Moon To Stay is a Lunar settlement plan developed by Matt Warren. It proposes a vision for permanently staying on the moon with a focus on making the moon economically self-sustaining by inviting new industries not typically associate with space technology to see the value in the resources available on our closest neighbor.
The Moon is convenient to access, has resources to use, gives new industries a reason to invest in space technology, and has a strong economic case to support a permanent settlement. Canada should go back to the moon for the discovery, the challenge, prestige, and the wealth that will come from the innovations in Robotics, AI, automation that will be needed.
In order to capture that potential future, we need both a vision of what that future looks like and the leadership to champion it. Above all a strong vision of space needs to simple enough to convey. Apollo went to the moon “because it was hard”. We need to go back to build.
Let’s go to the Moon to Build
Our collective knowledge of building in space is more like assembly. Bolting sections of the ISS together and plugging in modules. Right now we don’t know how to build in space – how to mine resources, how to refine them, how to weld, mill or 3D print. The ISS doesn’t have space to grow crops – we don’t know how to farm in space.
We need to learn how to build on the Moon. How to transform raw minerals into exportable products or services. And in doing so we will need to discover how to smelt without oil and how to grow without sunlight or soil. Building on the moon will force humanity to solve the glaring problems of climate change and feeding 10 billion people by 2050.
The Moon is not simply a gateway to Mars. It is the most important destination for humanity in the solar system. It provides a wealth of resources on a planetary body in close proximity to 7 billion customers. The moon has enough gravity to work in, but also is easy to land and launch from. This will make it the ideal place to build larger space infrastructure or to service our global satellite communication infrastructure. The Moon is a place to get work done.
The Moon is the most important destination in the solar system
Moon To Stay is a plan that outlines a possible vision of what a lunar settlement could look like and what roles Canada could play in capitalizing on it. It challenges companies and government to invest in the R&D so that we are ready to partake in the new space industries that will be opening up over the coming decades.
There is already a race for the moon quietly happening. Chinese, Indian, and Japanese space agencies have active Lunar exploration projects. Chinese have an active rover on the moon and will be launching a second rover and lander in December 2018. India and Japan also have rovers in the works. Europe is promoting a vision for a multi-national lunar base, and NASA is moving forward with their Lunar Gateway project.
Canada, meanwhile, has made no commitments yet to be part of or lead any lunar missions. We stand to miss out on trillion dollar industries. Yes, space technology driven by the natural resources and space available on the Moon will drive massive economic value.
There are numerous processes and technologies that need to be invented – How do we smelt Iron, Aluminum or Titanium without the use of fossil fuels? What food crops could be grown on the Moon? How do we harvest the water and produce oxygen and rocket fuel?
Canada plays an important role in space robotics and we are global leader in Artificial Intelligence research. In addition, Canada boasts some of the worlds largest companies that specialize in mining and natural resource extraction. This expertise will be needed to capture the most value from lunar settlements.
the Moon To Stay plan is a living vision. Download the PDF