Technologies Needed to Break Free
by Peter Kokh
First published in installments in
Moon Miners' Manifesto #s198, 199, 200
September, October, November 2006
2006 The Lunar Reclamation Society
FORWARD

    While no one has ever established an outworld outpost before, we humans have certainly had plenty of experience in establishing new frontiers. There is a substantial reservoir of experience here throughout human history and in many human cultures, on which to draw.

    Establishing an outpost, whether or not new and complex equipment is needed, is much more than a matter of nuts and bolts, of engineering and rocket science. To rely solely on the insights of experts in those professions will only gain us an expensive collection of hardware on the Moon. It will not gain us the open-ended establishment of a civilian, resource-using presence bent on making itself as much “at home” on the Moon as we have always done, over and over, everywhere that we have pioneered new frontiers on our home world.

    In a sense, this will be a second Cradle Breakout. We are, you see, already an intra-planetfaring species. We have already settled new “worlds” in our “Continental System” beyond home continent Africa. The next step is only a continuation. But we must rely most of all on our instinctive cultural wisdom based on millennia of experience by endless waves of pioneers who have gone before. The upshot is that NASA and other agencies must fit in our plan, rather than we in theirs.

    Much of the expertise needed will have to be developed or at least rethought. Here we need to rely not solely on those “tasked” with working on the project. After all, it is our project, not theirs, and no government has the right to exclusively appoint any set of specialists to the task. This frontier like all others, will be pioneered by rebels, by those unhappy with the status quo, by "Young Turks" who dare to look at old problems in a fresh light, by people who are willing to dust off the countless pages of abandoned research, looking for promising turns in the many “paths not taken.”
 
   And we need the entrepreneurs who will develop these new technologies now, for profitable terrestrial applications, but ultimately to put them “on the shelf” just in time where lunar pioneers can find them when needed.

    As a Society tasking ourselves with doing what we can to make it happen, we need to seek out “adventurous expertise”, well researched but yet open minded persons who will make the breakthroughs, large and small, that will help realize the dream.

    Despite the best of current announced intentions, it is politically and economically predictable that NASA’s lunar outpost (even if is “internationalized” by taking on “partners” in a contract) will be stripped of any and all features seen as “frills” or “extras.” Consider how the planned 7-man International Space Station was summarily slashed without partner consultation in the stroke of a presidential pen to a 3-person one: 2.5 persons needed for regular maintenance and a half-person is available for scientific research. It can and will happen again, unless ...

    It becomes our cause, the accepted challenge of those of us who owe it to our own dreams, to do everything in our power to get the outpost built, outfitted, and supplied on a more rigorous and stasis-resistant path. The/a lunar outpost must be designed with expansion in mind, with a suite of easy expansion points, expressing an architectural language that is expansion-friendly. No all-in-one “tuna can stack”, please!
 
   To this end, we must reexamine every aspect and angle of setting up a lunar outpost.

I. Transportation System Architectures:
Designing cannibalizable items for strategic reuse
in Earth-Moon Transportation Systems.

NOTE 1: The author is not a rocket scientist, engineer, or architect. The examples given below may not all be feasible, but we hope that those that are not, will suggest other possibilities that are worth exploring.
NOTE 2: We do not expect NASA to embrace any revolutionary space transportation system architectural turnabout. But it is something that commercial space transportation providers might do well to study.
NOTE 3: Those in the business may be quick to insist that these ideas are all impractical. So be it. They are not part of the solution. We are looking not for those who say “it can’t be done,” but for those who say “we’ll find a way to do it anyway!” If it were not for the “Young Turks” in various fields, we would all still be swinging from the trees. We must find the hidden, unsuspected pathways!

    Way back in MMM #4, April 1987, we pointed out that Marshall McLuhan’s dictum that “the media is the message,” might be transposed to “the rocket is the payload.” Of course, you can only push this so far. But this daring architectural philosophy offers the  best way to escape the imagined, unnecessarily self-imposed tyranny of the mass fraction rule. “Of the total weight, 91 percent should be propellants; 3 percent should be tanks,  engines, fins, etc.; and 6 percent can be the payload.” - http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/AERO/rocket5.htm - we are not talking about exotic fuels or better rocket engines, but ways to include the 3% “tanks, engines, fins, etc.” into the payload.

    In the case of the Shuttle, the mass of the vehicle is much greater than the mass of the payload, so we do not come close to the ideal.  At the time (the April 1987 article), I offered this simple example. In the shuttle space transportation system, the payload that gets to stay in orbit is a needlessly small portion of launch vehicle mass.
Shuttle p[ayload as currently configured
Adopting the philosophy that  “the rocket is the payload” we could, if we so dared, deliver much more to orbit.
Shuttle_payload_reconfigured
    In the suggested alternative, the orbiter has a fore and aft section: Crew Cabin and Engine pod with much smaller wing/tail assembly. There is no payload bay. A much larger payload, with a lightweight faring if needed, takes its place. The External Tank is also placed in orbit as part of the payload. A stubby shuttle is all that returns to Earth. Savings include not just the payload bay section but the much lighter smaller wings and tail. The article referred above to is reprinted in MMM Classic #1, p 10, a freely accessible pdf file at:
http://www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_classics/

   Again, don’t waste time writing MMM with all the reasons this couldn’t be done. Instead, consider yourself challenged to figure out how we could do this anyway.

    This is only one suggestion of how we can “cheat” the mass-fraction “rule.” The shuttle system will not figure in the establishment of a lunar outpost. So it is not these details, but the spirit behind them that we are trying to get across. Attitude, attitude, attitude!

Terracing the way back to the Moon

    It seems unlikely that the Lunar frontier will be opened with vehicles that depart Earth’s surface, make the entire trip out to the Moon, and land on the Moon’s surface directly. So what we have to examine is all the various parts:
    At each phase, if the vehicle addresses the design challenges, material and/or useful assemblies and sub-assemblies can be deposited at the next. Whether it be all in one ride, or by a succession of waves, more payload gets delivered to the  Moon’s surface, and/or more robust way stations are constructed in LEO and LLO (low Lunar orbit) or at the L1 Lagrange point. No opportunity is missed.

See  “The Earth-Moon L1 Gateway” MMM #159, October 2002.
This article has been republished in MMM Classic #16 - download from
http://www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_classics/

    We would be remiss if we did not point out that one of the most brilliant components of the Artemis Project™ Reference Mission architecture involved just such a mass-fraction cheating device: reduction ot the portion of the landing craft that “returns” to the open-vacuum “space motorcycle.” 
space motorcycle
    We think it can be shown that most objections to this design as vulnerable to micrometeorite impact are baseless. Micrometeorites strike the Moon, and spacesuited astronauts(!), on the surface, with velocities much higher than the velocity such a craft would need to reach lunar rendezvous orbit. It was the incorporation of this feature that allowed the Artemis Project™ ferry to deliver the relatively massive triple unit SpaceHab-based outpost core to the surface.

