Story versus Reality
When is Lunatics set?
The events of "No Children In Space" start in the Spring of 2040. In this time, there are a number of outposts on the Moon created by various organizations for commercial and scientific reasons. There are, however, no permanent colonies or settlements, and there are no families.
Why the Moon instead of Mars or the Asteroids?
While Mars has a lot of scientific appeal, and is an aggressive target worthy of a large-scale national program, and in the long run, it has important resource advantages, it is a fairly daunting target for commercial or other private interests. We wanted a story that was a little closer to home, and which relied on more accessible technology. In the scenario proposed in Lunatics, government involvement in space exploration -- and particularly, colonization -- is minimal. We feel this is honest to the real politics of the situation, and is a very realistic scenario. A similar situation exists with respect to asteroids, even Near-Earth Objects: although energy costs are sometimes lower, there are significant operational hurdles which would be a problem for budget-conscious organizations, like our "International Space Foundation."
What is this "International Space Foundation," and where can I join?
The name "International Space Foundation" is a name we came up with after an internet search to make sure it isn't a real organization. However, the world is thick with space advocacy organizations, and aside from a few particulars necessary for the story, the ISF is conceived as a fictional amalgam of those organizations. If you are interested in joining a real space organization, I can suggest a few to look into: the National Space Society (NSS) (which despite the name is really an international organization nowadays), the Space Frontier Foundation, the Planetary Society, the World Space Foundation (WSF), and the Space Foundation. There is also the Moon Society and the Mars Society. All of these organizations have financed space projects of some kind, ranging from database research to actual launches and flights.
I'm so disappointed! What about LIBRE?
That's made up too, but it is rather similar to the Mars Arctic Research Station in northern Canada. There is also supposed to be a plan for a Moon project under development in the Atacama desert in Chile. It is also partly based on Biosphere 2, which is located between Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona (the fictional location of LIBRE).
Obviously, of course, "Space Command" is a bunch of hooey, right?
Um, no, the US Air Force's 50th Space Wing and the Air Force Space Command are for real. These are the folks in charge of the nuclear missiles, NORAD, and all that fun stuff. The 50th Space Wing also manages the Global Positioning System, so it would be a fairly natural progression for them to assume responsibility for the (fictional) "LunaNav" system, which does essentially the same thing. We've obviously taken considerable liberties in our guesses as to what will happen to the 50th over the next 30 years, but the organization is real.
Air force? What about NASA?
In 2040, there are more organizations active in space. "Space is a Place, Not a Program". We do allude briefly to NASA operations on the Moon (a research station located near the Marius Hills) -- they are there. But our particular colonists managed to get a sweet deal as military contractors with a USAF training station. I could tell you some other reasons for this story decision, but that would be telling.
What about Utah State University?
Actually, it turns out, there really is a Utah State University, it isn't all desert. In fact, there is even a pretty active research program there for Space Agriculture. It was their Crop Physiology Laboratory that developed "Apogee Wheat".
What the heck is "Apogee Wheat"?
Shoo! You're not a real space junkie! Seriously, though, check the USU link above if you want to know.