Will the Moon be the ultimate travel destination? Can we harness energy from the Moon? How and when can we build a lunar base or a lunar village? Will it be possible to transform that barren landscape 384,000 km away into a thriving hub of scientific research and industrialization?
These and other questions will be discussed during the first Convention of Lunar Explorers (LUNEX) in Paris at the Palais de la Découverte from March 8 to 10.
The first LUNEX Convention will bring together lunar explorers from all backgrounds, including professionals, amateur space enthusiasts and interested visitors from the public.
During the Convention, numerous oral presentations will prompt detailed discussions on all aspects of future lunar exploration: the Moon as a geology laboratory or an astronomical platform; the knowledge of lunar geography needed to land and move on the surface; the implications of finding water-ice on the Moon and whether this might be detected by forthcoming missions; the architecture of lunar habitats; what would be needed in the future for the Moon to support life; cultural and social aspects; and the scientific motivation for returning to the Moon.
The Convention will also be the main public event in 2001 at which SMART-1 is presented. SMART-1, due to be launched in 2002, will test solar electric propulsion and other innovative approaches for future deep space probes. It is the first European satellite to be sent towards the Moon.
Background information on LUNEX
The Lunar Explorers Society (LUNEX) is an international organization created by 200 founder members in July 2000. LUNEX was founded at the end of the 4th Conference on Exploration and Utilization of the Moon (ICEUM4), organized by ESA and the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG). Its aim is to promote the exploration of the Moon for the benefit of humanity, bridging the gap between space agencies and the general public to promote planetary exploration and space. The Lunar Explorers Society invites all interested individuals to become members.
Background information on SMART-1
SMART-1 is the first of ESA's SMART (Small Mission for Advanced Research and Technology) missions under the Horizon 2000 Scientific Program. SMART-1 will be launched in October 2002 on board an Ariane-5 rocket as an auxiliary payload. The mission's primary objective is to flight-test solar electric primary propulsion on a Moon voyage, preparing crucial new technology for ESA's Bepi-Colombo mission to Mercury. Other new technologies for spacecraft and instruments will also be tested.
It will be the first time that Europe sends a spacecraft to the Moon. Besides relying on solar electric primary propulsion to leave the Earth and reach the Moon, the spacecraft will also carry out a complete program of scientific observations in lunar orbit. During the cruise phase to reach the Moon, the instruments will be tested by observing the Earth and celestial targets.
Image of Moon base
Image of Moon workers