Encouraging Needed Research

Research Vectors
Chemicals, Materials Science, New Rocket Fuels,
Biological Life Support, Research Puzzles, Designing for Reuse:
Just a few of many vectors of research that need more attention

Our Vision is one of "People Living and Working on the Moon"
This vision can only become real if we do the research needed to meet all the many challenges of making such developments possible.

NASA is rightly preoccupied with research that addresses the challenges of the much nearer term goal that the government has set for it: erecting a permanent habitat on the Moon that can be visited by Astronauts. The longer term goal is to improve this structure to the point of being able to support ongoing presence of astronauts and scientists.

Research into the challenges that need to be met to grow this outpost in the direction of permanent settlements in which many people live and work, indefinitely, making the Moon their home.

While NASA has identified many of these challenges, it is not able to address them, as it must reserve money and talent for the nearer term goals.

The University of Luna Project
That is where the Moon Society has a role to play. We are not equipped to do that research, but we can identify work that needs to be done, and find ways, preferably in the commercial world, to advance that research. In short, we can try to advance "the readiness state" of identified needed technologies.

At ISDC 2007 in Dallas, Moon Society Director of Project Development, David A. Dunlop, and Society President Peter Kokh, introduced the "University of Luna Project" hoping to find collaborators. We did find many people who were interested, but the ULP seemed to need sizable institutional support and major sponsorship. We certainly needed a very complex website and an ever growing team of web masters, each responsible for one of many areas. That seemed out of reach. At that point it appeared that we had no choice put to put the ULP on hold.

But we firmly believe that something like that is needed. We looked at Joomla as a possible solution, but we might need tools that perhaps only Google could provide.

The Concept of "Spin-up"

"Spin-up" is just the opposite of "spin-off."

Instead of NASA embarking on a crash research program at exorbitant cost and then turning over the resultant technology at no cost to commercial enterprises with the taxpayer footing the bill, in "spin-up" a private enterprise, motivated by profit, develops the technology, with the consumer paying the bill. As a result, when the technology is needed on the space frontier, it is already "on-the-shelf" and in need of relatively inexpensive adaptation only.

NASA's Fusion program is similar, building upon research done in the private sector.

But we are trying to suggest research directions not currently pursued. Our tactic is to identify, or encourage others to identify, potentially profitable down-to-Earth applications of technologies that will be needed on the Moon to realize the possibilities we envision.

The concept of "Spin-up" was developed in an attempt by members of The Lunar Reclamation Society, the NSS Milwaukee chapter, to brainstorm a business plan for pre-developing Glass-Glass Composites technologies. This plan was published in Moon Miners' Manifesto, issue #16, June 1987. This article has been republished in MMM Classics #2, pp. 27-29, a 54-page  pdf file document that can be freely downloaded from http://www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_classics/
It has also been published online at: http://www.lunar-reclamation.org/papers/glass_composites_paper.htm

If for nothing else, this article illustrates how the "spin-up" process should work.

It was a primary purpose of the University of Luna Project to identify as many lunar-frontier-needed technologies as possible that were undeveloped or poorly developed, and to encourage the advancement of their "readiness state" by entrepreneurial spin-up projects, university student theses projects, and other means.

The "MUS/cle" Strategy for Lunar Industrial Diversification
"M.U.S. - c.l.e." - Our strategy calls for the M.U.S ( Massive, Unitary, Simple ) parts to be made by the settlement and the c.l.e. ( Complex, Lightweight, and Electronic ) components to be made on Earth for upport (up Earth's steep gravity well) and mating on the Moon ( or early space colony ). This is a logical formula for giving industrial muscle to the early settlement, still too small to diversify into a maze of subcontracting establishments. It plays on the strengths of the lunar situation and relies on the early basic industries: lunacrete, iron-steel, ceramic, and glass-glass composites.

Accordingly, our priorities are on advancing the readiness state of those industrial technologies needed to produce these early and basic Lunar-sourced "building and manufacturing materials."

Of course, there are other things that need attention, especially technologies that will help us deal with the challenging aspects of the lunar environment:
  • The extreme thermal range between Dayspan and Nightspan
  • Power storage technologies
  • Radiation protection (shielding technologies),
  • The mischievous characteristics of Moondust
It is our belief, that in time, pioneers will feel as much at home as the Eskimos and Innuit do. We will learn to deal with the "deadly" and "unlivable" conditions of the Moon, as if by second nature, as we always have done before.

MMM Classic Themes "Research" issue
As of 01/01/2010 we have begun collecting all the articles from the first twenty years of Moon Miners' Manifesto which deal with spin-up research issues, into one pdf file volume.


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