    Whether the Artemis Project™ Reference Mission will fly as designed is not our topic and irrelevant. The point is that it demonstrates, at least in this instance, the kind of breakthrough paradigm-scuttling innovation that alone will get us to the Moon “to stay.”

Stowaway Imports: smuggling more to the Moon

    Another article we wrote that suggests ways to “smuggle” more useful material and items to the Moon is “Stowaway Imports” in MMM #65, May 1993. This article is republished in MMM Classics #7, freely downloaded at www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_classics/
 
   The idea here, is that it is inevitable that there will be structural, outfitting, or packaging items aboard craft landing on the Moon that are not needed for the return to the vehicle’s base, be it in LLO, LEO, or Earth itself. The cost of getting these items to the Moon is prepaid as part of the cost of getting the payload consist to the Moon, whether they remain on the Moon or not. So if we leave them there, these items are a bonus.

    Packaging containers, stuffing, dividers, etc. can be made of items not yet possible to duplicate on the Moon: some Moon-exotic element such as copper, or an alloy, some reformable plastic, biodegradable materials useful as fertilizers, nutritional supplements, whatever. Everything not absolutely needed for the ride back is game for scavenging. On crewed vehicles this can consist of everything from tableware to bedding, to appliances and even cabin partitions.

    Some items can be thoughtfully predesigned for second use on the Moon as is. Others will be melted down or reformed for the useful material they contain. It’s all free, or at least less cost than replacing them for the next outbound trip to the Moon. Only the “squeal” need return!

    Designing moonbound craft to be cannibalized in this fashion will require resourcefulness, and exploration of a lot of options, some more promising and less difficult than others. Stowaway imports are a way to supplement what personnel on the Moon will be able to produce or fabricate for themselves, thus leading to swifter development of a more diversified lunar startup economy.

    Cargo craft landing on the Moon might be designed for one way use only. Fuel tanks will be prize imports, landing engines may be reusable for surface hoppers. The idea is to build these craft cheaply and in numbers, much in the mold of WW II “Liberty Ships.” If some crash or go astray, the loss will not be critical.

    In our Lunar Hostels' paper (ISDC 1991 San Antonio, TX) http://www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_papers/hostels_paper1.htm
we introduced the “frog” and the “toad” - a Moon ferry underslung crew cabin that could be winched down to the surface, lower its wheeled chassis, and taxi to the outpost: amphibious space/surface craft. The “frog” would return. The “toad” would be designed to spend the rest of its service life on the Moon as a surface transport “coach.”

Modular Transportation

    One of the more outstandingly successful innovations of modern transportation is the pod. Cargo in uniformly sized and shaped pods is transported on trucks, flatbed railway cars, and ocean going cargo ships.

    The space transportation industry, especially the commercial sector, would do well to develop standardized pods, not waiting upon NASA clues which may never come, simply because the need does not arise in the very limited NASA lunar outpost mission plan. There may be more than one pod design, however, depending on the nature of the cargo. Liquids and aggregate materials (a load of wheat, for the sake of an example) may require container constraints, for shipment through the vacuum of space, that large assemblies do not.

    The pod agreed upon would have significant repercussion for modular systems shipped to the Moon: modular power plants, modular water recycling systems; modular regolith processing systems; modular food processing systems; modular hospital cores; the list of possibilities is endless. No one size is ideal for all applications. However, we suggest that the current modular factory system serve as a model and size guideline, as it has proved remarkable successful. See MMM #174 April, 2004 “Modular Container Factories for the Moon”  This article has been republished in MMM Classic #17. You can download this issue freely at: www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_classics/

   Such a pod could also deliver inflatable modules to the Moon, which could then be outfitted on location, with cannibalized components and/or items manufactured by startup lunar industries. The result would be quicker buildout of the original outpost structure.

Transportation Systems Architecture Upshot

    If we intend to expand the outpost into a real industrial settlement on an “inflationary fasttrack” - the only way it can be done economically - the Earth-Moon transportation system must be so-designed from the gitgo, down to the last seemingly insignificant detail.  A missed opportunity could spell the difference between success and failure. Our purpose in giving the examples above is less to fix attention to our examples than to get across the spirit. Spacecraft architecture, systems architecture, industrial design for reusability as is or with minimum processing effort, choice of materials, etc. And all vehicles at every stage should be designed this way.

    Again, these lessons will be lost on NASA as its objectives are strictly limited: to deploy a moonbase in order to prepare for manned exploration of Mars.  But commercial providers are likely to look for more extensive use of their products, for other more open-ended markets. It is with them that all hope lies. Those that adopt the above philosophy as a cornerstone of their business plans are more likely to survive and thrive long after NASA’s government-limited goals are met.

II. An Expansion-friendly Modular Outpost Architectural Language,
and Construction/Assembly Systems Design


Back Reading:
MMM #5 May ‘87 “Lunar Architecture”, MMMC #1
MMM #75 May ‘94 “Lunar-Appropriate Modular Architecture” MMMC #8
MMM #101, Dec. 96 “Expanding the Outpost”, MMMC #11
www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_classics/

    This is one area in which the Russians and NASA with its various contractors, have already done considerable research and have acquired invaluable inflight/inuse experience in the Mir and International Space Station programs. Happily too, a commercial contractor, Bigelow Aerospace is now making groundbreaking contributions with inflatable module technology, borrowing heavily on NASA’s Congress-aborted TransHab project. The prototype one quarter scale inflatable Genesis I is now in orbit and rewardingly performing well.

    Modular architecture developed for the microgravity of Earth orbit will certainly have applications in the return to the Moon effort. It will apply directly to any way station developed at the L1 Gateway point or in lunar orbit. But applications to the design of lunar surface outposts will need some rethinking for four reasons:
  1. We are now talking about a 2-dimensional environment stratified by gravity, not the any-which-way dimensions of orbital space. The 1/6 Earth normal gravity environment mandates an established up-down orientation, no “swimming” through the air to get from one point to the other. This is minor.
  2.  Egress and ingress portals need to be designed to minimize intrusion of insidious moondust. It would be ideal if spacesuits were rethought with this challenge in mind, but NASA has already signaled its intention not to explore that route for money reasons. One more sorry instance of a “stitch in time, could have saved nine.” 
  3. NASA operations on the Moon will be far more expensive to maintain than the relatively trivial expense of wholesale spacesuit redesign even at multimillion dollar expense. Commercial contractors may be the Knights in Shining Armor here as the NASA approach would be indefensible in any business plan.
  4. Outside the safety of the Van Allen belts, radiation protection is required for more than short stays. The lunar surface station must be designed to sit under a shielded canopy, or to be directly covered with a regolith blanket. An added benefit will be thermal equilibrium.
   While NASA, its contractors, and the Russians have a head start, it should never be assumed that they have explored all the options. Modular architecture is very much structured like a language: it has nouns (the various habitat and activity modules), conjunctions and prepositions (the various connector nodes), and verbs (the power system, the Candarm and other associated assembly and arrangement tools). The idea in constructing a “lunar-appropriate modular architectural language” is to come up with the most versatile, yet economic in number, set of modular components to support the most diverse and varied layouts and plans. The idea here is to maximize the options for expansion, without prejudging what needs will be accommodated first in the buildout.
 
   We think that this concept is important enough to put to a design competition. NASA, contractors, the Russians can all advise on interface constraints and other design features that must be incorporated. Then let the would be Frank Lloyd Wrights of the lunar frontier have at it. We predict some novel suggestions that NASA and commercial contractors may want to adopt.

    We have suggested in Part I of this article, that modules should fit (yet-to-be-)standardized Earth-Moon shipping pods. The cheapest way of providing maximum elbow room, in the era before modules can be manufactured on the Moon out of lunar building materials, will be inflatable modules. Easy to deploy “outfitting systems” for these inflatable units are another area worth exploring through the device of an international design competition. The inflatable manufacturer can set the constraints which will include interior dimensions, purchase points, and ingress opening sizes. Then let the contestants exercise their varied inspirations.

   Onsite manufacturability of needed components would be a design goal: maximum use of low-performance cast basalt, glass composite, and crude alloy items should be the preferred contest category. This way, expansion develops hand in hand with early startup industries, and becomes a strong incentive for their earliest development, saving substantial sums over importation from Earth.

    Expanding on this theme, even equipment in hard-hull modules arriving fully outfitted from Earth might be limited to subassemblies of components not yet manufacturable on the Moon. A very simple example would be cabinets, tables, floor tiles, even chairs without horizontal tops or seats. These (tops or seats) could be made of cast basalt, saving some weight in shipment. Many more possibilities of this compound sourcing paradigm are worth exploring: wall surfacing systems, simple utensils, appliance chasses, etc. See MMM #18, Sep. ‘88, “Processing with Industrial “M.U.S./c.l.e.” reprinted in MMM C #2.
http://www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_papers/muscle_paper.htm

    We mentioned the need for shielding. The development of simple canopy framework systems that can be locally manufactured, then covered with regolith, would be invaluable. Such canopies could protect stored fuel and other warehoused items that need to be accessed regularly, so that personnel could do these routine chores in less cumbersome pressure suits as opposed to hardened spacesuits. Such canopies could also serve as flare shelters out in the field at construction sites or at periodic points along a highway. An easily assembled (teleoperated?) space frame system with a covering that would hold a couple of meters (~yards) of regolith should be another design contest goal.

Modular Power Generation, Storage, and Heat Rejection Systems

    This is a suggestion that NASA may well not bother considering. The initial outpost power generation and storage systems and heat rejection systems should be designed with modular expansion in mind. NASA will not be reflecting on the needs of expansion because its government mandate does not extend to expansion, unless space advocates force a change, even if “just to leave the door open for commercial developers who may follow.” We think such activism is worth the effort.

Introducing Load-based Modular Biospherics

    In our opinion, NASA’s performance in developing life support systems has been hit and miss. Chances to incorporate a higher level of recycling on the Space Station were passed up in the name of up front economies, even though such systems will be absolutely vital on the Moon and Mars. To its credit, the agency did have the BioPlex project in full swing in Houston. Yet it was cancelled once NASA decided that "permanent" applied to moonbase structure, not to its occupation. But even had such research continued, we worry that the outcome would be a centralized system that might work for the designed size of the lunar outpost, and not support further expansion.
 
   The centralized approach to biospherics has a famous precedent: Biosphere II. We think centralized approaches are not the way to go. Instead, we should develop load-based decentralized systems. In this approach, wherever there is a toilet - in a residence, a workspace, a school, a shopping area, a recreation space, etc. there should be a system to pretreat the effluent so that the residual load on a modular centralized treatment facility is minimized. The Wolverton system is what we have in mind.

    If all outpost modules with toilets have built-in pretreatment systems, then, as the physical modular complex grows by additions, the “modular biosphere” will expand with it. Expansion will not race ahead of the capacity of the contained biosphere to refresh itself.

    Another essential element of modular biospherics is having plants everywhere. A phone-booth sized salad station will not do. Useful plants can be grown through-out the lunar outpost: they can provide additional salad ingredients and meal enhancers: peppers, herbs, spices, even mushrooms. Even decorative foliage and flowering plants help keep the air fresh as well as provide a friendly just-like-home atmosphere. Plants in front of any window or viewing portal would filter the stark and sterile barrenness outside.

    Plants must not be an afterthought. We cannot long survive, let alone thrive as a species that hosts houseplants. We are a species hosted by the lush vegetation of our homeworld. We should never forget this. We cannot go with the attitude of “let’s build some cities, and a token farm here and there.” Rather we must go to build a new vegetation-based but modular biosphere which will then host our settlements.

    City dwellers all too easily discount the farm. We have houseplants as botanical pets.  That paradigm won’t work. Designing all habitation and activity modules to include vegetation as an integral feature will help allow the biosphere to grow in a modular way along with the physical plant. It will be a more enjoyable place to live as well.

    NASA is unlikely to pay these suggestions a glancing thought. We hope that commercial contractors, whose long range plans are not limited by governmental myopia, are more farsighted. Modular biospherics should be part of their business plans for any industrial settlements or tourist complexes on the Moon.

Teleoperation of construction & assembly tasks
Tel•e•o•per•a•tion: the remote control of the operation of untended equipment; radio-control

    Actually, “teleoperation” is a relatively new word coined by space development writers. Even though we have been using it for two decades or more, it has escaped notice by those who are supposed to keep dictionaries abreast of the times.
 
   The basic idea is do what we can, remotely, on the Moon, when human on site labor would be expensive, or dangerous, or best reserved for things which cannot yet be easily remotely performed. What makes teleoperation practical on the Moon, but discouragingly tedious on Mars, is the speed of light that governs remote control by radio. At that speed, there is a bit less than a 3 second delay between a teleoperators “joy stick” movement and the observation of the command being performed on the Moon. Numerous experiments, many of them by enthusiasts, have shown that this small time delay is manageable.

