Have you taken your money and given it away while expecting nothing in return? Perhaps you donated to a charity? This act is referred to as altruism. Altruistic people give because, as they say, “It feels good”. However, they may be surprised in that their donations usually do return a direct benefit. Consider giving food to a family on welfare. Nothing is expected in return. However, with the donation, then the family’s standard of living improves. Thus they have a lower propensity to steal. A lower crime rate would positively affect everyone, including the donor. Hence, while the donor sees no immediate benefit, there is a certain return on the donation. A lot of altruistic acts fall under this category, even something as simple as a ‘random act of kindness’.
Would you ever consider giving money to an organization that aims to expand our presence in outer space? This could be considered altruistic. Is it charity? Well no. According to the tax regulations, charity has the requirement of being a benefit to the public. As there are no people in space then we cannot make a claim that the donation benefits anyone directly. Why then would someone donate to any organization that is not charitable, even if they want to see us progress into space? To answer this, we have to return to our discussion on altruism. That is, consider how advancing our species into space provides an holistic benefit. Simply look at all the benefits that we’ve accrued to date from space efforts to imagine what we would get in the future. We’ve accomplished global telecommunications, global environmental measurements, international cooperation, advanced project management, new materials, shrunken integrated circuitry and so on. Expect that similar advances will occur in these and other fields when people live in a colony of the Moon. These advances would benefit everyone on Earth. As well, in a more spiritual sense, space activity provides hope and inspiration to the younger generation. With space activity, they see a purpose to which to apply their time rather than, say, unproductive hours on video entertainment. And, by pushing ourselves into unknown and risky environments, we also advance the level of accomplishment for everyone. Just think, knowing that people have walked upon the Moon makes the Moon much more real to our existence. Extend this just a bit to when a human is born on the Moon. That event will make for a rich cultural advance. Thus, from the viewpoint of our society / civilization, providing money to an outer space organization does give a return. Some have even said that our species’ survival depends upon this expansion. Thus, one should consider and indeed give money to organizations that push the frontier of humanity into space.
From the preceding, yes, there is legitimate rationale to provide money for a lunar colony, even if no direct benefit comes in return. We’ve noted from our previous paper that only a non-profit, nongovernmental organization can overcome nationalistic and non-secular tendencies to achieve this objective. Can such an organization exist? Well, we see that many already do. Consider Médecins Sans Frontières, the World Wildlife Federation or the Red Cross / Crescent. Each of these organizations is a non-profit, nongovernmental, secular (NFP-NGO-S) organization. They receive donations to the order of 1 billion euros for 2013, $291M for 2014 and 341M Swiss Francs for 2013 respectively. They believe, and through our continued contributions we agree, that they are worthy. So, why isn’t there an equivalent organization for space expansion? The answer to this question is two-fold and our Lunar Colony Fund provides the answer.
First for the lack of an international organization is due to the public perception of capability. To date, governments have been the only entities capable of funding the development and implementation of space capability. Thus people assume that only governments belong in this domain. Second for the lack of an international organization is that none has been able to rise above the background social noise. Many have attempted; perhaps you’ve heard of the National Space Society and the Planetary Society. However, neither of these two have the mandate to establish a self-sufficient lunar colony. Further, previous attempts, at least those known to us, did not have the benefit of today’s global spanning Internet. So, what will it take for an NFP-NGO-S organization to successfully present itself as the organization worthy of people’s donation so as to expand our species into space? We present the resolutions to both public perception of capability and general recognition in the following.
We need to change people’s perception whereby nongovernment entities can access space. The challenge of course is that this perception was real and based upon legislation (or equivalent). Up to the start of this century, governments enforced their control over launch systems and hence over any payload. By ensuring this control, governments constrained any activity in space to be something that they sanctioned. As noted in our first paper, governments won’t sanction a lunar colony, thus our species could not advance. Only recently has the USA and, somewhat, the European Union been interested in contracting the needs to industry and thus relinquishing much of their control. We have seen a (government supported) effort by SpaceX to orbit a spacecraft and to successfully send provisions to the International Space Station. As well, presumably the historical major rocket manufacturers (e.g. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Arianespace) will be more amenable to providing their products to non-government entities. Within controlled economies, manufacturers such as Great Wall Industry Corp. and Khrunichev have demonstrated capability, but their ability in a free market economy is unknown. Nevertheless, the government strangle hold upon launches and space activity is gone. With its removal, the public perception of absolute government control will also change. They will accept a nongovernment organization as a provider of space activity.
We also need to raise the general recognition that the Lunar Colony Fund is the way and means to advancing our presence in space. Acquiring general public concurrence is challenging. People do not readily believe anything that doesn’t corporally manifest itself. How does this work for altruistic-like tendencies? Let’s look at our earlier examples. The value of doctors is obvious and the presence of doctors in crisis zones continually appears in media, thus vindicating the organization Médecins Sans Frontières. With them, a person can see their immediate feedback from making a donation. How about the World Wildlife Fund? We know that we are omnivores. We inherently rely upon other life on Earth to survive. General media continually shows the loss of wildlife and their ecosystem. Thus, people donate to the World Wildlife Fund as a means of maintaining the health of our planet. While they may not see an immediate benefit from their donations, the World Wildlife Fund has been in existence long enough to demonstrate that their activity has success stories. From this, they maintain the perception of a worthwhile cause. Now consider the challenge for activities in space. There will be no immediate benefit from a donation; it will be a long, slow process. Further, rather than improving upon our present condition on Earth, we are expanding humanity’s zone of responsibility. In a sense, space activity will, in the short term, lower the benefits on Earth by making fewer donations available to other organizations and increasing the maintenance requirements across a larger geographic region. While these are true, they must be shown to be temporary detriments in order to obtain the benefits to extending our presence in space; principally through the access to a near infinite realm of resources. Yes, an organization raising funds for space activity will need to demonstrate a direct link to donations and future benefits. Our Lunar Colony Fund is well along the path to achieving this objective.
What are some of the ways that our Lunar Colony Fund is making progress? We are a non-profit, nongovernment, secular organization. We are positioned internationally. We are progressing to getting government support for our goal of a self-sufficient human colony on the Moon. As well, we are demonstrating the benefits that our infrastructure on the Moon will have to the people on Earth. This progress and constant work continues to enhance the likelihood that people donate to us and thus to the future of our species.
Is this enough? See our next and final paper on this subject.