Los Angeles, CA, April 10, 2002 Apollo Astronaut John Young will join George Abbey, former head of the Johnson Space Center, and accomplished Planetary Scientist Dr. Wendell Mendell to Chair the Space Frontier Foundation's fourth annual Return to the Moon Conference, to be held in Houston, July 18-19. The event, to be held across the street from NASA's Johnson Space Center, has rapidly emerged as the central gathering point for those who see a human return to the Moon as the next step beyond the space station, on our way to Mars.
It is time to begin planning the next phase of the human expansion beyond Earth. Lunar base artwork by Pat Rawlings courtesy NASA.
"It is time to begin planning the next phase of the human expansion beyond Earth," said Abbey, one of the leaders of the Apollo program. "The Moon is sitting there, waiting for us to complete the job we started with Apollo. Except this time when we go, we go to stay, and then, to move beyond it, to Mars and the far frontier."
A primary goal of the conference will be to provide explorers, scientists, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts a collegial venue to deepen cooperation within the growing community of lunar advocates. Specific issues of lunar development will be explored, i.e., how and where lunar habitats will be constructed, what types of transportation systems will be needed and what our priorities will be for lunar science. The experts will also examine how government concepts to move beyond the current space station and send humans to Mars can become synergistic with commercial plans for lunar mining for rare elements, lunar resorts and entertainment facilities.
Mendell remarked, "there is a lot of important scientific work to be done on the Moon. How was the Earth formed? What can we learn about the asteroid impact sites that cover its surface? What resources does it offer us for use here on Earth?" He added, "On the Moon we can begin to learn how to operate on another world, something we must become good at if we are ever to send people to Mars."
The event is attracting some of the world's top space experts, including Jim Oberg, noted space historian, Russian space expert, Paul Spudis, one of our top lunar scientists, and Dr. Mike Duke from the Apollo team. Along with these speakers and presenters, the space, academic and engineering communities will be invited to present papers.
"The ball is rolling," stated Space Frontier Foundation President Rick Tumlinson. "Last year we saw the first space tourist. This year we will see two more. If history is our guide, then in ten years someone will be looking for the next Big Thing, and many of us think it will be the Moon." Tumlinson continued, "Imagine waking up in your hotel suite on the Moon, looking at the Earth above the horizon, and going for a ride to see the site of Apollo 11."
For more information on the Return to the Moon IV Conference, click here.