Two leading space activist foundations, The Moon Society and the Artemis Society, have endorsed the Space Settlement Initiative. The timing of the endorsements is particularly significant. Following the Columbia accident, several other key space advocacy groups now say they are ready to publicly espouse the idea of space settlement - after years of being afraid to do so very loudly for fear it sounded too "way out".
A recent meeting of those space activist groups strongly endorsed space settlement as a goal but, as always, failed to support any plan directly targeted to promote space settlement.
The Moon Society and the Artemis Society, on the other hand, have now endorsed the Space Settlement Initiative as the most realistic and achievable method for encouraging private enterprise in outer space.
The premise of the Initiative is simple: the federal government cannot afford to spend the billions of dollars it will take to go to Mars or even to go back to the Moon.
Therefore, the capitalization will have to be raised from private enterprise, and the only way to interest investors in privately funded space development is to make that investment potentially very profitable.
The most valuable asset on the Moon and Mars is the land itself, as real estate. Although it is virtually worthless now, someday in the future, once there is a true permanent settlement, regular commercial access, and a system of space property rights, Lunar and Martian real estate will acquire a multi-billion dollar value.
The Space Settlement Initiative explains how the United States can make that potential value into an incentive for private investment in developing safe, reliable, affordable space transport.
It would have the U.S. promise that when and if anyone succeeds in establishing a permanent, privately funded space settlement and space line, U.S. courts will accept the settlement's claim to ownership of a substantial share of that land.
That would allow the settlement to sell deeds to its Lunar land back on Earth. They could sell to those who intend to book passage on the settlement's ships and use their land, but also to the much, much larger market of land speculators and investors who hope to make a profit on Lunar land deeds, without ever themselves leaving Earth.
Common questions about the plan that need answers include:
Gregory Bennett, President of the Artemis Society International, has this to say about the plan: "The Space Settlement Initiative clears the legal path for everything we want to do in the realm beyond the sky. This may be the most realistic and achievable way to accomplish our goal of establishing permanent human settlements on the moon. It is certainly a necessary step."
Alan Wasser principal author of the plan, and a veteran of a quarter century of space activism, says: "Space activism has accomplished much less than it should have because so many groups are controlled by people unwilling to support anyone else's ideas but their own. Fortunately the Moon Society and the Artemis Society are led by people more interested in achieving our mutual goals than inflating their own egos. Hopefully some other groups will now follow their lead."
The Moon Society
The Artemis Society International
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International Crew Returns Home From Utah Mars Simulation Base
Sydney - Mar 25, 2003
An international team of scientists, engineers and support personnel has just completed a month-long increment on the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in south-west Utah; conducting research and testing systems, technology and hardware which may pave the way towards sending humans to Mars.
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