Return to the Moon Conference?

I’ve been debating whether I want to fork out the cash to go to the Space Frontier Foundation‘s Return to the Moon Conference this year. This is one of the premier conferences for discussing various lunar projects, markets, and technologies. In a way, it’s kind of a lunar equivalence of SFF’s yearly Space Frontier Conference. I’ve been involved with the Moon Society for two years now, and was a speaker at the RTTM conference last year, where I gave a short presentation about the importance of incremental markets to the commercial development of the moon. However, like my boss Dave, I’m wondering if I really want to go this year.

After quoting from the email that I also received, Dave went on to bring up a very important point regarding NASA:

NASA is not going to return us to the moon. They never got us there to begin with. Sure they got a few test pilots there. But that isn’t you, me, or anyone we actually know. NASA has spent over 40 years wasting our time and money, interfering in astronautical technology markets and generally making life difficult for those of us trying to get off this rock. If NASA makes it back to the moon, expect it to be just like Antartica, a small research station that only a select few get to go to. Then they think they are going to Mars. Yeah, right. I’ve heard that one before.

I think that this is an important point that harks back to my earlier post about how your goals determine your path. Especially with the recent rumor that Keith Cowing published about NASA deciding to go with a 120 tonne Shuttle Derived Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle for providing much of the lift for the VSE, you realize very quickly that Dave’s right. Unlike what some have been saying, this VSE program really doesn’t look like it will lead to the settlement and commercial development of space. It may not be entirely useless to that goal, but it may actually end up being worse than useless, depending on how things are executed.

So with that in mind, I’m not as overly stoked by the NASA-centric spin that they seemed to be giving in their email. However, I may still go just because there are a few private companies working on lunar related projects that may be worth seeing, and our Business Development guy, Michael Mealling will also be speaking there about Space Value Networks. That at least should be interesting. If I get the chance to go, I’ll blog what happens there.

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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