International Context


Lunar Mission One’s business case is strengthened by existing related activities and plans around the World in space exploration and information archiving. It means we can draw on the resources and skills of others, and in turn our own achievements can support them in their endeavors. They help our business case and we help theirs.

Although ostensibly a space mission to the Moon, it is our archive that makes us truly commercially unique, and that underpins our case for revenues.

Archiving and Preservation

Humans have sought to preserve information and things since earliest times, from works of art to administrative records. Recent large scale efforts are addressing the recording of life itself. The purpose can vary from research, development, education and public policy.

Examples of recording and preservation projects include:
- Commercial DNA banks, for genetic health records.
- Ancestral DNA mapping, such as the Genographic Project with over 700,000 participants.
- Animals, such as Nottingham University’s Frozen Ark project.
- Plants, with the Svalbard Global Crop Seed Vault, and Kew Gardens’ Millennium Seed Bank.
- The Long Now Foundation for 10,000 year projects.
- Many shorter term projects for integrating historic archives.
- Records sent into space, from the 1970’s Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft, to the carrying of information on discs by many modern exploratory spacecraft.

Perhaps the most ambitious is the Encyclopedia of Life, a US university and museum led DNA record of all animal and plant species. It is addressing one of the key problems of bringing together complex databases into a single repository for use; the different ways that data is recorded, from the physical storage to how the subject matter is defined.

Lunar Mission One can draw on these projects, especially in the development of a consistent model for data definitions.

Global Exploration Roadmap

Recognising its very high costs, space exploration these days is planned under an international forum called the International Space Exploration Coordination Group. See

NASA is the biggest spender in space, and is joined by the national space agencies of Australia, Canada, China, Europe, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Its members, save for Australia and China, have produced a Global Exploration Roadmap to guide each country’s planning, highlight the collaboration opportunities, and reduce the overlaps that come from pure competition. The roadmap includes activities in Earth orbit, continuing those underway at the International Space Station, and looks towards the Moon, Mars and asteroids.

For details, see

The Roadmap also recognizes the potential for commercial investment and management, in both launchers and spacecraft, to augment government programs and for their potential to reduce costs. Commercial initiatives bring with them new funding models.

Lunar Mission One is one such initiative, one that dramatically increases the involvement of citizens, with a model that is dedicated to non-profit public good.

Space Agency Moon Projects

The US does not currently have a national Moon programme, though it can participate in others, and NASA’s program is subject to change in the medium term. For example, there is a US proposal for a robotic mission to return samples from the Moon’s far side called MoonRise, and another with Canada for a rover at the South Pole called Resolve, neither of which is approved. The US has more lunar scientists than the rest of the World combined, and they are likely to join missions that give them a realistic prospect of participation.

Other planned space agency lunar missions include:
- The Russian Luna programme from 2016 to beyond 2020: the Luna 25 lander, 26 orbiter, 27 lander and 28 sample return.
- The Chinese Chang’e programme, extending the now operational Chang’e 3 to the Chang’e 5 sample return mission in 2017 and Chang’e 6 in 2020.
- India’s Chandrayaan 2, with an orbiter, lander and rover planned for 2017.
- Japan’s Selene 2, also an orbiter, lander and rover planned for 2018.

All these efforts are aimed at preparing for national manned expeditions. The expectation is that a permanent base will be built in the next few decades, probably as an international collaboration in the vicinity of the lunar South Pole.

Lunar Mission One can aid the planning of that base.

Commercial Moon Projects

The Google Lunar X-Prize competition leads the main commercial interest in lunar exploration. There are several contestants, each with a lander and rover, but only a few have realistic chances of succeeding. Commercial success depends on future business plans for developing lunar operations for others, for example mining and lunar astronomy.

Several planned missions offer the opportunity of taking information or artifacts to the Moon, even ashes, as extra payloads to help with their commercial financing.

There is even the purchase of Moon estate ownership, at $20 per acre, but it is not recognized by experts as legal and it is ignored by governments.

Many respected individuals in the field of space science and exploration believe that the Moon and its vicinity is likely to be used for science and resources in support of travel to other parts of the solar system. Commercial organisations are likely to play an increasing part in providing the systems and services needed for a future lunar infrastructure.

Lunar Mission One has a commercial management in support of future international science and exploration, and can work with both public and private sectors.

Other Commercial Space Projects

Other Commercial Space Projects beyond Earth orbit include:
- Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining venture with the Arkyd space telescope as part of its first stage surveillance.
- Deep Space Industries, with similar aims to Planetary Resources.
- Time Capsule to Mars, a cubesat mission.
- Inspiration Mars, a round trip for husband and wife.
- Mars One, a no-return colony idea.

To these initiatives managed and funded by the private sector can be added rocket launchers, such as from SpaceX and Orbital Sciences, and spaceplanes from Scaled Composites, XCOR, Sierra Nevada and Reaction Engines. It is clear that space exploration is generating interest and the momentum is growing.