Our Allies in Returning to the Moon
Many people have many different visions for the future. Resources are limited. We need to understand who is pulling our way and who is pulling against us.
Lunarpedia can only make a return to the Moon really happen by working in combination with like-minded people to meet our mutual goals. We must also avoid unnecessary conflicts with people whose goals are at cross-purposes to our own .
Identifying these groups of people, both pro and con, is very helpful to achieving our purposes:
We cannot achieve our goals alone.
These are people like Lunarpedia and Moon Society participants who love the idea of the human species moving out into space. They love watching a real adventure and are thrilled that these events are happening in their time. These are our core people.
These are people who are looking for adventure in their lives. Some will go out and find it. Some will stay and home and watch it from afar. Real adventures are hard to find in modern life. They get a vicarious trill with every launch where real people are putting their lives on the line to do something really big. This is as good as it gets for many people.
Space Positive Politicians
The people in a lunar settlement are not likely to vote in any local Earth elections. What political people want to hear about then is Earth jobs in their districts. This case has often been successfully made and resulted in very strong supporters of the Space program in legislatures.
Science Fiction Fans
Science fiction fans want to see their dreams fulfilled. Future history may not happen just like Ray Bradbury foresaw, but that is all right as long as somebody does something.
The Lunarpedia story section (now being moved to its own Wiki) is an attempt to attract and interest science fiction fans into taking positive action to make their dreams come true.
Science School Teachers
The people who will actually return to the Moon are probably now in school. One good way to reach them is to reach their teachers. This will require structured materials and student projects that meet the teacher’s now highly defined needs. The Lunarpedia Student Projects List supports their efforts.
A lunar settlement can only survive in the long-term if it is part of a prosperous economy. The only way we currently know to achieve this is through encouraging many entrepreneur ventures. Most will fail but a few will grow to be the foundation of the new lunar economy.
Such opportunities come and go quickly over time. One year it’s the personal computer then next it is the Cell Phone. Some day soon, for only a very short time, it will be the Moon.
These are the people that get our adventure on the screen. They have a long history of providing critical support for space exploration through shows like PBS Nova and now through The Discovery Channel cable group. They are our best hope for communication with the masses.
These people make of a profession of space. For many it is as much for the love of the game as for the employment. They need to be challenged to do far more than they now do and especially to be required to make the case for the technical decisions they make.
Your People Here
What other groups of people do you see?
If we spend all our time fighting with people, no one will go back to the Moon.
If we find life on Mars, even a few microbes, it will be one of the most important events in the history of the human species. That goal is clearly worth a great effort and the risk of a few lives. That said, it is a very long way to Mars.
The Mars Direct plan is well thought through and does not require a lunar settlement or even lunar materials. It is however very risky with our present state of knowledge about human beings in an extended space flight.
If we Moon people get into public arguments with the Mars people, the most likely result will be a plague on both our houses.
Global Climate Change People
Global climate change is hot, hot, hot. Most of the population supports the idea that scarce space resources should be used to document the state of the Earth and our efforts to address Global Change problems. This is a critical time in Earth’s history; these people think that returning to the Moon can wait.
Great changes in our society are likely in this in the same time society will occur. We will have not choice but to achieve a great many goals in the first 1/3 of the 21st century. Addressing global climate change and returning to the Moon are two that need not be working at cross purposes (see Hamilton Schmitt).
NASA is a 45 year old hide-bound bureaucracy and often acts the part. At its worst keeping the bureaucracy alive and powerful is given greater emphasis by the management than the mission. Still, they are the only one’s who can do some parts of the program and they know it. They must be continuously pressured to explain their technical choices and not to hog resources.