President's Report on The State of The Society
for our 3rd Annual Membership Meeting on August 11th, 2010
Date of Report: July 30, 2010
updated August 11th, 2010 - Revamping the Changing Featured Image on our homepage
This has been another year of growth, perhaps not in membership numbers. but in the scope of Moon Society activities.
Membership is actually down 5% from a year ago, but considering the economic situation, we are fortunate that the decline has not been much greater. The percentage of members not renewing remains higher than it was before the economic downturn, but new people are joining in numbers that largely offset that loss.
We remain blessed to have a high proportion of our members, near 15%, actively contributing to Moon Society efforts directly, or doing space-related projects on their own. This is an "activism rate" about three times that reported by most other space organizations.
At our September 16, 2009 Management Committee Meeting, we approved a plan to allow current (not new) members to renew for 3 years at a time for the price of 2 years. If your rate is $35/year, you will be able to renew for 3 years for $70. If your rate is $20/year (senior/student/ with electronic newsletter only) you will be able to renew for 3 year for just $40. If your rate is $60 (outside North America with hardcopy newsletter) you can renew for 3 years for $120. We trust that this provision will be a popular option, and it reduced our membership processing load.
Those who take advantage of this offer will also receive a 20th Anniversary Moon Miners' Manifesto CD. Mailings of these CDs will begin on August 2nd.
Thanks to former Vice-president Charles Radley, members can now get a Moon Society Visa card from Capital One
Our treasury balance has more than recovered from the investments made in 2007 for (Moon Colony) video productions and in 2008 to design and build our tabletop solar power beaming demonstration unit.
That means that we are now on the lookout for new projects that require funding. Prizes for contests and competitions are one option.
A recent suggestion, one that we have proposed to the new project-focused ExploreMars.org, would be a Design Engineering Competition for a specially designed rover that could winch itself down (and back up) into a lava tube skylight, several of which have now been found on both the Moon and Mars. Successful Design Engineering Challenges need worthy prizes to attract the talent required.
See "Planet Earth & Space Conference" below for another project that may be worth funding.
Saving for our proposed Lunar Analog Research Station project is another. Such a project would require substantial funding, perhaps in partnership with other organizations. We continue to brainstorm options that would let us get started in a phase by phase manner but which would allow us to support valuable analog research from the start. It would also require a program management team which we do not yet have in place.
Our Website - The Changing "Featured Image"
Just above the Moon Society Announcements Section as of August 11, there is an updated announcement on our homepage about this.
The Changing Images Feature on our homepage is currently under revision.
This feature is designed to acquaint the member and visitor with ideas that illustrate the possibilities of human settlements on the Moon.
Until now, when you clicked on the featured image, you get a larger one, and most of the time there is some accompanying explanation.
What we are in the process of doing is to add links to articles in MMM or other Society publications such as the MMM Classics volumes, that give a more complete explanation of the illustrated concept. The idea is to acquaint the member or visitor with the vast amount of older published material that already exists, most of it still pertinent.
There are currently 133 images in this library, 124 or 93% of them with active links to articles that give further information on the subject of the image. Dozens more to come, and our goal is a 100% with active links.
An example is shown below.
Click on teaser image or accompanying text above and see what you get.
Now there is one more feature. When you click on the featured image on our homepage and get a larger or more developed image, you will be able to click on that in turn, and get a document that contains further information. So go to the homepage and try it there!
We personally have a habit of checking the homepage daily, just to get the latest space news. Why not get into that habit as well, and while you are at it, click on the changing feature image.
If this is about a topic that you are not familiar with, explore the links given.
This Changing Featured Image Library has become another publication effort, and with the MMM Glossary, a way to explore the topics we have been talking about, a way for new members and visitors to find out how comprehensive the Moon Society's vision is.
An International Lunar Research Park
In the past year, we began brainstorming in earnest, the concept of an International Lunar Research Park, quite a different critter from a national moonbase. See MMM #228 pp. 6-8 and/or MMM-India Quarterly #2 p. 20-25
International partnership brings a measure of invulnerability to Congressional budgetary mischief. And bringing together at one location contributions by several national space agencies, allows each to concentrate on different research areas, instead of duplicating efforts. In this concept, a contractor consortium would build the spaceport, and all facilities needed by the various national outposts in common. The result would be a much larger and more capable installation, focused on research aimed at bringing lunar-building materials needed for expansion online. This would be the kind of installation that could conceivably morph over time into the first industrial settlement on the Moon.
