The International Lunar Research Park

Overview – The Hawai`i Island terran component of the ILRP shall be the final integration and test facility for the Lunar-based ILRP. There will be a traditional Research Park on campus at UHH which will house multiple buildings (many of which may have multiple industry leasers).

These groups will be entities that wish to test a subsystem at one of PISCES’ high fidelity analogue sites, or to test integration of their subsystem with those of another group. These subsystems will be planned, developed and constructed at the home institutions world-wide. Thus use of existing, unique and sophisticated facilities will be fully exploited. This will decrease the projected timeline from building everything in Hawaii. It will also spread the economic benefits to each of the home institutions.

The UHH Research park will have a set of shared facilities (such as Machine Shop, Fabrication, Electronics Labs) that can be time-shared by members of the Research Park. This will decrease the amount of initial capital investment on their sites, yet will maintain high capabilities for each tenant. The university shall also have access to these shared facilities (Tech-Shop concept) as will the numerous astronomical observatories. This will also allow workforce development of the local community via the Community College and University as a place for courses to be offered. Low cost manpower (apprentices) will offset the higher cost of shipment to Hawaii.

Nearby the campus Research Park shall be an accessible but semi-isolated site where a full-scale, high fidelity complete prototype of the Lunar ILRP will be constructed. I would recommend a lease on private land so that complete security (for safety and corporate concerns) will be afforded, as well as ability to operate continuously 24/7/365. A 10-20 acre parcel can be located with deliverable infrastructure (power, water, coms) that can be graded and then terra-formed into a replica of a suitable lunar location. A high berm at the perimeter will make the illusion complete, shielding any distant trees or structures. A high-fidelity granular material (crushed volcanic cinder and fines) will be used for the ground, with a colored component at the surface. At first, methods of lunar construction will be tested & developed there (e.g. Bigelow Space). “Urban planning” scenarios can be implemented with locations of landing pads away from warehouse and laboratory structures. Future manned presence can be accommodated by proper “zoning” away from high risk/high danger industrial buildings. A lunar hotel could be added. Eventually the Robotic Village will take shape.

Once enough components of the village exist, it will then be possible to test complete systems for final integration at the facility. PISCES will create and establish “Lunar standards” as to power, communications, structural inter-connectivity, protocols between different robots and test systems. We may want to design and construct (even locally) a set of worker robots that are modular and can interact semi-autonomously with each other and the village. Perhaps based on the Norcat/ODG rover platforms. These workerbots would then be able to fetch cargo from landers, deliver to warehouses or labs (and practice this for dust-free delivery into pressurized or non-pressurized buildings).

All landings at the Lunar ILRP would be subject to strict inter-operability standards (set by the ILRP)such that payloads can be offloaded to workerbots and processed cargo loaded by (ILWU) worker bots. Refueling would occur here, with standardized fuel mixtures and connection fittings. They would use fuel created ISRU-style from the regolith (one of the first customers at the ILRP would be the fuel manufacturers). Laboratories/factories would have standardized access ports (delivery docks) to allow exterior workerbots to deliver material to interior ones (avoiding lunar dust contamination). Larger members of the ILRP may have exclusive buildings, others may be shared.

The scenario for a prototypical ILRP customer would be thus: Joe wants to process X on the moon and return a manufactured item of higher value Y. Process is developed with some raw materials supplied from Earth, others harvested in situ from the moon. Processing equipment is built and delivered to the ILRP via a multitude of commercial launch platforms and companies. Upon arrival, fees are paid for use of the prepared landing pads and refueling areas. The equipment is built to size, power and weight standards such that upon arrival at the ILRP, a workerbot accepts the equipment and installs it into a working bay at one of the buildings. Later flights deliver the (non-lunar) raw supplies (materials or even bio-starters) which are again offloaded by ILRP workerbots and now delivered to the installed equipment. Lunar supplied materials are purchased from other ILRP tenants and delivered to the factory from their warehouses. Processed items (Y) are then removed from the factory by workerbots and stored in ILRP warehouses until sufficient stores are created to justify an Earth return. Joe then books cargo passage for his finished product on commercial transport (freighter), pays launching fees and any usage fees for power used during the manufacture. Taxes are then collected on Earth from Joe for import/customs. Various countries create Lunar Free Trade Zones to accept incoming goods making their money on terrestrial transportation (air/sea/land) to the customers. Joe still makes enough money off of Y to do it again.

The entire scenario from lunar landing to return launch to earth can be fully tested at the prototype ILRP. 100% success and reliability will be ensured before spending money for the Lunar-based process. This is the raison-de-etre for the prototype. It will be the proving ground for all manufacturing on the moon.

So now let’s address the questions:

International Lunar Research Park FAQ

1.Couldn’t the ILRP be built anywhere? Certainly an R & D Park on a University campus is not unique, and a mockup lunar prototype could also be built in numerous locations.

2.Then why Hawai`i? Hawai`i has the correct combination of components to synergize this project. A university Research Park with ability to expand, undeveloped land nearby for a meaningful prototype, and access to numerous high-fidelity analogue testing sites only an hour or two away coupled with the ability to work year round in nearly constant conditions. Prime location for international projects is also a plus.

