How would you describe The University of Luna Project?

In the context of the Internet, one might describe the proposed ULP as a Knowledge and Communications Node as well as a Research Engine. serving an international community focused on lunar science and education, and on the exploration, commercial development, and settlement of the Moon -- in short, the creation of an Earth-Moon Economy


What is the ultimate goal of The University of Luna Project?

Our goal is to enable the creation of an Earth-Moon economy in which lunar resources will help mitigate Earth's growing power generation and environmental degradation problems.


Why is a cyberspace University of Luna Project needed?

Despite the fact that their is a strong resurgence of interest in the Moon, witness the Bush Administration's Vision for Space Exploration, and the many lunar orbiter and lander missions being advanced towards realization by several nations, there is no guarantee, that even with the proposed Lunar Decade international collaboration effort, all the lunar science instruments will be flown that are needed to develop a really good "economic geography" of the Moon on which rational location of a network of human outposts can be planned.

Nor can we be confident that the necessary research and development of technologies needed to go beyond a minimal outpost and establish resource-using civilian settlements will be undertaken.

The University of Luna Project is designed to promote orphaned, neglected, and unfunded missions and technology development.


What tools would The University of Luna Project use to promote these efforts and exploration and technology goals cost effectively?

First we intend to establish a cyberspace Knowledge, Communications, and Collaboration Node to allow everyone interested to access a global pool of research data, mission plans, and technology information. That in itself will work to ramp up the amount of effective networking already taking place.

Then we will work to provide online and other fora to encourage a greater degree of collaboration and brainstorming activity.

We would try to organize brainstorming workshops to outline needed research directions in key technology areas such as human-robot synergies, families of metal alloys that could be produced without imported ingredients, modular biospherics, etc. The potential list is endless.

We would attempt to identify specific technologies needed on the Moon, then brainstorm possible profitable terrestrial applications for those technologies, and encourage entrepreneurs to predevelop them specifically for those probably profitable terrestrial applications, thus putting them, or a close analog thereof, "on the shelf." available to the pioneers when needed. This we call the "spin-up" process.

We would try to identify instruments different from, or better versions of those previously flown on lunar missions and which might be able to fill in the many gaps in our "economic geography" resources map of the Moon.

We will encourage space transportation solutions specific to bulk commodities, large assemblies, and people that promise to dramatically lower the cost of sending people and supplies to the Moon.

If we identify other ways in which the ULP can act as a catalyst to help advance the day when the Moon is open for resource development and settlement, we will explore those possibilities.


Will The University of Luna Project itself do research?

No. There are many outstanding universities with research facilities and staff capable of this work. The ULP does not intent to compete for research dollars. We want to enable and to collaborate. Our role is to coordinate research and to find places where research needing attention can be done, either in academic or industrial settings. We want to be a tool for existing institutions and industries to expand the scope of what they are already doing.


Why is it important to create an Earth-Moon Economy?

One frequently hears the argument, "Why spend all this money to do something on the Moon when we have so many problems here on Earth?"

It's a good point. Earth is beset by many problems and they are all getting worse. Our two greatest problems are dirty energy production and accelerating environmental degradation, both inextricably intertwined. In gross aggregate effect, energy production and use is by far the worst offender.

In the late 1970s, NASA reported to the US Congress on three scenarios by which through leveraging lunar resources, we could supply Earth with all the clean energy we could ever hope to use.

Switching to off-Earth power generation would bring a slow healing of Earth's environment -- in short, a cleaner, greener Earth, and an upward leveling of the economies of all nations.

Congress did not want to hear the word "Moon." NASA got the message, and to this day never speaks about these options.

If you live on an island, it would be just plain stupid not to fish in the sea to supplement your food supply. Earth is an island. Space is our sea. The Moon holds solutions to our two most stubborn problems.


Will The University of Luna Project be a teaching institution, offering degrees?

The short answer to both parts is no. Again, there are innumerable colleges and universities that can offer courses. But long term, as the number of people involved in the Project, and the talents and expertise that they bring grows, the ULP would work to develop new open-source research-focused curricula that can be adopted by teaching and degree granting institutions worldwide.

Our goal is to get the research done, and to encourage existing institutions to get involved.


How important is the University of Luna Project focus on student level research?

This emphasis is absolutely critical. The generation now working in all areas of space related activity is quickly graying and young people have not been taking their place as these veterans retire. It is essential that the University of Luna Project inspire young people, instill in them the wonders of our Solar System, the vision of a Greener, Cleaner, and more globally prosperous an Earth we could have by tapping the wealth of resources that lie in the sea of space surrounding our island planet. Working to develop technologies needed to open the lunar frontier but which also will benefit citizens of Earth will be doubly exciting. If we do not hand over our dream to the next generation, our dream will die.


Is there a public outreach component to this Project?

Yes. On the one hand, we need to reach the public at large if we are going to inspire young people to get involved. On the other hand, as the Project makes progress, and people see results, the extent and depth of enthusiasm for this greater conception of our "world" as including the Moon and other nearby bodies, will grow. More people will accept that solving problems down here, may require tapping resources out there.


How will you fund this effort?

Our initial funding needs will be modest. We will need funds for webhosting, website management, modest travel expenses, promotional materials, etc. Of course, gifts-in-kind are always welcome.

But as the Project expands, funding needs could become major We will tackle those in a divide and conquer manner.

For example, R&D projects for needed technologies, could reasonably be funded by enterprises that may stand to benefit from any profitable terrestrial applications. Such companies might even make available their own research laboratories.

Companies that may wish to get involved in the opening of the Moon will be another source of funds.

In short, we will have to develop funding mechanisms as the Project grows in scope and size. Certainly, we will be requesting endowments and bequests on the part of individuals and corporations.

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Updated 04/16/2007