President's Report to Our Members
on The State of The Society
for our 5th Annual Membership Meeting
August 8th, 2012
Date of Report: August 2, 2012 - updated from previous reports with current report info by V.P. Paul Banyai
This has been another year of growth, if not in membership numbers. certainly in the scope of Moon Society activities.
There are six (6) sections to this report:
- Treasury Report and Funding Proposals
- Positions and Policy
As of 08/01/12, Moon Society membership stood at 156 members, up from 144 a year ago, an 8.3% increase. This does not include the complimentary memberships given to out to the speakers in our Cislunar Econosphere track at ISDC.
[Reminder] At our September 16, 2009 Management Committee Meeting, we approved a plan to allow current (not new) members to renew for 3 years at a time for the price of 2 years. If your rate is $35/year, you will be able to renew for 3 years for $70. If your rate is $20/year (senior/student/ with electronic newsletter only) you will be able to renew for 3 year for just $40. If your rate is $60 (outside North America with hardcopy newsletter) you can renew for 3 years for $120. We trust that this provision will be a popular option, and it reduced our membership processing load.
Treasury Report and Project Funding Proposals
The Society has funds available in the amount of $30,000, approximately flat from a year ago.
In the last year we produced the Moon Society lapel pins for use by our members. These allow us to find each other at conferences and other events, and let other people know that you're working towards our Lunar future. Two major outreach materials are slated for production this year - membership brochures and postcards. We need members with an interest in design and layout to help with these.
We have two projects for which a portion of our Treasury has been allocated:
- Solar Sail Communication Satellites - this project is to look at the feasibility of using a network of small satellites for Lunar communication. Solar sails are envisioned for station-keeping requirements, but also offer unusual options like pole-sitting. This project is looking for a team leader and a team.
- Robotic Exploration of Lunar Lava tubes - satellites can look through the skylights of Lunar lava tubes, but deeper exploration is required, and robots offer a nearer-term opportunity to get some results. This project is looking for a team leader and a team.
Saving for our proposed Lunar Analog Research Station project is another.
Such a project would require substantial funding, perhaps in partnership with other organizations. We continue to brainstorm options that would let us get started in a phase by phase manner but which would allow us to support valuable analog research from the start. It would also require a program management team which we do not yet have in place.
We had been exploring options that would require low land acquisition costs, low construction costs, and low logistics costs. The lower we can get the threshold cost, the better the chance of this dream becoming a reality. We are looking at a modular design that can be deployed phase by phase, as well as adaptation of existing structures; seasonal rented sites, rather than a permanent site; and also at research programs for which a special "moon-like" terrain would not be needed.
Currently, the perceived cost threshold is too high. But there are many options to look at. It is not our goal to mimic the Mars Desert Research Station and program. We want to do much more, but in a manner that costs less, at least initially. If you want to join our brainstorming team, write firstname.lastname@example.org
We are continuing to look for ways to promote the concept of an International Lunar Research Park, quite a different critter from a national moonbase. See MMM #228 pp. 6-8 and/or MMM-India Quarterly #2 p. 20-25
International partnership brings a measure of invulnerability to Congressional budgetary mischief. And bringing together at one location contributions by several national space agencies, allows each to concentrate on different research areas, instead of duplicating efforts. In this concept, a contractor consortium would build the spaceport, and all facilities needed by the various national outposts in common. The result would be a much larger and more capable installation, focused on research aimed at bringing lunar-building materials needed for expansion online. This would be the kind of installation that could conceivably morph over time into the first industrial settlement on the Moon.
At ISDC 2010 in Chicago over th Memorial Day Weekend, Dave Heck of Boeing St. Louis and the Moon Society St. Louis Chapter, gave a presentation based on his personal familiarity with the world's largest industrial Research Park in Sheffield, England. Dave foresees three phases:
- A virtual ILRP - a website that would keep track of all ongoing research essential to the successful establishment of industrial settlements on the Moon. This would be very similar to the University of Luna Project proposal, for which we had not found the backing to continue
- A real Research Park here on Earth where the needed technologies could be further researched, tested, and demonstrated - somewhat of a Lunar Analog Research Station on Steroids.
- The establishment of the first International Lunar Research Park on the Moon.
