Vol. 29, No. 1 (Spring
Tapping the Wealth of the Moon
Klaus P. Heiss
With the renewed attention to Space Exploration and the role
of humans in Space questions of the uses of the Moon and other
bodies of the Solar system have come to the forefront: is human
Space flight but a romantic quest of childhood dreams or are
there key opportunities to be opened and explored for the benefit
of mankind - on Earth or in Space.
Economic laws - which apply in Space as well as on Earth - will
limit beneficial uses of Space for Earth to the immediate vicinity
of Earth in the solar system, the Moon. These 'constraints'
will limit the uses for Earth to essentially observations, communications
and energy - all commodities with 'low mass' and 'speed of light'
The revolutionary concept of a 'condominium' of observation
facilities is proposed for observations of the universe, the
Sun and the Earth - providing a stable, nearly limitless aperture
across the electromagnetic spectrum with huge advantages in
reliability, costs and assurance of continuity of observations.
Similarly, communications, navigation, command and control of
civil and scientific activities on the Moon and for Cis- and
Translunar space will change fundamentally.
Beyond these uses, the 'tapping' of the vast Solar energy resources
available on the Moon promises fundamental changes in Space
operations, Space transportation and potentially clean energy
supplies across all regions of Earth. E.g. with 1 GWe supply
on the Moon a new age of 'fuel-less' space transportation
across Cis- and Translunar space is enabled, ultimately
allowing speeds of up to one third the speed of light for missions
to nearby solar systems.
Last and not least, with such assured energy supplies, all the
lunar resources can be tapped for the establishment of Closed
Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS) leading to the first
settlement independent of Earth - a most historic step for mankind
to assuring its survival and expansion into Space.