At ISDC 2010 in Chicago over th Memorial Day Weekend, Dave Heck of Boeing St. Louis and the Moon Society St. Louis Chapter, gave a presentation based on his personal familiarity with the world's largest industrial Research Park in Sheffield, England.
Dave foresees three phases:
- A virtual ILRP - a website that would keep track of all ongoing research essential to the successful establishment of industrial settlements on the Moon. This would be very similar to the University of Luna Project proposal, for which we had not found the backing to continue
- A real Research Park here on Earth where the needed technologies could be further researched, tested, and demonstrated - somewhat of a Lunar Analog Research Station on Steroids.
- The establishment of the first International Lunar Research Park on the Moon.
We had earlier proposed that a Workshop to further develop this concept be put on the program for ISDC 2010 in Chicago, but this suggestion was turned down. Dave Heck's program was shifted at the last minute from Friday afternoon to Thursday afternoon when attendance was much lighter than it would have been on Friday. These are the breaks.
A proposed Art Competition to illustrate the concepts of an International Lunar Research Park had been discussed in a Management Committee Meeting but did not get further, awaiting a definition of design constraints that would apply. Now that we can fund attractive prizes, we need to take up this idea again. Apollo Mission 40th Anniversary Observances
We held an Apollo 13 Essay Contest with the theme "Manned Space Exploration is worth the Risk"
The entries all made valid points. For more, check out Apollo 13 Essay Contest Report.
We have chosen to skip Apollo 14 in an effort to put together a better observance of the Apollo 15 mission, the first in a truly "scenic" area (Hadley Rille in the Lunar Appenine mountain range) and the first mission with a rover. We are currently working on an announcement.
A Lunar Analog Research Station and Program
As mentioned above, at this stage we are exploring options that would require land low acquisition costs, low construction costs, and low logistics costs. The lower we can get the threshold cost, the better the chance of this dream becoming a reality. We are looking at a modular design that can be deployed phase by phase, as well as adaptation of existing structures; seasonal rented sites, rather than a permanent site; and also at research programs for which a special "moon-like" terrain would not be needed.
Right now, the perceived cost threshold is too high. But there are many options to look at. It is not our goal to mimic the Mars Desert Research Station and program. We want to do much more, but in a manner that costs less, at least initially. If you want to join our brainstorming team, write firstname.lastname@example.org with "analog program" in the subject line.
Two years ago, responding to an EPA funding offer for conferences dealing with Climate Change, an NSS-Moon Society Team (George Whitesides, Loretta Hidalgo and Mark Hopkins for NSS, Peter Schubert and Peter Kokh for the Moon Society), brainstormed and then submitted a proposal for a conference aimed at starting a conversation between space enthusiasts and environmental activists. Both groups have the survival of humanity and of our beloved home planet at heart. But we keep talking past one another. Mutual demonization solves nothing.
We had even located a very willing "bridge" sponsor in the Earth and Sky Foundation. There were 17 submissions and only two slots, and our proposal was not one of the lucky two. But Dr. Schubert and I are still very much interested in this project. We need to identify the minimum seed money to get the stalled ball rolling again. This would be a good candidate for Moon Society funding.
There are many great project opportunities such as that recently outlined in a ShiftBoston report. However, each project takes a dedicated team, and those already active in ongoing projects have there hands full. Without more volunteers, including Project Managers to take the lead, we can only do so much. In short, we are not in need of new project ideas. We are in need of new project volunteers!
Moon Miners' Manifesto
Moon Miners' Manifesto will complete its 24th year of continuous publication, ten issues a year, with the December issue, #241. While individual back issues (in electronic pdf file format # 145 forward) remain username/password protected, all the non-time sensitive articles from the first 20 years are republished in the MMM Classics series, freely available to anyone. MMM Classics #21 should be available by year's end.
MMM "Continuity" - Moon Miners' Manifesto has served the Moon Society from its founding in July 2000, and its predecessor organization, Artemis Society International since September 1995. As such, continuity of this publication is of vital importance to the Society.
At the July 7, 2010 meeting of the Management Committee, we decided on the language of a document by which the Lunar Reclamation Society (our "partner" NSS chapter in Milwaukee, WI), publisher of MMM from the start in the fall of 1986, will convey the rights to the name "Moon Miners' Manifesto" and all transferable copyrights and publication rights to the Moon Society. In practice, nothing would change, and LRS would continue to publish the newsletter, merge member data from the Moon Society and several participating NSS chapters into a combined database, and arrange for printing.
