Space for impact: are the conditions ripe? We think so.

If you’re considering getting involved in Open Lunar and the lunar community from outside the space sector, this piece is for you.

If you’re considering getting involved in Open Lunar and the lunar community from outside the space sector, this piece is for you.

I’m a seasoned builder of nonprofit organisations and got my start in the climate movement. I’ve always worked on social and environmental impact, and when I got started co-creating Open Lunar, space was new to me. Immediately, my friends and peers were confused about my work with Open Lunar. Why the Moon? What? Internally, I was skeptical too. But I was also curious to lean into the complexity to find a greater impact.

Lunar landscapes are places where international law has made it illegal for countries to claim territory and jurisdiction. These landscapes will have humans on them within our generation because as Chris Hadfield said to me once “Humans have always built ships and used them”.  This is quite literally an opportunity to build an alternative political economy, hanging in the sky in plain sight for all.

There’s a paradox here. Attempt a decolonial, apolitical, stewardship-centric establishment of polycentric governance, and do it with and alongside ships going to ‘a new continent’ backed by wealth, power, and states. This level of complexity is precisely why we need many smart minds from many different points of view involved.

Come and look under the hood, and you’ll see the conditions are ripe for bold action.

There’s an intimate, motivated community

You may be looking into the space sector from the outside, as a lawyer or economist, a political or cultural leader, or power broker, or a tradition keeper. To you, the industry probably looks like a wash of techno-utopians. Let me show you what I have found.

When you enter the space industry it’s noisy; there are plenty of actions being taken that deserve to be questioned. However, there is an influential portion of the community that is relational, imaginative, action-oriented, values-driven, and invested in each other's growth. It’s within this nurturance that Open Lunar has thrived, and that I as a transplant from ‘impact’ and ‘climate’ was so supported and impressed by. 

Like other single-issue movements, the space community has forged intense connections and bonds. This has occurred through conferences, achievements against the odds, building organisations together, and empowering each others’ growth over time. Youth and training organisations like ISU and SGAC make professional development in the space industry relational and familial. These relationships last across changes in roles and titles. Relationship-oriented work has high failure tolerance, strong learning skills, and sees the bigger picture: we’re figuring all this out together, for bigger goals which we hope to achieve in our lifetimes. 

The space community has a personal relationship with awe. When we look at other sectors, professional culture does not necessarily integrate the value of being in awe of life and the universe. Many long-term members of the space community have a deep intrinsic thrill and passion for the endeavor of pursuing space. In my view, this enables the space community to operate with a persistent hopefulness for humanity’s future. 

The timing couldn’t be better

I’m motivated to influence substantial shifts in how we operate in society for the better. I have seen and continue to see readiness in the lunar community for this kind of work. Here are a few aspects of that readiness:

Low/early vested interests: It has been a delight working in a sector not yet encumbered by multigenerational corporate vested interests. Once you’ve worked with entrenched power dynamics, you cannot believe how easy it is to breathe in a room where big players are still positioning their seats at the table. Space doesn’t have a BP or Unilever yet.

Every government wants in: Many countries, even small ones, are keeping an eye out for a claim to fame regarding deep space activity, and are getting creative. The sector is also ripe for boldness through geopolitical pride and leadership campaigns. Countries and governments stand to make huge gains for their people with STEM programming, and space missions are a strong development program. There are many diverse motivations for government leadership in space in every state in the world. With the surge of participation in lunar missions, the timing has been and continues to be perfect for influencing lunar missions to be exemplary of the kind of world we want to live in. 

Agile policy development: The lunar policy space is ripening before our eyes. Policy professionals have been incredibly collaborative to work with and I know this will continue. The pandemic created an unusually collaborative international community of Asian, European, and North American scholars working in relatively real-time rather than waiting for a conference to greet each other. I hope this continues. The popularity of space law PhD’s is through the roof. The challenge now is to really contribute something unique, and make something real happen, rather than writing yet another analysis of debris ;). 

Small states can have outsized impact: There is small nation entrepreneurship happening, from the constant leadership of Luxembourg to the burgeoning launch state of New Zealand to the curiosities of Singapore, high tech small nations are ready to set precedents and are natural partners for innovation at the edge of the sector. The rising voices and activity levels from Africa and Latin America are also thrilling. There are deeply insightful people to work with on every continent and it’s time to consider many more points of view on the future of the Moon than simply the countries operating large missions.

Rapid evolution: Everything about this sector is evolving in real-time. When Open Lunar began, there were no Artemis Accords, and no CLPS program, bold lander companies were trying their hand who have had skin in the game for more than a decade. Now there are frequent landing attempts and more consistent funding, and if Starship is successful we all know all payload economics will change. I hope we can be nimble together to consciously iterate on priorities and aims when that occurs.

Enter our Orbit

Open Lunar is the home of a vibrant community of diverse experts who build projects together addressing these issues.

If your expertise could bring value to these endeavours, I strongly encourage you to connect with our team. Open Lunar has roles for voluntary experts, and paid researchers, and brings in entrepreneurs to build out projects at scale. This is a platform for action. If any of this sounds like you, email who leads this workflow.

If you’re working on behalf of an institution that sees alignment in these topics and opportunities, reach out to