2011 Update: Dave Heck is looking into the possibility of PISCES (Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems ) adopting this project as a part of its analog research efforts on the slopes of Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island.
A proposed Art Competition to illustrate the concepts of an International Lunar Research Park had been discussed in a Management Committee Meeting but did not get further, awaiting a definition of design constraints that would apply. Now that we can fund attractive prizes, we need to take up this idea again.
Replacing our Table-top Solar Power Beaming Demo Exhibit (photo)
The exhibit we build in 2008 and introduced at ISDC 2008 in Washington DC has been exhibited perhaps a dozen times since. It quickly became apparent that the gossamer solar panels were much too fragile to continually unpacked, assembled, disassembled, repacked and shipped. We discussed the need to redesign this unit - at least the most fragile components - in Moonscapes #9 May, 2011
We have already published an "online kit" so that others could replicate this Space Solar Power Demonstration - the more exhibits out there, the more people will see it and learn about Space Solar Power. In this "kit" we pointed out the fragility of the unit and asked those trying to replicate it to experiment with alternative materials and designs.
It is essential that we go through this exercise as well if we want to keep exhibiting this many-times-repaired exhibit. Duck tape repairs can only prolong its exhibit lifetime so far.
The Challenge of Projects
There are many great project opportunities for the Society to do something that would move us forward towards our goal of establishment of industrial settlements on the Moon.
However, each project takes a dedicated team, and those already active in ongoing projects have there hands full.
Without more volunteers, including Project Managers to take the lead, we can only do so much. In short,
- We are not in need of new project ideas.
- We are in need of new project volunteers!
Our website has been experiencing a variety of arcane, computer-related issues that have constrained our ability to keep the website updated, as well as to update it for modern platforms. Despite calls for members with internet skills to step up, there has been a consistent dearth of responses to these calls, leaving The Moon Society understaffed in regards to the needs of our web assets.
Other Web Assets:
Our Facebook page continues to be one of our most popular portals, with new Likes up over 18% in the last year. On Facebook, we're on track to becoming one of the most popular of the space advocacy organizations. The main focus there is on informative posts on Lunar and relevant topics.
(2) completed its 25th year of continuous publication, ten issues a year, with the November 2011 issue, #250. While individual back issues (in electronic pdf file format # 145 forward) remain username/password protected, all the non-time sensitive articles from the first 21 years are republished in the MMM Classics series, freely available to anyone. MMM Classics #22 will be available by year's end.
Moon Miners' Manifesto has served the Moon Society from its founding in July 2000, and its predecessor organization, Artemis Society International since September 1995. As such, continuity of this publication is of vital importance to the Society. While the Moon Miners' Manifesto continues its multi-decade run as a venue for articles on the development of our Moon, Peter Kokh has been principal in this effort, and is currently looking for an editorial team.
We launched our new MMM Themes issues, collections of articles from the early years (1-20 i.e.. December 1986 to November 2006) based on themes, starting with two Mars issues. You can see and download the current selection of MMM Theme issues. This directory does not require a username and password for entry, and members are encouraged to spread the word about these Theme issues and the MMM Classics issues to others.
continues to be a success and a big hit in India. Published on a quarterly schedule (January, April, July, October. These publications, in pdf format, are available to anyone. With the 11th issue, July 2011, we have further internationalized the space news section, adding "Elsewhere in the World" to the previous sections "Elsewhere in Asia" and "Elsewhere in the Commonwealth" and have added the email addresses of our international members to the distribution list. These publications are free access PDF file downloads and all current and former members are free to download them.
The Moon Society continues to work toward the development of a formal Moon Society in India. To this end, MMM-India Quarterly continues to be published, and avenues for establishment of a formal legal structure continue to be explored.
for those curious on how the Moon Society stands on Mars, the Asteroids, Research, Space Tourism, Art, and other topics, we have created some new pages with links to more information. The new Art page is a thumbnail type Gallery of existing Moon-related artwork which we hope will help members and visitor visualize some of the concepts involved in our vision of the Lunar Frontier.
Our new formatted-email newsletter, sent to all currently valid email addresses in our database, is freely available to anyone who sends us their current email address. We will maintain a separate email list, so that anyone can subscribe or unsubscribe at will.
Moonscape brings news and commentary articles, and complements the content of Moon Miners' Manifesto and our other publications. We try (but do not promise) to publish monthly.
A Spanish language Quarterly and Spanish version of our website?
Another somewhat daunting publication project has been under consideration, a Spanish Language Quarterly and Spanish version of our website. The Moon Society has been active for some time in Mexico, and more recently in Chile - the Moon/Mars Atacama Research Station, for which we had been the lead design consultant until the University of Antofagasta (the major port city in northern Chile near where MMARS would be built) took over management of the project.
Check our Mexican Space Society page and our Spanish Language Project information page. These pages are a humble start. We will need to build a capable team to realize this goal. To volunteer, write spanish@moonsociety
Members can download special one-page calendars on which Moon Society Management Committee, Board, Town Meeting, and Annual membership meeting dates are noted. These calendars come in both landscape and portrait format and with a variety of picture options. Go to our Downloads page and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Sometimes joining forces and combining talents makes sense. First a history, then notes on where we are as of this year.
We have a history of collaborating with ALS that goes back 23 years when the Lunar Reclamation Society and ALS cosponsored a design competition for a telescope that one could use from within the comfort of a pressurized lunar homestead. A design constraint was that electronic import of images from surface instruments to an interior view screen was "cheating." Three interesting designs were the result
In 2005, the Moon Society became an official cosponsor of ALS Moon Observing Certificate Program, offering it to our members and website visitors.
That same year we began making our publications (in pdf format) available to each other's members. Moon Society members can freely download issues of Selenology.
Moon Miners' Manifesto began as the newsletter of the Milwaukee Lunar Reclamation Society chapter of the L5 Society, six months before the L5/National Space Institute merger into what is now The National Space Society at ISDC 1987 in Pittsburgh. The Milwaukee Lunar Reclamation Society became the first integrated NSS chapter three months before the merger. No other NSS chapter's NSS association goes that far back, though several chapters such as OASIS (Los Angeles) and Seattle L5 Society predate LRS.
Moon Miners' Manifesto started serving Artemis Society International in September 1995, and its successor The Moon Society as of its founding in July 2000.
The upshot is that collaboration between The Moon Society and NSS is a natural one.
2005.05.22 The Moon Society and The National Space Society Signed an Historic Agreement by which the Moon Society becomes an Autonomous Affiliate of NSS. We wrote the agreement and they signed it without a single change. By the end of the year, NSS signed on the Moon Society's Simulation Exercise at the Mars Desert Research Station, held in early 2006, contributing matching funds (at the same level as the Lunar Reclamation Society and Moon Society's commitments).
In 2007, we cosponsored NSS Space Calendar Art Competition.
We have cosponsored NSS's annual ISDC and chaired the Moon track of several ISDCs.
ISDC Tracks: In 2012, The Moon Society had its first formal ISDC track since 2007. Themed on The Cislunar Econosphere, it presented speakers on a variety of topics relevant to the commercialization of cislunar space and the Moon. This will continue at next year's ISDC with a track on Lunar Lava Tubes .
While in general, except for chapter initiatives, NSS is not "project focused," they remain an exceptional partner on many levels.
An effort to design and build a first non government-owned outpost on the Moon with some similarities to the abandoned Artemis Project OpenLuna.org has shown considerable interest and enthusiasm in working with the Moon Society on various projects including analog activities and engineering competitions
In 2002, Paul Swift and Peter Kokh launched the Mars Society "Mars Aviation Task Force". They hoped to involve many terrestrial experimental aviation buffs thinking that the idea of being able to fly on Mars would make the planet more "real" to the public. This effort failed to attract anyone.
In 2004, The Moon Society cosponsored the Mars Society Convention, held that year in Chicago. We had a great exhibit with several flyers about Moon/Mars collaboration. Few attendees paid any attention. But it was at this convention that we learned that the Mars Desert Research Station could be rented for crews from other organizations. The next year Peter Kokh got on a regular Mars Society Crew (#34) to learn what he could about MDRS and to determine whether this would be a good environment for a Moon Society "moonbase simulation."
While the MDRS landscapes screamed "Mars," the thought was that we could nonetheless do some useful moon-relevant projects and exercises there. Our "Artemis Moonbase Sim 1" exercise, Crew #45, took over the premises, February 26 - March 11, 2006. While paying "$7k rent" is hardly what one would call "collaboration," these two crew experiences in tandem helped us determine what we would do the same, and what we would definitely do differently, had we our own analog station.
