower gravity is much cheaper. I'm assuming that by the time we can colonize another planet this won't be as much of a problem, but there may still be advantages. Our moon is a dust covered desert rock with few easily accessed resources, we are going there for a number of reasons (technical challenge, national pride, exploring our solar system, and other reasons too many to list) but there's little we can use down here.


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