As the global economic recession poses increasingly significant challenges for nations worldwide, questions abound concerning the potential for humans to pioneer the frontiers of space. Yet many visionaries from around our planet, who recognize the substantial scientific, educational and commercial benefits of space exploration, are seeking to enhance the capacity for people to learn, work, and ultimately live beyond the Earth. Clearly, these efforts will require innovative approaches that can help reduce the costs, expand the benefits, and enhance the feasibility of both robotic and human missions to space.
The State of Hawai`i is exploring a novel strategy for advancing space exploration and development through an International Lunar Research Park (ILRP) - initially prototyped through terrestrial analog facilities in Hawai`i, and subsequently deployed robotically on the Moon (with eventual human habitation). The ILRP would be multinational in scope (to help reduce the costs per nation), developed through public-private partnerships (to leverage entrepreneurship and expand commercial opportunities), and massively participatory (to engage the public and enhance the program's long-term sustainability).
We will be discussing the ILRP concept with representatives from government, industry and academia at a "leaders summit" on the island of Hawai`i in November, with the goal of developing a plan that potentially could implement a multinational, lunar-based research park within a decade. Given your professional interests, experience and expertise, we believe you might find this concept intriguing, and could make invaluable contributions in exploring the ILRP vision with Summit delegates. As such, we hope you will seriously consider participating in this discussion.
Additional information on the ILRP concept and Summit may be found online at:
With Aloha and best wishes,
Jim Crisafulli, Director Hawaii Office of Aerospace Development
Frank Schowengerdt, Director Pacific International Space Center For Exploration Systems
Osamu Odawara, Chairman Pacific International Space Alliance
While we're on the topic of the Moon, check out the amazing new panoramic images of the Apollo landing sites from the Lunar and Planetary Institute. The fully zoomable and pannable images make you feel like you're an astronaut gazing out over the lunar landscape. This one is from Apollo 17: