Re: SPACE: Property Claims and Lunar Water Mining

Anders Sandberg (
07 Mar 1998 14:44:24 +0100

GBurch1 <> writes:

> A real problem with any such projects, though, will be the nuclear nuts'
> ravings about plutonium RTGs. By definition, solar power won't be available
> for any of this work, and so RTGs and, for the real work, genuine power
> reactors, will be the only viable power sources. Get ready for another fight
> with the nukenuts.
> The first step, though, is staking a claim that would entice investment in the
> water mining endeavor. Assuming the claim regime I mentioned here last
> weekend, someone needs to get a lander down to the poles muy pronto.

You might have to hurry, EuroMoon 2000 might be on its way! From the
ESA press release (earlier posted on the transhumantech list):

The first step in this ESA initiated programme is a unique
project called 'Euromoon 2000' which is currently being
studied by ESA engineers/ scientists and key European Space
Industries. The project is intended to celebrate Europe's
entry into the New Millennium; and to promote public awareness
and interest in science, technology and space exploration.

Euromoon 2000 has an innovative and ambitious implementation
plan. This includes a 'partnership with industry' and a
financing scheme based on raising part of the mission's budget
from sponsorship through a dynamic public relations strategy
and marketing programme.

The mission begins in earnest with the small (approx. 100 kg)
LunarSat orbiter satellite, to be designed and built by 50
young scientists and engineers from across Europe. Scheduled
for launch in 2000 as a secondary payload on a European Ariane
5 rocket, it will then orbit the Moon, mapping the planned
landing area in greater detail in preparation of the EuroMoon
Lander in 2001. The Lander's 40 kg payload allocation will
accommodate amongst others scientific instrumentation for
in-situ investigation of the unique site. Elements of
specific support to the publicity and fund-raising campaign
will also be considered.

The Lander will aim for the 'Peak of Eternal Light' on the rim
of the 20 km-diameter, 3 km-deep Shackleton South Pole crater
- a site uniquely suited for establishing a future outpost.
This location enjoys almost continuous sunlight thus missions
can rely on solar power instead of bulky batteries or costly
and potentially hazardous nuclear power generation. As a
consequence of the undulating South Pole terrain there are
also permanently shadowed areas - amongst the coldest in the
Solar System resulting in conditions highly favourable for the
formation of frozen volatiles (as suggested by the Clementine
mission in 1994).

The mission is particularly challenging because of the
required landing precision (within 100 m2) in terrain varying
between +6 km and -5 km in altitude. Achieving the required
pinpoint touchdown capability would allow the future
exploitation of other interesting sites. One such site is the
6 km-high Malapert Mountain, 120 km from the pole from which
the Earth can always be seen thus allowing continuous
communications with the home planet for any future outpost in
the region. The 'Peak of Eternal Light' (described above) is
in direct view of Malapert, the twin peaks offer the
tantalising possibility of both of uninterrupted power and

Euromoon can be seen as be the initial step in founding the
first extraterrestrial outpost, founding the infrastructure
for a 'robotic village' controlled by a 'virtual community' of
Earth-based operators using telescience. This would indeed
mark the beginning of an expansion of the human domain beyond
Earth without the risk or cost of manned space travel. This
concept also forms an essential element of the fund-raising
campaign which will create an exciting media opportunity
involving all levels of society.

Mission costs will be minimized by using existing hardware and
a rapid schedule. Industrial partners would share risk and
responsibility of realising the mission by forming the
EuroMoon Company. A new marketing and advertising consortium
has been formed with the specific task of raising funds
through diverse commercial activities.

EuroMoon 2000 was chosen by ESA's Long-term Space Policy
Committee as the candidate for the Millennium Celebration and
presented to the Agency's Council in December 1997. A progress
report, as well as a programme proposal will be presented to
the March Council and a final decision is expected in June

Note that if the poles are valuable real estate, the Peak is
Boardwalk. Anybody who grabs it will be in a *very* good position. And
it might be we euros who get there first - but the EEC bureaucracy
might prevent that. It would be quite fun if somebody beat ESA to it.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y