Metztli: An International Space Station Approach to Lunar Exploration
"TP-Moon" caught some attention for deciding to investigate the idea of moving the International Space Station (or parts of it) toward the Moon. The decision to focus our effort on this radical idea did not come easily, as we were 46 individuals from 20 countries.
Our vision was to create an international approach to peaceful lunar development that takes advantage of the ISS. In addition to the political incentives to capitalize on this large investment, the main motivation for using the ISS was to extend the established international partnership.
Near the beginning, some team members thought the most direct and "sexy" way to use the ISS would be to turn it into a lunar program by placing it into an Earth-Moon cycler orbit. We had a heated debate over whether to make this idea the focus of our project. The group seemed to split into thirds: those who thought it was the most innovative scheme, those who thought it lacked technical motivation, and those who were quiet (many due to the language barrier). In the end, we were able to agree on a unified scope and began to work together better as a team. Many of us learned the importance of listening to each other with an open mind.
Metztli was presented to the world at the International Lunar Conference 2003 at a time when the Moon seems to be regaining interest as the next target for exploration. We also presented our recommendation of International Lunar Organization for facilitating communication among groups related to lunar exploration both technically and legally. Although the teamwork process was probably the most valuable for us, the output of Metztli might also become important soon!