Proposals on the table for teleoperations on the Moon
 
   Over fifteen years ago, it was suggested that mini-rovers on the Moon could be “raced” against one another over a prescribed course, the race watched on television, with the contestants paying for the privilege. The idea was to raise money.
 
  More to the point, it has been suggested that equipment placed on the Moon could be tele-controlled to grade and prepare a site for a lunar outpost; and once that was in place, the same or additional teleoperated equipment could cover it with regolith shielding, in advance of the arrival of the first moonbase crew. These would be time-consuming tasks for human crews. By tele-performing these operations, the crew would arrive at a Moonbase all set to go.

Beyond Site and Outpost Preparation

    There will be “too much to do” for the small initial crew right from the outset. Nor will this change when the outpost begins to grow, not even when the first true settlers arrive. It is a truism of all frontiers, that there is always too much to do, that needs being done, than people to do it all. Sending people who are each multi-talented will certainly help. But that will not change the fact that there are only so  many hours a day, and that there are limits beyond which driving individuals to put out ever more and more will backfire.

    More to the point, there is a question of priorities. Somethings are too sensitive and/or too complex to be performed remotely. Hair-trigger responses are needed. On the other hand, there are tasks that are reasonably dangerous to perform, with a high risk of injury, or even death. These considerations give us a basis on which to decide when it is better to teleoperate, and when it is best to have an on site individual perform a task.
 
   Add to that the financial considerations. Each man-hour of work, regardless of the payscale, performed on the Moon, costs much more than that person’s pay. You have to factor in what it cost to send that person to the Moon, maintain him/her there in good health, and to eventually (at least in the early phases of our open-ended presence on the Moon) return the person back to Earth.
 
   It makes even more sense then, to find a way to teleoperate all risky and dangerous jobs, all routine and tedious jobs, and anything else we can do to relieve base personnel of any work we can so that they can get on with doing what only they can do. That way, the outpost, whether it is manned by four or forty or four hundred, can advance more quickly, will get more accomplished, thanks to its ghost army of teleoperators back on Earth.

    Yes, we’d all like to see the lunar population to swell quickly to the hundreds, the thousands, maybe someday the hundreds of thousands. Doesn’t taking jobs away from real people on location counter that goal? To the contrary, it advances it, because at each stage this pocket of mankind will be more productive, allowing it to grow faster, not just in industrial diversification and export output, but also in numbers. And the extra productivity earned by teleoperations, will make the settlement bottom line more attractive, less a target for budget cutters on Earth. When they arrive, their habitat space will be ready, thanks largely to teleoperated tasks.

What all can we teleoperate?


    Site preparation, grading, road building, excavation, shielding emplacement, repeatable construction and assembly tasks, deploying radio/microwave repeaters, deployment of solar power stations, initial prospecting surveys. (much more, especially in a given time, than Spirit or Opportunity can do), setting charges in road building, gas scavenging, preliminary routine prospecting surveys, lavatube exploration, etc. - i.e., many tasks that need to be done out on the surface, minimizing EVA hours by personnel in space suits.
   The priority should be (a) to take care of as many out vac tasks as possible which would be exhausting and cumbersome for people working in space suits, and not without real risk. (b) exploration of subsurface voids - lavatubes. (b) inside operations which carry some danger. (c) routine, repetitive, and boring tasks to the extent that they cannot be automated. (d) utility and air/water treatment routine tasks, (e) routine inspection jobs, (f) some bureaucratic paper work, minimizing the amount of desk work that has to be done on location. (g) when the time comes, the bulk of routine teaching assignments. Again, one must keep in mind, that teleoperations are to prepare for humans to settle in and live comfortable fulfilling lives.

What we can do now

 
   If we succeed in putting together an aggressive Lunar Analog Research Station program, one thing we don’t have to do is prove the value of human-robot teams in field exploration. We have already made that point in the Apollo program years. So practicing lunar geology is not a high priority, nor is field exobiology. The M.A.R.S. analog stations have done great work in this area. Again, we’ve already made that point almost forty years ago.

    On the other hand, the Mars people have no need to demonstrate teleoperations skills, as Mars much greater distance, from 125 to 400 times further from Earth than the Moon, makes teleoperation impractical - unless they want to come to their senses and realize how much faster the Martian globe could be explored with fleets of minirover probes teleoperated from just above, from shielded stations on Phobos and/or Deimos.
 
   Teleoperation with a 3 second time delay has been demonstrated many times, but mainly in the “driving” of rovers. More complex tasks such as site preparation and shielding emplacement via teleoperation have not been demonstrated. These are challenges suitable for college level engineering teams, and the demonstrations could be done at an analog station. What we’d need for terrain, at least in the area where we would be teleoperating is a physical analog of lunar moondust or regolith. The elemental and chemical composition would be irrelevant. The mix of particle sizes and the behavior of the mix in handling would be essential. It would be in NASA’s interest to fund creation of such a site, whether a sandy gravel mix native to the area was further transformed to meet the experiment constraints, or whether the faux regolith was prepared elsewhere and trucked in.

    Once site preparation and shielding emplacement techniques were demonstrated, we could ramp  up the challenges to include road construction and many other chores we’d prefer not to have done by humans in cumbersome spacesuits, exposed to cosmic radiation.(ab) teleoperated exploration of a nearby lavatube would be possible in some of the sites under consideration (Bend, OR; El Mapais National Monument south of Grants, NM, Craters of the Moon National Park in Idaho). But we could run such tests at one or more of those locations whether we had deployed an analog research station nearby or not. We could also try to develop teleoperable greenhouse systems, water recycling systems, ACC; even though we don’t need to demonstrate human geology field work, we could demonstrate teleoperation of prospecting probes.

    The possibilities are many, and will grow with the complexity of our outpost, and its continued growth.
 
Teleoperators on Earth

    These people, whether unpaid volunteers, or paid assistants, should earn status as “lunar pioneers.” For even if they never personally set foot on the Moon, the fruit of their work will be in evidence throughout the area where human settlements spread. 

    So far we have been talking about architectural considerations that would prime any startup lunar outpost for expansion, no matter how restricted its mandated goals.  But expansion, as well as original deployment, requires construction and assembly. To the extend that individuals in spacesuits are involved in this work, it will be dangerous and risky. Human manpower hours on the Moon will be expensive to support. Loss or incapacitation of just one person in an outpost construction accident would be a major and expensive one.

