Founding the University of Luna in Cyberspace
An ISDC '98 Mission Control Workshop
Milwaukee, WI, May 24, 1998
by Peter Kokh
An enormous backlog of homework stands in the way of timely and efficient transition from a first beachhead outpost to economically viable lunar frontier town. We've learned a lot about the Moon during Apollo and since - but not nearly enough. If we don't want the Futuristry of the Moon to be one long "hurry up and wait" sad song, we must get serious about doing tons of groundwork. Technologies must be ready as we need them, not decades latter.
We need to know more about lunar-appropriate mining techniques and processing lunar regolith soils into all of the various elements we need - not just oxygen, silicon, and the four engineering metals; but also alloying ingredients. We need to know how to produce with the minimum of capital equipment, a workable suite of alloys, and other regolith-derived building materials: glass composites and "lunacrete", etc. The chemical engineer will be the unsung hero of the space frontier.
We need to learn how to fashion these into modular building elements so outpost-into-town expansion can rely as wholly as possible on local resources. We need to learn how to build all the various types of shelter we will need with minimum outdoor man hours. We need Moon-suited architecture, not just to design shells, but all the various working features and components as well: windows, sundows, airlocks and docks, and utility system components.
For those needed items, not all of whose parts can be made from elements feasible to produce on the Moon, we need an Institute of Lunar Industrial Design to design items to be easily be assembled on the Moon from minor lightweight components made on Earth and major heavier components "Made on Luna".
We also need a more thorough knowledge of the Moon itself, so various mining and manufacturing operations are sited to best advantage, so that our settlement sites are as ideal as they can be. We need the Selenographers and Selenologists.
We need to know what are the best off-Moon sites from which to source elements that can't be economically produced here. We need a very good Economic Geography of the Solar System.
We need a pool of expertise to assist the speedy diversification of products for both domestic and export markets. We need a school of enterprise formation and product development.
We need to develop a whole family of surface vehicles: coaches, trucks of all sorts, regolith movers and various other mobile construction and mining machines. But we also need to develop equipment and methods of landing imports on the Moon's surface and exporting value-added exports from it.
We need to learn how best to harness solar power on the Moon's surface, for domestic use and for export, using equipment largely locally made. We need to maximize helium-3 extraction, to develop a suite of methods to store power produced in dayspan for nightspan power use. We need to figure out how to produce nuclear fuels on the Moon, to bypass the likely ban on export of such materials through the Earth's atmosphere. This is vital for the opening of Mars and the rest of the Outer Solar System.
Human Resources - Tanstaafl!
We need to learn to blend the work output of cheaper manpower from Earth with more expensive work that can only be done on site. Concepts such as telestaffing for routine administrative chores, and teletutoring need to be considered. Shadow crews on Earth can help find solutions to pressing on site problems in simulation exercises. Yeomen work can be done here and now to pioneer new Made-on-Luna building materials, art/craft media, and so on.
If we are to transition to actual settlement, ways to minimize the on-site supervision burden for youth and seniors must be developed. We must identify useful chores and assignments for them to free able adults for more productive work.
Some culturally-significant matters also need attention: adoption of a Moon Calendar that pays attention to the lunar dayspan-nightspan rhythms of the "Sunth"; testing appropriate arts and crafts media, and suitable performing art forms: dance and ballet; sports and games developed for sixthweight; adoption of unique frontier holidays and festivities.
Political institutions need attention. Stage by stage granting of home rule; interaction with international agencies on Earth, such as UNESCO, and the U.N. itself; a blueprint for a future federal lunar frontier republic; a reconsidered Bill of Rights; economic regimes to further timely development of lunar resources with due consideration for protecting global scenic and geological treasures, and maximizing the return for the local population.
Urgency of this Workload
A major fraction of this considerable workload does not have to wait until we have returned to the Moon with a token crew, let alone with a sizable pioneer population. Much work, at least much footwork, can be done by dedicated hardworking people on Earth, here and now, earning their honors as "Ancestors of the Lunar Frontier."
Founding "U-LuCy" Now!
Today the time is ripe. We have a marvelous new tool for organizing work and for publishing innovation: the cyberspace of the World Wide Web. What follows is a trial balloon proposal, to be sent to a number of Moon-interested organizations for feedback, to set up and found The University of Luna, here and now on Earth for all the preliminary work that can be done now, in/on a Cyberspace Campus.
Interested parties are hereby invited to a very special and historic ISDC '98 Workshop to be tasked with agreeing upon the first concrete steps in getting the U-LuCy Project up and running.
Nature & Structure of U-LuCy
We propose U-LuCy exist on two levels:
1) The Undergraduate level would develop curricula to teach current knowledge of the Moon and the steps and stages of how we might settle this new frontier.
2) The Graduate level would be charged with advancing our knowledge and preparedness for the Lunar Frontier by soliciting and archiving masters level and doctoral Student Theses in the many areas needing attention.
Two other means at U-LuCy's disposal might be design competitions and assistance in developing "spin-up" business plans whereby a technology needed on the lunar frontier is developed now - for its various profitable terrestrial applications.
Money needed for website maintenance and construction fees, for stipends to overseeing faculty, and for publication and promotion can be raised by a "Friends of LuCy" support organization, as well as from endowment solicitations, and various "spin-up" technology licensing fees and royalties.
We leave review of the above proposal and the working out of details, amendments, additions, etc. to the ISDC '98 U-LuCy Workshop. We ask input on whether or not the Workshop should be two-tiered, with a fee for active participants, no fee for silent auditors (notes can be passed to the Workshop Secretary) auditors. The workshop can have morning and afternoon, and if necessary, evening sessions.
The agenda of the workshop is under development and open to constructive suggestions from any and all interested groups and individuals. The following is a starter list with no attempt at logical sequence or likely breakout into working groups.
(Charter Memberships Offered to:)
(listed in alphabetical order)
To comment on any of the above, offer assistance, request participation in the workshop, and for other inputs and requests:
(414) 342-0705 (Peter Kokh and Voice Mail)
University of Luna in Cyberspace
Proposed (3) Schools & (17) Departments (D)
V 1.03 © 1998, Lunar Reclamation Society, Inc.
SCHOOL OF SETTLEMENT TECHNOLOGY
D Selenography & Selenology
D Mining, Processing, Chemical Engineering
D Consolar Resources Studies
D Industrial Design and Manufacturing
D Plastic Arts and Crafts
D Biospherics, Agriculture, & Horticulture
D Architecture, Infrastructure, Urban Plans
D Transportation technology
D Energy Generation and Nightspan Storage
D Astronomy and S.E.T.I.
D Enterprise Formation and Assistance
SCHOOL OF PIONEER RESOURCES
D Earthside Telestaff Project
D Human Resource Utilization
D Space Frontier Culture
SCHOOL OF LUNAR FRONTIER POLITICAL SCIENCE
D Interior Affairs
D Frontier Republic Charter & Constitution
D Earth Political, Economic, Cultural, Relations