FIRST ON THE MOON FOR THE HILTON
A beach holiday is all very well but where better to top up a stellar suntan than the
Lunar Hilton? Soaking up the rays under an Earth-lit sky may sound like something out of
sci-fi, but plans to open the first luxury hotel on the Moon are already well underway.
Top British designer Peter Inston (Inston Design International, 33,
Cork Street, London W1X 1HB) has been chosen to design the new building, which will
include a vast rotunda containing 5000 guest rooms and a central "activity" dome
bigger than the controversial Millennium Dome in Greenwich in London. The Lunar Hilton
project has gained momentum recently due to the possibility that there are vast ice
reservoirs in lunar craters. Ice means plentiful supplies of water and oxygen.
"Lots of people would love to go on holiday to the Moon, especially
if they could stay in luxurious surroundings," says Mr. Inston, who has designed
hotels all over the world including the Intercontinental hotel lit Istanbul and the new
Hilton hotel in St Lucia in the Caribbean. "Lunar tourism is going to take off in a
big way. I am particularly pleased to be working with the Hilton on this ground-breaking
Peter George, chairman of Hilton International, insists that the Lunar
Hilton will be the latest in a long line of world firsts (in this case, out-of-this world
firsts) for the Company. "One day soon, there will be hotels on the Moon. The Hilton
wants to be the first - that is the Hilton tradition."
As well as having its own beach and swimming area, the new Lunar Hilton will include a
working farm, a multi-denominational church and a medical center. The pressurized
bedrooms, all with bathroom suites, will all boast superlative galactic views. The entire
building will be clad in heat-resistant tiles, to protect the superstructure from the
powerful rays of the sun and two massive wings containing thousands of solar panels will
harness the suns power. Of course, for safety reasons there will also be backup
Inston has had discussions with NASA to fine tune technical details and intends to spend
some time to concentrate on the Lunar Hilton project. "This is a serious
exercise," he says. "We may be a little early but it will happen and hopefully
my research will help speed up the process." He is also keen to attract outside
sponsorship from industry.
When the big day comes and the Lunar Hilton opens for business, Inston hopes that
astronaut Neil Armstrong will be the hotels first VIP guest. "He started the
whole thing. It seems appropriate that he should take another giant leap for mankind. This
time through the doors of the Lunar Hilton."
Why Explore Space?
A Letter from Ernst Stuhlinger
Some of the reasons for exploring space, when there are numerous social
problems on Earth were addressed in a letter dated 6 May 1970 by Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger,
Associate Director for Science at the Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville. Dr.
Stuhlinger is known internationally for his contributions for a manned journey to Mars. He
lives in Huntsville, Alabama. His beliefs were expressed in his reply to a letter from
Sister Mary Jucunda, a nun who worked among the starving children of Kabwe, Zambie,
Africa. Touched by Sister Mary's concern and sincerity, Dr. Stuhlinger answered her letter
"Your letter was one of many which are reaching me every day, but
it has touched me more deeply than all the others because it came so much from the depths
of a searching mind and a compassionate heart. I will try to answer your question as best
as I possibly can.
First, however, I would like to express my great admiration for you,
and for all your many brave sisters, because you are dedicating your lives to the noblest
cause of man: help for his fellowmen who are in need.
You asked in your letter how I could suggest the expenditures of
billions of dollars for a voyage to Mars, at a time when many children on this earth are
starving to death. I know that you do not expect an answer such as "Oh, I did not
know that there are children dying from hunger, but from now on I will desist from any
kind of space research until mankind has solved that problem!" In fact, I have known
of famined children long before I knew that a voyage to the planet Mars is technically
feasible. However, I believe, like many of my friends, that travelling to the Moon and
eventually to Mars and to other planets is a venture which we should undertake now, and I
even believe that this project, in the long run, will contribute more to the solution of
these grave problems we are facing here on earth than many other potential projects of
help which are debated and discussed year after year, and which are so extremely slow in
yielding tangible results.
