The arguments about reasons to go to the moon will continue until people start making a profit on site without ambiguity. A profit that doesn’t depend on the taxpayers and their chosen elected changing their minds. Most of us think in terms of “useful stuff”. Water, building materials, oxygen and such. I have noticed (as hard as I try not to) that it is not the necessities that get people pumped up. It is the frills. Sports, jewelry, cruises, and vacationing in general are much higher profile than what I am normally interested in, not to mention, enormously profitable. A wise friend of mine once said “If you want to make a living, give people what they need, but if you want to get rich, give them what they want.”
So an attraction on the moon that is mostly delivered in electrons to the customers, and have them begging for more. There are some sports events that take a few minutes or hours per game, but games are weekly for months. And seasons can trace back decades to over a century of history.Â There are “reality” shows that go on season after season. And endless television shows that stay on for over a decade.
I suggest an event that would be unique, challenging, and very hard to predict. Circumnavigating the moon on the ground would be close enough to 10,000 kilometers for purposes of hype. All off road as there are no roads. An east to west course chasing the sun with a start just after sunrise. 28 checkpoints that represent the distance that must be traveled daily (24 hours, earth day) to make it back to the finish line before sundown. Other than the checkpoints, navigation is your problem.
There will have to be some rules such as no suborbital hoping between checkpoints. Other than that though, rules should be as simple and straightforward as possible. Cameras on at all times. No sabotaging competitors. Sportscaster interviews at each check point. And so on.
First race might be a single daredevil proving it could be done, winning the prize money by completing and surviving. Check points could be landers with com and supplies. Or perhaps sportscasters would hop ahead to cover the laps which would be on the order of 400 kilometers each. Get people excited enough to prove it on pay-per-view, and it might just expand into a major annual event.
Byproducts would be better transportation technology on airless/inhospitable planets. ConsiderableÂ exploration of the surface in a band perhaps 100 km wide around the whole planet. The possibility of a lot of people getting interested in more than one planet.