NSS Urges Trump to Lead Lunar Base Construction

nss_logoWASHINGTON, DC, November 30, 2016 (NSS PR) — On Saturday, October 8th, the National Space Society (NSS) organized a workshop directed at recommending a space policy to the new Administration. Eleven thought leaders from government, industry, and academia gathered in a fruitful collaboration to produce a set of five recommendations.

Steve Jurvetson, a partner at the well-known Silicon Valley Sand Hill Road venture capital firm DFJ hosted the meeting at the DFJ offices. NSS has submitted the resulting white paper to the Trump Transition Team. The paper can be viewed at The paper can be viewed at http://www.nss.org/legislative/positions/NSS-DFJ-Workshop-Recommendations-Nov-2016.pdf.

“NSS is proud to support this important workshop,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. “We had a very extensive collaboration bringing together space entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and space activists to develop space policy recommendations for the new Administration.”

As a result of this workshop, the National Space Society calls upon the Trump Administration to:

  1. Re-establish a National Space Council.
  2. Establish a thriving space economy as a goal of NASA and implement this goal via public-private partnerships, including the purchase in-space of fuel mined from the lunar surface/asteroids, and the use of commercial services to supply future space projects on and near the Moon.
  3. Lead in the construction of a public/private lunar resource extraction base that includes international participation.
  4. Set up a space commodities futures trading exchange to jump start the use of space resources.
  5. NASA should conduct break-through R&D targeted at projects such as self-sustaining habitats in space, propellant production and storage (at the Moon, at small bodies, and at Mars), in situ manufacturing (Moon, small bodies, Mars), reusable large-scale solar electric or nuclear propulsion systems, space solar power (SSP), and others.

“The space paradigm is changing at an accelerating pace,” said Mark Hopkins, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the NSS. “The dramatic progress in commercial space calls for new thinking about why and how we explore, develop and eventually settle space,” he said.

About the National Space Society (NSS): NSS is an independent nonprofit educational membership organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen’s voice on space, with over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The Society publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. NSS thanks their ISDC 2016 Galaxy Sponsor, the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust. To learn more, visit www.nss.org. Biographies for the quotes can be found at www.nss.org/about/bios/skran.html and www.nss.org/about/bios/hopkins

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  • Robert G. Oler

    everything but why this is a good idea

  • The white paper is so … breakthroughy! I was able to embrace it’s truthiness and breakthroughyness almost immediately, even though I did not bother to count the number of times ‘breakthrough’ appeared within it.

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    A lunar base will show to the world that the United States has returned to greatness. There is much unknown about the Moon that government and academic scientists in the base could discover. During the new presidency robots need sending to survey the ground for suitable sites.

    Transporting goods and consumables from the Earth to the Moon is very expensive, currently (2016) costing over a million dollars a kilogram. Rocket fuel, oxygen, water and building materials can be mined and refined on the Moon; hopefully for less than the cost of bringing them from Earth. The public are likely to want NASA to save money by using ‘local’ sources where available. Operators of spacestations and spacecraft may also wish to refuel in lunar orbit.

    In the USA mining is normally carried out by private sector firms, we assume the Government will wish the same to happen on the Moon. Part of the base will be zoned for private sector use and in accordance with the appropriate treaties mining permits issued.

    Earth practice world wide demonstrate that a properly regulated means of buying and selling lunar commodities is needed. Many political problems will be prevented if this is done from the beginning.

  • Jacob Samorodin

    And the Mars Society will say, “No no no! Mars first!” Back and forth, back and forth between two opposing spaceflight factions over the past 40 years; and we are still stuck in LEO.

  • Michael Vaicaitis

    “Rocket fuel, oxygen, water and building materials can be mined and refined on the Moon; hopefully for less than the cost of bringing them from Earth.”
    Two trillion dollars later we may have industrial scale mining and refining on the Moon. Meanwhile the most likely spacecraft will want to refuel with with either LOX/CH4 or Xenon, and whose going to want to put a space station beyond LEO?. Fully reusable launch vehicles, and spacecraft designed from the outset to go to Mars, will quickly put lunar refuelling economics in doubt. Not to mention that the Moon is a very unpleasant place – Mars is a safe comfortable paradise by comparison.

    Seems to me the only supportable reasons for going to the Moon are “lunar science”, “it’s relatively close”, and “just because”. Musk will likely have 10 million people on Mars long before there is a thriving lunar economy.

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    The is debate about how hard it will be to make methane (CH4) on the Moon. LOX is oxygen only colder.

    A lunar spacestation is a good place to keep and repair the reusable lunar landers. The Lagrange points are good places to load, unload and repair the Mars transfer vehicles.

    The round trip to Mars takes so long that the vehicle can only be reused 3 or 4 times. Heat shield repair makes it very marginal. At airports people get out of small cars to get into large planes, spacestations could do the same job for launch vehicles and transfer vehicles.

  • windbourne

    you might have to undo the last un.

  • I couldn’t help myself. Give me an inch and I’ll take a mile.

    Breakthroughyness has been a thing with me for a little while now.

  • windbourne

    sorry, but michael is spot on.
    The moon will never make sense for getting to mars esp. when it comes to fuel. I will say that a MAG LEV throwing might make a lot of sense, but, it will be 20-30 years MINIMUM before that was ready.

    Plenty of reasons for private space to want to go to the moon. NASA will want to go for numerous reasons, most nearly all dealing with either science or engineering.
    BUT, the idea of having NASA doing this makes NO ECONOMIC, SCIENTIFIC, OR ENGINEERING sense.

  • Vultur

    Except if the vehicle is really only reused 3 or 4 times*, the heat shield might not need repair if PICA-X is really as good as SpaceX claims it is.

    *IIRC Elon Musk’s plans call for 10 reuses, which is something like a 22 year lifetime given that he’s talking about going there and back in one synod – that seems pretty reasonable compared to lifetimes of other transport systems.

  • Snofru Chufu

    Musk’s Mars plans are not realistic! Let us go to Moon and built this station!

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    Whether NASA runs the lunar transport system or organises a lunar COTS does not matter very much at the policy level, the tax payers still end up paying for it.

    The Moon’s surface is not on the way to Mars but the Lagrange Points are.

  • windbourne

    Actually, the lunar surface is ideal as simulation for mars.

    There is no atmosphere, so, it has to be 100% rocket based landing. And if it works on earth as well, then it will work on Mars.

    Any living habitat that can be on the moon at D at say, our south pole (and that means being without solar power for up to 30 days minimum and ideally 6 months) , can be on mars.
    Likewise, anything that can work in the craters of the moon and in a crater on earth, can work on mars.

    And having NASA run a SINGLE system on their own is exactly the issues that caused us to lose SpaceLab and has shot down human launch for NASA for 6 long years.

    To go to the moon and mars, we need MULTIPLE different systems. That is the ONLY way that we can survive on both.

  • windbourne

    go ahead. Spending your money on that.

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    > Actually, the lunar surface is ideal as simulation for mars.

    I know what you mean but the general public will find what you wrote there and what you wrote 2 days ago a contradiction.

  • windbourne

    huh?

  • Snofru Chufu

    I will try to support Moon missions by my limited means. Why not derive a business from it?

    “Value of the Moon”

    Dr. Paul Spudis

    Lunar and Planetary Institute- October 2016

    https://youtu.be/cuhK9a8ipOQ

  • windbourne

    well, that is why several companies are in talks with SpaceX about going to the moon.
    However, it will NOT remain Musk’s primary interest.
    And since it is HIS company, he can do with his money what he sees fit.