NASA is going back to the moon, and the US administration now hopes to establish a long-term presence on and around the moon. “We’re working to have astronauts on the moon by the mid-2020s - probably the 2025-to-2026 time frame,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations. "[We] want to do it with a sustained architecture," NASA's administrator Jim Bridenstine told Time.
The Moon Village Association, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Vienna, has been formed to implement the idea of a permanent international Moon Village, proposed among others by Jan Woerner, director of the European Space Agency (ESA). The Moon Village could be 3D-printed on-site using construction material available on the Moon, just like Cory Doctorow describes in his delicious novella “The Man Who Sold The Moon.”
Moon, here we come back after 50 years, and we come back to stay. This is so awesome that many space enthusiasts all over our planet will want to be part of the adventure.
Enter Coral, a program to demonstrate additive manufacturing (3D printing) on the lunar surface. The program is named after corals, the marine creatures that build extensive and elaborate structures using minerals they extract from seawater. Similarly, the Coral team hope that the Coral space system will prove effective and efficient at transforming raw lunar regolith into durable and useful structures.
"This project is especially appealing to me because it will establish the basis of the first human settlement outside of Earth," Coral mission architect and community lead Suzi Bianco said in conversation with Crypto Insider. "As an architect, I am excited to anticipate the needs of humans on the Moon, and propose solutions to the new challenges we will face."
"The Coral program will eventually 3D-print structures on the moon that will be home to the first lunar settlers!"
The Coral program will involve a series of phases with increasing complexity and scope, starting with design, prototyping and testing on Earth, and culminating in the robotic construction of a prototype habitat structure on the lunar surface, printed on-site with lunar regolith.
Calling all space enthusiasts
And now the seriously awesome part: Coral is a collaborative project of Space Decentral, a decentralized autonomous space agency that I am a co-founder of. Participation in Coral is open to all Space Decentral members, and participation in Space Decentral is open to everyone.
"The lunar frontier is finally opening up, and we intend to ride out with the first wave of prospectors," says Coral project manager Patrick Donovan.
"Will you join us?"
"The Coral program is our first real test of how the Space Decentral community will collaborate to develop a mission concept," adds Bianco. "I can't wait to see the end result, but what really excites me is the process itself. People from around the globe, working together towards a common goal... This is how space exploration should be pursued."
Besides Bianco and Donovan, Coral will be carried forward by an impressive team with four NASA veterans including Marc Cohen, Coral’s lead mission architect.
Coral will prototype a citizen-led space program by leveraging blockchain technologies developed by Aragon and Harbour Project, alongside Space Decentral and Giveth's Planning App for Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), which has been funded with an Aragon Nest grant.
Space Decentral, which has many crypto enthusiasts among its members, is planning to also fund future operations with a token called Faster Than Light (FTL). The organization intends to use this cryptocurrency to encourage more cross-collaboration within this citizen space program, "so we can get to the Moon faster, together."
At due time, FTL will be integrated in the open governance framework of Coral and other Space Decentral programs.
“In designing a decentralized space agency, governance of the programs and projects is of the utmost importance," Space Decentral strategic lead Yalda Mousavinia tells Crypto Insider. "There is no way to create a decentralized space agency without formalized, yet upgradable, governance processes. Order will still be needed in a decentralized space agency, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be like any traditional bureaucratic or corporate system, nor does it mean it needs to be lead by a single central figure. There’s room now to innovate and invent new models."
“We'll achieve our goal if people around the world believe a decentralized space agency is necessary, and if they feel motivated enough to contribute," adds Mousavinia. "My instincts tell me that many space enthusiasts will participate, because there aren’t enough opportunities to actively contribute to our future in space."
The Space Decentral Governance Paper is a draft, open to contributions. "We invite you to join us and help decentralize space," concludes Mousavinia.
Image from Suzi Bianco/Space Cooperative.
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Crypto Insider Editor Giulio Prisco is a writer specialized in science, technology and business. He is persuaded that crypto has the potential to bring disruptive positive changes to the internet and society at large.