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Return to the Moon [Paperback]

Rick Tumlinson , Erin Medlicott

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In this volume of essays, the top experts and major players behind the United States's recently renewed push to the moon fuel a growing debate over lunar exploration. The announcement in 2004 that the US would be revamping its moon program inspired both excitement about the possibilities and concern over cost and safety issues. This book takes the controversy out of the realm of pure science and into the mainstream of national debate. Lunar experts Alan Binder, Andy Chaikin, Yoji Kondo, Courtney Stadd, Frank White, and many others weigh in on the case for a return, point out the best way to do it, and speculate on what could be done with this newly obtained real estate. The essays are accompanied by illustrations of what life on the moon might look like. Contributions come from different perspectives and styles, offering a broad take on the very real possibility that humans will again walk - and work, live, and play - on the lunar landscape.

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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Ever Doubted Why We Should Be On The Moon..... 18 Mar 2007
By Franklin H. Neal III - Published on Amazon.com
What an exciting and educational collection of essays. Some of the essays are from famous space writers such as Andrew Chaiken and Robert Zimmerman. They even included Alan Steele who is one of my all time favorite science fiction writers. This book makes you think about many of the issues we will have to consider if we are to settle the moon. Some of these subjects include how to get back there, lunar manufacturing, spiritual aspects, as well as what it will mean to mankind. One of my favorite essays was on the "Overview Effect" by Frank White, which tells how the perspective of mankind can forever be changed. I thought this book was a fascinating read and well worth the money.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Exploration for Policy Wonks 19 Jan 2006
By Mark R. Whittington - Published on Amazon.com
Be warned that this collection of essays is designed more for the policy wonk than the engineer or scientist. Nevertheless, it contains fascinating pieces by such people as Paul Spudis, Alan Binder, Andrew Chaiken, and Courtney Stadd on the business, law, diplomatic, public policy, and economic aspects of returning to the Moon. The opinions are diverse, except for an agreement on an absolute necessity for returning humans to the Moon, this time to settle it and to make it a center of science and commerce. A must read for anyone interested in the how and why of exploring space.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why the Moon is Important 11 April 2006
By Arthur P. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Interest has recently accelerated in human visits to our celestial neighbor, as is evidenced in this book with its wide collection of essays on the subject, in the new NASA program and announced plans from almost all the other major spacefaring nations, but also in the coincidental simultaneous release of another book with the same title, from astronaut Harrison Schmitt. Both books are worth the serious interest of anybody wondering what all the fuss is about.

Tumlinson and Medlicott's book brings forward the views of a number of people who have been advocating for a lunar return for some time, and this collection is a good way to get to know them. The arguments put forward are forceful and at times contradictory, but for somebody familiar with space development ideas, they are also quite familiar. Tourism, astronomy, precious metals, materials for space-based solar panels, or simply oxygen as a propellant provide economic incentives for lunar development. Many of the essays argue for a strong private component to lunar development, making use of lunar resources to earn profitable returns here on Earth.

Others of the essays see a strong government responsibility, at least in early phases, driven largely by scientific interest in the Moon itself, and by the potential, as General Pete Worden points out, for the Moon to be the ultimate site to develop risky technologies that might be too dangerous to pursue on Earth. Beyond the private/public debate and the surfeit of justifications, a number of the essays also express strong opinions on engineering details such as design of rocket boosters and lunar landers. One suspects that if space advocates figured out a way to actually agree on things, we might have returned to the Moon years ago. And to some extent these debates are moot for now, as NASA lays out its plans and other nations seem determined to follow.

A few of these essays provide longer-range views on space settlement and development. As Andrew Chaikin writes, the Moon will be a "catalyst for humanity's transformation into an interplanetary species." Frank White here talks of the "Overview Effect", the profound importance to a human being of physically seeing Earth as a "small planet suspended in space," and he and several others here envision thousands of people having that direct experience in permanent settlements on the lunar surface.

