Open Letters From Our Astronaut
First I’ll start with why our mission is worthwhile.
In general, the common thread among all these attacks and accusations stem in part through a mentality of scarcity -- an ingrained perception of our limits -- but also a perception of reality -- of the common outcome, what usually happens. And why should anyone expect differently? Why would MoonDAO be any different?
There are many people in this world that believe there is a finite set of resources. The pie is what it is, and what someone else has is something that necessarily must be at the expense of someone else.
So if someone is spending resources to go to Space, then it must be at the expense of problems that need to be fixed here on Earth. Like a bucket of crabs where one is trying to aim higher, the rest of them pull them down.
The fixed-pie perspective is an anti-diversity worldview, since there is a finite set of resources we must all align on what is right and fund that, and anything else is a distraction to be shut down. Those who step out of the mainstream are doing so at the expense of their core initiatives. Those with different beliefs should be shamed. Believing that there is a set amount of scarce resources and production that can occur, and that we cannot create value from nothing, so it must come from somewhere or someone else: The capital must be extracted at the expenses of The Earth, The People -- and as a result, so they believe, the capitalist system that we have must be extracting from others and just a sophisticated form of centralizing the money into the hands of a few people at the expense of everyone else.
Many of these people believe in degrowth, limits on growth, limits on consumption. Total decarbonizing of the economy. Controlling what people buy to reduce consumption. Top-down control is necessary. We need the whole globe on board. We must march in lockstep. Mandated, for your own good.
Some of the people in that camp want us to reduce consumption to be living like our ancestors in accordance with nature -- not in our hyper-capitalist extractivist climate destruction -- but actually: To their credit, this I partially agree with, we should absolutely live in accordance with nature.
We should respect the knowledge of our ancestors. We should respect the Earth, the Moon, the divinity of our Food and our Water. We should preserve and sustain all life on Earth. There is no disagreement there. However we should do something that our ancestors also did: Cultivate a garden on Earth and grow her seeds. Earth has the incredible maternal property of abundance when properly cared for, we should Steward the Earth. Grow its resources and potential. She wants to see her children thrive. Seek new frontiers. Go out into the unknown.
Fundamentally, I agree in the absolute protection of Gaia, Mother Earth, Pachamama, whatever you may call her in your own tongue or belief system. However, I am asking that people stop thinking that they run the Earth, that they are Gods to dictate what is best, and realize that they Steward the Earth, but are not in control of it. She can sustain us all if we care for her. She can grow, and we should plant her seeds on new worlds.
I am asking people to look towards abundance. Look towards optimism. See the magnificent potential in front of us. And move towards that, to stop focusing on all the reasons why we can’t do something, and start looking at the possibilities of “What if...”
The people who think you can’t do it, that think we are potentially doomed, that think we are stagnant, they want to limit our growth. Limit our potential. Keep control, and humiliate or castrate anyone who dares to question or step out of line with the conformity or the top-down mandated plan. Those who know better than you. They laugh at those in the Arena attempting to change things, and criticize them to oblivion for even trying.
Look at the Moon-men, the lunatics, the ones who think they can go to the Moon. Idiots. They are doing it out of Male-dominance, ego, their penis-shaped rockets piercing the sky to rape other worlds as they have raped our own. Tyrants and fools driven by their insecurity.
Who can blame those accusers though? When they have so many examples of people doing just that. Colonizers coming to destroy natives, kill them off, and install machines that extract and don’t replenish the Earth. They might be shocked to hear that we have a common enemy. We are not colonizers, we are settlers.
Yet, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater, not all people who want to explore new worlds are bad. Not all people are here to extract unsustainably to fuel their never-ending ambition for more wealth, status, and power. Some want to Steward the Earth and see her expand to other planets.
Fundamentally, we must grow the pie. We must continue to expand and grow just like everything in nature is doing all the time. Things that are not busy growing, are busy dying.
Most disagreements on Earth are because of the perception of scarcity, yet there is abundance all around us. We must grow a garden that sustains us, and there are multiple methods of addressing the scarcity we face: there are plenty of things here on Earth that we can do like using more Nuclear and Solar, but another is to grow our ability to access more resources and bring them back for the benefit of Earth.
We need growth, sustainable growth, and a new clean slate to see the world anew again. As we go out into the unknown, onto new planets, it gives us the chance to rethink things. This is why the frontier has been so compelling and romanticized. It’s a place where cowboys and pirates alike go out and reconstitute a new dream. Something new.
