Los Angeles, CA, June 23, 1999 The Space Frontier Foundation and the National Space Society today announced that astronauts Dr. Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11), Dr. Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17), and John Young (Apollo 10) will join other space leaders, entrepreneurs and Lunar advocates in Houston, TX on July 16-17, 1999 to lay the groundwork for a permanent human return to the Moon. The "Lunar Base Development Symposium", the first of its kind, is designed to begin crafting the elements of a business plan that will lead to the construction of a commercially viable Lunar base within the next ten years. Honorary Co-Chairpersons will be House Space Subcommittee Chairman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Space Subcommittee member Dick Lampson (D-TX) and Lunar Prospector Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Binder.
"Some say the Moon was abandoned after Apollo, but we see that as an opportunity," stated Space Frontier Foundation president Rick Tumlinson. "The Moon is now a clean slate, and it's close enough to the Earth for private firms to play a big role there. We think we can create a critical mass to make a return to the Moon not only possible, but profitable."
The Foundation, which is an organizer of the event, believes that the Moon is the next place humans will live in space after Earth-orbiting stations. From being a place to train future Mars astronauts in vacuum and on a planetary surface to providing a stable platform for giant new telescope arrays, from its vast stores of nearly priceless Helium-3 to becoming an eventual tourist destination, the Moon represents the true "next step" for humanity in space. The event planners believe that it also represents a chance for a new synergy between government and the private sector.
"Imagine a Mars training base in a crater next to a Lunar Hilton Hotel," said Pat Dasch, Executive Director of the National Space Society, which is a co-organizer of the symposium. "Scientists operating the NASA facility would live side by side with astronomers operating far-side observatories and prospectors mining Helium-3. Roll in the space tourism and entertainment industries and we have a lunar community."
The event, to be held in cooperation with the NASA/Johnson Space Center, is being sponsored by FINDS (the Foundation for the International Non-governmental Development of Space). Other sponsors include Applied Space Resources, The Lunar Resources Company, The Lunar Reclamation Society, LunaCorp, The Lunar Research Institute, and Space Studies Institute.
"During the week of the Apollo 11 Anniversary, everyone else will be looking backwards," concluded Tumlinson. "We'll be looking forward. It's time to return to the Moon and this time, we stay!"