     In order to maximize crew usefulness and productivity as well as health and safety as many tasks as possible should be designed for remote operation by persons safely inside the outpost or construction shack, or by teleoperation by less expensively supported people back on Earth. The latter option may be more technologically demanding but it is far more preferable. Every construction operation tele-controlled from Earth frees personnel on the Moon for things that only personnel on site can accomplish. The result is progress is surer, safer, and yet quicker. The outpost is up and running in less time, with everyone healthy and ready for real duties.


III. Locate for local, regional, and global expansion options

    The writer’s position on moonbase siting is well known. We have no problem with being all alone in seeing a lunar south polar outpost as a dead end. But we hope that commercial contractors will be more farsighted. The problem is that we need to plan not just one outpost, but an outpost that can be a center from which an industrious human presence will spread across the lunar globe.

    In their very well brainstormed proposal outlined in “The Moon: Resources, Future Development and Settlement”, David Schrunck, Burton Sharpe, Bonnie Cooper, and Madhu Thangavelu present a comprehensive plan for establishing such an outpost at the south pole and for spreading out from that center across the globe via an electrified lunar railroad. We certainly support the latter idea and have written independently on the feasibility of electric lunar railroads.

    But we fear that south pole advocates have discounted the dangers of operating in a polar environment, in mountainous terrain, where the sun is always at or just below the horizon or immediately above it casting constantly shifting “blackhole-black” long shadows. We also suspect that the difficulty of deploying a solar power tower system in mountainous terrain is not addressed. That the nearest highland/mare “coast” where resources of both terrain types needed for industrialization are accessible is 1,300 miles distant is another overlooked disadvantage. That sunlight is available 86% of the time does not erase these drawbacks.

    Water-ice may exist at the poles. But hydrogen is everywhere on the Moon in the regolith, ready to harvest. As much as we need water, we will use far greater tonnages of other materials. Do we bring Mohammed to the Mountain or the Mountain to Mohammed?

    There is, it seems, an unstoppable bandwagon for the South Pole. Commercial contractors interested in developing lunar resources and/or tourist facilities, are likely to take a second look. Our hope lies with them.
 
   A NASA-International lunar polar outpost may survive, minimally manned to tend astronomical observatories in the area. If we mine polar ice preserves it makes more sense to do that in the north polar areas. If the observatories go unsupported, one day, lunar tourists may visit the historic ruins at the South Pole.

IV: ISRU, In Situ (on site or on location) Resource Utilization
 
   NASA’s announced intention is to begin a modest program of ISRU, in the form of oxygen production from the regolith. A major problem with the plan has emerged, however: NASA is designing the Lunar Ascent Module to use fuels that do not include oxygen! Yet oxygen is not only needed for life support, if transported to Low Earth Orbit, it can be used on the next run out to the Moon, saving the major expense of getting oxygen-prefuelled vehicles up from Earth into LEO. We hope that NASA is not dissuaded from going ahead with its modest and limited ISRU project, however, as it will be just the beginning, the first step in using “on location” [Latin “in situ”] resources. [Since this was written, BASA has indeed scuttled its ISRU oxygen production plans.]

First, the basics
 
   We need to begin with basics, such as cast basalt and sintered iron fines collected with a magnet. These can provide abrasion-resistant chutes and pipes and other items for handling regolith, and low performance metal parts respectively. Then we can handle regolith more effectively to feed additional ISRU projects.

Composite Building & Manufacturing Materials
 
   Long before we can produce iron, aluminum, magnesium, titanium and workable alloy ingredients, we can make useful building materials out of raw regolith and minimally enhanced regolith.  processing elements and building materials from the regolith. Using highland regolith with a higher melting point to produce glass fibers, and mare regolith with a lower melting point to produce glass matrix material, we can produce glass-glass composites on the analogy of fiber reinforced resins (fiberglass). But to make this work we need to bring down the melting point of the mare glass matrix material further by enriching it with sodium and potassium. (A study funded by Space Studies Institute recommended the expensive import of lead as a temperature-reducing dopant!) This gives us an action item: isolating sodium and potassium, or sodium and potassium rich minerals.
 
   If we can also isolate sulfur, we can experiment (and yes, why not here and now?) with fiberglass-reinforced sulfur matrix composites. Simpler yet, we can make many low-performance household items from “dishes” to planters to table tops and floor tiles from crude raw glass and cast basalt, no processing needed other than some sifting.
 
   We will bet that glass composites, sulfur composites, cast basalt, and raw basalt glass will all find profitable terrestrial applications which may make the predevelopment of these technologies attractive to entrepreneurs, thus putting at least a close analog of techno-logies needed on the Moon, “on the shelf,” in a reverse of the usual “spin-off” sequence. We call this “Spin-up.”

Metal Alloys

    Using ilmenite (we can now map ilmenite-rich mare deposits on the Moon) we can use this iron, oxygen and titanium mineral to produce all three elements. It is the first ISRU Suite to be identified. We need to identify more such "suites". Lunans will not live by oxygen alone!
 
   Aluminum, abundant though it is, might be the hardest to produce, magnesium, somewhere in between. The catch is that for all four of these “engineering metals” the elements we regularly combine them with in order to produce workable alloys are rare on the Moon. For iron and steel we need carbon. For aluminum we need copper, and to a lesser extent zinc.
 
   The action item here is for metallurgists down here on Earth to dust off old alloy experiment records. Some pathways, while doable, promised less superior results, and may have been abandoned. If they involved alloy ingredients that are economically producible on the Moon, we may have no choice but to go down that route to see where it leads. We need to do research now on lunar-feasible alloys that will perform in a “second-best” manner. Second best is better than nothing.
 
   At a minimum, we need to be able to isolate, or produce, not only the four engineering metals, present on the Moon in parts per hundred, but all the elements present in parts per 10,000. See middle square below

Relative abundance of elements on the Moon
Read: “Beneficiation” MMM #63, republished in MMM Classic #7, www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_classics/
Read this NASA page also:     http://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/HumanExplore/Exploration/EXLibrary/docs/ISRU/00toc.htm

Agricultural Fertilizers

    From past NASA experiments with the Apollo Moon samples, we know that regolith has about half of the nutrients needed for healthy plant growth. Using gas scavenging equipment on board all earth moving vehicles (road construction, shielding emplacement, material for processing and manufacturing) we can use the harvested carbon and nitrogen and hydrogen to make fertilizer supplements. Potassium we will find in KREEP-rich deposits around the Mare Imbrium rim. Other elements hard to produce on the Moon can be used to manufacture cannibalizable shipping containers and packaging materials,to “stow away” on a ride to the Moon.