On our crew we added a "module" to the complex: the Heinlein Memorial Tunnel, a PVC frame "virtual" tunnel between the Hab and the Greenhab so that crew members could go from one to the other without a spacesuit, pretending that they were in a pressurized corridor. The MDRS Engineering Team which had preapproved the design and its installation were appreciative, but it didn't earn us a rebate on our "rent."
If you have a suggestion about another organization with which we might enter into a productive collaboration, please write us at email@example.com with "collaboration" in the subject line.
Chapters are a primary way to organize members in support of the Society and its Goals.
- Many types of Projects are best pursued by individuals in real contact with one another, that is, in local teams. This is especially true of physical projects where parts and systems need to be coordinated and tested. Yet, as our successful Space Solar Power Demo project showed, some non-physical, non-hands-on aspects of an otherwise physical project can be farmed out to whomever, wherever.
- In person meetings better energize those working on a project, and better motivate them to advance their contributions on a timely basis.
Chapters are the best way to organize and carry out Public Outreach Events
- Even conferences, some aspects of which can easily be put together at a distance, require on site teams to provide local support, liaison with hotel staffs and schools and local supporting organizations.
The Moon Society's Chapter Network has been growing too slowly.
This is because the membership level has been holding steady instead of increasing. This is to be expected during the current adverse economic conditions which affect a significant minority of the population.
We have lost outposts in Longview, TX and Montreal, Quebec, as well as a campus chapter in Green Bay, WI
The Chapters we have remain strong
We have vigorous chapters in Metro St. Louis and in Metro Phoenix
We have a joint Moon Society/National Space Society chapter in Houston - a case were both previously independent chapters found themselves with neatly matching sets of strengths and weaknesses, both having much to gain from pooling their talents and resources.
Besides this one blended chapter, we have joint ("partnering") Moon Society Outpost/National Space Society chapters (an Outpost is one or more persons trying to become a full chapter) in
- Portland (Oregon L5 Society)
- Milwaukee (Lunar Reclamation Society)
- Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN (Minnesota Space Frontier Society)
- San Diego (San Diego Space Society)
- Dallas Fort Worth (NSS-North Texas)
- Note:Joint or Blended NSS/Moon Society Chapters were approved by both organizations in the joint Affiliation Agreement signed in 2005.
In addition, members of the following NSS chapters receive Moon Miners' Manifesto and are thus exposed to Moon Society news, projects, and goals
- Chicago (Chicago Space Frontier Society)
- Philadelphia (Philadelphia Area Space Alliance)
- Sheboygan, WI (Sheboygan Space Society)
- Denver (Denver Space Society)
- Los Angeles (OASIS)
Outposts (one or more persons seeking to grow into a full chapter) - While we have lost outposts in Longview, TX and Montreal, Quebec, as well as a campus chapter in Green Bay, WI we still have Outposts in the following metro areas
- Memphis, TN
- Nashville, TN
- Knoxville, TN (Hey, Go Tennessee!)
- Indianapolis, IN
- San Francisco South Bay Area, CA
We have had to Campus-based chapters now both dissolved (Brigham Young U. in Provo, Utah and College of the Menominee Nation in Green Bay, WI)
There are, however, many large metro areas in which we have no representation at all. Of these, the most frustrating case in the Washington DC Metro area, where we have more active members than in any other Metro area, but no organization. We have asked Metro DC members to consider collaborating with the very active NSS-DC chapter.
"What can we do to help our chapters with their projects?" has been a recurring discussion item in Moon Society Management Committee Meetings (1st and 3rd Wednesdays, monthly) this past year.
Chapters who have project ideas that Moon Society funding could help realize, should consult the Moon Society "Project Guidelines." Obviously, those projects which other chapters might want to replicate, will be more attractive proposals for funding. These projects can be of may kinds: exhibit and outreach materials, research programs, etc.
Having Exhibits that catch the eye and arouse curiosity, and which, explained, can change attitudes and open minds, are invaluable to a chapter and make it easier for chapters to attract new members and open more doors, and find more outreach opportunities.
