New report indicates private industry interested in building moon base

May 27, 2013 by Bob Yirka report
Vision of an international research base on the Moon. Credit: ESA

(Phys.org) —Two months ago NASA commissioned Bigelow Aerospace to conduct a survey of the corporate sector to learn about private enterprise plans for space exploration. While the report has not yet been completed, Bigelow president Robert Bigelow and NASA's head of space operations William Gerstenmaier held a teleconference with reporter's to discuss findings thus far.

Bigelow told those on the line that he and his company have surveyed approximately 20 of the biggest names in aerospace, including some foreign entities. He says the major area of interest for aerospace companies right now is in establishing a permanent presence on the moon. Gerstenmaier responded by suggesting NASA would welcome such a development as it would work well with the agency's future plans.

NASA plans to lasso an asteroid sometime early on in the next decade and drag it into orbit around the moon. Following that, the plan is to send to the captured asteroid—initially to learn more about its makeup—then later to work with private businesses in developing mining operations. That would be a lot easier of course if private companies had already built a from which to operate.

Bigelow reported that private businesses have expressed interest in space exploration for a variety of reasons, ranging from via an Earth orbiting facility to lunar based projects based mostly on mining operations. The moon is considered important both for its and as a jumping off point for other ventures. NASA, for example, has indicated in the past that it envisions sending spacecraft on deep using the moon as a construction base and departure point. Its makes getting into a space a lot easier.

The initial draft of the report created by Bigelow is to be delivered to NASA in the next few weeks. A second report, due in the fall is to more specifically detail private sector plans for space exploration. Gerstenmaier pointed out on the call that his agency is taking a different approach than usual with its request to Bigelow. Normal protocol calls for the agency to develop its internal strategy then reach out to the private sector for help in achieving its goals. This time around, NASA is looking to see what the private sector is up to, and then will make decisions about its own plans based on what is found.

Explore further: NASA seeks proposals for commercial operations at Kennedy's launch pad 39A

More information: www.bigelowaerospace.com/

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User comments : 24

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VENDItardE
1.5 / 5 (15) May 27, 2013
of course they are interested in developing moon bases as long as we pay for it
daggoth
3.9 / 5 (15) May 27, 2013
I could care less for their reasons but I'll be damned if I die before they put another man on the moon. It's been way too long and we need to get asses in gear.
Jeddy_Mctedder
1.3 / 5 (12) May 27, 2013
If we need a moonbase ti win world war 3 then what are we waiting for. ....lets build it!
trekgeek1
4 / 5 (15) May 27, 2013
I'm going to get a lot of hate for this idea, but I say we make a global agreement that all exo-planet bases be joint international ventures, like the ISS. If not, we're going to start having some ridiculous stellar land-grab. It's going to be conflict after conflict trying to draw up borders on the Moon and Mars. Is it first come first serve? Can you claim the whole planet? It's just going to start wars. Let's begin a new way of life among the stars. We leave Earth-born problems on Earth. Science will give us the ability to get to these places and maybe there's a good reason for that; scientists and those who are scientifically minded will move beyond this planet and put aside petty Earth politics and create a new era of humanity. We can't hope to have an interplanetary federation until we can unite our own species first. This is the best hope we have, a fresh start on new a new world. No history of ownership, Godly decrees of dominion or bitter blood soaked battlefields.
Cacogen
4 / 5 (5) May 27, 2013
I'm going to get a lot of hate for this idea, but I say we make a global agreement that all exo-planet bases be joint international ventures, like the ISS. If not, we're going to start having some ridiculous stellar land-grab. ....


There's a heck of a lot of real estate up there, it seems to me. Mars, for instance, has as much land surface as Earth. Some areas will be more attractive than others, for sure -- still, lots of room.

Ober
1.8 / 5 (10) May 27, 2013
I could care less for their reasons but I'll be damned if I die before they put another man on the moon. It's been way too long and we need to get asses in gear.


Please learn to speak ENGLISH. The correct phrase is "I could NOT care less.....".
Notice the NOT.
The way you and many Americans use the term is simply incorrect, and is the direct opposite of what you are trying to say. If you "could care less", then you have not reached the lowest level of care. If you "could NOT care less" then you are at your lowest care level.

It's simple really, so please pay more attention.
JohnGee
2.9 / 5 (15) May 27, 2013
The correct phrase is "I could NOT care less....."
An ellipsis consists of three and only three periods.

Please be more careful.
Neinsense99
2.3 / 5 (16) May 28, 2013
The correct phrase is "I could NOT care less....."
An ellipsis consists of three and only three periods.

Please be more careful.


At the end of a sentence, it is commonly combined with the ending period for a total of four.
daggoth
4.5 / 5 (10) May 28, 2013
I fail to see why my comment received such a low score. So I didn't use it the "right" way. Most of America doesn't. This site is filled with too many elitists and crazy conspiracy theorists.
daggoth
3.7 / 5 (6) May 28, 2013
It's simply human nature to fight. From wars come progress. We would never have gone to the moon and developed all the technology required if we weren't in a cold war with the Soviet Union. The price tag is absolutely staggering and was not really justifiable in any way but to say that "we're better."
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (7) May 28, 2013
of course they are interested in developing moon bases as long as we pay for it
And the simplest way how to achieve it is to tell us, they're interested about it. The recent wave of cosmic travel propaganda is striking under the situation, when the building of moon base has absolute no value for us in this moment. Every dying civilization has started to build its monuments.
deepsand
2.9 / 5 (17) May 28, 2013
The correct phrase is "I could NOT care less....."
An ellipsis consists of three and only three periods.

Please be more careful.


At the end of a sentence, it is commonly combined with the ending period for a total of four.

But, never five, as was here the case.