Let there be color!

    Combine humidity, likely to be higher in pressurized habitat spaces, with the iron fines in regolith and we get rust for a splash of color. Titanium dioxide produced from ilmenite will give us white. Combine rust and white and we get a pink. Black, many gray shades, white, rust and pink. The rest will be harder. Metal oxide pigments will be a secondary goal in our processing experiments.

Using the Slag and Tailings

   Slag and Tailings are in themselves “beneficiated” stuffs from which we can probably make many low performance household items and construction elements. Doing so will reduce the “throughput” of our young lunar industrial complex. By treating these byproducts as resources rather than as waste (“wasources”) we reuse the energy that was used to form them. This will work to greatly reduce what the settlement “throws away” - the goal being “nothing!”

Export Potential
 
   Killing two birds with one stone has always been  a desirable strategy. ISRU products from oxygen to metal alloy and non-alloy building and manufacturing materials will reduce the need for expensive imports as Lunan pioneers learn to make more of the things they need to expand their settlement and outfit it in a livable manner.

    But for long-term economic survival it is essential to go beyond reducing imports. There will always be some things the settlement is not large enough, and its industries not sufficiently diversified to produce. There is a need to pay for these imports. We cannot rely on any long-suffering generosity of terrestrial taxpayers. We can pay for our imports with credits from exports. Now in addition to proposed energy exports, and various zero-mass exports ranging from communications relays to broadcasts of unique lunar sporting (and dance) events to licensing technologies developed on the Moon, there is an area of real material exports.

   As long as one thinks of Earth as the Moon’s only trading partner, this prospect seems outrageous. Shipping costs would make lunar products very expensive. On the contrary, it is shipping costs that will be the settlers’ trump card, if there are other markets developing side by side in space. For example, while lunar building and construction materials and outfitting products may seem crude and unrefined to us on Earth, if they do the job, we can deliver them to low Earth orbit commercial space stations, orbiting industrial complexes, and orbiting tourist hotel complexes at a definite advantage over any competitive product that has to be boosted up from Earth’s surface. It’s not the distance, but the gravity well difference. For any product we make, as far as in space markets go, Earth will not be able to compete.

    We have to think of the future economy as including not just Earth and the Moon, but other areas in nearby space that will become areas of human activity. This market will continue to work to the advantage of the rapidly diversifying lunar economy and growing lunar population as the population in orbit continues to grow, and as Mars begins to open up. It can only get better. But ISRU, not just of oxygen, but of many elements, and materials made from them, is the key.

ISRU and Rare Elements on the Moon

    Dennis Wingo, in his recent book Moonrush, sees the Moon as a potential source for platinum needed for fuel cells to make the forecast Hydrogen Economy work. None of the samples returned by the six Apollo landing missions and the two Soviet Lunakhods showed this element to be present in more than parts per billion. Now you can say that we only sampled eight sites. Not quite true when you consider that at any given location on the Moon, only half the material is native, the other half having arrived as ejecta from impacts elsewhere on the Moon. In that sense the areas of the Moon samples are somewhat representative. Wingo argues that platinum-bearing asteroids had to have bombarded the Moon. We do not quarrel with that. But it is likely that the infinitesimal smithereens are scattered all over the place with no enriched concentrations anywhere. Now we’d be happy to be proven wrong.

   Geologist Stephen Gillett, University of Nevada-Reno, and an expert on lunar geology, now thinks that the way to beneficiate (increase the concentration of) scarce elements is to feed regolith to bacteria in vat cultures, the bacteria having been bioengineered to feed preferably on given elements.

    Dr. Peter Schubert of Packer Engineering in Naperville, Illinois outside Chicago, has developed an on-paper process, patents pending, that would use shoot regolith into a 50,000 degree (C or F?) laser beam and separate out the various elements and isotopes and direct them to separate catching containers. This is, of course, the ISRU process to end all ISRU processes. We are not qualified to estimate what is involved in development of a working demonstrator, or at what scales this process would operate most efficiently. It does seem to require a considerable energy input, perhaps from solar concentrators. It offers a glimpse of the future, when lunar settlements are shipping megatons of sorted elements for construction projects in space. (L5 revisited.)

Summing Up

√ We cannot thrive on oxygen production alone! We need to concentrate on other ISRU goals, especially ISRU Suites or Cascades in which more than one element results.

√ We need to enable with research now, early industries that fill needs and defray imports - Building, Construction and Manufacturing materials

√ We need better, higher resolution global lunar maps, that show not just where we will find regolith enriched in iron, calcium, thorium, and KREEP (what we have now, at least at poor resolution.) We need orbiting instruments to indicate the richest concentrations of many other elements we will surely need. Action item: suggest to NASA in detail, the kind of instruments it should fly on planned orbiters.

√ As this information comes in, keep reducing the long list of settlement locations to a short list. What we have noted already, demands, if we truly want lunar industries and industry-based settlement, to look elsewhere than the highland-locked poles. What we need is a  Highland/Mare Coast, near ilmenite and KREEP deposits. That would give us access to all the major and most of the lesser abundant elements present on the Moon. But we may have to establish a number of settlements, each in differently endowed locations. After all, one settlement does not make a "world!"

√ We must research reuse options for pre-beneficiated tailings as building materials with lesser performance constraints. On Earth, there is no shortage of abandoned piles of tailings with which to experiment. Entrepreneurs, like artists, love free materials.

√ Many experiments are possible with obvious terrestrial applications which may prove profitable.

√ We need an organizational machine that will work to identify all these research needs and attract effective attention to them, serving as a catalyst to get the work done.

√ The goal, if we choose to accept this mission, is to return to the Moon, ready to start building-out the first resource-using settlement, so that the NASA Outpost can do science for a while, then retire to become an historic lunar national park site. In short, our goal is “Escape from the NASA Outpost” - returning to the Moon with the tools needed to avoid the “Outpost Trap.”


V: Industrial Diversification Enablers

1. Accepting the dayspan-nightspan energy challenge

    It is not enough to develop the technologies needed to turn on-location resources into products for domestic use and export. We have a little quirk in the way the Moon does its own business, rotating in and out of sunlight every lunar “day” that presents a considerable challenge. The Moon’s “day” is almost 30 times as long as the one we are used to.

    The challenge is to find ways to store up as much energy as we can during the 14.75 earthday-long dayspan as potential energy, to keep us running on a lower but still productive level through the 14.75 earthday-long nightspan.

