Hinshelwood Crater: Water Inside, Eternal Sun Outside
Just a few years ago it was confirmed that in the deep constant shadow of the craters of the Moon's poles there is water. Plus a mix of other substances that were steamed out of the rest of the Moon eons ago - carbon dioxide, ammonia. There seem to be hundreds of millions of tons of it, perhaps billions. There ensued excitement about the new possibilities for settlement this creates - within a small community. Most of the world has already discarded the idea of settling the Moon and wants to press on to Mars, if they favor space settlement at all. We have forgotten the images of lunar bases and towns that were so common during the Apollo days.
That small community noted that right beside those reserves of volatiles (being substances that normally evaporate away into space on the Moon), there are peaks on the crater rims that receive sunlight over 90% of the time. If you can raise solar panels on masts 30 m or so, in the right spots they would get sunlight virtually all the time. So you have solved energy and water, two really big challenges.
Thus most pushes for lunar bases these days focus on the poles. There is even a business model - turn the water into liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, and sell it as fuel for satellite station-keeping, deep space missions, and space station orbital maintenance. Unlike putting a base on Mars, this is a space program we could undertake quickly, it is much safer, and it has practical payoffs here at home - space refueling would allow much more space exploration.
It has been repeatedly debated whether in this project there should first be a base mining water at a pole, or the first missions should go to Lalande and expand to ice mining from there. The use of nuclear ships reduces the advantage of water at hand for fuel, and the early deployment of skyhooks reduces it even more. The choice of nuclear generators allows overnight power, and there is a flywheel design for good energy storage overnight even early in the timeline. The main business models all focus on early establishment of construction ability, and the construction technique did not seem viable at the poles.
On further investigation, a version of the construction technique planned for Lalande would work with the minerals found in the highlands, where the poles are. That means a large habitat like proposed for Lalande could be made at the chosen polar site: Hinshelwood Crater, 89°N. This allows the early research and development needed for the core business in this paradigm - construction - to be done there. The sale of places for international astronauts is what funds initial development, and for that you need to build lots of large habitats. After that construction for space is added - ships, satellites, space stations. That is the biggest industry the Moon can host. So it is quite significant to have a way to work at the pole on the core business, as well as volatile mining. In that case, the advantage of the machines not needing to deal with night also weighs in favor of going there first.
So, now the idea is that a small settlement is made at Hinshelwood Crater, and then the first crew sends machines to Lalande to build Cernan's Promise. The polar base is being called Inukshuk, after the piled stone monuments made by Arctic peoples as landmarks. The idea is that during testing of the robotic equipment, the engineers operating them remotely build an Inukshuk. They do it to assess how to use several pieces of equipment jointly for a task, and to check performance of sensory systems by balancing the large stones in the Inukshuk. Then the name sticks.
The early robotic missions would focus on exploring, prospecting for ice, and developing the techniques and technology needed for crews in orbit and on Earth to perform construction telerobotically. Volatile mining would be a secondary priority until the first crew takes up long-term residence. It is much better for people to be nearby when undertaking something as tricky as extracting volatiles from one of the coldest places in the solar system. Since the focus is developing construction capability, the missions can take more time to perfect and ramp up production of water, carbon dioxide, and ammonia. At first the water that is obtained is only to supplement the fuel supply of the nuclear shuttles. Then it supplies their fuel entirely, and then also the fuel of the pod ships. After that the new colony has more and more freedom to use water for local infrastructure - gardens, then greenhouses, then aquaculture, then swimming pools and even such niceties as fountains. If there is a good market in cislunar space for water as rocket fuel or whatever else, all the better, but there is no particular need for that in this paradigm.
Only two large habitat structures are built at Inukshuk, First Hab and Long Hab. The permanent population only reaches about 2500. Ice mining operations are almost completely automated and require very few people on site to manage. In Phase 3 the focus shifts to Cernan's Promise.
Hinshelwood starts shipping water, carbon, and ammonia to Lalande in ever larger amounts. That water almost all stays on the Moon, to make ponds and swimming pools, and provide for crops. Some continues to ship to orbit for fuel, or radiation shielding - unless there is no need. By this time asteroids will be mined for water, metals, and carbon and nitrogen too. This ramps up very quickly thanks to the support provided by the skyhooks. They quickly become the cheapest source of all these things in space, even including the cost to ship them down to the lunar surface.
In the long term, the specialty of Inukshuk is greenhouses. Masts raised up and fitted with mirrors allow true perpetual sun to be distributed to a whole series of large greenhouses. Ecosystem research begins in a few of these greenhouses and remains centered at Inukshuk all through the timeline. It is there that a complete, natural ecosystem adapted to the Moon is eventually designed, one that will sustain itself without any outside interference and provide for the needs of its human residents. The rest of the greenhouses are devoted to the raising of crops and livestock. Harvests supplement the crops at other colonies and are especially important to the stations and colonies in orbit.