Before trying to describe in more detail how our space program is
contributing to the solution of our earthly problems, I would like to relate briefly a
supposedly true story, which may help support the argument. About 400 years ago, there
lived a count in a small town in Germany. He was one of the benign counts, and he gave a
large part of his income to the poor in his town. This was much appreciated, because
poverty was abundant during medieval times, and there were epidemics of the plague which
ravaged the country frequently. One day, the count met a strange man. He had a workbench
and little laboratory in his house, and he labored hard during the daytime so that he
could afford a few hours every evening to work in his laboratory. He ground small lenses
from pieces of glass; he mounted the lenses in tubes, and he used these gadgets to look at
very small objects. The count was particularly fascinated by the tiny creatures that could
be observed with the strong magnification, and which he had never seen before. He invited
the man to move with his laboratory to the castle, to become a member of the count's
household, and to devote henceforth all his time to the development and perfection of his
optical gadgets as a special employee of the count.
The townspeople, however, became angry when they realized that the
count was wasting his money, as they thought, on a stunt without purpose. "We are
suffering from this plague" they said, "while he is paying that man for a
useless hobby!" But the count remained firm. "I give you as much as I can
afford," he said, "but I will also support this man and his work, because I know
that someday something will come out of it!"
Indeed, something very good came out of this work, and also out of
similar work done by others at other places: the microscope. It is well known that the
microscope has contributed more than any other invention to the progress of medicine, and
that the elimination of the plague and many other contagious diseases from most parts of
the world is largely a result of studies which the microscope made possible.
The count, by retaining some of his spending money for research and
discovery, contributed far more to the relief of human suffering than he could have
contributed by giving all he could possibly spare to his plague-ridden community.
The situation which we are facing today is similar in many respects.
The President of the United States is spending about 200 billion dollars in his yearly
budget. This money goes to health, education, welfare, urban renewal, highways,
transportation, foreign aid, defense, conservation, science, agriculture and many
installations inside and outside the country. About 1.6 percent of this national budget
was allocated to space exploration this year. The space program includes Project Apollo,
and many other smaller projects in space physics, space astronomy, space biology,
planetary projects, earth resources projects, and space engineering. To make this
expenditure for the space program possible, the average American taxpayer with 10,000
dollars income per year is paying about 30 tax dollars for space. The rest of his income,
9,970 dollars, remains for his subsistence, his recreation, his savings, his other taxes,
and all his other expenditures.
You will probably ask now: "Why don't you take 5 or 3 or 1 dollar
out of the 30 space dollars which the average American taxpayer is paying, and send these
dollars to the hungry children?" To answer this question, I have to explain briefly
how the economy of this country works. The situation is very similar in other countries.
The government consists of a number of departments (Interior, Justice, Health, Education
and Welfare, Transportation, Defense, and others) and the bureaus (National Science
Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and others). All of them
prepare their yearly budgets according to their assigned missions, and each of them must
defend its budget against extremely severe screening by congressional committees, and
against heavy pressure for economy from the Bureau of the Budget and the President. When
the funds are finally appropriated by Congress, they can be spent only for the line items
specified and approved in the budget.
The budget of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
naturally, can contain only items directly related to aeronautics and space. If this
budget were not approved by Congress, the funds proposed for it would not be available for
something else; they would simply not be levied from the taxpayer, unless one of the other
budgets had obtained approval for a specific increase which would then absorb the funds
not spent for space. You realize from this brief discourse that support for hungry
children, or rather a support in addition to what the United States is already
contributing to this very worthy cause in the form of foreign aid, can be obtained only if
the appropriate department submits a budget line item for this purpose, and if this line
item is then approved by Congress.
You may ask now whether I personally would be in favor of such a move
by our government. My answer is an emphatic yes. Indeed, I would not mind at all if my
annual taxes were increased by a number of dollars for the purpose of feeding hungry
children, wherever they may live.
