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 ‚Äòpay for itself,'”
said Jeffrey Liss, an NSS Vice President, “sooner or later it is going to
have to generate ‚Äòproducts’ 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
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