ASI W9700503r1.1

Moon Miners' Manifesto

#100 November 1996

Section 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 blurred.

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".

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 via email, or for hard copy forwarding to the MMM submission address.

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.

NASA Photo

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."

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