I know that all of my friends feel the same way. However, we could not
bring such a program to life merely by desisting from making plans for voyages to Mars. On
the contrary, I even believe that by working for the space program I can make some
contribution to the relief and eventual solution of such grave problems as poverty and
hunger on earth. Basic to the hunger problem are two functions: the production of food and
the distribution of food. Food production by agriculture, cattle ranching, ocean fishing
and other large-scale operations is efficient in some parts of the world, but drastically
deficient in many others. For example, large areas of land could be utilized far better if
efficient methods of watershed control, fertilizer use, weather forecasting, fertility
assessment, plantation programming, field selection, planting habits, timing of
cultivation, crop survey and harvest planning were applied.
The best tool for the improvement of all these functions, undoubtedly,
is the artificial earth satellite. Circling the globe at a high altitude, it can screen
wide areas of land within a short time; it can observe and measure a large variety of
factors indicating the status and condition of crops, soil, droughts, rainfall, snow
cover, etc., and it can radio this information to ground stations for appropriate use. It
has been estimated that even a modest system of earth satellites equipped with earth
resources, sensors, working within a program for worldwide agricultural improvements, will
increase the yearly crops by an equivalent of many billions of dollars.
The distribution of the food to the needy is a completely different
problem. The question is not so much one of shipping volume, it is one of international
cooperation. The ruler of a small nation may feel very uneasy about the prospect of having
large quantities of food shipped into his country by a large nation, simply because he
fears that along with the food there may also be an import of influence and foreign power.
Efficient relief from hunger, I am afraid, will not come before the boundaries between
nations have become less divisive than they are today. I do not believe that space flight
will accomplish this miracle over night. However, the space program is certainly among the
most promising and powerful agents working in this direction.
Let me only remind you of the recent near-tragedy of Apollo 13. When
the time of the crucial reentry of the astronauts approached, the Soviet Union
discontinued all Russian radio transmissions in the frequency bands used by the Apollo
Project in order to avoid any possible interference, and Russian ships stationed
themselves in the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans in case an emergency rescue would become
necessary. Had the astronaut capsule touched down near a Russian ship, the Russians would
undoubtedly have expended as much care and effort in their rescue as if Russian cosmonauts
had returned from a space trip. If Russian space travelers should ever be in a similar
emergency situation, Americans would do the same without any doubt.
Higher food production through survey and assessment from orbit, and
better food distribution through improved international relations, are only two examples
of how profoundly the space program will impact life on earth. I would like to quote two
other examples: stimulation of technological development, and generation of scientific
The requirements for high precision and for extreme reliability
which must be imposed upon the components of a moon-travelling spacecraft are entirely
unprecedented in the history of engineering. The development of systems which meet these
severe requirements has provided us a unique opportunity to find new material and methods,
to invent better technical systems, to improve manufacturing procedures, to lengthen the
lifetimes of instruments, and even to discover new laws of nature.
All this newly acquired technical knowledge is also available for
application to earth-bound technologies. Every year, about a thousand technical
innovations generated in the space program find their ways into our earthly technology
where they lead to better kitchen appliances and farm equipment, better sewing machines
and radios, better ships and airplanes, better weather forecasting and storm warning,
better communications, better medical instruments, better utensils and tools for everyday
life. Presumably, you will ask now why we must develop first a life support system for our
moon-travelling astronauts, before we can build a remote-reading sensor system for heart
patients. The answer is simple: significant progress in the solutions of technical
problems is frequently made not by a direct approach, but by first setting a goal of high
challenge which offers a strong motivation for innovative work, which fires the
imagination and spurs men to expend their best efforts, and which acts as a catalyst by
including chains of other reactions.
Spaceflight without any doubt is playing exactly this role. The voyage
to Mars will certainly not be a direct source of food for the hungry. However, it will
lead to so many new technologies and capabilities that the spin-offs from this project
alone will be worth many times the cost of its implementation.
