ASI W9700470r1.0

Moon Miners' Manifesto

#89 October 1995

Section the Artemis Data Book


IN FOCUS: Making the most of Apollo 25th anniversaries still to come

It has become all too customary for complacent, uninventive space advocates to make a big ado about every 5th Apollo 11 Moon Landing anniversary and totally ignore the educative potential of commemorating the major anniversaries of any of the other Apollo missions. Thanks to Jim Lovell's recent book, "Lost Moon", and to Ron Howard's well-received movie dramatization of the "Apollo 13" mission, we begin to suspect we may have been overlooking other opportunities that the inexorable march of time presents.

Not all the Apollo Missions seem individually remarkable or memorable, even though each in turn expanded the envelope of our operations on the Moon. Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 served as public sleeping pills. The steps each took beyond its predecessor mission were not sufficiently dramatic to maintain public interest. Granted, that's a hard order to fill.

Apollo 15 introduced the moonbuggy rover and at least some of the dozing public woke up briefly to take note. The 25th anniversary of Apollo 15 occurs in July '96 in Spaceweek. What a splendid opportunity, if we were to begin now, to celebrate the anniversary with Design Competi-tions for new lunar rovers, making major advances over past achievement: pressurized cabins?, capacity to operate at night?, multi-day excursions?, "amphibious" duty as spacecraft cabin (the "frog" concept)? etc. If not a design competition, then a series of Workshops with publicized results. It's definitely an opportunity to bring up the topic of going beyond Apollo!

Apollo 17 was our curtain fall effort on the Moon, and the liftoff from the Moon marked the beginning of our long retreat - December '97 marks the 25th anniversary of this triumph become tragedy, this seizure of defeat from the jaws of victory. We could mark it with a series of workshops on an orderly envelope-busting return to the Moon in which we first set up an outpost that can be repeatedly reoccupied, then demonstrate a capacity to remain "overnight" - all month long, then demonstrate the ability to use local resources to make products that will allow us to expand our operations with less reliance on supplies from Earth and at reduced costs.

We propose a major effort at ISDC '97 - Orlando to organize this do-something celebration with follow ups at ISDC '98 - Milwaukee. Yet, building our return founda-tions "on the sand" of public interest is risky business and we must do it as a secondary support strategy only.

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