• 2017 Society Annual Report

    President's Report to Our Members
    on The State of The Society
    for our 9th Annual Membership Meeting
    August 16, 2017

    The state of the Society is that the Society is not where it should be but it has a plan for improvement and we are entering a time where Lunar development is at least not taking a back seat to other priorities in space. An opportunity is presenting itself and the leadership of the Society is working to sieze it.

     

    Membership

    As of 08/09/17, Moon Society membership stood at 89 members, down from 136 a year ago, an 34% decrease.

    Treasury Report and Project Funding Proposals

    The Society has funds available in the amount of $33,000, approximately flat from a year ago.

    The Challenge of Projects

    There are several great projects that the Society has approved to be done and many that could be done. The limitation on accomplishing these goals is the volunteer manpower to actually do the work. Increasing the participation by and value returned to our membership is our largest goal for the coming year.

    Website

    Our website is now running on a Drupal 7 platform and is basically stable. The goal of the coming year is to update the design of both the main Moon Society web presence as well as the Lunarpedia. The Web has changed a lot over the years and many potential members use their mobile devices as their primary computing system. The Society must go to where the members are.

    Other Web Assets

    Our Facebook page and the Lunarpedia project continue to be one of our most popular portals.

    Moon Miner's Manifesto

    Moon Miner's Manifesto completed its 25th year of continuous publication, ten issues a year, with the November 2011 issue, #250. While individual back issues (in electronic pdf file format # 145 forward) remain username/password protected, all the non-time sensitive articles from the first 21 years are republished in the MMM Classics series, freely available to anyone. Peter Kokh, President Emeritus, has retired, but we will resume publishing soon but only electronically. 

    Collaborations

    There is much going on lunar related in the space industry. Most of it is public but some is being done by private companies.

    National Space Society

    Our collaboration with the NSS is still strong but NSS has picked up the bulk of the effort, especially programming the lunar track at ISDC recently. This should change during the coming year.

    The Waypaver Foundation

    Our new President, Michael Mealling, is also the CEO of the Waypaver Foundation. Waypaver is a non-profit foundation working to fund specific scientific, political, and economic work necessary to remove any obstacles to lunar settlement. The proposal on the table to both the Moon Society board and the Waypaver board is to create a closer collaboration to solve some of the Society's volunteer shortfalls. Waypaver also has relationships with the Moon Village effort with ESA, the Lunar Marketplace within the FAA, and other small groups around the world. Waypaver is proposing to help the Society with a site redesign, combining its Lunar Settlement Index with the Lunarpedia, and providing a conduit for sponsored research.

    Chapters

    Chapters are a primary way to organize members in support of the Society and its Goals. The past two years has not seen much support for chapters from the Society. This should change over the next year as chapters become involved in fundraising for targeted research, lobbying efforts within Congress, and local outreach.

    Policy and Positions

    During the next few weeks the Society will be developing policies, position papers, and announcements concerning:

    • Moon Village - Providing support and volunteers for efforts within ESA and affiliated groups in support of the Moon Village Association.
    • NASA Deep Space Gateway - A position paper on the Society's view of NASA's Deep Space Gateway and how best to support commercial development of the Moon.
    • ULA's cislunar1000 - A paper on ULA's efforts and support from the Society on the technology needed to make that effort successful.

    Looking Forward

    My goal as President is to 'reboot' the Moon Society and give it the resources and stature of other space advocacy organizations. 2017 and 2018 are not about 'rebuilding' but 'reinventing'. What isn't working will be stopped. What is working will be amplified. The Moon Society has some incredible resources and people and it is an incredible time to be focused on Earth's nearest neighbor.

  • Annual Town Hall

    All members are reminded that the annual Moon Society Town Hall will be held on Wednesday, August 16th at 9pm EST, 8pm CST, 7pm MST, 6pm PST in Society Slack. 

    Members can receive an invite to the Society Slack server by clicking here and entering your email address. You will receive an email with directions on how to join.

    All members are encouraged to try at least one log in prior to the Town Hall.  If you have any issues you can contact one of the officers, including president@moonsociety.org, and we’ll help straighten things out.

    We look forward to seeing all of you there!

  • Moon Society Election

    All mail and email ballots have now been sent. To vote electronically, please reply to the email entitled Moon Society Elections sent 24 July.

    To vote by postal mail, please return the postcard that was postmarked 19 July.

    All ballots must be received no later than 09 August 2017 to be counted.

    Election results will be announced at the Annual Meeting to be held on 16 August 2017.

  • Review: "The Value of the Moon"

    Review: "The Value of the Moon" by Dr. Paul Spudis.  Published April 2016 by Smithsonian Books.  A few editing errors noted.

    Back in 1996, Lunar scientist Dr. Paul Spudis, currently with the Lunar & Planetary Institute in Houston, authored a Moon book that took an entirely different perspective on the subject from the norm of yet-another-Apollo-book or a cultural backgrounder with a dab of science (Apollo science!).  Dr. Spudis argued that the Moon offers a storehouse of resources that could be applied to the problem of humanity leveraging itself out into space.  The Moon could be a place of human commercial and social activity as well as being just another science lab in a weird place.  Over the years, Dr. Spudis has continued to explore the topic of commercializing Earth-Moon space, and "The Value of the Moon" is his latest salvo in the ongoing effort to highlight what folks are now starting to refer to as 'Cislunar Space'.