    Yes, that’s why so many lunar advocates are drawn like moths to the eternal sunshine of very limited and rugged areas at the Moon’s poles. But if you read the last two pages, you will know that except for water ice, the resources needed to build an industrial lunar civilization lay elsewhere. We will have to ship the ice to the settlements just as we ship the oil from Alaska’s north coast to California.

    There is no way to avoid taking on the dayspan-nightspan challenge. Turn aside from the challenge and we may be limited forever to tiny ghettos' at the lunar poles. Accept and win the challenge, and the Moon is ours, all of it.

    The options for dayspan storage of energy to use during nightspan are treated in other articles.
See:
MMM # 126 JUNE ‘99, p 3. POTENTIATION: A Strategy for Getting through the  Nightspan on the Moon’s Own Terms - This article has been republished in MMM Classics #13 as a free download pdf file at:
http://www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_classics/

2. Accepting the reduced nightspan power challenge

    We might think of the pioneers waiting out the two-week long nightspan playing cards, writing their memoirs by candlelight, and making love for want of something else to do. But if we successfully meet the dayspan power storage problem, the pioneers will have enough energy to continue being productive by focusing and concentrating on less energy-intensive and perhaps more manpower-intensive tasks and chores, leaving manpower-light and energy-intensive processes for the dayspan. Inventory, scheduled maintenance, product finishing, packaging and shipping, etc.
 
   The challenge is to take every operation and sort it into the two kinds of tasks or steps stated above. Not every industry is going to lend itself easily to an equal “division of scheduled labor.” Some will need more man-hours during the dayspan and have few assignments to keep as many people busy during dayspan. Other industries may present the opposite situation. One can see arrangements where some employees work for company A during the dayspan and company B during nightspan.

    Can we come to a plan whereby everything evens out and everyone is kept busy all “sunth?” (the Sun appears to revolve around the Moon once every 29.53 days, whereas the Earth does not, i.e. sunrise to sunrise marks the period we know as new moon to new moon, “month” for us, “sunth” for them. I digress.) We have stated an ideal. In reality, a lot of trial and error and the steadily increasing diversification of lunar industry predicts an ever-shifting employment situation. Our purpose is to suggest the process management research that we need to undertake now, industry by industry, business by business if we are to have any hope of making ourselves “at home” in the lunar dayspan-nightspan cycle. At stake is the success of lunar industrial diversification, and the competitive market cost of lunar export products.

3. Accepting the radiation challenge
 
   “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” blares the title of one of Robert A. Heinlein’s best-known science-fiction novels. Part of that harshness comes from seasonal solar flares of great intensity. Part of it comes from incessant cosmic radiation from all quadrants of the sky. Part of it comes from the Moon plowing through space rivers of meteoritic dust left behind by comets.

    All of these dangers call for shielding. The most used lunar resource of all is going to be plain regolith, piled up above habitation and working spaces, directly, or indirectly, that is over hanger-type frames with habitat structures and vehicles safely inside.
 
   We understand the challenge, and the many options. We are prepared to meet the challenge for people in place. But what about for people in transit? A solar flare can hit the Moon with insufficient warning to allow vehicles more than a few minutes from base to return in time.

   We need to give attention to the architecture and building systems to deploy at the least expense, effective wayside flare shelters at regular intervals along roadways. Whether they are lightly or heavily traveled makes a difference not in the spacing and number of shelters, but in how capacious or large such shelters are.
 
   The Moon, like any new frontier will remain hostile and unforgiving only until we have mastered the ways of dealing with the new environment as if by second nature. The need to cover our bodies from the rare but hard to predict solar flare is one we must take seriously. Lunar industry must anticipate this need.
 
   Working out-vac (in the surface vacuum) in spacesuits will be cumbersome and tiring. For routine tasks such as accessing out-vac utility systems or outside storage items needed on a regular basis, it would make sense to place all these items under a shielded unpressurized hanger, shed, or canopy. Then a lightweight pressure suit will do, and that will greatly reduce stress, fatigue, and discomfort. The architectural systems for this everyday out-vac shelter system are the same as those needed in the event of solar flares. We can meet this need now by university-level architectural and engineering competitions, with ease of deployment and of shielding emplacement above the frame all being part of the challenge.

4. First industries first

    It will be a challenge in itself, just to decide which industries to deploy first and just which of many possible paths lunar industrial diversification will take. As in picking a college course, one has to give attention to “prerequisite” courses. Likewise, some industries pre-suppose others in place beforehand, and in turn enable yet additional industries. Some industries will be viable only if developed side by side, step by step. Now there’s a doctoral thesis for someone!
 
   We make no pretense of being able to sketch such a tree of industrial ancestors (prerequisites) and descendants (dependants) , but would like to start with some notes about what we need to break out of the Outpost Trap. Rather than repeat, we ask the reader to take a second look at MMM # 91 Dec. 1995 p 4. “Start Up Industries on the Moon” - reprinted in MMM Classic #10, a free download pdf file at the sites listed above. Also MMM # 191 DEC. 2005, p 7. First Lunar Manufacturing Industries - available as a Moon Society username/password accessed directory of recent MMM pdf files; www.moonsociety.org/members/mmm/

    But, first things first!
5. One Size does not fit all

    In last month’s installment, MMM #198 page 4, “Modular Transportation” and following, we mentioned that importing modular factory pods and utility pods made sense. That said, a system that works on that scale, say a trailer for a Semi Tractor, may not be the best choice for a smaller installation, nor for a settlement that had grown considerably. We need to base our judgment of system efficiencies and production on scale-dependent guidelines. For a tabletop demonstration, one ISRU device may work fine, but fail utterly on a much larger scale, and vice versa. 

6. Attitude is the make-or-break ingredient

    If your way of operating causes a problem, you are unlikely to contribute to a solution. At every stage of human advancement, there have been "shingle"-qualified experts who have said this or that could not be done. A favorite trick in teaching students how to handle such situations is to ask them to jot down all the reasons such and such is impossible to achieve, and then, after they have done so, give them a second assignment: “Now right down all the reasons why we are going to do it anyway!”

    We have to bypass stuck-in-the present experts and look for “Young Turks” with an open and aggressively adventurous curiosity, determined to find workarounds and new pathways where none were suspected before.

    The Moon will be one hard nut to crack. I am sure a human ancestor in Africa a hundred thousand years ago, suddenly transported to the northern coast of Greenland would have thought the same thing. But we did crack that nut. The Innuit and Eskimo take living under such conditions for granted. They handle the challenges that would be life-threatening to us, by second nature.
 
