The Second Annual Lunar Development Conference
Return to the Moon II
Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada July 20 - 21, 2000
Read the Preliminary Agenda Return to the Moon II Sponsors
by James M. Busby, Coordinator, Lunar Development Projects
The Space Frontier Foundation, along with the Space Studies Institute of Princeton, The National Space Society, the Moon Society, and FINDS, produced a wonderful event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on July 20 - 21, 2000. The Conference was a great success, with over a hundred educators, engineers, private business people and news media in attendance.
On Thursday, Greg Bennett of the Moon Society, and Chairman for this Conference, opened the first day of the Conference by speaking of the many reasons that we need to return to the Moon, and the vital importance it plays in our exploration of space. Foundation President Rick Tumlinson, in his opening remarks, spoke about the Lunar Declaration, and why we must have the vision and foresight to sign it and get it done! The European Space Agency's Ian Pryke supplied a last minute update on the overseas Moon Conference and the Russian Space Station modules that were launch a few days earlier. The Lunar Transport session, chaired by Ed Belbruno of Princeton, touched on subjects such as Lunar tethers and slings, and the idea of making modifications to existing craft to take us to the Moon's surface. The Habitation session was conducted by author and professor Madhu Thangavelu, and presenters talked about living in space station hardware produced by the Russians and using lunar soil for producing "natural" Moon homes.
NASA administrator Dan Goldin sent Kent Joosten from Johnson Space Center to speak at the Thursday luncheon about the space agency's plans. The afternoon Policy session was followed by the Lunar Enterprise session, chaired by Space Age Publishing's' Steve Durst. Various corporate presidents and industrialists explained the many business plans they have that will lead from unmanned rovers visiting the south pole to manned Lunar outposts.
The Thursday evening Banquet was addressed by Jim Dunstan who spoke about the miracles occurring now in space commercialization. Entertainment for the Banquet was provided by Elaine Walker of the pro-space musical group ZIA.
The Friday morning Lunar Enterprise session was moderated by Steve Durst of Space Age publishing, and included presentations by Charles Chafer of Celestis on their Lunar burial program. Jim Benson of SpaceDev- spoke about financing, and Dennis Hope of the Lunar Embassy spoke of property rights. After the mid-morning break we had presentations on power systems, mineral exploration, a Lunar observatory, and the prospects of a commercial Lunar base. Noted scientist Wendell Mendell of Johnson Space Center was the inspiring luncheon speaker. A vote was taken at this luncheon concerning the use of Caesars Palace and Las Vegas as next year's site for the 2001 Lunar Development Conference. A resounding majority voted to keep it in Las Vegas, and negotiations are now in progress for 2001.
The afternoon Science session was led by Stewart Nozette of the Naval Research Laboratory. This huge session included talks about orbiting Lunar nanosatellites, and processing, mining, and manufacturing operations 240,000 miles away, Astronomy, and Lunar Helium-3 recovery and use in Fission reactors. The Conference concluded with rousing speeches by Mr. Bennett and Mr. Tumlinson with the promise to return next year.
Our blue-green world appears to be very special in our universe. Our Moon has protected Earth all these billions of years from the impacts of asteroids and debris, and yet holds many secrets and wonders yet to be seen. Water? Power? What else lies just out of our touch in the sky? It is up to all of us to go forth and find them. It is still the only other world that has felt the footprints of man, and that was so long ago a lifetime to some.
We must return to the Moon, with our inquiring minds and our hands full of instruments. We must return, to build upon the beginnings of Tranquility Base and develop the resources we will find there. We must return. to find out who we are and, to see where we are going. We must return, to have our children, and push out from there to a universe seemingly calling us out. We must return to the Moon...and this time to stay!
I conclude with thanks to Bettie Greber and her daughter and the staff of the Princeton Space Studies Institute, to whom we are most grateful. We could not have done such a wonderful Conference without them. I also wish to thank our Chairman, Greg Bennett of Bigelow Aerospace and his staff at The Moon Society, who had their Conference directly following ours. We would also like to thank the National Space Society for their support, and Rick Tumlinson and FINDS, for their generous funding and support. I would also like to thank Mark Maxwell, for his artwork for the RTM II poster. We also thank our Conference sponsors Celetis, SpaceDev, LunaCorp, Lunar Traders, and Space Age Publishing. I would also like to thank Libby Workman and our other volunteers, and John Martinez, Andy Monsen, Madhu Thangavelu and Jeff Roady for the various and interesting displays.
L to R: Space artist Mark Maxwell signs copies of the poster that he did specifically for this year's Conference, Conference Coordinator James Busby at the podium, Space Frontier Foundation President Rick Tumlinson oversees events in the display room.
Click here to read Foundation president Rick Tumlinson's welcome speech to the Lunar Development Conference.
The Lunar Development Conference is an annual forum for the exchange of information about the technologies and social and economic factors that will allow humankind to return to the Moon and establish a permanent presence. This year's Conference in Las Vegas was underwritten by FINDS, and co-sponsored by the Space Frontier Foundation, The Moon Society, National Space Society, and Space Studies Institute, and attended by over 150 people who represent the cutting edge of Lunar activism and entrepreneurship. The two day event was comprised of the presentation of papers in five Lunar development sessions: Lunar Transportation, Lunar Habitats, Lunar Policy, Lunar Enterprise, and Lunar Science.
The Lunar Transportation session focused on transportation technologies for moving people and cargo from Earth orbit to Lunar orbit, Lunar orbit to Lunar surface and travel on the Lunar Surface. Routine transportation to and from any location is key to being able to settle and develop that location. Safe, reliable and cheap access to the Moon is vital to any permanent settlement.
Buildings and structures are necessary for Lunar development, whether it is a human settlement or a robotic one. The Habitat session presented concepts for using native material as well as imported components to develop the structures that will house people, protect industrial processes, and permit the establishment of a permanent human presence on the Moon.
It's been said that, "nobody stays, until somebody pays." This is as true of the Moon as it is for any settlement on Earth. Unless there is an economic reason for humans to live and work on the Moon, there will never be a permanent settlement. The Lunar Enterprises session highlighted innovative business plans and concepts for using the Moon. It is business ideas such as these that will lead to the first human settlements.
The Moon presents a unique environment and opportunity for science. The Lunar Science session highlighted science, such as astronomy, that is perfectly suited to utilize this environment for tremendous advancement. Pursuit of this science is another endeavor that will lead humans to settle and develop the Moon.
L to R: Richard Godwin, Project Manager of The Watch, stands in front of a table of Apollo Mission Reports and other products from The Watch. A view graph presentation of NASA's Role of Lunar Exploration by Kent Joosten, Johnson Space Center.