Our NSS-TMS chapter/outpost in Milwaukee, the Lunar Reclamation Society/Moon Society Milwaukee Outpost, an equal beneficiary of the aforementioned bequest, is willing to fund development of some exhibits that have proved to be a big draw for both Moon Society and National Space Society chapters in the past.
The LRS "Gravity Bricks" in particular. There are about 30 sets around the country (one on Devon Island!), all produced in Milwaukee, including Milwaukee, St. Louis, Houston, and Dallas-Ft. Worth.
LRS is out of the required 2x4x8" "10-hole" bricks needed (four for each set) but is considering restocking. Shipping has been expensive, but if we divide the set into 2 "if it fits, it ships" free boxes, this deterrent should be greatly reduced. The LRS goal would be to supply all interested chapters of the Moon Society, National Space Society, and other collaborating groups.
LRS and the Moon Society are also considering supplying chapters with Podium Signs and Banners, pending selection of a design approved by all (or most) chapters.
Other exhibits are under consideration, to be made in and shipped from Milwaukee. For example the small lightweight Moon/Mars Homestead exhibit that made its debut in Chicago at Mars Convention 2004. The much larger (36"x10"x80") and heavier (80? lbs.) model made for ISDC 1998 (and displayed again at ISDC 2010 in Chicago) is too expensive to ship and to time-consuming to duplicate.
Chapters that have suggestions on desired Projects, Exhibits and Outreach Materials should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Policy and Positions
Changing Times: Challenges for Space Supporters and Enthusiasts
Many Moon Society members were disheartened when the Obama Administration announced that there was not enough money to continue the Constellation program and to realize the goal of a permanent manned moonbase. However, we were encouraged by the Administration's choice of programs in which to invest some of the freed money: technologies needed to open space and commercial transportation. To reassure our members that "all was far from lost," on May 8, 2010, we released our statement "A Lunar Frontier - Things are Looking Better than Ever!"
In Mike Griffin's own words, Constellation was "Apollo on Steroids." What we feared was that the current Moon Program would suffer the same fate, becoming "Flags and Footprints on Steroids." The Moon Society is anything but a dictatorship and there are those who would disagree.
Now with the last Space Shuttle flight to ISS over, many younger space enthusiasts and those older enthusiasts new to the effort, seem to be greatly disappointed and discouraged. Yet the shuttle program is ending because organized space enthusiasts. alarmed at the inefficiencies and high costs and lack of incentive to do things the right way, campaigned successfully to get Congress to enact a "Space Shuttle Sunset Act." We did this because the sooner the Shuttle Era was force-ended, the sooner more rationally designed, more efficient, and drastically less expensive commercial systems could reach maturity and take over. After all, free enterprise is the American way, and as proud as we were of the Space Shuttle system, it was anything but a manifestation of the free enterprise spirit.
But with new emphasis placed on the right technologies, formerly ignored, it seems possible that we (an international space agency partnership working with and through commercial companies) could be on the Moon, with a more substantial presence, well before the sure-to-be-delayed Constellation Program would have reached the Moon with a token installation.
Progress made by Space-X on its Falcon 1, Falcon-9, and Falcon Heavy launchers and Dragon Capsules has been encouraging. We are watching other commercial launch and crew vehicle providers with interest as well as the inflatable modules being developed by Bigelow Aerospace, and plans for orbital refelling stations. These developments will bring down costs dramatically. NASA had no incentive to contain costs. Indeed the more money NASA needed to spend in more congressional Proposed Position Papers
This is an area which has been neglected in since 2004, not for lack of interest, but in the competition for attention of so many other "urgent" projects. If you would like to help craft position papers on any of the following issues (or suggest an issue of your own) please write email@example.com
- Astronomy on the Moon
- Coordinating Moon & Mars Exploration
- Space Tourism on the Moon
- The Commercial Route to Opening the Moon
- Human-Robot synergies in Exploration and Development
- Robotic Exploration of Lavatubes on Moon and Mars
- Lunar Outpost Location Options
- Creating Terrestrial Business Plans for Technologies needed on the Moon.
- The Economic Case for the Moon: Exports for Profits
- An Economic Case for Mars
- Space Transportation 2.0
Note: we wouldn't suggest a topic (in the list above) for which we didn't already have some ideas.
Or suggest a paper on another topic - Note, we can easily create email-lists for each position paper team
If you have a question about anything in this report, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with "annual report" in the subject line.