Extended Managerial Implications: People and Space in the Twenty-First Century

Extended Managerial Implications: People and Space in the Twenty-First Century

John Thomas Riley (The Big Moon Dig, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3906-3.ch012


In these challenging times, people need a positive vision of the future that human space exploration best provides. The way Apollo to the Moon was run in the 1960s, with a huge government program, simply cannot happen today. Fortunately, all the elements needed to build a twenty-first century grassroots human space program are now available. This chapter provides one possible approach developed by the Big Moon Dig, called MOVE, and discusses its critical elements such as management of a large out-of-box project, finding a lunar settlement site, critical habitat design, and applying the lessons learned to other problems on Earth.
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Sometimes the old ways of getting big things done are simply no longer available. Here it is not the case that a manager thinks that it is time for a new approach but rather that it is simply no longer possible to do things the old way. Fortunately the 21st century offers the modern manager a great many new possible paths.

Figure 1.

Emblem of the Big Moon Dig

This chapter makes the case that this is exactly what has happened in human space exploration today, yet society still critically needs the positive forward-facing vision provided best by human space exploration. The old approach of a massive government program, quite literally a Moon-Shot, is simply now lost to history so new approaches must be found and tested. In this situation a manager must find new paths, but must build these paths on a foundation of elements of the old that provide the continuity of a solid history of success.

Fortunately, all the elements needed to build a 21st-century grassroots human space program are now available. This chapter presents one possible approach, the Big Moon Dig (BMD) (Riley, 2017b) and discusses its critical elements:

  • Managing ideas for a large out-of-box project

  • Using mass media to build a movement featuring a process called MOVE (Mass, Online, Vetted, Exploration) (Riley, 2017a)

  • Reducing big data to find a lunar settlement site

  • Responding to new insights into key design elements of space habitats, critically radiation protection

  • Applying the lessons learned to other problems on Earth (Brown, 2009) (Friedman, 2016) (Gregory, 2013) (“JPL InfoGraphics”, 2017) (Pinker, 2012)

The Big Moon Dig is currently a fledgling effort now in search of a breakthrough.

Order of Topics

This chapter covers the management approach, the technical design, and the current state of the Big Moon Dig project.

  • Basic Project Management

  • 21st-century management

  • The Big Moon Dig approach

  • Lunar location

  • Digging in for protection

  • Conclusion


Basic Project Management

A new-built-on-old management approach is needed to reinvigorate human space exploration in the 21st century.


In the mid-20th century, the United States had a huge government program that successfully put human beings on the Moon. In the 21st century, that particular path to space is simply not open to us.

It does not matter that Apollo to the Moon was on most people’s top-five list of the greatest human accomplishments of the 20th century; the historical elements that drove Apollo to the Moon simply no longer exist.

Apollo to the Moon is not going to happen again. Likewise, there will be no Apollo to Mars.

But this does not mean that nothing can be done. An enormous number of people can now be organized and mobilized using the internet and social media, generating effective action on many of the great problems of the 21st century. This chapter is about how to do just that, using the example of human space exploration.

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