The Moon Society's role in The Vision for Space Exploration (VSE)
The George W. Bush Administration has proposed a Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) for the United States in which NASA will lead an effort to return human crews to the Moon, "to stay."
This vision, however, is already in process of slowly being eroded and redefined downwards both in its timetable and in its overall scope. This negative trend may be with us for a while. It serves no purpose to try to analyze its causes. Our task is rather to find a way to compensate, so that the goals of the Vision are met all the same.
In this light, the Moon Society's support of the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) involves:
"complementing NASA initiatives and goals by looking for alternative options to advance research goals NASA is not (or no longer) budgeted to undertake."
[The above language was unanimously approved by the Moon Society's Leadership Council at the March 7, 2007 meeting.]
The list of such sidelined items continues to grow*
* Canceled VSE line items in 2006 through March 2007
- NASA cancels work on advanced (biological) life support research
- NASA will not build a pressurized rover for the Moonbase
- NASA is looking at an "intermittently occupied" moonbase only.
- NASA can not afford to analyze data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
- What moonbase support program will be next?
All of these cancellations and cutbacks are opportunities for The Moon Society to help find other ways of getting done the jobs in question.
If you support the VSE, we urge you to support the Moon Society's efforts to ensure that this Vision becomes real. Please join or renew your membership today.
And please look for opportunities to volunteer that may match your skills,interests, and discretionary freetime.
In our determination to rise to the occasion, the Society will aggressively seek to grow our network of affiliations and alliances. Other organizations, universities, and private enterprise have major roles to play. At stake is not just preserving the Vision, but our chance to go beyond a first permanent moonbase to true resource-using industrial settlements on the Moon, which in turn promise to play a major role in mitigating Earth's two major intertwined and seemingly intractable problems: energy production and continuing environmental degradation.
With this expanded Vision before us, we believe that the Moon Society's goals are relevant to the concerns of most people.
President, The Moon Society