2nd Annual Report to Moon Society Members The State of Our Society From Society President Peter Kokh
November 15 2009
In preparation for your input at the Society’s Second Annual Membership Meeting to be held on the ASI-MOO online chat-room environment, Wednesday, November 18, 2009, we ask you to please read over the following documents:
The past 14 months since our first Annual Membership Meeting (this 2nd one having been postponed for several reasons) has been a busy and productive time for the Moon Society. We have mad significant progress on several fronts.
Membership is up 18% over that at the time of last year’s Annual Membership Meeting. However, this is nothing to be elated about, as we continue to lose too many members who fail to renew. We can blame only part of this on the state of the economy.
Another factor at work is that many members fail to notify us when they change their email addresses. As a result, they do not get the automated notices that another issue of Moon Miners’ Manifesto is ready for download, or notices that their membership is about to expire.Some also move their physical addresses as well, and then contact is totally lost.
Some members do not remember their usernames and passwords and lose interest. This is easily fixed. Just write email@example.com and put “password” in the subject line, and we’ll get you going in short order.
Some join us with totally unrealistic ideas of what our Society can do. We are not in the rocket building business. We cannot set up our own moonbase. We cannot develop lunar settlements. These things require major resources and investments that will take a consortium of corporations, not of societies, to put together and leverage.
Some members may feel that we are not pushing their particular “buttons.” We encourage them to write us and tell us their special concerns and interests. Put “my buttons” or “my space interests” in the subject line. Of course, we cannot hope to satisfy everyone.
All our leaders are already putting in a lot of time. We need a new volunteer in charge of contacting those about to expire. If you would like to contact members, by email and/or by snail mail, on behalf of the Society, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “expirations” in the subject line. We can supply the letter or letters.
In the National Space Society, perhaps 5% of their membership is “active” in one way or another. By our estimate, that figure is closer to 15% in the Moon Society. This figure includes those doing personal individual space-related projects that we know about, and that is important too!
In October 2008, we introduced an electronic (pdf file) Science Fiction Publication: Moonbeams, and the first four issues are out.
In November 2008, we introduced the MMM-India Quarterly to reach out to millions of newly space-enthused Indians, in the aftermath of the launch of India’s first lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1. Four issues have now been produced and concurrently with the last issue, there was an announcement in India of the formation of Moon Society India, an autonomous organization affiliated with The Moon Society (International) thereby rewarding our efforts. Our goal is to push the opening of the Moon and creation of an international Earth-Moon econosphere. “To exercise real power, you must give power away.” – i.e. enable others!
In May of this year, our affiliate, the Lunar Reclamation Society, serving as our chapter in Milwaukee, and producers of MMM, introduced a new “MMM Glossary” This past July, MMM announced new Collections of Past Articles, this time organized by MMM Classic Themes Mars 1, 2, and Environmental Aspects of the Lunar Frontier (“Eden on Luna 1, 2) are the first to be published.
And now we are looking at a whole new vector of publication: considering our efforts in Mexico and Chile, and noting that many other Latin American countries speak Spanish as well as a significant population within the US, we are looking at developing a Spanish version of our Website, some literature in Spanish, and possibly a Spanish Quarterly. This is a very ambitious goal, and well beyond the capacities and abilities of our present team. To make this happen, we will need to recruit quite a few new bilingual members.
MMM Continuity – a contingency plan to survive death or incapacitation of current editor – We are working to Transfer Publication, Trademarks, and Copyrights from the Lunar Reclamation Society to The Moon Society. This negotiation is in process. Meanwhile, we are hoping to recruit one or more assistant editors.
An Online Kit for reproducing our Solar Power Beaming Demonstration Unit
Last year we successfully designed, built and exhibited our Tabletop Solar Power Beaming Demonstration Unit. This year, in September, we produced an “Online Kit” to make it easier for others to duplicate our work, so that more such units will be seen by more potential supporters, increasing public familiarity and literacy about this major project. Meanwhile, our unit has been displayed at several additional conferences, including ISDC 2009 in Orlando
It is already three plus years after our moonbase simulation at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. It would be a mistake to conclude that we have made no progress.