3.Doesn’t Honolulu have the large research university (UH-Mānoa)? Yes, but only UH-Hilo has a 400+ acre campus zoned for a Research Park and also a concurrent Enterprise Zone. Honolulu is heavily urbanized, whereas Hilo is very rural allowing placement of the prototype facility near the campus at minimum land cost. UHH also shares a campus border with Hawai`i Community College, allowing a wide mix of vocational, technical, engineering and scientific talent from students and faculty.

4.Isn’t Hawaii really isolated and hard to get to? Hawai`i Island (Moku `o Keawe) has two international airports (Kailua-Kona and Hilo) and two deep water ports (Kawaihai and Hilo). It is the largest of all the Hawaiian islands and has land area in excess of the sum total of the other islands. Hawai`i is centrally located in the Pacific and served by most international flights from Japan, China, Australia and the Mainland.

5.What about communications? Hawaii Island is the anchor to several transpacific fiber cables that carry internet traffic between the US Mainland and Japan and Australia. 6.What is an analogue site? An analogue site is an undeveloped area that contains elements that mimic the original. Such elements may be topography, geology, geochemistry, altitude, etc. Each site has its unique characteristics suited for a particular science or engineering application. Due to its volcanic geology, Hawai`i has some of the highest fidelity analogues to the Moon and Mars.

7.Will the prototype Lunar Research Park be built at an analogue site? No! There is no reason to destroy a good analogue site by developing it with structures. The prototype will be built near the campus to facilitate access by the park users. Analogue sites are remote and lack permanent facilities for work (communications, water, shelter, etc). They are generally pristine natural areas, much like a park.

8.Why should my state/country participate in Hawai`i? As explained in the outline, the Hawaii ILRP facility is the integration and testing facility for the eventual Lunar based ILRP. Each State or country has their own research and industrial facilities. These do not need to be duplicated. In fact, to meet the aggressive timeline for the lunar-based facility, we would not want to recreate other facilities even if the means were available. Creation, design and manufacture will be distributed world-wide at each partners’ home facility. Only the semi-finished equipment need be in Hawai`i. Sub-systems can be tested in relationship to other systems (and other countries equipment) to test compatibility and inter-operation at the prototype facility and also at suitable analogue sites. Integration of various sub-systems into other mobile systems (e.g. instruments mated to robotic rovers) or into the ILRP proper (manufacturing module) will be done in Hawai`i. Independent components of the ILRP will be developed at home and brought to Hawai`i to interact with other components (e.g. refueling & storage technologies).

9.What about rivalries or competitors? The ILRP will not have a history that certain agencies or universities have that preclude cooperation based on other (non-lunar) issues. Hawai`i will represent a level playing field where all partners are welcomed to start anew with productive relationships. “Coopertition” has shown to be quite effective in science activities. Commercial privacy matters will be addressed and honored. Common areas within the ILRP (landing zones, refueling, construction areas) will be public and shared. Companies have the ability to share manufacturing facilities and equipment, or go it alone with their own private facilities in the Park (both in Hawaii and on the Moon).

10.How about international issues? Hawai`i can also be seen as a neutral gathering place for diverse nations and cultures. While politically part of the United States, its unique melting pot of cultures places it as something completely different from the rest of the US Mainland. It is almost equidistant from most of the Pacific (Mexico, US, Canada, Russia, Japan, China, Australia). India, Africa and Europe are not much further away. Additionally, the University’s East-West Center has a long successful history of bringing people together for a common purpose and mediating disputes on the international stage. This historical expertise of political science allows confidence in outcomes of negotiations and a expected sense of fairness in solutions.

11.Will membership in the Hawaii Research Park be limited? We foresee a dynamic customer mix for the campus Research Park. As time progresses, more of the park will be home to new spin-off companies. Also as the technical base and critical mass of talent is reached, more facilities will be end-to-end facilities. Equipment will be created, designed, manufactured and tested in Hawai`i. Academic transfers between cooperating member universities will grow the relatively small undergraduate UH-Hilo into a world-class leader in robotics, artificial intelligence and space engineering.

12.Will this project exploit the native Hawaiian population? Definitely not. PISCES was created in Hawai`i at the State level and has been housed at the University of Hawaii – Hilo campus since its inception. Most of the staff are local and many are native Hawaiian or have native Hawaiian family members. UH-Hilo is a native Hawaiian serving institution, and PISCES is deeply involved with undergraduate education, internships and mentorships. PISCES also has a history of engaging the local K-12 community with classroom visits, teacher workshops and outreach events. PISCES has formed its own cultural advisory committee composed of native Hawaiian education and community leaders to share their mana`o (advice) on a broad spectrum of issues. Proper and relevant cultural protocols are also observed with respect to land usage and permissions. This cultural respect for all peoples serves to make Hawai`i an ideal site for international and global collaboration on the ILRP. Hawai`i has a long history of acceptance of a diversity of cultures, all the while creating a blend of the best.

