The National Space Society (NSS) offers a comparison of its vision for space settlement to that promoted by many dystopian science fiction movies of today. NSS has supported the concept of rotating space settlements in orbit or deep space since the epochal publication by Dr. Gerard K. O’Neill of his seminal article on space colonies in Physics Today (1974).
Since those days, concepts of democracy and egalitarian societies have been integral to our vision. A goal of NSS is the creation of a free, spacefaring civilization with people living and working in space. We believe in democracy to build and operate space settlements, whether in space, on the Moon, on Mars, or even on planets around other stars.
A large part of the space movement today is founded on improving life on Earth by creating an ability to operate in space. This includes the ability to divert threatening asteroids, detect solar outbursts that could destroy our electrical grid, and build solar power collection/transmission satellites that could produce huge amounts of carbon free energy in space for use on Earth, enriching all of humankind. In fact, an early justification for building space settlements was to house the labor force needed to build the solar power satellites that would provide a global solar power source to all nations, helping to prevent the ecological and economic collapse and chaos depicted in many dystopian movies of today. NSS believes that we are making the future every day and that we want to build a hopeful future.
NSS is happy that space settlements are beginning to appear in popular culture such as the recent motion picture Elysium. NSS applauds the cinematic skill that resulted in the depiction of the physical appearance and operation of a rotating orbital space settlement. While NSS accepts that a conflict is fairly fundamental to a good story, we would like movie viewers to keep in mind that the tyrannical government depicted in the movie does not represent the path of humans in space envisioned by the NSS and its thousands of members.
When Galileo shattered Heaven’s perfection, he may have unlocked the door to Humanity’s prosperity. Governments are now joined by private companies in a renewed race to prospect – and profit from – lunar resources.
The moon is our closest celestial body and by far the brightest object in the night sky. It has fascinated man since antiquity.
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 celebrates the four hundred year anniversary since Galileo turned his telescope towards the night sky. He was the first to observe our moon in detail and some of the maps have been preserved.
The year 2009 is also the fiftieth anniversary of the first unmanned lunar landing and also the fortieth anniversary of the first manned landing.
Malta is an archipelago of small islands in the Mediterranean with a population of just over four hundred thousand people. It has a rich history and is home to the oldest free standing stone structures in the world. It is claimed that these temples, which are thousands of years old, were aligned to the solstice and so there has been a strong astronomical tradition in Malta since antiquity.
The IYA 2009 Malta committee has been very busy organising several astronomy events and it has also put an emphasis on the moon and its exploration by robotic and manned spacecraft. This included the issue of a stamp set commemorating Galileo, Apollo 11 and Lassell’s famous telescope in Malta. A highlight of the activities was a very successful visit to Malta by the Apollo 17 lunar module pilot, the geologist Senator Harrison Schmitt. There have been several talks, seminars, exhibitions and observing sessions.
During the early meetings of the committee the chairman Dr Gordon Caruana Dingli proposed that Malta should co-ordinate an international project for the IYA 2009. Mr Leonard Ellul Mercer, who is a keen astrophotographer, had long wished to produce an astronomy image involving various countries and after discussions with Dr Alex Gatt, Gordon proposed forming an image of the moon composed of images taken by countries all over the world. Leonard then divided an image of the moon into numbered segments and all IYA 2009 single points of contact with an email address were invited to take part. The response was overwhelming with 40 countries submitting images from all five continents, one country for every year that has passed since Apollo 11 landed on the moon! We have also included an image from the European Union’s Smart-1 spacecraft. Most of the images were taken during the May or June full moons of 2009 but some were older and Italy’s was a four hundred year old sketch by Galileo Galilei. These images were painstakingly processed and pasted as a collage on the background of an image of a full moon imaged by Leonard. This took up many hours of Leonard’s time especially after he decided to produce an audiovisual production of the project. The music of the animated feature is specifically composed and played for the project by Lynn Faure.
The project commemorates the Russian Luna 2 which was the first unmanned spacecraft to land on the moon. We also commemorate the Apollo project which reached Kennedy’s goal with the first manned lunar landing on 20th July 1969 followed by another five landings. Other countries that have launched spacecraft to the moon are Japan, Europe, China and India. These probes are also featured in the image.
The font used in the project is Futura which was used on the plaque that was fixed to the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle, this read:
“HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON JULY 1969, A.D. WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND”
This was the inspiration for our project “THE MOON FOR ALL MANKIND”
Gordon Caruana Dingli
International Year of Astronomy 2009 Malta Committee
Jack Morton Auditorium, George Washington University, 805 21st St. N.W.
“Join this band of rebels out to change the course of history in space, as they board a private Gulf Stream jet, fly to Russia and negotiate one of the most remarkable business deals of the final frontier. ”
American Astronautical Society
Space Frontier Foundation
ISU-USA Alumni Association
Society of Satellite Professionals International
National Space Society
Women In Aerospace
The Progress & Freedom Foundation
All gifts to the International Space University are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. A non-deductible cost of $15 per person must be accounted for in reporting this philanthropic gift for those attending the reception. Donations benefit ISU’s Arthur C. Clarke Fellowship Endowment and General Scholarship Fund and the George Washington University Space Policy Institute Fund for ISU Scholarships.
A new movie for all the Lunartics is coming out this year.
Director Duncan Jones is bringing us Moon, a hardcore sci-fi movie he imagined and co-wrote. The movie moon is starring starring Sam Rockwell in the lead role with Kevin Spacey lending his voice to some AI robot. No official release date, but it will probably be released in Summer 2009 or later.