OuterSpace >> Space >> Int'l Declaration Signed Advocating Return to Moon

Int'l Declaration Signed Advocating Return to Moon
Post by Noah on Dec 7th, 2003, 12:34pm

By Leonard David

If speculation turns fact that President George Bush is supporting a NASA return to the Moon, he is not alone in wanting to go the lunar distance. Numbers of nations -- China, India, Japan, among them -- are making plans to explore the Moon.

A worldwide gathering of lunar experts has called for a sequence of technological, exploratory and commercial missions culminating in the establishment a human presence on the Moon.

The declaration -- issued December 4 -- was hammered out following a major international meeting of scientists, engineers, and mission planners, held November 16-22 on Hawai`i Island, Hawaii.

The weeklong gathering brought together representatives from the major spacefaring nations under the banner of the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG). This was the fifth gathering of nations that are actively pursuing exploration of the Moon, said Steve Durst, a key conference organizer and head of Space Age Publishing Company with offices in Hawaii.

Durst told SPACE.com that the meeting was goal oriented, rather than just academic, with the purpose of the conference to see people back on the Moon within the decade. The next ILEWG meeting is to be held next November in India, he said, with China or Europe to host the working group in 2005.

Compelling questions evolved from the conference, Dust said, such as:

What national, international or commercial mission will be first to establish a toehold for Lunar Civilization?
Where and what will that toehold be on the Moon: a power station, observatory, or perhaps a communications hub and resource processing plant complex at Malapert Mountain at the Moon's South Pole. Another site of major interest is Shackleton crater, perhaps the location of water ice, hidden from the Sun's warming rays.
Global Perspective

The document is labeled as "The Hawaii Moon Declaration" and provides a unique, global perspective regarding the importance of the Moon in the 21st century.

The declaration is produced here in its entirety, courtesy of Space Age Publishing Company:

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Re: Int'l Declaration Signed Advocating Return to
Post by Noah on Dec 7th, 2003, 12:35pm

"The Moon is currently the focus of an international program of scientific investigation. Current missions underway or planned will lead to the future use of the Moon for science and commercial development, thereby multiplying opportunities for humanity in space and on Earth. We need the Moon for many reasons: to use its resources of materials and energy to provide for our future needs in space and on Earth, to establish a second reservoir of human culture in the event of a terrestrial catastrophe, and to study and understand the universe. The next step in human exploration beyond low Earth orbit logically is to the Moon, our closest celestial neighbor in the Solar System."

"Declaring this, we note large gaps in our understanding and knowledge must be addressed before the Moon can fully serve the noble purposes we identify. Many nations are conducting or planning lunar missions (ESA - SMART 1; Japan - Lunar A, SELENE; China - Chang'e; and India - Chandrayaan 1) that offer an opportunity for international cooperation fundamental for long-term public and private development and science. We strongly support the continued development of these missions. However, more knowledge is needed, requiring more complex capabilities than are now planned, including the first landings of spacecraft on the Moon since the Luna and Apollo programs of the 1960s and 1970s."

Major thrusts

"During the International Lunar Conference 2003, we identified a number of main thrusts for an expanded lunar program: assessment and use of potential ice/water resources at the lunar poles for human use; development of energy resources for both Moon and Earth and establishment of lunar astrophysical observatories. We have concluded that, for the future development of the Moon, the deposits of hydrogen indicated by the USA Clementine and Lunar Prospector missions must be fully understood to confirm their nature and importance for future planetary exploration, development and human settlement."

"We recommend a sequence of technology, exploration and commercial missions on the road to this human Moon presence. We support the goals of a comprehensive series of missions including polar orbiters and landers, South Pole-Aitken Sample Return, Selene-B, Lunar Globe and [the European Space Agency's] Aurora lunar demonstrator. We advocate robotic engineering precursors for in-situ resource utilization and deployment of infrastructures preparing for human-tended operations."

"To encourage and stimulate the peaceful and progressive development of the Moon, we recommend that the international community of national space agencies, companies and individuals operate and maintain an exploratory mission at a pole of the Moon to serve as a catalyst for future human missions within a decade."

"Our vision is one of expanding humanity into space on an endless journey. We believe a human return to the Moon is the next step into the Solar System and the future of the human race," the declaration concludes.

Source: http://www.space.com/news/moon_declaration_031205.html