OpenLuna Picks Up Where NASA's Moon Mission Leaves Off

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 17, 2010

Though the Obama administration is ending NASA's moon mission, not everyone is taking the news lying down. A group of engineers and scientists have teamed up with a handful of universities and companies in the space industry to form a collaborative volunteer organization called the OpenLuna Foundation. Together, they hope to pick up space exploration where NASA left off and eventually settle a manned outpost on the surface of the moon.

Every aspect of the OpenLuna project will be open source, including all the plans, schematics, and hardware. Students, schools, and hobbyist space enthusiast are encouraged to assist in the many phases of development and execution of the OpenLuna Mission.

The ambitious project will tap the resources of private enterprise to build several small scout rovers that will be shipped to the south pole of the moon via a single lander. Rock and earth samples will be returned to Earth for testing, then auctioned off to secure funding for the next phase of the plan -- a series of manned moon missions. Once an outpost is built, OpenLuna will offer international space agencies like NASA and JAXA an opportunity to use it for research.

Paul Graham, OpenLuna's President and Chairman of the Board, says active community participation is key to the project's success. "There are plenty of worthy goals and projects out there. I do however think OpenLuna is the special kind of project that the whole world can get behind. I truly believe it is a project that the whole world can take ownership of, and can provide education, hope, and a dream for something better to those who so desperately need it," he writes.

"Do I think we can actually do it? No. Plain and simple, it is too big of a project for a small team to achieve. The only way [humanity] can pull off a project like this is if humanity pulls together. Only then, with the resources of many can we do this."