The purpose of the transfer of rights is to cover the situation that would arise if either the Lunar Reclamation Society should dissolve, and/or should the current editor from the beginning, Peter Kokh, not be able to continue in this capacity.
There are three conditional clauses: one would return ownership to LRS should the Moon Society dissolve while LRS was still functional, or turn it over to the National Space Society should both LRS and TMS dissolve; or to turn the rights to MMM over to NSS should the Moon Society be unable to find a replacement editor and resume publication within a year.
It is expected that this document will be ready for the Board to approve and sign at the August 18th meeting. Meanwhile, the current editor intends to continue "until the day comes when he can move to the first lunar settlement and begin putting out The Mother Moon News instead."
An "MMM Glossary" of old words given new meanings in MMM, and of new words where no existing word would do to convey an idea, has been published and expanded. Additional entries are planned to the 300 now posted.
MMM Themes - We launched our new MMM Themes issues, collections of articles from the early years (1-20 i.e.. December 1986 to November 2006) based on themes, starting with two Mars issues. You can see and download the current selection of MMM Theme issues. This directory does not require a username and password for entry, and members are encouraged to spread the word about these and the MMM Classics issues to others.
MMM-India Quarterly continues to be a success and a big hit in India. Published on a quarterly schedule (January, April, July, October. These publications, in pdf format, are available to anyone. In November 2009, we announced the formation of our new autonomous affiliate: Moon Society (India) which will focus recruiting efforts on technical university campuses for a start.
Vector Pages: for those curious on how the Moon Society stands on Mars, the Asteroids, Research, Space Tourism, Art, and other topics, we have created some new pages with links to more information. The new Art page is a thumbnail type Gallery of existing Moon-related artwork which we hope will help members and visitor visualize some of the concepts involved in our vision of the Lunar Frontier.
At the time of this report, we are getting ready to introduce our new formatted-email newsletter which will be freely available to anyone who sends us their current email address. The contest to come up with a name is over, and the winning entry, "Moonscapes" was sent in by Dan Hawk of Green Bay, WI. Dan will receive a free one year renewal of his membership. The contest to design a banner for the new newsletter ends on August 7th, but we are already delighted by an early entry by Loyd Knox of Oklahoma who will receive a three year renewal.
Moonscape will bring news and commentary articles, and complement the content of Moon Miners' Manifesto and other publications. It will be published when we have just enough material, and not yet too much. We will maintain a separate email list, so that anyone can subscribe or unsubscribe at will.
A Spanish language Quarterly? [proposed masthead]
Another somewhat daunting publication project is under consideration, a Spanish Language Quarterly. The Moon Society has been active for some time in Mexico, and more recently in Chile - the Moon/Mars Atacama Research Station, for which we have been the lead design consultant. And we are cosponsoring the Puerto Rico Space Conference in late October. Consider also that the United States may have the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world, after Mexico and before Spain!
Check our Mexican Space Society page and our Spanish Language Project information page. These pages are a humble start. We will need to build a capable team to realize this goal. To volunteer, write email@example.com and/or check out our Volunteering Page.
Members can download special one-page calendars on which Moon Society Management Committee, Board, Town Meeting, and Annual membership meeting dates are noted. These calendars come in both landscape and portrait format and with a variety of picture options. Go to our Downloads page and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Policy and Positions
October 13, 2009 - The Moon Society Management Committee unanimously endorses Buzz Aldrin's Proposal for a Lunar Infrastructure Development Corporation - Alerted in advance by Buzz Aldrin, we have been first to support this major initiative which jives well with our own International Lunar Research Park
Change of Course, Spring 2010 - Many Moon Society members were disheartened when the Obama Administration announced that there was not enough money to continue the Constellation program and to realize the goal of a permanent manned moonbase. However, we were encouraged by the Administration's choice of programs in which to invest some of the freed money: technologies needed to open space and commercial transportation. To reassure our members that "all was far from lost," on May 8, 2010, we released our statement "A Lunar Frontier - Things are Looking Better than Ever!"
In Mike Griffin's own words, Constellation was "Apollo on Steroids." What we feared was that the current Moon Program would suffer the same fate, becoming "Flags and Footprints on Steroids." The Moon Society is anything but a dictatorship and there are those who would disagree.
But with new emphasis placed on the right technologies, formerly ignored, it seems possible that we (an international space agency partnership working with and through commercial companies) could be on the Moon, with a more substantial presence, well before the sure-to-be-delayed Constellation Program would have reached the Moon with a token installation.
This is an area which has been neglected in since 2004, not for lack of interest, but in the competition for attention of so many other "urgent" projects. If you would like to help craft position papers on any of the following issues (or suggest an issue of your own) please write firstname.lastname@example.org and put "position papers" in the email subject line.
Astronomy on the Moon
Coordinating Moon & Mars Exploration
Space Tourism on the Moon
The Commercial Route to Opening the Moon
Human-Robot synergies in Exploration and Development
Robotic Exploration of Lavatubes on Moon and Mars
Lunar Outpost Location Options
Creating Terrestrial Business Plans for Technologies needed on the Moon.
The Economic Case for the Moon: Exports for Profits
An Economic Case for Mars
Space Transportation 2.0
Note: we wouldn't suggest a topic (in the list above) for which we didn't already have some ideas.
Or suggest a paper on another topic - Note, we can easily create email-lists for each position paper team
- Sometimes joining forces and combining talents makes sense. First a history, then notes on where we are as of this year.
We have a history of collaborating with ALS that goes back 23 years when the Lunar Reclamation Society and ALS cosponsored a design competition for a telescope that one could use from within the comfort of a pressurized lunar homestead. A design constraint was that electronic import of images from surface instruments to an interior view screen was "cheating." Three interesting designs were the result
In 2005, the Moon Society became an official cosponsor of ALS Moon Observing Certificate Program, offering it to our members and website visitors.
That same year we began making our publications (in pdf format) available to each other's members. Moon Society members can freely download issues of Selenology.
This year, ALS accepted a proposal by Peter Kokh for publication in the summer issue of Selenology: "A National Park System on the Moon?" The idea behind this paper is that to avoid another "Tragedy of the Commons" such as the Space Debris situation in low Earth orbit, we need to define constraints and protocols which will allow us to develop the Moon while respecting the Moon's beauty and preserving it for future generations. This paper was meant as the start of a discussion and we are hoping for much input from ALS members with which we can craft a second more developed paper for wider dissemination. If we could get the world community to adopt such a system of protocols. that might defuse the fear many people have that if we open the Moon, we will end up trashing it.
The Summer 2010 issue of Selenology in which the paper is printed, should be released for inclusion on our website in a few months.
Recently, when the computer of the Selenology editor crashed, he lost all past issue pdf files. We were able to send him our duplicate files.
Moon Miners' Manifesto began as the newsletter of the Milwaukee Lunar Reclamation Society chapter of the L5 Society, six months before the L5/National Space Institute merger into what is now The National Space Society at ISDC 1987 in Pittsburgh. Four months prior to the merger, I got the list of SE Wisconsin members of NSI from Lori Garver, and we became the first integrated NSS chapter three months before the merger. No other NSS chapter's NSS association goes that far back, though several chapters such as OASIS (Los Angeles) and Seattle L5 Society predate LRS.
Moon Miners' Manifesto started serving Artemis Society International in September 1995, and its successor The Moon Society as of its founding in July 2000.
The upshot is that collaboration between The Moon Society and NSS is a natural.
2005.05.22 The Moon Society and The National Space Society Sign an Historic Agreement by which the Moon Society becomes an Autonomous Affiliate of NSS. We wrote the agreement and they signed it without a single change.
By the end of the year, NSS signed on the Moon Society's Simulation Exercise at the Mars Desert Research Station, held in early 2006, contributing matching funds (at the same level as the Lunar Reclamation Society and Moon Society's commitments).
In 2007, we cosponsored NSS Space Calendar Art Competition.
We have cosponsored NSS's annual ISDC and chaired the Moon track of several ISDCs.
In 2009, NSS paid for the production of one thousand CDs of Moon Miners' Manifesto's First Twenty Years for inclusion in the ISDC 2009 registration packets. At this conference, Moon Society President and MMM Editor Peter Kokh was given NSS' prestigious Gerard O'Neill Space Settlement Award. Peter had been previously honored by a position on the NSS Board of Advisors.
While in general, except for chapter initiatives, NSS is not "project focused," they remain an exceptional partner on many levels.
As early as 1987, a future member of SFF, which would be founded the next year, began donating computer equipment to enhance the publication quality of MMM. Soon, MMM was listed on the SFF website as one of its umbrella projects. Evidently, SFF found MMM editorial positions kindred to their own.