And, with spaces delineating the three that form the ellipse, as follows.

"I could NOT care less ... ."
Ober
4.5 / 5 (4) May 28, 2013
Well I must laugh, as I had no idea about the amount of periods in an ellipse.
This site is indeed educational for all :-)

Oh the irony!!! Yeah I know, don't use three exclamation marks!!!!!!!
Guy_Underbridge
3.7 / 5 (3) May 28, 2013
...don't use three exclamation marks!!!!!!!


'And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.' - Terry P
deepsand
3.4 / 5 (17) May 28, 2013
...don't use three exclamation marks!!!!!!!


'And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.' - Terry P

But, he's got SIX of them. What does that signify? ;)
alfie_null
5 / 5 (5) May 28, 2013
and those who are scientifically minded will move beyond this planet and put aside petty Earth politics

Are scientists above politics? [rhetorical - no, they aren't]

Consider that politics is just a technique for resolving conflicts. Try to imagine a unified society free of conflict. It would be unrecognizable. Tempting to say something like an ant colony, but even they have conflicts.

In your urge to be idealistic, if you want to work towards something tangible, don't try to disregard human nature. OTOH, if you just want to write about it, join the ranks. Philosophers have been engaged in thought exercises on the topic for thousands of years.

FWIW, if it weren't for politics, we wouldn't have landed on the moon the first time.
vlaaing peerd
4.5 / 5 (6) May 28, 2013
I fail to see why my comment received such a low score. So I didn't use it the "right" way. Most of America doesn't. This site is filled with too many elitists and crazy conspiracy theorists.


I wouldn't worry, American English isn't my favourite either but perhaps you could care a little less about it. In general grammar nazis aren't the types to be conspiracy theorists nor elitists, they're usually more the prepositional object of the anal kind.

QuixoteJ
2.5 / 5 (12) May 28, 2013
Keep private business OUT of the actual exploration of space. Do not let companies control the moon. Space exploration matters should be decided and carried out by engineers and scientists who make a fixed salary doing their job... NOT by a board of directors in a private company who make decisions based on how much money the "product" makes them.
geokstr
2.5 / 5 (8) May 28, 2013
Keep private business OUT of the actual exploration of space. Do not let companies control the moon. Space exploration matters should be decided and carried out by engineers and scientists who make a fixed salary doing their job... NOT by a board of directors in a private company who make decisions based on how much money the "product" makes them.

Yes, of course. Scientists on a fixed salary have such an incentive to go to extraordinary efforts to accomplish and create and discover when their rewards will be the same as the ones who slack off all day.

When your salary, your health care, and whether and how well you get to eat depend solely on how well you say what your superiors want to hear, everything will be sooooooo much better. Having your compensation divorced from what you produce, and whether that actually translates into gains for society in general is just common sense.

For those divorced from the reality of human nature, anyway.
GSwift7
3.7 / 5 (3) May 28, 2013
This time around, NASA is looking to see what the private sector is up to, and then will make decisions about its own plans based on what is found


Ah, that actually sounds like wisdom. Of course, NASA still needs to do pure basic research and discovery, but there's another important role that it should also play. Just like the large public laboratories, they can perform focused research in support of thing the private sector is working on. NASA can develop prototype designs and decide on standards, etc. There are things like the arm on the ISS that could be used by private companies working on asteroids, or the universal docking collar.

NASA has a limited budget, so it makes sense for them to spend that money working on things that support domestic industry and education. No matter what they work on, they supply a pool of professionals who might end up working on the private side. NASA needs to fill the gaps in infrastructure if we want to get industry started in space.
GSwift7
3.7 / 5 (3) May 28, 2013
I often wonder about industry on the Moon though. In the image above, it looks so pristine and idealistic. I wonder if the reality would be much more messy. We know from our previous trips to the moon that people walking around will raise dust from the regolith. I wonder if a large number of people and machines working in a given area would raise enough dust for it to become a problem for visibility?

I think politics on the Moon will be a simple thing. If there are multiple groups up there, they'll have no choice but to work together, regardless of what their governments on Earth think of one another. Everyone up there would be an employee of some organization, whether a company or a government. You're not going to see the board of directors up there working in a space suit. If there's big money to be made, the people doing the work will only get a little piece of it.

The first business will probably be something like laboratory space for rent and a taxi service from Earth.
zaxxon451
5 / 5 (2) May 28, 2013
Another corporate tax haven in the making.
Neinsense99
2.5 / 5 (11) May 31, 2013
. . . Space exploration matters should be decided and carried out by engineers and scientists who make a fixed salary doing their job... NOT by a board of directors in a private company who make decisions based on how much money the "product" makes them.

Yes, of course. Scientists on a fixed salary have such an incentive to go to extraordinary efforts to accomplish and create and discover when their rewards will be the same as the ones who slack off all day.

When your salary, your health care, and whether and how well you get to eat depend solely on how well you say what your superiors want to hear, everything will be sooooooo much better. Having your compensation divorced from what you produce, and whether that actually translates into gains for society in general is just common sense.

For those divorced from the reality of human nature, anyway.

Fallacy of the false choice. There are other possibilities besides the two exaggerated extremes you present.
MaiioBihzon
2.3 / 5 (12) Jun 02, 2013
If only governments put humans on other celestial bodies, then our presence on the Moon and other places out there will resemble Antarctica (if some kind of treaty of cooperation is observed). And if only militaries go, then how that outcome will look is also obvious. If commercial and industrial enterprises establish themselves out there, then that shouldn't be too hard to forecast either. For better or worse, probably all three will work at putting humans on other worlds.

While it should be hoped that we will respect the beauty and value of what we find there, our whole civilization needs to get us out there. Other worlds need to be part of the civilization that is running things on this world.

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