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Frank Wynerth Summers III

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If 2% of the world's gov'ts funds for 20 years or 1% for 50 years produced permanent colonies on the Moon & a path to Mars colonies, do it?

I actually believe that I and others I have worked with have developed plans that could achieve sustainable colonies with potential for creating much more wealth and opportunity, However, this is not the format to lay all of that out. I would welcome your thoughtful and sincere responses to the issue as a whole and the questions it raises.

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Closing Statement from Frank Wynerth Summers III

Thanks to those who joined in the conversation. It is particularly poignant to revisit this as the shuttle program prepares for its final launch. It will be in teresting to see how the future develops.

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    May 25 2011: Without repeating too much of what has been said I'd like to put forward an opinion:
    Personally I think it would be a great idea and couldn't come too soon! The benefit to technology through forced invention has been well documented over the years with respect to the space industry, and unfortunately that seems to have stagnated some what in recent years. What I hope to see in the very near future is this once again accelerating through the efforts of commercial space flight and the 'commercial space race'. This 'should' start to lower the price per kg for sending something into orbit, and therefore make further exploration beyond LEO a more attractive proposition.

    What I think is lacking with commercial space flight however, is that underlying goal that keeps driving forward the industry. Without the backing of the main space agencies I have a horrible feeling that the drive for space tourism will only result in space tourism and I think it is up to the space agencies to push goals such as Lunar and Martian colonization. Hopefully this will be the case and my worrying will be for nothing!

    As for colonization itself the use of craters is a great idea, an interesting book I read for a recent essay: "The Case for Mars" (Robert Zubrin) suggested using canals/channels as habitats in a similar way, and testing the technology you mention on a Lunar base would provide invaluable data for a similar setup in the Martian landscape (where help is a long, long way away!)
    Those are just a few initial thoughts, given a bit of time I'm sure I'll come back with a few more in the next few days.
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      May 26 2011: Thanks for joining in Alexander. I am not neutral here and also appreciate your support for the idea.
      Launching will be very expensive for a long time. There can be a future with cheap launches but it is very far off.

      What can be done is that goal you speak of which joins science, glory, profit, personal ambition and ecology inone and that goal must be colonization. The colonization process would allow us to develope huge resources and if wisely done these would become the resources used in the subsequent stages of space industry development in the large scale. fifty years after the first sustaining settlement. we could imagine a future in which concentrated chemicals, chips, fuses, very special instrument components and people are the only things lifted in quantity to meet panels, rods bars, glass domes, and other materials manufactured on the Moon. One key to success however is to kill the bad idea of using lunar water and hydrogen willy nilly as propellant. Solar and nuclear power generated on the moon will run mag lev trains running up sttep mountainside through no atmosphere and these will catapult all materials into lunar orbit. Then very sparing some hydrogen will be harvested for propellant gravity will be used fro trips between the Earth and moon and robotic trips to Mars. We must think in terms of centuries and in terms of wisdom.A few trips will be given ample quantities of water and a few space stations in LEO. From the start plans will be made to bring more water to the Moon over time. We want a growing human population to be able to reproduce there. It must be the center of any real space industry. Biy a small settlement is the start...
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    May 22 2011: As far as colonizing the Moon, this is the critical first step in deep space exploration and colonization. Or what I like to call 'survival of the species'. One quick suggestion about the first structures is a substance that is a ballistics gel byproduct of or active bacteria culture so that it can be grown in orbit so bringing the cost of transporting building supplies is way way down. Secondly I'm not so sure the governments need to step in on this one. With the advent of companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, along with the innovation of companies such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing the private industry is going to bring some major innovations to the space field. Soon there will be a boom in space tourism and innovation brought with the refocusing caused by this industry will drive expense down. This will also open the door for new support industries. After the cost of a L.E.O. (Low earth Orbit) trip comes down and technologies improve there is sure to be a want for the moon vacation. This may lead the way or build along with industry that requires extreme environment to set up factories. Basses from the Moon can be used to obtain Mars. Once on Mars we can mine the asteroid belt and stock up supplies as we research how to obtain deep space travel. The Moon and Mars would still be linked to the Earth with the ability to exchange resources relatively easily.
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      May 22 2011: Thanks for getting us going Thomas. I have a pretty detailed plan that I have exposed to discussion inside and outside the space community for a number of years. I do not want to limit this discussion to that model only. But the important thing about it is that it is geared towards immediate permanent colonization. That does not mean there are not many intermediate steps. but they are all geared to colonization. More or less I suggest:

      1.Locating two micro craters with half a mile of eachother and within or near a significant crater in which substantial water ice has been found.

      2.Send a robotic lander there to survey the ground and if possible set up a solar array with a landing beacon.

      3. Send a second robotic mission with a systm I call LACRIMA to st up temporary caps on the micro craters the cap would be a filament with solar cells that would power a heater and chemical pod to begin slowly melting volatiles and start manufacturing a an atmosphere in each crater.

      4. Develop a garbage scowl from the space station which will accumulate five or six of the waste ships they burn up regulary and robotically land them on the moon in a third crater nearby

      5.Send a robot to create a single inflatable dwelling in the major crater and another on the open surface.

      6. Send a well-equipped human team to set up lines of powoer and communication to create a regolith based kind of chemical concrete, Inflatable and telescoping columns to set up the caps & install robotic diggers on the floor of the capped craters as well as readjusting the atmospheres. These would staya week & leave behind an automated.uninhabited colony

      7. The next stage would be the first of a shift of permanent habitation groups.They would not intend to ever leave the moon uninhabited again for the foreseeable future. WIthin 20 years of constant improvement we would cap the large crater or people who would want to live their full- time. In the meanwhile science, astronomy & mining would progress.
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    May 27 2011: Moon Has Water Below Surface, Researchers Say
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/27/science/space/27moon.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=water%20on%20the%20Moon&st=cse

    Scientists analyzing bits of hardened lava from long-ago lunar eruptions found about as much water as in similar magmas on Earth.This is just more evidence of how different what we are doing is from what we should be doing...
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    May 21 2011: I am going to reply to myself by way of trying to get this going. My project in various open and free venues has centered on the aim of cappingvraters first on the Moon and then on Mars. More correctly it has centered on the goal of capping a single crater on the Moon. Here are some things to look at in this connection:
    http://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/space-drawings/navigating-this-blog-for-space-content/

    For the purposes of better disclosure I will say this includes some thing far afield from the topic here:
    http://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/about/death-and-risk-and-living-with-fear/

    It also does not include a lot of material which has been located on Facebook in a group format until recent changes in that social network ispired me to close down my fourteen groups which functioned in that context for several years.

    I intend to stay here as the sole voice for a week and then shut down although the posted duration will continue if there is even oneother person who leaves a comment by May 26 at midnight.