The simple answer:
A grassroots community effort to scientifically find solutions to the multitude of problems preventing the permanent settlement of Luna (aka The Moon) using the Lunar Homestead model.
Nice, right? Let’s break it down.
Why Lunar Homestead exists
- There are many, many unknowns about long-term living on the Lunar surface. In fact, the largest category would be “Stuff we don’t know we don’t know”, followed by “Stuff we don’t know”. “Stuff we know” is pretty small in comparison.
- We (humanity in general) need solutions to as many of these problems BEFORE we start putting lots of people at risk. The public barely tolerates the risk a handful of select, and highly trained, astronauts take when they fly to Low Earth Orbit. The fallout from large numbers of settlers dying on the Moon would be catastrophic. And WAY more catastrophic for the settlers themselves.
- More fundamentally, we’re not going to get even medium numbers of people on Luna if we don’t hammer out basic life support and quality of life issues. Very few people will sign up for a permanent ascetic monastic lifestyle with the constant threat of instant death just outside the pressure hull. Homesteads need to be nice, comfortable places to live.
- “Big Science” (governments and corporations) is working on the shiny problems. Making a faster/reusable rocket is sexxxy. Figuring out how to make an airlock completely from local materials with an almost non-existent industrial base is not. We are going to focus on the small scale, non-sexy, absolutely critical problems.
- I firmly believe that small-scale is the key to opening up the solar system. Governments and big business didn’t move humans out of Africa. They didn’t settle the American West. They aren’t responsible for any voluntary (key word) mass settlement of people. They may set up the environment that encourages people to leave and they help expand and enhance existing communities. But on the whole, large scale settlement is the product of individuals, families, and small groups. They take the risks and establish the first settlements. Business and government build upon those initial communities. See the FAQ for more information about Lunar Homesteading.
- Luna (the Moon) is just a place. There’s nothing mystical or super-dangerous about it. Sure, the environment is pretty hostile to human life (and most life in general). But humans are really good at adapting and thriving in hostile environments. Early Homesteaders on Earth may not have to deal with vacuum, hard radiation, and reduced gravity. But Lunar Homesteaders don’t have to deal with extreme weather, dangerous animals, and the lack of instant (or near instant) communications. Both groups have problems with extended supply lines (try moving goods long distances with just pack animals). And we have much better technology and a substantially deeper knowledge base. I’m not saying Lunar Homesteading will be easier. But it’s not impossible either.
- That’s why I’m working on Homesteading solutions, not bases or outposts. Governments and big business are already working on those. Humanity will be one step closer to being a space-faring species once we have the technology and techniques that will allow individuals and small groups to establish themselves on the Lunar surface. And most of this knowledge is transferable to the settlement of Mars, asteroids, and free orbiting settlements. It can even be used to help save our dying planet (if you don’t think we’re killing the Earth then you are either delusional or not paying attention). Once we are firmly established on Luna, we can go ANYWHERE.
The Lunar Homestead mission
- Identify gaps in our knowledge and technology needed for permanent Lunar settlement.
- Conduct basic research into these issues to identify and create solutions.
- Create detailed research projects for Crew Members to implement. Use the data collected to create real solutions to Lunar Homesteading issues.
- Assist Crew Members in conducting their own research projects.
- The end goal is to have “on-the-shelf” hardware and techniques that other researchers or Homesteaders can use.
- Make all research and solutions openly available to everyone. I’m a firm believer in the Open Science concept. I’ll post everything on this website and do my best to get it into popular and peer-reviewed media.
- Community and support
- Provide a platform for space settlement enthusiasts to contribute. We all have ideas, resources, and enthusiasm. We can make space settlement a reality if we share and implement them.
- Provide a community and support for people wanting to conduct research. There’s way too much to research for one person to do. I can’t be the only person that is passionate about space settlement but feels excluded from meaningful, relevant space research. Lunar Homestead will be a vehicle for us to collaborate. Many of us working together can accomplish the impossible.
- Define, refine, and share the Lunar Homestead concept.
- Engage the public in Lunar Homestead concept. Besides the LH website, I have a few other ideas. They aren’t fully formed yet.
Lunar Homestead is not:
- Lunar Homestead is not a 501(c)3 non-profit. It’s not a non-profit at all. LH is not tax exempt and neither are donations.
- It’s also not a big (or small) corporation.
- Lunar Homestead is owned and run by one person, Ben Smith. With the help of some volunteers. Hopefully soon I can change that to “a lot of volunteers”.
That’s it in a nutshell. Please get involved if you want to help make permanent Lunar (and space) settlements a reality in our lifetime.
About the header photo:
I combined two NASA photos in MS Paint and then added my own doodle. It’s supposed to show a Homesteader picking an apple from a Lunar-grown tree. It’s crude but hey, I’m not an artist. Besides, it’s supposed to be a bit funny.
Moonscape – NASA ID: 9312448
Taken by Apollo 17 mission (1972-12-13). Taurus-Littrow region.
Earth – NASA ID: a-sky-view-of-earth-from-suomi-npp_16611703184_o
A composite image of 6 orbits of the NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership spacecraft (2015-04-09). Created by the Ocean Biology Processing Group at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
About the Lunar Homestead logo:
More MS Paint. It’s supposed to represent a Homesteader holding Luna with a plant growing from it. As you can probably tell, I’m not an artist or a graphic designer. I could use your help.