Why This Matters

"We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind."

Apollo 14 Lunar Module above the Moon, with Lalande Crater below

Deep change comes from new experiences. New places bring new perspectives. Space is the ultimate place for both, and there is no place in space like the Moon. It can change everything, and it will, once we understand that and act on it.

There are any number of worthy goals that could be accomplished if only we stopped directing so much time and money to fighting, showing off, and unhealthy distractions. Though a Moon colony might seem low on the list, it will take something like it to snap us out of the petty differences, self-fulfilling fears, and quiet despair that hold us back. A place that was never a part of any of that thinking can shake us out of it. It is bigger than that. By reaching it, we showed ourselves we can be bigger than that too. By watching people live there, the thought would grow in us day by day - all our assumptions come from a tiny speck in a vast universe. The air, the dirt, the sun, the sky, the very force that holds us to the ground - outside of this speck it all changes, and varies endlessly with each new place. That thought is a seed around which new ideas of inclusion and acceptance can crystallize. Nothing on Earth can make that argument with anything near the same power.

And the Moon is there for all of us. It has always been that way, and must always be so. It is time for us to come to think of ourselves as a single unit - humanity, all further divisions minor footnotes. This is much easier to see from the surface of the Moon. It is important that we go there together, and work there together, no exclusions. Far from Earth, we can act as children do, free of subtexts of nation, culture, and creed that affect all interchanges here at home, because everything is new. That is one of the magical things about science - it has no politics, no religion, and its language is the purity of math. On the Moon, belief in science above all will be natural - because it is keeping you alive. Those who go there will be icons, we will watch their every move. They will pass that belief in science back to the millions watching at home. Again, with a power like nothing on Earth.

Our home planet is under more pressures all the time thanks to our actions. We may not have much time left to avert (at least the worst) calamities looming in our future, by learning to act together. We need a place that both inspires us to do so and gives us a blank slate that makes it easier and teaches us how. We need to go to the Moon.

About Us

Kim Holder

I went to art college after high school. Then to massage therapy school when i realized i wasn't going to make any money from art. Then i trained at a Zen center when i burned out from doing massage (which happens a lot actually - the massage burn-out part). After that i, uh, sort of bounced around for a few years and eventually headed down to Mexico to try to return to my artwork, where i met my husband and ended up staying. I'm still here in central Mexico 14 years later.

In August of 2013, i finally found the diet and lifestyle that allowed me to have a normal energy level. Before that i'd struggled with lethargy, dopiness, sleepiness, and accompanying anxiety. It was the first time as an adult i'd been free of that for more than a couple of weeks. My reaction quickly turned from 'Eureka!' to 'so now what?...'. I was in the middle of Mexico with all my time free (my husband has a successful business and is happy for me to use my time as i wish). I really wanted to make up for lost time.

It took a while to find the right thing. I took to watching videos of successful people i admired to try to figure out what direction to take. It was quickly clear that scientists and engineers were my role models. One day i was watching an interview of Elon Musk - who i'd never heard of until a few days before - by Salman Khan of Khan Academy. He started talking about going to Mars. Now, from my early teens i've been a big science fiction and science mag consumer, and i thought 'Mars? That makes no sense. He seems like a smart guy, what's he doing?'. So i decided to write up something about that. Thus began Moonwards, a project i happily anticipate will keep me busy for the rest of my life.

Sigvart Brendberg

I am a Norwegian high-school student, currently getting a science education. I live on a small and remote island, and dislike cities as much as you would expect. In the process of learning math, physics and other cool stuff, I realized how nice the free software philosophy is. Starting there, I started my voyage to explore the world of computer programming and the internet.

On the interwebs, I discovered the beauty of space exploration, the Stack Exchange community, and finally the stumbled upon this project, Moonwards.

In my free time, I code small games and simulators, play in a brass band, read tons of fantasy and science fiction, hang out with my crazy high-school friends (me being the most crazy), spend some weekends herding smaller Southern Sami kids at camps, and attend some religious thingy. (Jesus is a cool guy, comparable to Sergej Korolev and Isaac Newton). Regarding political views, what happens on Earth stays on Earth. This is the Moon, and we have a lot of regolith to melt before we can start to fight each other.

As I have a lot of time this early in my life, the ambition is to learn as much as possible. Unicycling? No problem. Here at Moonwards, I provide content to the learn page, create animations and write about orbital mechanics and rocket engines. Mostly however, I discuss new ideas with Kim.

Resources

There are many tools, services and information sources involved in a project such as this. Would you perhaps like to check out some of them?

Software

  • Blender 3D graphics program, which was used to create all the models.
  • GeoGebra Interactive mathematical apps, which are used to demonstrate orbital mechanics.
  • Jekyll, a static site generator, which was used to create this website.
  • Atom Editor, a hackable text editor with lots of tools that assist in coding. (Sigvart, however, swears by Gedit)

All of the above programs are open source. Moonwards uses only open source resources wherever possible.

If you are interested in learning in depth about the science and engineering of space exploration, try going here:

Websites

  • The Lunar and Planetary Institute
  • TheNASA Technical Reports Server, a database of academic papers and reports produced by NASA staff going back to the 60s.
  • Solar System Exploration, a collection of NASA material on a wide range of solar system objects, missions to those places, the history of space exploration, and more.
  • Space Exloration Stack Exchange, a question and answer site for anything related to space exploration.
  • Quickmap, a 3d map of the entire Moon using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter data. Data from GRAIL, Chandrayaan-1, and Clementine have also been mapped onto the virtual Moon.
  • Atomic Rockets, an overview of rocket science and design. Note the 'Click to Show Topics' text just under the logo - access the menu there.
  • Open Textbooks and Openstax both offer a wide range of quality textbooks for download or to read online. MIT Open Courseware, edX, and Khan Academy offer complete courses including test questions and online help from coaches or in forums. The material is of the finest quality.

Online Books

All of these are dated, but remain highly relevant for those seeking an overview of these areas.

Curated Resource Lists

Here are 3 lists from Space Exploration Stack Exchange where members put resources useful for learning and practicing the field.