Houston, TX, July 20, 2002 – Lunar settlement experts gathering in Houston today urged the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to accept and expedite a recently recommended plan to return to the Moon, thus opening the door to eventual commercial settlement of Earth’s only satellite.
Concluding its annual Lunar Development Conference, “Return to the Moon IV,” the Space Frontier Foundation called on NASA to move ahead quickly with plans recommended by the National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences, to include sample-gathering trips to the Moon as part of a master strategy for future space exploration. NASA commissioned the NRC study.
“This is a great sign that NASA may finally be reconnecting with the Moon after 30 years,” said a delighted Manny Pimenta, the Foundation’s Return to the Moon Project Manager. “We plan to meet with NASA and will be happy to work with them to catalyze the support of the private sector for the effort. The data that can be gathered and shared will be invaluable to the future settlement of the Moon as well as our knowledge base about the worlds around us, including Mars.”
The Foundation completed the 3-day lunar conference after hearing from many experts involved with many projects, including mining, tourism, an inter-faith lunar chapel, lunar burials, and others. Foundation Chairman Bob Noteboom said, “The Space Frontier Foundation is ready to facilitate employing existing public and private sector technology to return to the Moon. We’re pleased that NASA is looking at getting back into the business of lunar exploration. It’s a great move.”
Rick Tumlinson, Foundation Founder, also urged renewed emphasis on the Data Purchase program for lunar material recovered from such missions, said, “The consensus here is that NASA can open the door to commercial Lunar development if they will implement a data purchase program to encourage the gathering of much-needed data from the Moon.”