Our current advisory and design work on the proposed Moon/Mars Atacama Research Station in northern Chile, is helping us to improve ideas and plans for own proposed Lunar Analog Station.
Our choice of a modular architecture, such as a real outpost would have, in lieu of a one-unit exploration base (MDRS/FMARS) suggests that exploration of modular architecture options and of modular biospheric systems including agriculture, should be a core part of the research program. Site management and warehousing systems would also be part of the program. We are improving our concepts of how such a station could be expanded.
As to further vectors of research, much depends on the geology, and appearance of the host site, yet to be determined. We have a wish list. A vegetation free location best creates the “mood” of being on a barren world and mood helps ensure productive experimentation and simulation exercises. A large “sandbox” area could support experiments with teleoperated earth-moving equipment. But a limited area vegetation-free “arena” could allow such experimentation anywhere. A nearby abandoned mine above the water table, or nearby lavatube or cave would allow simulation of the 29.53 day long lunar dayspan-nightspan cycle for agricultural experiments and energy management. But In lieu of such subterranean spaces, a large windowless building or building complex, within which any lighting cycle could be reproduced, would provide a similar environment.
We have yet to go on a site-hunting and identification expedition (the Phoenix-Tucson area is at the top of our list of areas to scour) Then comes fund-raising and we are looking at some innovative options.
Chapters & Outposts
We have four strong local chapters: St. Louis, Houston, Phoenix, and the CMN campus chapter in Green Bay; five if you include the partnering NSS chapter in Milwaukee.
While all of these chapters are engaged in public outreach, the College of the Menominee Nation Green Bay campus chapter is pioneering fresh research in the area of experimental lunar agriculture. They are building a small chamber to house a high-altitude cactus, scheduled for a ride to space at Wallops Island next summer They are also endeavoring to bring additional tribal colleges around the country into collaboration. The dynamos at CMN are Dan Hawk and David Dunlop, our Director of Project Development.
Nashville has an active two-person outpost and should soon reach full chapter status.
Internationally, the Sweden chapter is leading the pack in developing an abandoned iron mine into a lunar analog research facility – www.moon-mine.com
Shaun Moss of Melbourne, Australia who has helped start the Victorian Space Alliance chapter which will serve members of NSS, the Mars Society, and the Moon Society alike, now gives our Board of Directors an International flavor.
Of our five Project Teams, the LUNAX Lunar Agricultural Experiment Team is easily the most active.
The Space & Environment Team (“Mother Earth & Father Sky”) comes next, boasting the publication of the two “Eden on Luna” collections of MMM articles about environmental issues on the Lunar Frontier, and reaching out beyond the usual pro-space constituency.
Evolving Our Vision of the Future and its pursuit: Two Initiatives
We must pursue the realization of the Lunar Frontier independently of the politically dependent NASA program.
The International Lunar Research Park (which would involve contractors as well as various national space agencies, as well as being open entrepreneurs, academia, and the tourist industry) aims at a much more diverse and capacity-rich exploration outpost designed to morph into the first real industrial lunar settlement. We hope to organize a workshop to further develop this concept, possibly at ISDC 2010 in Chicago, and then an art competition to illustrate this concept.
Historically, programs that involve international participation, such as the International Space Station, are much more resistant to budget cuts by successive Congresses and Administrations.
Buzz Aldrin’s Lunar Infrastructure Development Corporation, which seems a good match to our ILRP concept just above, has been unanimously endorsed by the Moon Society Leadership.
Appearance – Standardization of left hand menus column on all pages that incorporate, rather than import moonsoc.header. This time-consuming effort was the work of Scotty Gammenthaler who wrote the code, and James Rogers who designed the left column and header graphics.
Yet to do:
• Site Plan – (automated as a WSD function?, or done manually?)
• FAQ page – Frequently Asked Questions under /visitors/ with link under /about/ or vice versa – wip PK
• Espagñol site, newsletter, flyers – MUST recruit MORE VOLUNTEERS
This past February, we Introduced Nine New Advisors
This past May, at ISDC 2009 in Orlando, Society President, Peter Kokh was given the Gerard O’Neill Space Settlement Award by the National Space Society for his twenty three years of writing about the possibilities of frontier life on the Moon and Beyond. The presentation was a major event at the ISDC, and the National Space Society picked up the tab for production of one thousand CDs of the First Twenty Years of Moon Miners’ Manifesto (the MMM Classics volumes) to put in each registration packet. Two weeks later, Buzz Aldrin, who had been in the audience, called Peter and they talked for seventy minutes about our future in space.
Two Moon Society members are involved in Masten Space Systems $1million first prize showing in the Lunar Lander X-Prize Challenge Competition: we are especially proud of Michael Mealing and Jonathan Goff.
Outside the Space Community
We are working to build relationships to Environmental and Earth/Space bridge groups. To this end, we have recently published two special MMM Classic Theme Issues on environmental issues of Lunar Settlement: “Eden on Luna” 1, We may try to explore this initiative at ISDC 2010
Internationalizing the Moon Society
2009.11.14 – Our outreach effort in India via the MMM-India Quarterly has been fruitful, culminating with the announcement on November 14th in Mumbai, of the Formation of Moon Society India with a starting team of five persons from around the nation.
“Our priorities include starting a network of chapters throughout India, both city- and campus-based, and in the coming year, to assume publication of the MMM-India Quarterly, which publication has made this event possible.
“We will be involved in conferences, contests and competitions, and hope to build and operate an Indian Lunar Analog Research Station – LARS-India.
“And, of course, our efforts will focus on building public support within India for the ISRO’s Space Exploration and Manned Space Programs.
A considerable obstacle to international members participating in Board and Management Council meetings is the great time zone difference. In Australia, our (evening) meetings are in early afternoon: in India, at the start of the work day.
Meanwhile, we continue to support efforts in Chile, Mexico, Sweden, and Australia.
Our logical avenues for expansion are the English-Speaking world including the nations of the British Commonwealth, and the Spanish speaking population of the Western Hemisphere. The later, despite our efforts in Mexico and Chile, will take a new team and much time and work to become real.
We are limited in what we can do by two things:
1. Available Volunteers
2. Available Funds – If we want to do exciting projects we need to do much better at attracting donations. To some extent, this is a chicken or egg matter. We have to play the Rooster’s role: If we announce exciting projects for which we have the resources to define and develop the project idea, we can leverage enthusiasm for the project to raise funds.
We do have enough funds to consider undertaking more projects, but
lack the volunteers needed to take the initiative in doing so. Art.
Design and engineering competitions and contests, for example.
As President, I feel privileged to work with such a fine team of officers and board members.
Once again we will soon begin the annual election process in which half of our leaders are elected in even number years, half in odd number years, all serving two year terms. This guarantees a level of continuity along with the opportunity to bring in fresh talent.
If you have leadership abilities, as well as free time to attend meetings the first and third Wednesday evenings (for US leaders, Thursday mornings in India, Thursday afternoons in Australia) please consider running for a position. Fresh blood is always welcome, and some of those who have served for a long time may wish to be replaced.
I myself could probably continue to do many of the things I do, if replaced at the helm. It is not healthy for any organization to have people who are indispensable, as none of us is immortal.
I would like to take this occasion to express special appreciation to the following leaders:
David Dunlop (Green Bay, WI) continues to travel around the country, taking in conferences, and networking at every opportunity, on behalf of the Society, but on his own dime. As Director of Project Development, an unpaid staff position, his assistance to the Society has been enormous. He has been my partner as well, in the MMM-India Quarterly initiative, and in encouraging Indians to organize Moon Society India, again making timely contributions on his dome.
James Gholston (Denton, TX), at his own expense, has kept us supplied with books to send to new members.
Scotty Gammenthaler (Princeton,TX) and James Rogers (Longview, TX) had teamed up to give the secondary pages of our website a whole new look and some well-needed uniformity.
Charles Radley (Portland, OR), our vice-president, misses no opportunity to spread the word about the Society on various social networks, and has also worked tirelessly to solicit sources of income for us.
In fact, all of our officers and directors have been most helpful with their input. I am proud to serve with them.