Mobile Suit Gundam: High Frontier
Life In The Universal Century
There are a number of “city-states” and military bases on the Moon, often co-located, which play an important part in the Gundam world. They are usually built within craters, apparently on the theory that meteoroids, like lightning, don’t strike twice in the same place. Each is a self-contained lunar colony.
Lunar city-states are generally quite large and extend for several kilometers below the surface in distinct levels, from the spaceport and industrial zones lining the crater itself through commercial and residential districts to the hydroponics gardens and farms at the bottom. Sunlight is “piped” in through fiber-optic viaducts, creating an illusory sky over a vast atrium that serves as the outdoors for the inhabitants, called Lunarians.
The first and foremost lunar colony is Von Braun City, which is located in the Cayley crater near the Apollo 11 landing site of “Tranquility Base” where Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin put the first human footprints on the Moon. It’s a maxim of the Gundam world that whosoever controls Von Braun also controls the Moon.
Von Braun City is the closest thing to a capital the Lunarians have; the Athens of the Lunarian city-states.
The Zeon military base at Granada is the next most strategic site on the Moon. It’s located in the Tsiolkovsky crater on the side of the Moon that always faces away from the Earth, in a direct line with Zeon itself.
The Granada colony commands the same prominence on Farside that Von Braun does on Nearside and, like Von Braun, allies itself with different factions several times.
(In his Gundam novels, Tomino placed Granada in the “Soviet Mountains” on Farside, but this was the result of poor research. The line of brightness originally named the Soviet Mountains by scientists interpreting the first pictures sent back by the Russian orbiters in the 1960s was shown to be a long “ray” by Mariner 10 in 1973. The actual location of Granada is rarely specified anymore, but Tsiolkovsky is the most probable locale.)
Where Von Braun is most famous as the first human landfall and permanent settlement on the Moon, Granada is best known as the place where the treaty ending the One Year War was signed. Several Mobile Suits were developed by the Zeonic Corporation facilities at Granada.
Anaheim Electronics, which became a leading mobile suit developer after the One Year War in part because of its absorption of former Zeonic engineers, is based in Von Braun. Its practive of selling arms to both sides of a conflict at the same time contributed greatly to the bad reputation that Lunarians have with both Earthnoids and other Spacenoids.
Even more famous than its Lunar facilities is the kilometer (3,280 foot) wide mobile space dock, La Vie en Rose, which could rendezvous with and service any size ship. It debuted in October 0083 in the vicinity of Solomon (L5) and was destroyed in January 0089 in the vicinity of Side 3 (L2).
Both Anaheim Electronics and the Zeonic Corporation made extensive use of lunar materials in their designs, materials that also went into the construction of the space colonies. The most commonly mentioned is lunar titanium and its refined spinoff Gundarium, which are used to make Mobile Suit armor and shielding.
Other lunar products include Alnico-V, an aluminum-nickel-cobalt alloy used to make magnetic coatings; anorthosite, from which much of the glass, aluminum and concrete used in space construction is derived; and ilmenite, an iron titanate basalt composed of ferrous iron, titanium, and oxygen (in the proportions FeTiO3), from which lunar titanium is derived.
Radioactive isotopes and free oxygen are also refined and exported. All of these products are launched into orbit using a gigantic electromagnetic “rail gun” called a mass driver, located midway between Von Braun and Amman City, in the Censorinus crater.
The frequency with which the lunar colonies changed hands during the various conflicts that became a commonplace in the Gundam world and the willingness of the Lunarians to conduct business as usual during these altercations has given Lunarians a reputation as being mercenary, self-serving, opportunistic and unreliable. In reality, they are fiercely independent and self-reliant, with a strongly cynical disregard for politics bordering on the anarchistic.
(This accounts for the attitudes of several characters in Gundam 0083 toward Nina Purpleton and her Lunarian colleagues, which becomes especially poignant when her assistant Orville turns out to be the Zeon agent in the fourth episode.)
I have a problem with the depiction of the Lunarians in the Gundam Saga—they’re too healthy.
Spacenoids have a number of microgravity zones along the colony axis in which they spend significant amounts of time both at work and at play, but for the most part they live in a Terrestrial environment whose artificial “gravity” helps keep them as fit as their Terrestrial counterparts. It’s quite possible, in fact, that the Spacenoids sustain higher “G” forces than Earthnoids, since it’d be simpler to spin the colony to achieve a radial acceleration of an even 10 meters per second per second than the actual 9.80665 meters per second per second that constitutes a “standard” gravity. The Lunarians, on the other hand, sustain only a sixth of the Earth’s gravity their entire lives.
Last Update: 01 January 2020
Copyright © 1999–present by Dafydd Neal Dyar