2020 Annual Report

President’s Report to Our Members on The State of The Society
for our 10th Annual Membership Meeting
September 16, 2020

Michael Mealling
President, The Moon Society
president@moonsociety.org

The state of the Moon Society is good! We have made some incredibly significant accomplishments over the past year, including the reboot of the Lunar Development Conference, a 48% increase in membership, and the consolidation of ASI and TLRC assets under the Moon Society umbrella.  

Before I jump into the details I want to think everyone on our leadership team and our volunteers for such a great conference this year. Specifically I want to call out James Burk for his leadership in keeping it all together. 

Membership Report

As of 09/16/20, Society membership stands at 125 members in good standing, which is up 48% from this time last year.

Treasury Report

The Society has funds available in the amount of $27,358.94. The bank accounts for TLRC and ASI are still being consolidated and consolidated financial reports will be available once the accounts are reconciled.

Elections

Elections this year resulted in Michael Mealling being re-elected as President and Keith Garrett was re-elected as Secretary.  Rosalie Dieteman and Phillip Crume were also re-elected to the Board. At the subsequent board meeting Rosalie (Rose) was elected as the new Chair. The entire Board thanks Phillip for his many years as Chair providing steady leadership and running meetings as smoothly as possible. 

Website

Thanks to heroic efforts of the Web Team, the new website was launched earlier this year and was critical in providing support for the Lunar Development Conference.  

The Lunar Development Conference

The coronavirus pandemic has forever changed how industry conferences are run. At the beginning of 2020 the Society, led by James Burk, was deep in the planning stages for the Lunar Track for the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference. But in early May when NSS decided to cancel the conference due to the pandemic, the Society team saw an opportunity to turn all of their hard work into something special: a reboot of the Lunar Development Conference that was last held 15 years ago. 

The team jumped into high gear and within three months had orchestrated an entire two day virtual conference that went off without a hitch and is still being discussed in various policy circles.  Attendance exceeded our goal of 300 with over 60 speakers and topics ranging from Lunar base analogs to a deep legal discussion of EPA regulations and how they apply to the Moon.

Plans are already underway to ensure that we don’t lose this momentum and can make next year’s conference even better. 

Publications

With the consolidation of all of the intellectual property related to the Artemis Society and The Lunar Reclamation Corporation under the Society umbrella we are discovering several publishing opportunities. Peter Koch’s second book, A Pioneer’s Guide to Living on Mars, is coming out in the coming weeks which will be followed by the LDC conference proceedings. Both are available for preorder at www.lunartraders.com.

In addition to books, the Society also launched a dedicated YouTube channel based on content from the conference. It now has over 200 subscribers, 5000 views, and over 1000 hours of watch time. 

Alliance for Space Development

One of the Society’s partnerships with other space advocacy organizations is through the Alliance for Space Development (ASD) where I represent the Society on the ASD Board. Now that much of the day to day business of Congress is virtual it has become much easier for ASD virtual sessions to reach the right staffers. During a recent meeting a Senate staffer commented, “Your briefing materials are far better and more comprehensive than anything we see from industry.” One of the four topics ASD is promoting this year is fully supporting the Lunar development agenda both through Artemis and by supporting commercial companies through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. 

One of the outcomes from this year’s election was the question of Project and Initiative priorities for the coming year. The top rated item at 31% was “Political action to influence the US Congress to ensure & bolster the NASA Artemis program” and our continued participation with ASD is a key part of that. 

Moon Base Design Contest

In conjunction with the Lunar Development Conference, the Society also kicked off a Moon Base Design Contest with a $1000 cash prize for the best design of a near-term Lunar Settlement using current or very-near-future technologies. The winning design and other finalists will be featured by the Moon Society throughout a variety of media, including a printed book and eBook that we will publish. We plan to use the winning design of this contest extensively in our future outreach efforts. The contest is open to all: university students, lunar researchers, and the general public. We will accept submissions from both individuals and teams, worldwide. First prize is $1000 in cash. Second & Third place prizes will be awarded.

Deadline is January 31, 2021 at Midnight US Central Time.

Lunar Developments

Prior to the last two years if anyone had told me 

  • that in one year we would have a NASA working with Blue Origin, Dyanetics, and SpaceX on crewed Lunar landers, 
  • that three uncrewed commercial Lunar landers from Masten Space Systems, Astrobotic, and Intuitive Machines would be selected by NASA for missions to the Moon within two years, 
  • that the United States would be leading an effort to define norms for Lunar operations that included the right to use and own material mined from the lunar surface, and 
  • that NASA would have an open contract for procuring and purchasing such material
  • Or, that, on top of all of that, the Presidential nominee from the other party would most probably leave all of that intact and possibly even double down on the commercial developments

I would have called that person naive and unaware of how fast NASA or Congress can move. And I would have been wrong.

One of our goals as a Society MUST be fighting for the progress that has been made over the past couple of years. The idea that a commercial lander could be on the Moon by June of next year carrying a mix of commercial and Government payloads is something that has been at the core of the original Artemis Society International program going back 20 years. 

What an amazing time to be alive!

The Future

I am optimistic about our future as a Society but that requires a LOT of hard work. 

We all want the Lunar Development Conference for 2021 to be THE place for Lunar news to be announced, for deals to be made, and for people to become involved. 

We want our Moon Base Design Contest winners to be an inspiration for others and for their designs to bring new thinking to NASA and others working on their own designs. 

We want our voices to be heard in Congress, at ESA, at JAXA, and, yes, even at CNSA. 

The most important thing that I think we can all do is to make our voices heard loudly that this is the future that we want to live in. That this pandemic, our political disagreements, and even the historical injustices we still struggle with are things that we can work through if we have hope that the future is one worth living in. And I think I can speak for all of us that a future where space is filled with people living their lives, working, playing, loving, laughing, and crying in all of the diverse ways that humans do, is a future worth living in. That is worth fighting for. 

To quote from Carl Sagan, “Herman Melville, in Moby Dick, spoke for wanderers in all epochs and meridians: “I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas…” Maybe it’s a little early. Maybe the time is not quite yet. But those other worlds— promising untold opportunities—beckon.”

The time is now.