Moon Miners' Manifesto
#100 November 1996
Section 18.104.22.168.100.of the Artemis Data Book
Editorial: Lunar Prospector II
IN FOCUS: Time to begin brainstorming "Lunar Prospector II"
Lunar Prospector, to be launched next year on an exciting and important
mission to gather data from which the first real lunar global resource map
can be produced, was conceived, brainstormed, designed, and built outside
NASA. In that sense only and with no reflection on the talents and ambitions
of the many people involved over the years, LP is an amateur prospecting
effort. It may well find defini-tive indications of polar permashade fields
of water-ice as well as non-typical (and hence economically significant)
concentrations of other elements.
Yet the probe's resolution will be crude at best. We will know that there
is an abundance of this or that somewhere down there within a radius of
many tens of miles. The first geo-economic globe of the Moon will be very
Given that the sidelines effort that resulted in LP has stretched more than a
decade, the time is past ripe to brainstorm a worthy follow-on - let's give
it a working name of Lunar Prospector II, "LP2".
- The above said, the first thing we will want aboard is more powerful
instrumentation of the same general type, but with a resolution at least
an order of magnitude (i.e. 10 x) sharper, the same for its level of
sensitivity both so that we can discover skimpier resources, as well as
better compare the concentration of resources from one field or patch to
another. Only when we have such more detailed over-views of lunar resources
will we be able to best prioritize competing settlement and development
sites. That will be vital if we are to maximize the success of our lunar
economic ventures, whether they involve mining super cold and hard water-ice
or untypical concentrations of industrially valuable metals such as copper or
platinum, generally found only in gossamer traces of fairy-tale value.
- Next on our dream list for LP2 is a radar instrument tuned to
cavities of size lying within a hundred meters of the surface terrain, i.e.
lava tubes that provide ready-made shelter from cosmic weather:
micrometeorites, cosmic rays, UV rays, and solar flares - for outposts,
warehousing, industrial operations, and future settlements.
- For the same purpose, we would include a side-looking infrared detector
that can peer down the entrance throats of lava tubes and thus detect a
telltale temperature difference with surrounding surfaces, dayspan and
- Perhaps less vitally important for economic decisions other than routing
of overland highways, a synthetic aperture radar would produce a much more
detailed topographic model of the lunar surface than that deducible from
Prior to the opportunities created by NASA's smaller, better, faster
Discovery Mission series opportunities, Lunar Prospector was dead in the
water. In an effort to get things moving again, inde-fatigable NSS and SFF
activist David Anderman fathered the Lunar Data Services Purchase Act and
then successfully shepherded it through Congress. David would now like to use
this tool to create a market for data a follow on probe to Lunar Prospector
might produce. For that reason he is seeking input from interested parties on
what such an LP2 might include. The above is my two cents.
The returns from Lunar Prospector should be coming in in definitive details
by the time of the 1998 ISDC (Milwaukee) and will either strengthen or
further challenge the aspirations of would-be lunar developers. We can expect
LP(1)'s findings to raise as many questions as it answers, thus to make clear
the need to fly a much more capable mission.
LP2's returns, in contrast, would be of a quality not just to justify a
pro-lunar development posture, but to whet the appetite of individual
development companies, who could/would then bid on real development rights.
'Would', that is, presup-posing a favorable economic treaty regime. If you
are following, or sprinting a step ahead of my argument, you will see that
the political effect of a properly designed and successfully undertaken
Lunar Prospector II mission could be to at long last motivate a groundswell
of effectively influential support for just such a political-economic status
change from the current Moon Treaty limbo.
LP2 as outlined above, is "not just the next step in discovery, but the
first step in realization". We urge others with a serious interest to help
in brainstorming the LP2 follow-on. You can send your thoughts to David at
DavidA5625@aol.com via email, or for hard
copy forwarding to the MMM submission
An LP follow on to Mars? Of course! We can push funding of LP1, then LP2
sister probes to Mars as part of the package. We do want to develop Mars
economically too, after all!
Yet if it comes down to making hard either-or choices, we should/must
remember that the Moon is a couple of days distant, not several months, that
missions to it can be mounted at any time, not just every two years, and that
the odds for early develop-ment return on investment from the viewpoint of
such logistic issues alone, makes the Moon clearly target of opportunity
Number One. We go for broke, promoting both - but settle wisely, if need be.
-- Peter Kokh
The Lure of the Moon's Hidden Covered Valleys
In this Apollo 10 photo of Hyginus Rille in Sinus Medii (central nearside,
5xE, 8xN) are visible a number of gaps in the rille. The arrow points to
the most prominent of these, about 10 miles long. The only geologically
viable explanation is that this interruption is an uncollapsed segment of
an original lava tube once well over a hundred miles long. Someday such
ready-made sanctuaries from the cosmic elements may house the bulk of the
Lunan urban population. Much more in the articles that follow.
Past MMM Articles on Lava Tubes
MMM # 25 MAY '89, p 4, "Lava Tubes"
MMM # 44 APR '91, pp. 2-4, "Oregon Moonbase"
MMM # 44 APR '91, pp. 5-6, "Ice Caves"
MMM # 73 MAR '94, pp. 3-5,
"Urbs Pavonis, the Peacock Metroplex:
the Site for Mars' Main Settlement."
MMM # 93 MAR '96 p 16 "Visit Oregon Moonbase"
Some Articles On Other Relevant Topics
MMM # 3 MAR '87 p. 10, "A Concrete Moonbase"
MMM # 5 MAY '87 "LunARchitecture"; "Weather"; "M is for Middoors"
MMM # 8 SEP '87 "Parkway"
MMM # 12 p 8 "Welcome to Moonbase" by Ben Bova
MMM # 15 MAY '88 p. 12 "Sunflower Solar Collector"
MMM #s 26-29 & 31-33 "Ventures of the Rille People"
LRS prize winning Prinzton Settlement Study (double-vaulted pressurized
rille-spanning agricultural village megastructures)
MMM # 37 JUL '90, p 3, "Ramadas"
MMM # 50 NOV '91, pp. 6-8 "Hostels, Part IV: Hostel-Appropriate Architectures"
MMM # 55 MAR '92, pp 4-6 "Xity Plans"
MMM # 74 APR '94, p 5, "Shielding and Shelter"
MMM # 89 OCT '95, pp 3-5
"SHELTER on the Moon:
Digging in for longer, safer stays."
Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto
Moon Miners' Manifesto
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