The Moon will be a launch point for us to explore the rest of the cosmos. Once we are outside of Earth’s gravity well we can use the Lunar resources to cheaply send probes to other worlds. The Moon will be the foundation for getting to Mars and other planets, being only three days away versus three months away, we can quickly iterate on habitats, life support systems, and in-situ resource utilization
So far I hope I’ve convinced you that pushing humanity forward into the stars is a worthwhile goal on its own, and it does not need to happen at the expense of other issues here on Earth, and in fact could help mitigate some of those issues by bringing back useful resources and technology that helps us be more sustainable here on Earth -- there is a huge precedent of technology that has come from the space program solving unique challenges that could then be commercialized on Earth to improve how we live here on the surface.
So, you might be convinced that the goal is worthwhile, now we should look at if it is possible. Is it a pipedream? Can we actually get there? What does success look like? Can we even survive there? Is it a gimmick? Even if we agree that humanity should extend Earth’s consciousness to the stars, how can random people on the internet help? What’s the problem MoonDAO solves?
In most cases, I’d agree that the umpteenth space startup will have a marginal if not literally zero impact on the acceleration of a lunar settlement. Still though, the experimentation from all those companies is important, but they all suffer from fundamental constraints outside of the competency of a business to solve. The problem is not with the motivation of individuals, there are plenty of incredibly competent and motivated individuals that want to make a positive contribution towards getting us into space.
MoonDAO is aiming to solve a problem deeper in the stack than a company.
Let me be clear, MoonDAO is not a startup, MoonDAO does not aim to become a company, MoonDAO is solving a deeper problem: Coordination.
If we look at the stack of human coordination in the legal sense (typically you must have legal definition to access significant capital - since the Nation and Capital have been defined in an intertwined way since Bretton Woods) to get people to collaborate effectively within the capital markets it looks something like this:
- A set of contracts that define a Business, within the context of
- A set of contracts that define a Nation, within the context of
- Whoever has the Bigger Stick
These lines are very blurry. Businesses can exist within multiple Nations, and in some cases one Business can dominate over the Nation itself. Ultimately though, unless you are a criminal and want to operate outside of the rules of a Nation, you are constrained by the next level in the stack.
Since the solving of the Byzantine Generals problem we have created a method of accounting in a decentralized way, that has been generalized into a Turing Complete scripting language that can define smart contracts that are no longer enforced by the Bigger Stick, but instead consensus is arbitrated through Work (energy converted into solving a difficult problem in the case of Proof of Work), or capital stake (in the case of Proof of Stake) systems.
As a result, the consensus between Nations no longer necessarily relies on the Bigger Stick. Instead it relies on the consensus of many people from all over the world keeping each other accountable through a decentralized protocol.
This is a fundamental change at the lowest level of the stack. Separating Money from Nation. There have been periods in human history where this was also the case, and the result is usually a lower influence at the level of a Nation, and a disbanding of monolithic empires into smaller jurisdictions that locally serve their people better. The long arc of human history can be viewed through the lens of fractionalization and reconsolidation of people from large empires into smaller city-states and back to an empire. Usually the deciding factor was the capacity for offensive violence (e.g. stealing another person’s property) versus the capacity for defense against violence. Encryption protocols have greatly increased any one individual’s capacity for defense against information in a database being manipulated, or in other words the freezing or extraction from a bank account at the behest of the Nation.
Within this new context of collaboration, we can look at the great problem of Lunar Settlement. Something that has been within the domain of nations, is now possibly in the hands of the Network. Rather than large governments being the primary source of funds, the Blockchain has usurped the pole position, and companies that realize this first will stand at a great advantage when it comes to competing in the market. Today a company can access more capital through Blockchain than through a government grant.
MoonDAO is here to expand this access. Not as a singular node of control at the command of the biggest faucet of resources, but as a network where the whole becomes larger than the sum of its parts.
We are creating a new economic game. A new platform for companies to collaborate and access the largest network of capital, people, and information to achieve their goals.
Instead of a singular company -- we’re building a coordination platform for many companies and individuals from all corners of the world to work together productively. An economic gradient for collaborative competition. Open sharing of resources when it’s necessary, but providing meritocratic incentives to accelerate our progress.
Fundamentally the game we are trying to set up is a collaborative competition.
We are not here to fund noncompetitive people doing useless things, or to coordinate politically as a think-tank or NGO to lobby governments, we are here to create games where we define goals up front and then provide funding towards the most efficient and competitive teams from across the world.
We aim to create economic models that blend the competencies of crowdfunding of capital with free-market competition, where money does not go to the best storytellers, but to the most competent that can deliver.
The military aspirationally operates in this way, to some extent, releasing requests for proposals to the contractor that can most efficiently and productively meet the need, this model is relatively opaque for security reasons, and limits access to everyday civilians.
Usually it’s a market that drives the machine of progress, but right now we face a large faceless bureaucracy that has goals outside of exploration. As we are creating a separation of power between Nations and Money, this separates Exploration from the grip of the military industrial complex and the occult coercion under the specter of the public eye.
Many of the commercial companies today are dependent on these types of grants that come with many strings attached, including that it is illegal to cooperate or receive external funding from foreign adversaries, talk to any engineer in the space industry and they will have tons of stories about the bureaucracy involved with handling strict arms-trafficking regulations, or accessing public markets through strict regulation that keeps control in a tightly-knit group of individuals.
Space technology was born out of nuclear technology. It was birthed from the belly of destruction as a defense technology to send nukes across the Ocean to annihilate our adversaries. This is the lens through which Space still operates. Space is something to be controlled, not to be opened.
Like anything in government, it works slowly, and there isn’t currently a market-driven incentive system to accelerate progress. Usually it would be the domain of venture capital to push this forward, but often the timescales for projects as large as lunar settlement are too long and risky for venture capital, although we are starting to see some positive change here.
The largest accelerant of the National agenda is fear driven pressure of foreign adversaries, the same fear that acts as an anxious accelerant also expresses itself through a tight control and bottleneck on any technology or innovation that comes from the siloed companies. Do we need a Manhattan project for Lunar Settlement? Or can we coordinate openly?
So, how do we change this? In one word: Accelerate.
We must create a game that accelerates progress among those who share the principles and values of open collaboration, and respect the divine rights of human freedom that have resulted in the most prosperous age in human history.
There is some risk here to open-sourcing a lot of this technology, but the bet is that by opening the technology to more people we will see collaboration push the speed, and in some cases overcome the large centralized actors, and prevent any one tyrannical actor from having a dominant position of control. The argument has a lot of parallels to the current political issues that are being discussed when it comes to AI regulation, where the baptists and bootleggers shake hands to limit innovation through fear.
I want to be clear, this is not an East v.s. West issue, there are good people from all over the world that share common principles no matter their country of origin. We must not be fear driven, we must be awe-driven. In the final balance, Good outweighs.
There is an overwhelming fear from the west that East will exploit Western innovation to further their goals and dominate the West. To some extent, it must be understood that the intelligence and surveillance apparatus is going to get the plans from Western companies through the backdoor or the front door. Secrets shared between more than two people get out, information wants to be free.
Our only way to combat centralized actors thay may capture control is through the unbounded acceleration of technological progress where individual contributors can align within a framework to overcome the fear driven stagnation of the West. We need to accelerate our space program. We need to move fast to develop Lunar capabilities before top-down authoritarian systems do -- the Moon is of incredible strategic importance and the West may not like to hear this, but it seems that the East is poised to win the space race having already launched multiple Moon missions and an independent space station.
This is a case where a centralized actor may move much faster than the West, and has many echoes of the previous space race between the USSR and USA. The west is not sharing information or talking openly, they are bottlenecked by political issues, crushing arms-trafficking regulations preventing small organizations from entering -- all stemming from the fear and scarcity mindsets from the top levels of our Western nations.
We lack strong leadership from the political apparatus, but there is a hope within companies like some private organizations that are making tremendous progress despite the hurdles, and have been able to achieve the scale to put up with the regulatory burden. However they are still fundamentally limited -- they cannot hire the brains outside of the USA. Today they are not constrained by money, but by talent that has the right information to contribute. So how do we compete? Open up the frontier. Expand access.
We should be allowing every-day citizens to contribute to space. They should be able to allocate their funds directly into space companies, and collaborate on open source problems that get us closer to the ultimate goal of a base on the Moon. Not just people from whitelisted countries, but from all corners of the globe to pull us forward.
This requires new thinking from first principles about collaboration between people. Economic, business, scientific, and information models that allow people to compose on one another in an open and collaborative way.
Today, companies in the US have the largest access to financial resources, and companies based in the US have two choices:
- They remain private. This means that everyday people cannot necessarily access the equity in the company because of regulations preventing those without a multimillionaire background from participating. The companies are remaining private often to maintain control over long enough time horizons that require a lot of capital with no clear sign of economic return. Some are personally financing the entirety of their private space organization. Some have multiple investors, but again, their constraints are not economic, the constraint is intellect.
- They become public. Where they are then owned by a handful of mega-owners, and others with activist intentions, destroy the ability of the companies to operate efficiently and productively over long periods of time, at the whims of quarterly reports. Public markets work great for some things, and some companies even elect to use a dual-class voting stock to retain control and be able to focus on long term initiatives, some media and tech companies are an example of this. However, the political apparatus controls them through other means as has been made evident through recently made available files, and our own lived experience in the last decade.
Either way, if they become serious enough and start to fund main-line government plans, they have to make a deal, a deal that increasingly is not making sense.
So what does MoonDAO intend to do?