Several essays delve into the legal issues - what current law applies, and what new law would be useful, to a lunar colony? Alan Wasser lays out his "Space Settlement Initiative" proposal, to fund space development with lunar land grants based on proven performance, a variant on the "prize" approaches recently in the news. A noteworthy essay from Robert Richards points out that the Moon is really two distinct destinations: the near side and the far side. The far side would be much more isolated from Earth, and potentially much better preparation for the eventual colonization of Mars.

Inspirational color illustrations, not directly refered to in the text, are provided in the middle of the book; a "lunar declaration" that it's time to return comes at the end, along with a section of Moon Facts. One notable omission is an index - with the diversity of topics the table of contents isn't always sufficient to locate relevant discussion.

This book should definitely be read by anybody who questions the point of NASA's current plans for a lunar base. As astronomer Yoji Kondo writes in two of the essays here, science and exploration need to go together, each will enable the other, and robots and humans together will expand the human experience beyond anything we now know. Whether through NASA, the private sector, or the work of other nations, humans will be living and working on the Moon in coming decades and, as the best of these essays makes clear, that small step will change humanity forever.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST-BUY FIVE STAR BOOK for the SPACE ADVOCATE 21 Dec 2005
By Jack Kennedy Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As our nation endeavors to recaputure the drive for a Return to the Moon, Rick Tumlinson has managed to enlist the insights of many of the leading space visionaries of the 21st Century. The passion and hopes of thousands are captured among the pages of the essays with Rick providing an overview of each and why it is important to read. As a 'Child of Apollo' and a 'Human Destiny' advocate, this book was among the gifts provided to 20 of my friends in the season of future-looking hope. This book is a must for the space enthusiast, the policy-wonk, or those just looking to regain the pioneering frontier spirit. While some may confuse it with Apollo 17 astronaut "Jack" Schmitt's book "Return to the Moon," (same title), the essay content provided by Rick Tumlinson is quite different. Return to the Moon is a book for the 'keeper library.'
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wide Variety of Essays, All of Which Telling Why We Should Return to the Moon 14 Dec 2012
By Alastair Browne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a space advocate and a writer, and I have written and rewritten a book (not yet published, but I hope it will be) about establishing a Moon Base, to evolve into a city, and then a civilization. I've also attended many conferences on space exploration and development, and at some of these, I have had the privilege of meeting Rich Tumlinson, one of the editors of this book.
This is an excellent book on returning to the Moon and staying there permanently, giving all sorts of reasons how and why, and the many benefits we will derive from it, including, of course, money. That would be the main driver for anything. Before going any further, I would like to point out that this book was published in 2005, and includes subjects that are no longer valid, such as George W. Bush's proposal to return to the Moon in an Apollo like fashion (the Vision for Space Exploration), that has since been cancelled. Other topics mentioned in the book no longer apply, and the book does need to be revised and updated, but it is a book worth buying and reading nonetheless. After my review here, you will see why.
Space technology is talked about, among many other subjects pertaining to settling and developing the Moon. There is the why of space, the expansion of human civilization, and Economics. In economics, mining the moon is mentioned for the valuable minerals for use in both space and Earth, among them Helium-3 for fusion reactors, but only after nuclear fusion is developed. Other minerals would be Iron, Platinum Group Metals, more common up there then on Earth, Magnesium, even water in the form of ice. Water would be valuable, but mostly for splitting into hydrogen and oxygen, to be used for fuel for spacecraft. A whole category of space ships and space stations, some orbiting the Moon, and a space infrastructure of getting to the Moon from Earth, and how that should be developed, are also mentioned.
This could also benefit Earth in the sense that our natural resources down here would be conserved, and pollution from mining and manufacturing would diminish, even stop. Earth would start to clean itself.
Don't forget space tourism. Tourism in sub-orbital space, Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and then the Moon may become the first big money making industry in space involving the general public, and this may lead to a migration of humans to the Moon, Mars, and space settlements. As I have mentioned, mining the Moon, and asteroids, would help to build industries in space to manufacture other space habitats. Energy from space would be unlimited via solar power satellites.
