#97 July 1996
Section 126.96.36.199.097.of the Artemis Data Book
Candidates for national public office show more than pro forma support for the Space Station as presently budgeted: 1. Any and all add-ons to the International Space Station as presently budgeted should be commercialized. (see the In Focus editorial in MMM # 92 on the Space Frontier Foundation's "Alpha Town" proposal and our suggestions.
We should look beyond thoughtless support for any resurrection of Bush's DOA "Space Exploration Initiative." 2. NASA's deep space program must be redirected from "exploration" to "resource prospecting." We need more Prospector-class probes to the asteroids and other Solar System objects, prioritized according to accessibility.
Candidates should support an aggressive expansion of current NASA Research and Development programs and aims. 3. NASA should be charged with timely development of critical pathway technologies. Among these are 1) aerobraking , 2) space tether applications demonstrations, 3) artificial gravity missions and ultimately a permanent artificial gravity orbital laboratory for testing long-term human physiological adaptation to fractional gravity, 4) demonstration of increasingly plant-assisted life support systems and of the recycling of wastes aboard International Space Station, 5) demonstration of beneficiation and extraction of elements other than oxygen abundant on the Moon, 6) demonstration of the feasibility of production of useful building materials reliant on available lunar (/Martian) resources, 7) demonstration of manufacturing, fabrication, and construction methods based on such materials, 8) wireless power transmission tests from the shuttle and/or station, 9) remote sensing of permafrost and subterranean voids, and similar projects to pioneer technologies needed to open the space frontier to extended human activity.
Candidates should support for continued expansion of the envelope of present space commercialization legislation. 4. Congress should facilitate additional opportunities for entrepreneurial involvement in space at all levels. (See #1 above) The great bulk of currently enacted and proposed commercial space legislation initiatives concern space facilities on Earth, vehicles and payloads going to orbit, and participation in NASA contracts.
We must begin identifying commercial opportunities "in" orbit and beyond. A Space Cabotage Act would mandate commercial transfer of payloads between orbits and might include kick motors intended to boost shuttle-carried payloads into intended higher orbits or into deep space. The intent is to limit NASA's transport operation to the Shuttle itself, recognizing that NASA's involvement in operations is not an apt precedent for the regime of future activities in space. This would guarantee the rise of commercial companies to handle any Earth-Moon ferry operations, for example, and pave the way for low Earth orbit and loop-the-Moon tourism. Commercial ownership and/or operation of any hotel-dormitory added to the International Space Station's budgeted configuration would be logical.
NASA should take the spotlight off of "spin-off" "technology transfer" in which consumers get "free" benefits from government-developed technologies at taxpayer expense. 5. NASA should assist and facilitate entrepreneurial "spin-up" technology development. The goal is to demonstrate potentially profitable terrestrial applications of technologies that will someday be useful or necessary on the space frontier, with the R&D paid for by commercial sales, and the space applications technology going "on the shelf" for relatively inexpensive deployment when needed. An example that comes to mind would be the development of glass composites for terrestrial applications (from furniture to architectural elements, to recreational vehicle body components, etc.).
"Debate" over the stalled Moon Treaty is pointless. 6. A government-business-industry commission should be set up to create a new Moon Treaty with language that sets up a regime to allow entrepreneurial use of lunar resources for the purposes of relieving Earth's environment-threatening power generation problems in a way that preserves the Moon's naked eye visual appearance from Earth. Such a regime would seek to set aside and protect areas of especial geological or scenic interest, set guidelines for the territorial extent of commercial and industrial "concessions," enable private property rights for eventual settlers, and set guidelines for progress of future settlements towards political home rule as well as economic self-reliance.
7. We should establish a University of Luna - Earthside (ULE) to include an Institute of Lunar-Appropriate Design. The ULE would take charge of research into the use and application of lunar materials over a wide range of areas with a view to telescoping the transition from an initial outpost interface to an eventual resource-using settlement.
Candidates for national office should foster policies in other areas that are compatible with an "open" space frontier. 8. We need a "Pro-Space Terrestrial Policy. This will include vigorous pursuit of 1) the "reindustrialization" of this country, 2) tax and other incentives for industry-initiated research and development in general, 3) a policy for environmentally friendly industrialization of the Third World, one that puts a strong premium on tapping space-based energy solutions, 4) promotion of power generation options beyond the scope of current vested interests: hydrogen, especially, 5) increased funding for fusion power research and into the He-3 fueling option.
Anyway, here is our "trial balloon litmus test" -- Peter Kokh
We trust you will not be offended.
Here are three additional pieces continuing this web-thread of thought for you this month. We are sure that these, as well, will still not have exhausted the ways in which the lunan character will inevitably be shaped by the physical nature of this brave and raw new world. But any other cultural aspects with environment-based underpinnings we might detect will be deferred for future discussion.
Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto