Columnist Leonard David

Prototype Moon Base May Be Built in Hawaii

ESA Moon Village Design
The European Space Agency is studying ways to build a "moon village" using 3D printing. Here’s an artist’s illustration of one concept. (Image credit: ESA/Foster + Partners)

Human settlement of the moon may go through Hawaii.

Earlier this month, an International MoonBase Summit (IMS) brought together representatives from academia, government and the private sector to help lay the groundwork for a base on the lunar surface.

"Because of its geography, geology and culture, Hawaii is the perfect place to build a MoonBase prototype," said Henk Rogers, an entrepreneur based in Hawaii and the organizer of the IMS. [Lunar Colony: How to Build a Moonbase in Images]

Key issues

Working groups at the Summit, which was held from Oct. 1 through Oct. 5 on Hawaii's Big Island, focused on addressing key issues in the areas of:

  • commercialization and business dynamics for economic success;
  • organizational structure and public-private partnership models;
  • design and architectural principles;
  • cultural and philosophical guidelines for planetary settlement;
  • geological/geographic considerations for location of the International MoonBase (IMB) and its terrestrial analog;
  • surface systems to build and operate the IMB; and
  • public engagement and educational opportunities.

Summit decisions

Meeting participants included Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. During his keynote address, Aldrin encouraged the development of the International MoonBase as a valuable gateway to Mars.

Three key decisions resulting from the summit are:

  • The International MoonBase will be located close to one of the moon’s poles to enable access to the abundant lunar resources, such as water ice, that exist there;
  • The terrestrial analog for the International MoonBase will be located on the Big Island, taking advantage of the many moonlike features of the island’s environment;
  • A self-sustaining model will fund this "Mahina Lani Simulator."

A master plan, scheduled to be drafted in the spring of 2018, will also include a large number of issues that will be the subject of trade studies in the months ahead.

Furthermore, a 3D model of the International MoonBase is in development; that model will provide the public with a high-fidelity look at the layout of the base.

For more information on the project, visit:

Leonard David is author of "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet," published by National Geographic. The book is a companion to the National Geographic Channel series "Mars." A longtime writer for, David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook or Google+. This version of this story was posted on

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Leonard David
Space Insider Columnist

Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard  has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He has received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.