Part three in our stamp trilogy exploring the Moon and Space
This third set of stamps in our Moon Landing series (One Small Step, 2019 and One Giant Leap, 2020) completes the story of human exploration of space and showcases the future of humanity living on, or more accurately in the moon.
Our third set of stamps in the Moon Landing series continues the journey of human exploration of the Moon, which started with One Small Step, and was followed by One Giant Leap. In those issues we covered the Apollo Missions, then Skylab, the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. Now we venture on a journey into the future as humans once again head to the Moon, but this time to establish a permanent presence. The Isle of Man is involved in every single Moon mission, through its scientific research, provision of lenses, machinery, instruments and expertise.
Stamp 1. Artemis. NASA’s heavy lifter that will take the Orion module into space.
Stamp 2. Orion. The crewed capsule that will take astronauts around the Moon and safely back to Earth.
Stamp 3. Lone Alpha. The first data centre that will connect Earth and the Moon. A Manx creation.
Stamp 4. City of New Hope. The first lunar city, where scientists and astronauts will live and work.
Stamp 5. Discovery. The labs and experimental research facilities where scientists will discover new ways to fuel our space journeys and live off world.
Stamp 6. People of the Moon. The people that work and live on the Moon.
Stamp 7. The Garden. A living biosphere garden where the people of the Moon will relax.
Stamp 8. Earthrise. A projected live view of the Earth in the Lunar living quarters
Chris Stott writes…
What once seemed like science fiction is rapidly turning into science fact. For twenty years we have thought it normal for people to live and work above us on the International Space Station; children born today will think of people living and working in the Moon as normal too. Let that sink in, we are now actively working to settle the Moon.
Leveraging a myriad of exponential technologies, humanity is returning to the Moon. As I write, the largest English-speaking democracy in the world, India, has successfully landed at the South Pole of the Moon; three missions from the second largest English-speaking democracy in the world, the United States, are also preparing for launch. In total more than 130 missions from over twenty nations are scheduled for return to the Moon in the next decade, including Britain and the Isle of Man. China has been active now at the South Pole of the Moon for over 1,700 consecutive days.
This time the key word is ‘return’. We landed on the Moon more than fifty years ago and we have continued to explore it, discovering more about the resources, energy and so much more that our largest satellite can provide to all of us. As our technological civilization continues to grow and in turn experiences growing pains, we look to the Moon as our great neighbour but also as a great friend. As a base for launching missions to Mars and further out across space, the Moon will be our stepping off point on a journey to other planets and then to the stars.
In my first sentence I said, ‘in the Moon’, and that was no mistake, you do not live on the Moon, you live in it. On the surface of the Moon you would face radiation, micrometeorites, and a day night cycle where two weeks of day light give you temperatures of positive two hundred and fifty degrees celsius, and a two week lunar night plunges you into temperatures near minus two hundred degrees celsius. Almost every science fiction movie or television show you’ve seen on this is sadly incorrect. Fun, but wrong; call it artistic license; although I should note that one time Isle of Man resident Sir Arthur C Clarke, Stanley Kubrick, and Robert McCall got it right in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Our people will live ‘in the Moon’, away from the day night cycle, in near constant temperatures and safe from radiation and micrometeorites. Our dwellings will be in the caves and lava tubes below the surface. Solar panels, communications arrays and landing pads will remain on the surface and using 3D printing, robotics, and inflatable technologies we will build our habitats in the lava tubes. NASA and JAXA have so far identified more than 2700 lava tubes that will be suitable on the near side of the Moon (the side that always faces Earth). The Chinese Space Agency has confirmed similar lava tubes on the far side of the Moon.
Some of these lava tubes are ninety kilometres long, a thousand metres wide, and eighty metres deep; they can fit multiple Manhattans and even the Isle of Man with room to spare. That’s a lot of living space. This represents a great opportunity for all of humanity to rapidly advance science and technology, to deliver carbon free energy and rare Earth metals and resources just when we need them the most. We can do this without displacing a single indigenous person, without tearing up a rainforest, without polluting our world.
