Craig Davidson (featured by Zubrin) gave an article on why a lunar base is better than the planned Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway (LOP-G) to advance space exploration.
The Lunar Gateway would be a Mir noticed a space station orbiting the moon. If it is necessary to go to the Gateway before going to the Moon, this would cause a 30% penalty for sending missions to the surface of the Moon.
It would take four launches of the undeveloped Space Launch System or the Unbuild SpaceX Super Heavy Starship to build the Lunar Gateway. It could also be built with 20 Falcon 9 launches or the equivalent of 20 space shuttle launches.
The opportunity cost of the Lunar Gateway is twenty different interplanetary missions.
There are resources on the moon. There is ice in the permanently shaded regions of the moon, and there might be ice under one meter of ground. The average temperature of the moons is -50 degrees. The average temperatures are less than one meter.
Rocket fuel can be produced on the moon. Either hydrogen-oxygen can be generated both by electrolysis of the water, as well as methane can be introduced and moon-oxygen can be used. When methane is introduced using Lunar oxygen, 80% of the mass is saved. Methane is the fuel for the SpaceX Super Heavy Starship and methane is easier to handle than rocket fuel.
Getting the Moon Water
The problem with the ice is that it is in the shadow of craters. If we have new nuclear reactors from Kilopowr, we can put the reactor in the crater. When we use solar energy, solar energy must be in the sunlit area outside the crater. A microwave transmitter and your broadcast radiation a few kilometers into the crater and then you have a tent that is transparent on one side, on the other side the microwaves are reflected back from the side of the tent and pushed into the ground, alternatively the tent could be completely transparent and you could just have a reflective bowl behind you. The general idea then is that microwaves are set to heat water, which makes them so attractive for cooking and that they would penetrate the soil, causing water to evaporate from the soil. This is particularly attractive when the water is in the form of water. Permafrost, where it is mixed with dirt, and especially when the temperatures in these craters are high, the permafrost could be extremely strong material that you do not want to work with the pickaxe to break it up, but here we only heat it up with microwaves and vapors. When they go up, they go in, there's a tube connecting them to a trailer tank, and a rover carries that tank out. You do not want to drag batteries into the crater to try to vaporize ice, which would be very inefficient. This is a short-term application of power beaming. It's very simple, because you do not have to convert the microwaves back into electricity and electricity. Distances are modest.
If you raise the temperature to 700 degrees Celsius, you can make iron from the lunar soil.
The Moon Direct mission does not have to be SpaceX hardware. Lunar development can also be done with Blue Origin New Glenn missiles.
First missions require fuel before lunar mining is established. The lunar degradation could be first set up robotic or prepositioned the first fuel in the camp.
Lunar excursion vehicles can be used as drones to explore anywhere on the moon in case they take off missiles 6 kilometers per second. The moon base would be a drone base to explore the entire surface of the moon.