13.Will the ILRP damage the fragile Hawaiian ecosystem and environment? PISCES has adopted a stewardship approach to its land utilization. All `āina (land) is sacred in Hawai`i. It is viewed by the local population, the government and PISCES to be a treasured resource; one that must be protected. It is the consensus that all land must have a use that is appropriate and productive, thus ensuring the meaning of the State of Hawaii motto: Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka `Āina I Ka Pono (the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness). This is a principle reason why the ILRP or its full scale prototype will not be built at an analogue site. These sites are resources to be protected for productive research (as well as other joint uses such as hiking, hunting, etc). PISCES also has also adopted an approach to return the site to “as good or better” condition that the original state prior to a test. This approach ensures that the sites are maintained for the all future users.

14.What can Hawaii bring to the rest of the world (besides location)? Hawaii is an island culture. As such its indigenous people have developed a sense of sustainability and living within a limited resource economic sphere. This island outlook also applies to this Island Earth. Being also of a voyaging culture, Hawaii can share its past with the future. The closest analogue that history has to space exploration is the exploration of the Pacific by the Polynesians. Hawaiian values have developed over centuries to ensure a harmony that other nations envy. It is these cooperative values (even amongst competitors) for which the world could learn much. (see Appendix on Hawaiian Values). These timeless values are not unique to Hawai`i as many cultures world-wide have similar sayings, they are codified in a way here for daily living. And as the host culture for the ILRP, these sociological messages are another positive global contribution. They are even ones that can apply on the Moon’s surface.

15.Will the ILRP be launched from Hawai`i? Launch facilities are well developed in other locations on Earth. Although far south enough to make equatorial launches look tempting, the time and cost for development (along with shipping fees) preclude any traditional launches. Once again, the model for the ILRP is not to re-invent and re-make things, it is to use the existing facilities optimally. Towed platform launches could be in the future, although plane based surface-to-orbit craft would be ideally suited for the numerous long airfields and proximity to surrounding oceans.

16.What about Space Tourism? Hawaii is one of the recognized leaders in sustainable and eco-friendly tourism. This expertise will also apply to the ILRP and future facilities on the Moon. The prototype ILRP facility would have an adjacent dormitory for researchers and could house science ed-venturer tourists with participatory activities that would tie in with research activities. Prototype human habitats may also be tested and could be involved in simulated missions. Eventually the robotic ILRP will have a human component and the village will grow into a city. It is anticipated that one of the first human structures at the ILRP will be a Lunar Hotel Resort (perhaps with a Tiki Bar serving water made directly from the lunar regolith!). Training for that experience would also be an activity suitable for the Hawaii ILRP.

17.What sort of activities would be done at the ILRP? Anything you want…… We envision pharmaceuticals being developed, low-gravity materials science research and manufacturing, agriculture processes, electronics and material sciences, high-vacuum processes, mining, solar power collection and transmission. The ILRP would also be an ideal base for lunar exploration and science expeditions. Astronomy and Solar Physics applications abound, as well as fundamental cosmic ray science done beyond the Earth’s magnetic field. We mentioned tourism, but there is also the prospect of sports events (one can have human powered flight at 1/6g!). Space art might flourish and your favorite band might even want to record their next album on the moon (for some cosmic inspiration). Speaking of that, religious retreats may even be held on the moon (along with super-motivational meetings). One of the most exciting activities at the ILRP may be testing equipment and scenarios for further space exploration to asteroids and Mars. After all, the Moon is the nearest NEO (Near Earth Object)!

18.Why should we support the ILRP? The International Lunar Research Park is an idea whose time has come. Space Exploration and Lunar Development is now truly a worldwide effort. One whose players are not just the governmental agencies following national policies, but visionary entrepreneurs and bold investment capitalists. Private-public partnerships with university contributions are soon to be the norm for space. The ILRP marks the premier project of this scope and follows upon historical precedents such as the International Space Station.

19.How can we support the ILRP and PISCES? Interested parties can send email inquires directly to PISCES at and view information regarding this exciting project at the ILRP page at PISCES. Contributions may be made directly to the PISCES tax-deductable account maintained by the University of Hawai`i Foundation from the donation button located on the PISCES website!

Come join the adventure! See YOU on the moon (soon)!

Appendix – Hawaiian values (adapted from the Kamehameha Schools)
Aloha - Love, affection, compassion, sympathy. Love and respect for our natural world and one another is our foundation.
‘Imi Na‘auao - To seek enlightenment, wisdom, and education. The quest for knowledge and enlightenment is essential for educational institutions
Mālama - to care for, to protect, to maintain, to attend to. Caring for one another and all natural elements will enable us to flourish.
‘Ike pono - ‘Ike - To know, to see, to feel, to understand, to comprehend, to recognize.
Pono - righteous, appropriate, moral, goodness, proper, fair. Urges us to integrate our intellect and our intuition.
Kuleana - Privilege, responsibility, area of responsibility. Denotes the responsibilities which accompany our blessings.
Ho‘omau - To persevere, to perpetuate, to continue. Let us perpetuate the legacy of humanity and strive to the future.
Ha‘aha‘a - Humility, humbleness, modesty. Let us persevere with humility in all that we do.