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Recent Lunar Activity, Stakeholders and Incentives – A Backgrounder

This paper serves as a background summary of recent lunar exploration activity in the context of relevant stakeholder interests.


This paper serves as a background summary of recent lunar exploration activity in the context of relevant stakeholder interests, and as a case study of the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP) competition, to supplement the Open Lunar Foundation (OLF) study on Stakeholder Interests in Lunar Governance. The Analytic Hierarchy Process is introduced as a method to examine the interests of these stakeholder groups, establish a rank and prioritization of those interests to form a hierarchy, and then compare different scenarios against interests. This informs future work towards understanding the lunar futures each stakeholder group will support, based on their suitability in addressing those interests and motivations.

Recent lunar activities by major space actors have ignited a renewed global interest in Lunar exploration. With international lunar policy development stalled for many decades, incongruous positions are bound to form on the way to treat the Moon and its resources. In the media, we often see news pieces about governments and billionaires funding their own way to our closest neighbour and drawing lines in the regolith as to how it shall be treated on our behalf. But has anyone ever asked whether these activities align with the interests of all the relevant stakeholders that benefit from lunar exploration? A good starting point for building a lunar governance framework is to understand who benefits from lunar exploration. Government agencies and industry immediately come to mind, but any progress in lunar exploration cannot be achieved without the scientific community exploring the unknown; without educators transferring knowledge to the next generations to keep advancing knowhow; and without the public supporting the actions of policy makers to push our capabilities further. Variations of those five stakeholder communities (i.e. political; industrial; scientific; educators; and the general public) can often be found in assessments to engage society as they form a type of value loop in exploration. While this is a very broad classification of stakeholders and each community can easily be divided into smaller subcategories, this grouping allows us to begin to consider the full landscape of interests at stake in future exploration initiatives. And while the interests of these stakeholders can differ, some can also align and be interdependent.


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