   If we get raised eyebrows along the way, “industrializing the Moon, are you?” let those raised eyebrows encourage us all the more. The epic sweep of the human saga from Africa to continents beyond the shores of their home continent/world runs through our veins. We will do this, because we are humans. And as before, we will become even more human in the doing of it. For the challenge of settling the Moon will bring out new capacities in us, capacities we did not know we had, because we were never challenged before to rise to occasions such as lay before us.           

VI: The Entrepreneurs

1. Launch vehicles, Modules, Services
 
   We are used to thinking of “space entrepreneurs” as involved with startup launch companies. Certainly, those are the most visible. Right now, the markets for enterprise involvement are still few, but the pace of new starts is picking up. NASA is one of the forces involved, determined to replace the Shuttle with Commercial launch companies serving the ISS with cargo and personnel transfers. The agency is also trying to find minor roles for private service providers in the return to the Moon and establishment of a small science outpost.
 
   As the International Space Station and possible other orbital facilities grow and multiply, the market for various kinds of enterprises providing logistics services will grow with it.

2. Space Tourism
 
   But the real glamor is in the infant space tourist industry. Here entrepreneurs are involved in providing man-rated launch vehicles, vehicle operation services (Virgin Galactic), and space destinations (Bigelow Aerospace.) This entrepreneurial area promises to grow continually, with not just orbit in mind, but non-landing loop-the-Moon excursions. Before the first of those, possibly within the next two years, some will start planning how to offer self-contained moon landing sorties.

    Some dismiss tourism as a driver. This is a mistake. Discretionary income is rising, and worldwide, tourism is near the top in income-earning sectors. We  have believed, that failing a viable Moon-based energy production effort, tourism alone has the capacity to open the Moon. Read MMM #161, Dec. 2002, pp. 4-5 “Tourist Clusters on the Moon.” - available as a Moon Society username/password accessed directory of recent MMM pdf files; www.moonsociety.org/members/mmm/

3. Making Money by Laying Foundations

    Stating way back in July, 1988, in MMM #16, we began describing a way of doing business that turns “spin-off” on its head. Instead of NASA doing an expensive crash R&D technology project at the expense of unwilling taxpayers, then, later making the technology available free to enterprises, a would-be entrepreneur looks at the technologies NASA needs (or that we need to go beyond NASA and break out of the Outpost Trap) and brainstorms them for potentially profitable terrestrial applications, creates a business plan, and goes ahead with the needed R&D to be ultimately reimbursed by willing consumers, precisely for those identified terrestrial applications. In the process, a technology needed on the frontier, or a close analog thereof, gets put “on the shelf” free of charge to taxpayers.
 
   We have talked about a number of technologies in need of R&D, and the way to get this done in a timely fashion is not a taxpayer-paid crash program, but by a spin-up enterprise. The options are too many to number, indeed too many to imagine.
 
   So how do we connect potential entrepreneurs in search of a business idea/plan with our laundry list? That is the question, and in a month or two we hope to give you the start of an answer, involving a meta/mega project that will subsume and interrelate all other Moon Society projects and keep us on course on the path to a viable lunar settlement civilization.

VII: Moonbase Personnel
The most critical moonbase system
to success is the human one

    There have been many Human Factors Research studies done at the two Mars Analog Research Stations to date, but they all suffer from involving short crew stays. Most anyone can put up with anything for two weeks. Studies aboard submarines and at Antarctic stations are more helpful, but still do not mirror conditions we will find on the Moon and Mars.

    Many ordinary human activities, are not modeled because they can be postponed. This includes exercise, sport, many kinds of recreational activities, get-away-from-it-all options, indulging artistic abilities, etc.

    A more thorough investigative approach should give clues as to which type of modules and facilities, and the activities that they will enable, should be added, and in what priority. At stake is general crew morale,  productivity, and safety as well as general health.
 
   That said, NASA’s purposes and our purposes are at loggerheads. NASA would indefinitely man a lunar out-post with crews being regularly rotated, baring events unforeseen. Our goal of breaking out of the outpost trap towards settlement, means finding ways to encourage personnel to willingly re-up, i.e. stay for “another tour” without limit, so long as health of the individual and of the crew at large is not an issue. That means providing the kind of perks that
  1. increase morale and improve performance
  2. promote willingness to re-up so as to give the weight allowance for his not-needed replacement to valuable imports of materials and equipment, especially tools and equipment to fabricate and experiment
  3. create a plan for outpost expansion of modules, the facilities they house and activities they enable
Providing for a full range of human activities:
    All this both presupposes and prepares for an orderly expansion beyond the original functional and space limits of the original outpost. But that’s what we need to do to “breakout of the Outpost Trap.”  
  
VIII: Strategies for Organizations
self-tasked with helping make it happen

Many have heeded the call
 
   Several organizations have appeared over the years who have taken upon themselves to help advance the day when space settlement, and lunar settlement in particular, might become a reality. Space Studies Institute, the former L5 Society, the Space Frontier Foundation, Artemis Society International, The Mars Society, The Mars Foundation, The Moon Society, and the National Space Society have pursued these goals on the national and international level. NSS, however, has traditionally limited its set of tools to political, public, and media outreach.

   On a smaller scale the Lunar Reclamation Society (publishers of Moon Miners’ Manifesto), the Oregon L5 Society, and Calgary Space Workers have done, and still continue to do what they could to lay foundations. Other outfits have come tried for a while, only to disappear.

Nature abhors a vacuum”

    The premise on the table is that NASA, most probably with international partners, will establish a minimal outpost on the Moon. Several successions of the US Administration and Congress will have to go along with these plans and that makes these plans and announced intentions and commitments highly contingent and “iffy.” Further, as individuals and organizations, we will have very limited ability to influence these critical decisions.
 
   But even if all goes as planned, an international lunar outpost will fall far short of establishing a permanent civilian presence on the Moon. Permanence cannot simply be declared. It has to be earned.

Room for the rest of us to rise to the  occasion

    What we can do, is to work to see that the needed technologies are in place to enable a “breakout” from any such limited scope outpost, in the direction of resource-using open-ended civilian settlement.

    We have looked at several general areas in which a lot of work needs to be done:
  1. Pushing the Teleoperations Envelope
  2. Shielding Emplacement Systems
  3. Warehousing Systems
  4. Modular Biological Life Support Systems
  5. Dayspan Power Storage Systems for Nightspan use
  6. Modular Architecture & Construction Systems
  7. Transportation Systems, to, from, and on the Moon
Tools at our disposal in seeking to further these goals
Marching Orders for whichever organizations choose to step up to the plate

    This becomes the strategy for the Moon Society, and its affiliate and partner organizations. It will come to define “who we are” and “what we do.” What we must do!

END