Space philosophy and law are also included, telling the "why" of space in a spiritual sense, and also what laws exist, why they exist, all for the good of everyone and every nation that decides to go up there.
Many ask why we should go up there when there are so many problems here on Earth. This book, in a way, answers the question. The human race is overpopulating the Earth, using up its resources, and we need a pressure valve to free ourselves from the confines of this planet. Since we are running out of resources here, and there are infinite resources up there in the Moon, planets, asteroids, and beyond, instead of fighting over what's left here in the form of wars, we can venture up there, mined these bodies, and provided for everyone here; "Make the pie bigger!"
In reading this book, it is mentioned, and many have said, that if we had continued on after Apollo more ambitiously, instead of cutting back and ending up with the shuttle and a very expensive space station, that we would be on Mars by now. I use to think the same thing, but now I disagree. First, in reading this book, you find the true function of NASA and any other government run space program. The Apollo Moon program was good for its time, but it could not have lasted forever. First, it was completely sponsored by the U.S. government, and in a way, it was a socialist run space program, paid for with you tax dollars, nothing else. Private industry had no say in the matter. They couldn't, and in that time, they had no interest in pursuing space on its own. There were big plans for space after Apollo, such as the Space Task Group in 1969 and the Apollo Applications Programs. In general, this would mean building bigger space ships, moon bound ships, a giant space station holding 50 or 100 people, and a Moon base holding from six to twelve people (some say even 50), with an eventual trip to Mars. There's just one problem. This would have run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, and considering the budgets we had back then, with the burden of Vietnam (and later Watergate) along with social programs, this would not have held. Enthusiasm from the public has waned and it started doing so during the Apollo Moon Landings. Congress and the public, seeing a few people on a Moon base, with no signs of it getting bigger and more inclusive would wonder why we are doing this, as literally billions, even hundreds of billions of their tax dollars would continue to fund it with few, if any returns. No, they would no have tolerated it, and Congress would have cut back little by little, until the Moon base, if we made it that far, would have been cancelled. We never would have made it to Mars.
Also remember that settling space and making cheap rockets was never part of NASAs agenda. Each of these multiple projects would have been very expensive, with no intention of cheapening it. Look at the International Space Station. Originally, it was to cost $8 billion, but with the constant changes in structure, it ended up costing over $100 billion. This would have been the same story with anything else, times five (or more). Our government, or any other government for that matter, would not have been able, or willing to do this. No, if we had continued after Apollo with ambitious programs, they would have been cut back, then cancelled, and we would still be where we are now. In other words, it would not have made any difference. What we can do is learn from the path that we did take (Skylab, Shuttle, the ISS).
Being where we are is not such a bad thing, because now, private industries are taking interest and gearing up for the challenge: SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, Boeing, Orbital Sciences Corporation, to name a few companies. They are lowing launch costs, some to 0.1 percent of the government. Many are looking even further, with orbiting space hotels, lunar factories, even settlements on Mars all at a fraction of the cost of the government. When the new world was being colonized, it was sponsored by the British government, but they were not the ones who paid for it. Private companies did, with some government subsidies. It will be the same thing here. Private companies are now about to move in, but the government will subsidize this for a while, and that is really the cheapest way to do it. Costs DO matter!
This is why this book is highly recommended. It mentions all of this in great detail, along with space law. Space law does exist, and that's good, because no one country can colonize these planets, but private entities can come in and mine them. This would prevent war and allow us to settle space peacefully.
Anyway, everything is mentioned: Apollo history, space law, space entrepreneurship, examples of settling North America from U.S. history and applying it to the present, how to exploit the minerals and generate a multi-trillion dollar economy, it's all there.
I recommend for the authors to update this book, but I also recommend that you read it now. It will influence your way of thinking!
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