Isle of Man technology will be on every mission; our own thriving space industry is at the heart of advances in communications technology and engineering. The Moon provides an incredible platform to back up our global data in a safe, secure, accessible location, meeting every regulatory need for data sovereignty. The Moon is so perfect for our needs that if it wasn’t there, we’d have to build it.
‘How will we watch Netflix on the Moon?’ was the question asked by the Institute of Space Commerce in its 2017 Lunar Economic Action Plan. To watch Netflix on the Moon would mean that people are living and working there, that they have recreational time, communications, disposable income, and access to infrastructure. But which Netflix would they watch? American? British? Australian? Indian? Swiss? Each one has different intellectual property and media rights. How would they pay for it? What will be the currency of the Moon? We’ve already been thinking about this.
Did you know that Space Law was a thing? It's a subject I have come to know a great deal about. Drawing from the American Bar Association (ABA) paper on lunar jurisdiction, its own findings taken from the UN Outer Space Treaty, the Artemis Accords, and corresponding national laws, each settlement on the Moon will exist under the jurisdiction of its licensing state, that is its ‘launching state’.
Akin to ships on the high seas there will be settlements operating, living, and working under US law, Swiss, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, British, and of course Manx law. All these choices will impact the work they conduct from product liability to intellectual property, employment contracts to trade law. Launching State status will define the time zones they work under as well. Breakfast in one settlement might be dinner time at the next. The rules of fine dining will be rewritten in a good way.
Although launch costs are falling, launching anything or anyone to the Moon is still costly, though today a fraction of what it was for the Apollo Program. Settlements will use local materials for construction, mining minerals for 3D printing settlements and structures; this has already been done on Earth using lunar regolith simulants. Our energy will come from the sun and from the water deposits that exist on the Moon. Water, broken down into hydrogen and oxygen provides us with fuel, air and energy. Growing food is also key to our survival, for recycling our precious air and of course, eating.
NASA is far along in testing with award winning 3D printing company Icon; together with architects BIG, they will print ‘Project Olympus’, NASA’s lunar base at the South Lunar Pole. Working with our companies Lonestar and Eayst Noa, BIG has completed the pre-concept studies for our first lunar settlement, the City of New Hope, that features in these beautiful stamps. Constructed in a series of lava tubes, the City of New Hope will be a prototype settlement where people will live, work, and play as they build our new future.
People walked on the Moon fifty years ago. Tomorrow they will do so again and this time they will live and work there too. Science fiction today is simply science fact tomorrow. Just when we need it most, our Moon, our faithful neighbour, is there for us.
Here’s to our next frontiers…
|Images||TBC NASA & BIG|
|Paper||Gummed FSC Securpost 110 GPW|
|Perforations||11.5 per 2cm|
|Stamp Size||40mm x 40mm|
|Format||Sheets of 20|
|Date of Issue||6th November 2023|
|Limited Editions||Presentation Pack (1500) & First Day Cover (1750)|
Product Code: ACM64
Product Issue Date: 8th November 2023
This self-adhesive sheet features the full set of Back to the Moon stamps with a strip of four stamps from the two previous Moonlanding issues 'One Small Step' and 'One Giant Leap'. This Sheetlet is presented within a special folder featuring detailed text by Chris Stott.
Product Code: ACM31
Product Issue Date: 6th November 2023
Eight stunning stamps narrating the story of the return to the Moon and humanities future on or more accurately in the moon.
Product Code: ACM41
Product Issue Date: 6th November 2023
All eight stamps of this collection are presented on a black mount housed within a glossy four page folder.
Product Code: ACM91
Product Issue Date: 6th November 2023
The limited edition 'Back to the Moon' First Day Cover features all eight stunning designs affixed to the 'surface of the Moon' and cancelled with a special postmark.