    The book opens with the traditional 'cultural backgrounder' covering perceptions of the Moon through human history, but also touching upon what we've learned, and how we can use 'The Moon as an Enabling Asset' for future efforts.  In the second chapter, the author covers a number of the fictional accounts of travel to the Moon as well as factual.  The Apollo program and some of its legacies are examined, and we're introduced to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, a/k/a "Star Wars").  The next chapter looks at the long, lonely years after Apollo when NASA was focused on other things, and the ideas of Moon bases and selenology were pushed roughly to the margins, becoming something of a persona non grata as the NASA folks increasingly looked to the next item on Von Braun's bucket list, Mars.

    The author also notes his work on the Clementine mission, which broke a number of paradigms and led the charge for a slew of probes over the next couple of decades that that the author touches on in chapter four.  Lunar Prospector looked for the ice hinted at by Clementine.  The author then detours into the increasing Mars mania of the 1990s, and looks at space station developments in the same time frame.  He then looks at the loss of the shuttle Columbia and the genesis of the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE).  Chapter five then looks at the 'implementation' of the VSE, and how it devolved into the space program we have today, a space program that has many folks asking the question "Why are they shutting down NASA?"

    Chapter six starts getting down to the brass tacks, as the author focuses in on the logic of lunar return.  He notes the 186 activities developed at a 2006 workshop, but points us to three main reasons for the importance of the Moon: (a) its proximity; (b) its scientific relevance, and; (c) its utility to human efforts in space.  The author also notes rationales for a Mars First! or Asteroids First! not being the best course to pursue in our near-future efforts.

    In the next chapter, Dr. Spudis looks at some of the architectural and infrastructure elements that would be appropriate for more ambitious activities in cislunar space.  He notes the many areas in which our current technology could use some work, and some of the things we could have been doing over the last couple of decades to put ourselves in a better position to move forward.  He also notes the program that he put forth in 2011 in conjunction with Tony Lavoie.

    Chapter eight looks at things in a current cultural and political context and avers that it should be the U.S. that leads the way for the world.  One of Dr. Spudis' main contentions is that we need to develop the capability to operate throughout cislunar space, a capability currently being worked out by the Chinese with their various Chang'e missions.  Cislunar space is a theatre of activity home to billions and billions of dollars worth of assets, and the protection of those assets is a strategic consideration.  Anecdotally, I gave a talk on cislunar space to a group of Civil Air Patrol cadets, one of whom ended up at the Naval Academy Summer STEM Program.  They were quite interested in the fact that she wanted to explore the cislunar space concept more deeply.  Folks are looking at the idea (see the recent ULA 'Business Case for Space' white paper), even if NASA isn't.

    The author also reiterates his contention that public opinion is of little import in developing space activities, and highlights many of the hurdles facing commercial efforts.  It is here that this reviewer tends to diverge from agreement with Dr. Spudis, who is focused more on development of a government project/program to make a lunar return a fait accompli.  This reviewer is of the opinion that cultivating a web of commercial activity is what will make cislunar space a place for humans to live and work, and that government efforts alone cannot provide the robustness necessary to prevent another Apollo aftermath outcome, where we retreat once again to the cozy confines of LEO because budget cuts.  The section on private sector efforts also contains some of the more obvious editing errors, with the Google Lunar X-Prize (GLXP) is referred to as GLEX, an acronym more typically used top refer to the IAF's Global Space Exploration Conference in 2012.  The Ansari X-Prize is noted as 'Annsari'.

    The next chapter undertakes to envision how such a lunar return program might unfold, from the emplacement of equipment to surface activities.  The author briefly touches on a number of different activities, but the focus throughout the book is the water we've determined is trapped in everdark craters at the poles of the Moon.  Dr. Spudis' basic point is that H2O is the key enabling asset, the 'killer app', of cislunar space, and it's one that he reiterates again and again throughout the book, and explores in far more depth than any of the other potential resources found on the Moon.

    In the short last chapter, Dr. Spudis poses the question "Where do we go from here?"  The answer is The Moon...duh.

    Annexes include a full set of footnotes, a 'Lunar Library' of references (although not as extensive as my Lunar Library over at OutoftheCradle.net), illustration credits, and an index.  From an editing perspective there were a few errors, as noted, mainly in the last half of the book.  Another editing point is that there are blocks of text where one paragraph will be repeated in largely the same terms a few paragraphs further on.  While this helps serve in the reiteration of key points by the author, it also introduces a "didn't I just read that?" distraction.  In this regard better editing could have helped tighten up the prose.

    Overall, "The Value of the Moon" is a worthy successor to "The Once and Future Moon".  The text is accessible to a general public audience, but still reflects Dr. Spudis' role as one of the top Lunar scientists in the world right now with lots of grist to chew on.  It may be a bit too strongly focused on water, such that other compelling reasons to tap the resources and energy of the Moon are glossed over.  Unlike Zubrin's "The Case for Mars", this book is unlikely to be the clarion call that marshals a generation to develop the Moon for the prosperity of our posterity; that book remains to be written, one that more thoroughly explores the myriad ways that the Moon and cislunar space can become a marketplace for commerce and a realm of human endeavor.

  • Login Change

    Logins for this website are now managed by the CyberTeams Team Director application used on our original web site.  If you previously had a username and password on this site, you may find they don't work and instead you should use your Team Director username and password.

    You can manage your membership information including username and password by logging into Team Director here.

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