Group Photo - 2014 The Next Giant Leap
Group Photo – 2014 The Next Giant Leap

The Next Giant Leap:
Leveraging Lunar Assets for Sustainable Pathways to Space

Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
South Kohala, Island of Hawai‘i
November 9-13, 2014

The State of Hawaii hosted a multinational conference on the Big Island of Hawaii this past fall to explore options for developing sustainable pathways to space, with an emphasis on leveraging our Moon’s strategic assets (e.g., near-Earth location, diverse regolith, orbital periodicity, gravitational field) in ways that can minimize the risks of space exploration/development/utilization while maximizing returns on investment. The primary goal was to characterize and detail cost-effective strategies that can accelerate the maturation of revolutionary technologies to both extend humanity’s reach through the solar system (to asteroids, Mars and its moons, and beyond) and enhance the qualities of life on our home planet.

The conference supported three discussion tracks focusing on:

  • Benefits/opportunities for leveraging lunar assets, including but not limited to extending Earth’s economic sphere beyond GEO; expanding/diversifying space research, education and commerce; advancing public-private space enterprise; and preparing for/supporting deep space missions.
  • Cost-effective scenarios for near-term development, involving both cis-lunar space (e.g., robotic platforms, human stations, and fueling depots at L1/L2 Lagrange Points) and lunar surface activities (e.g., ISRU; 3-D manufacturing; deep space astronomy; interplanetary launch operations).
  • Innovative mechanisms, building on multinational/public-private partnerships, that can link the visions and goals for sustainable pathways to space with the technical, scientific, human, and financial resources and capabilities that can enable them.

Conference deliverables included: (1) detailed strategies for leveraging lunar resources for sustainable space ventures (including plausible pathways with milestones/timelines), as well as innovative methodologies for mobilizing government/university/industry resources to support their development; (2) recommendations for “next steps” that public and private agencies/institutions could undertake to implement these strategies; and (3) the formation of multinational/multi-sectoral teams that will continue to collaborate beyond the conference to help build the strategic alliances essential for long-term program implementation.

Leveraging Space Resources for Sustainable Enterprise Beyond GEO