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Press Release
Media Contact: 800-787-7223 or press@space-frontier.org
Return to the Moon IV Conference

Return to the Moon IV
Poster image for Return to the Moon IV. Lunar artwork by Pat Rawlings, courtesy NASA.
Houston, TX, July 18, 2002 – In the shadows of the Johnson Space Center near Houston, TX, a group of private lunar engineers, enthusiasts and astronauts today looked to the future as they opened the Space Frontier Foundation's annual Lunar Development Conference, Return to the Moon IV at Hilton NASA Clear Lake Hotel. The 3-day confab culminates Saturday on the 33rd anniversary of humanity's first lunar landing.

In his opening remarks, conference co-chairman Wendell Mendell, Manager of the NASA JSC Office for Human Exploration Science, recommended a “new direction” for what has become a national gathering place for those who wish to design a blueprint for joint government and commercial human settlements on the Moon, including commercial hotels, mining facilities and a planetary training base for future Mars explorers.

“Returning to the Moon remains a viable first step in development of the space frontier,” he said, “but to get there we've got to play the hand we're dealt. We're in a different world than we were last year at this conference. In some ways it is encouraging and other ways challenging. Nevertheless, we must adjust our strategies accordingly.”

Mendell noted that those changes include a new NASA Administrator and hints of future lunar missions, along with a new national security priority and the dot-com bust that lead to a cautious economy. “Everything we want to do requires money, political will, and the involvement of both government and private enterprise. It can and will happen if we act positively in the context of the world we now live in,” he said.

Mendell co-chairs the conference along with John Young, the first human launched seven times from a planetary surface (six from Earth, one from the Moon), an active astronaut and Associate Director at the Johnson Space Center, and George Abbey, former NASA JSC Director and current Senior Assistant for International Issues at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Sponsors of this year's conference are: Space Island Group, Apogee Books, Celestis, FINDS, Lunar Enterprise Corporation, Forever Bound, National Space Society, and John Hanks Communications.

Other notable speakers include: Paul Spudis, Lunar Science Expert; James Oberg, America's Premiere Russian Space Expert; and Rick Tumlinson, a Founder of the Space Frontier Foundation.

Further Info:
CNN.com has published an Associated Press article, Lunar enthusiasts promote moon as first step to Mars, which reports on the Foundation's Return to the Moon IV Conference in Houston last week, and extensively quotes Foundation Founder Rick Tumlinson. A fine article:

Space.com's story on George Abbey’s RTMIV speech is at:

Space.com's Leonard David, Senior Space Writer, wrote a very good review of the RTM IV Symposium: The United States Has Unfinished Business on the Moon:

The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth's fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of free enterprise and lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System.

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The High Frontier is Gerard K. O'Neill's masterpiece. This new 3rd Edition Includes an introduction by Freeman Dyson.
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The Frontier Enabling Test
Our definition of a "frontier enabling" technology or policy is one which has as its effect the acceleration of the creation of low cost access to the space frontier for private citizens and companies, enables or accelerates our use of space resources, and/or accelerates the rate at which wealth can be generated in space. In other words, is the project or policy going to provide a return on the national investment, if we define "return" to be the economically sustainable human habitation of space?

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