Besides the need for new technologies, there is a continuing great need for new basic
knowledge in the sciences if we wish to improve the conditions of human life on earth. We
need more knowledge in physics and chemistry, in biology and physiology, and very
particularly in medicine to cope with all these problems which threaten man's life:
hunger, disease, contamination of food and water, pollution of the environment.
We need more young men and women who choose science as a career and we
need better support for those scientists who have the talent and the determination to
engage in fruitful research work. Challenging research objectives must be available, and
sufficient support for research projects must be provided. Again, the space program with
its wonderful opportunities to engage in truly magnificent research studies of moons and
planets, of physics and astronomy, of biology and medicine is an almost ideal catalyst
which induces the reaction between the motivation for scientific work, opportunities to
observe exciting phenomena of nature, and material support needed to carry out the
Among all the activities which are directed, controlled, and funded by
the American government, the space program is certainly the most visible and probably the
most debated activity, although it consumes only 1.6 percent of the total national budget,
and 3 per mille [less than one-third of 1 percent] of the gross national product. As a
stimulant and catalyst for the development of new technologies, and for research in the
basic sciences, it is unparalleled by any other activity. In this respect, we may even say
that the space program is taking over a function which for three or four thousand years
has been the sad prerogative of wars.
How much human suffering can be avoided if nations, instead of
competing with their bomb-dropping fleets of airplanes and rockets, compete with their
moon-travelling space ships! This competition is full of promise for brilliant victories,
but it leaves no room for the bitter fate of the vanquished, which breeds nothing but
revenge and new wars.
Although our space program seems to lead us away from our earth
and out toward the moon, the sun, the planets, and the stars, I believe that none of these
celestial objects will find as much attention and study by space scientists as our earth.
It will become a better earth, not only because of all the new technological and
scientific knowledge which we will apply to the betterment of life, but also because we
are developing a far deeper appreciation of our earth, of life, and of man.
The photograph which I enclose with this letter shows a view of our
earth as seen from Apollo 8 when it orbited the moon at Christmas, 1968. Of all the many
wonderful results of the space program so far, this picture may be the most important one.
It opened our eyes to the fact that our earth is a beautiful and most precious island in
an unlimited void, and that there is no other place for us to live but the thin surface
layer of our planet, bordered by the bleak nothingness of space. Never before did so many
people recognize how limited our earth really is, and how perilous it would be to tamper
with its ecological balance. Ever since this picture was first published, voices have
become louder and louder warning of the grave problems that confront man in our times:
pollution, hunger, poverty, urban living, food production, water control, overpopulation.
It is certainly not by accident that we begin to see the tremendous tasks waiting for us
at a time when the young space age has provided us the first good look at our own planet.
Very fortunately though, the space age not only holds out a mirror in
which we can see ourselves, it also provides us with the technologies, the challenge, the
motivation, and even with the optimism to attack these tasks with confidence. What we
learn in our space program, I believe, is fully supporting what Albert Schweitzer had in
mind when he said: "I am looking at the future with concern, but with good
My very best wishes will always be with you, and with your children.
Very sincerely yours,
Associate Director for Science."
Having read Dr. Stuhlinger's letter, Sister Mary responded
thank you - from now on, I firmly believe in the profound value
of the space program
DR. ERNST STUHLINGER
Born in Germany in 1913, Dr. Stuhlinger received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of
Tuebingen in 1936. He was a member of the German rocket development team at Peenemunde,
and came to the United States in 1946, and worked for the U.S. Army at Fort Bliss, Texas.
He moved to Huntsville in 1950 and continued working for the Army at Redstone
Arsenal until the Marshall Center was formed in 1960. Dr. Stuhlinger has received numerous
awards and widespread recognition for research in propulsion. He received the Exceptional
Civilian Service Award for his part in launching of Explorer 1, America's first earth