Then in 2000, Moon Society Founder Gregg Bennett made an arrangement with SFF for our founding convention to immediately follow their annual convention at the same hotel, Ceasers Palace, in Las Vegas. The financial arrangements were apparently not observed, so there has been some bad feeling on the part of early Moon Society leaders. While we personally remain on cordial terms with several Foundation leaders, we have as yet not collaborated on a project of substance.
In the past year, when the future of the International Space Station was in doubt, we offered to join forces with SFF and resurrect a decade old plan they had for privatization/commercialization of the station. SFF listened, then thanked us, but there has been no follow-up.
Together, in February 2008, we launched the Google Group: Railroading on Moon and Mars. The idea was to brainstorm the engineering options to the point where we could attempt to interest railroad buffs at large who might never have thought of the practicality of Railways on the Moon or Mars. But we didn't manage to attract many fellow brainstormers and the project has stalled.
We had since suggested cooperating with their design project for an orbital refueling station, but it did not get past the suggestion stage.
Recently, we suggested a join effort to launch a design competition for a rover that could winch its way down (and back) into a lavatube skylight on Moon or Mars. But there has been no response. However we have found another collaborator!
Back in 2002, Paul Swift and I launched the Mars Society "Mars Aviation Task Force".
We hoped to involve many terrestrial experimental aviation buffs thinking that the idea of being able to fly on Mars would make the planet more "real" to the public. This effort failed to attract anyone.
In 2004, The Moon Society cosponsored the Mars Society Convention, held that year in Chicago. We had a great exhibit with several flyers about Moon/Mars collaboration. Few attendees paid any attention. But it was at this convention that we learned that the Mars Desert Research Station could be rented for crews from other organizations. The next year I got on a regular Mars Society Crew (#34) to learn what I could about MDRS and to determine whether this would be a good environment for a Moon Society "moonbase simulation."
Well, the MDRS setting screamed "Mars," but I thought that we could nonetheless do some useful moon-relevant projects and exercises there, and with the Lunar Reclamation Society kicking in one fifth of the demanded "rent" and both the Moon Society and NSS matching that donation, we were on our way. Our "Artemis Moonbase Sim 1" exercise, Crew #45, took over the premises, February 26 - March 11, 2006. While paying "$7k rent" is hardly what one would call "collaboration," these two crew experiences in tandem helped us determine what we would do the same, and what we would definitely do differently, had we our own analog station.
On our crew we added a "module" to the complex: the Heinlein Memorial Tunnel, a PVC frame "virtual" tunnel between the Hab and the Greenhab so that crew members could go from one to the other without a spacesuit, pretending that they were in a pressurized corridor. The MDRS Engineering Team which had preapproved the design and its installation were appreciative, but it didn't earn us a rebate on our "rent."
This year there is a new "Mars Kid" on the block, run by two people we know personally, Artemis Westinberg and Chris Carberry. ExploreMars.org is project-focused and very interested in the proposals I have sent to them.
An engineering design competition to develop a rover that could winch its way down into a lavatube skylight, map what it "saw" by radar at various levels of descent, then winch its way back to the surface.
We have now found more than a half dozen lavatube skylights on both Mars and the Moon. Most people think of both worlds as dusty rubble piles, differing mainly in color. If we could acquaint them with the extensive networks of "hidden valleys" on both worlds, ready shelters for extensive settlements, industrial parks, agriculture, warehousing, and archives, then both worlds might suddenly seem more interesting and livable. The inspiration for this self-winching rover is NASA's AXEL. Video - Note this rover has a short cable. A cable hundreds of yards/meters long might have to be made of nanofibers. Designing the rover and its instruments for minimum weight would be essential.
We have suggested other joint projects without getting into details. We look forward to fruitful collaboration with ExploreMars.org
Space Nursing Society (wikipedia
We became familiar with this group while putting together the program for ISDC 1998 in Milwaukee. Two years ago, I approached former Executive Director Linda Plush with the idea of collaboration. Moon Miners' Manifesto has had many articles about how pioneers could make themselves at home on the Moon, and other articles equally relevant to psychological health, as well as articles on lunar sports and other activities that promote physical health. They did publish an abstract of one long article. But while Linda urger her Board to accept the Moon Society as a collaborator, apparently she did not prevail.
If you have a suggestion about another organization with which we might enter into a productive collaboration, please write us at email@example.com with "collaboration" in the subject line.
If you have a question about anything in this report, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with "annual report" in the subject line.