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The National Space Society (NSS) International Space Development Conference (ISDC 2019), held during 5-9 June 2019 in Washington, D.C. included eight sessions focused on the Moon –past, present and future. Prof. Madhu Thangavelu (University of Southern California, USC) organized the symposium, which on Sunday morning, June 9th involved a Moon Village Association (MVA) focused session, including both presentations and a “mini-workshop”. During 2018, the NSS and the MVA signed a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that established formal cooperation between the organization. As a result, Prof. Thangavelu was designated as the NSS Point of Contact (POC) for the NSS in its role as the North American Regional representative of the MVA.
The ISDC 2019 MVA session, which attracted roughly 70-80 participants was organized by Prof. Thangavelu and John C. Mankins, Vice President of the Association.
The MVA event comprised both a number of technical presentations as well as a brief working discussion portion at which progress and plans for the MVA Architectural Concepts and Concerns Working Group (WG) were presented and discussed. Speakers and topics at the MVA event included: John C. Mankins (Moon Village Association) presented an MVA Progress Report – Projects and Programs Update; Jim Crisafulli (ILD WG Coordinator and Chair), presented an overview of International Lunar Decade activities; Daniel Inocente (Skidmore Owings Merrill) and Brad Blair (NewSpace Analytics) discussed the Economic Value of Lunar Settlement and Construction; Dr. Joan Vernikos (NASA retired, Third Age LLC) and Dr. Adarsh Deepak (Taksha Institute) discussed Health and Physiology in Partial Gravity on the Moon; Ayse Oren (Founder of DesignArt) who spoke about human considerations in lunar architecture, and Dr. Peter Swan (standing in for Michael Laine (Liftport Inc.) presented on the lunar space elevator concept. There was also an NSS Student Space Settlement Contest presentation (one of many presented during the ISDC 2019).
Figure 2 below provides a montage of meeting participants; including the youngest contributor, a student competition competitor who took the microphone to make the suggestion (reported below) to address “amusement parks”; she is shown with shown with Prof. Thangavelu.
The MVA workshop portion of the event addressed how the MVA could become a catalyst in support of near-term human lunar missions. It involved John C. Mankins (Moon Village Association & NSS Board of Directors) as the Chair, Prof. Madhu Thangavelu (USC, NSS BoD, POC MVA-NSS cooperation), and Al Anzaldua (Chair, NSS Policy Committee). During this portion of the discussion, the group discussed recent progress of the MVA Architectural Concepts and Concerns Working Group, including:
- Update the Moon Village Scenarios based on recent events
- Draft Consensus-based “Sequence of Major Milestones” for the first Phase (to roughly ~2030) of the coming ‘Moon Age’, and
- Identify and Refine “Top-10” Items for the MVA to Address to Support realization of the goal – perhaps by 2024.
The later topic included audience inputs regarding the “Top-10 Topics” that the WG should address to accomplish its goals. These included the following:
- EVA Systems and dust management,
- Surface Habitation Systems – including the path to Settlement,
- Surface Utilities – particularly Power, Communications, etc.,
- Surface Operations – particularly mining, ISRU etc.,
- Surface Mobility and Exploration,
- Science Missions / Payloads,
- Human Systems / Human Factors,
- Gravity / Health, EVA Systems etc.,
- Advanced Launch / Space Transportation Concepts,
- Entertainment (e.g., Amusement Parks!),
- Unknowns in Remote Location(s) / Economics, and
For each of the above topics, aspects to be considered were expected to include Likely “players” in realizing these capabilities; Timing and interrelationships among organizations and systems; Standards; and other factors.
The workshop portion of the meeting concluded with a discussion of MVA future plans, and especially the upcoming International MV Workshop and Symposium to be held during t December 2019 in Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan. Additional information about this meeting can be found at https://moonvillageassociation.org.)
Results of the working results of the ISDC 2019 meeting will be discussed and refined at the MVA-focused meetings / presentations during the International Symposium on Space Technology & Science (ISTS 2019) in Fukui, Japan and the International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2019) in Washington DC during October 2019.