The Western Lines

October 14, 2009

Buzz Aldrin’s Moon Plan

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin has never given up on his desire to see the Moon properly explored and utilized so its good to see he has a new plan to do just that. Rather then another NASA project he envisions a international corporation, similar to Intelsat, to carry out the task. A better aproach for sure but I see one major flaw.

He writes: I propose that America gives form to the president’s call for greater global cooperation; in a first step we host a conference in Washington with the goal of creating a new public-private partnership to develop the Moon. I call it the Lunar Infrastructure Development Corporation (LIDC). The purpose of the LIDC would be to enable the nations of the Earth joint together and return to the Moon as an international cooperative venture. The LIDC will pool the financial, technical and human resources of its member nations to build the lunar communication, navigation and transportation systems needed for human exploration of the Moon. It would be a public/private global partnership to make the Moon accessible to all humanity. The LIDC will build the communication and navigation satellites needed by future lunar travelers, develop fuel depots using lunar LOX — perhaps derived from the recently discovered lunar water — and construct habitats that will shelter space travelers while on the surface. It will enable a sustainable human presence on the Moon that will be accessible to all the nations on Earth.

Unlike the International Space Station (ISS), which is governed by complex treaties, the LIDC will have the same flexibility as an NGO in working with different nations and private entities to finance build and operate the facilities and equipment needed for lunar exploration. Using a corporate structure, the LIDC will allow nations to join through the purchase of shares and enable them to contribute at a level that is sustainable for their economies. Intelsat, the international corporation that bought the benefits of communication satellites to the nations of the world is an example of the potential benefits of a focused NGO in developing global space infrastructure. Just as NASA provided technical support to Intelsat through its American partner Comsat, NASA will support the LIDC in its development of lunar infrastructure. In this way, America will help lead-but not exclude or dominate — his new lunar renaissance.

The problem is that unlike international telecommunications, there’s no clear way for the company to make a profit on the Moon. Itelsat had consumers willing to pay for the services provided. The LIDIC just has taxpayers forced to fund it. Perhaps He3 or Solar Power Satellites could make it profitable but they are fantasy at present. Of course there is the real estate option.



Advertisements

3 Comments »

  1. Yeah, but could it break even? Not that it matters. Governments–and corporations–invest in the future all the time; when you're dealing with so much money you've got to consider long-term profit–and the survival of the customer, i.e. the human race.

    Comment by Anonymous — October 14, 2009 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  2. But there is a way to make a profit on the moon, and it's a dandy. Fuel for fusion reactors, He-3, is present in the surface layers of the moon, enough to power the Earth for a very long time.

    Comment by Henry Harris — November 2, 2009 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  3. The trouble is no one has ever built a working fusion reactor.

    Comment by Ralph Buttigieg — November 4, 2009 @ 12:23 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: