National Space Society Challenge and Call For Papers

Press Release From: National Space Society
Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Is an economically self-sufficient space settlement feasible on the Moon or Mars or other bodies in the solar system?

The National Space Society is challenging the aerospace, economic and university communities, and especially those who would reduce the role of Government, to answer that question.

NSS recognizes that the directions and timetable of human space settlement may very well depend on whether such settlement can be commercially profitable, or at least economically self-sufficient. To date, space activists have assumed that sooner or later such favorable economics would exist, but no one has set forth any scenario that would rigorously confirm such an assumption.

Accordingly, NSS is challenging the aerospace, economic and university communities to test the proposition of economic viability by making it the featured subject of a Special Call for Papers for its International Space Development Conference, to be held in Tucson over Memorial Day weekend, May 26-29, 2000.

"If a space settlement on another world is going to ‚Äňpay for itself,'" said Jeffrey Liss, an NSS Vice President, "sooner or later it is going to have to generate ‚Äňproducts' that people can use and will pay for. Even people who might purchase on speculation will ultimately need to find such end users. To date, no such products appear to have been identified that would support such a space settlement without continuing subsidies."

"There is no question that private enterprise will play a major role in the development of the high frontier," said Lawrence D. Roberts, Chair of NSS's Policy Committee. "The papers presented will help to clarify the issues vital to such development, help formulate international and domestic space policy and enhance the prospects for commercial success."

The National Space Society, founded in 1974, is an independent non-profit space advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Its 20,000 members worldwide actively promote a spacefaring civilization. Information on NSS and space exploration is available at


National Space Society invites abstracts for Papers at its 19th Annual INTERNATIONAL SPACE DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE on the subject of: "An Economically Self-Sufficient Settlement on Another Body in the Solar System (e.g., the Moon, Mars, Asteroid or Comet)." The Paper should describe a space settlement that is either:

(A) a "closed" system that, after start-up, is physically self-sufficient and thus able to function indefinitely without imports which would have to be paid for; or

(B) an "open" system that will require the import of resources and the means to generate income to pay for them. Ideally the space settlement should generate enough revenue to pay off all start-up costs (including, e.g., launch vehicles, transportation costs, settlement materials), but a Paper will be acceptable if it describes a settlement that is marginally profitable on an annual basis after writing off all start-up costs.

Papers should include technical, regulatory, economic and commercial assumptions, the anticipated stages of development, with timetables, and reasonably detailed projected income and expense statements validating the self-sufficiency in the relevant time periods.

The abstracts must be in English, must not exceed two 8-1/2 x 11 inch pages (with 1 additional page of graphics if necessary), must summarize a Paper suitable for presentation at the Conference, May 26-29, 2000, in Tucson, AZ, and should estimate the length of the Paper. Those submitting accepted abstracts will be invited to send the complete Papers for selection and presentation. A Proceedings CD is anticipated. Three copies of each abstract must be submitted. Abstracts for such Papers are being accepted on a rolling basis through April 15, 2000. Mail to: Abstracts, NSS 2000 ISDC, c/o Jeffrey Liss, 180 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2401, Chicago, IL 60601. Early notification of intention to submit an abstract would be appreciated. E-mail inquiries should be sent to

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