Developing the Moon with Ethics and Reality
ABSTRACT On January 14, 2004, President Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE), a new public space program for the United States, which calls for the United States to not only return to the Moon, but also to explore and visit Mars and other destinations in the solar system. While the Moon is considerably closer to Earth than Mars, we have already been there, and the costs and technology needed to get to the Moon are much more available and affordable than those needed to get to Mars. It is not surprising that the announcement of the VSE has prompted many in the entrepreneurial NewSpace community to make bold plans for commercial lunar visits and establishing businesses and operations on the Moon. While there is no doubt about the seriousness of companies making such plans, one must question the potential effect of these announcements on the emerging commercial space industry, an industry which already has a difficult time being taken seriously by investors, the financial community, the media, and many other important segments of our population. This paper examines some of the issues facing future commercial lunar enterprises and business plans.