The Coral Program was born on July 24th, 2018, as the first crowdsourced space program developed by the Space Decentral Community. The overarching goal of the program is to develop the technology to effectively use resources from the lunar surface to create infrastructure for use in support of manned lunar missions, enabling humans to live and prosper on the surface of the Moon.
As a crowdsourcing experiment, Coral was meant to be a testbed for the processes, methodologies, and tools necessary to enable community-led, collaborative development of space projects. We are still learning the best practices for such an endeavor, and each obstacle overcome is a lesson learned to be applied in our future projects, paving the way to a truly decentralized space agency.
We had a great first year, with a strong team composed of space enthusiasts and experts alike, and we built up a lot of interest and momentum in our community. But somewhere down the line, Coral ended up stuck in an endless loop. What happened? I can’t say for sure, but we learned a great deal from it, and I highlight some of the most important lessons below:
- Collaborative does not mean unstructured.
- Decentralized does not mean unorganized.
- Volunteer work does not mean lack of commitment/responsibility.
After a six month break, Coral is finally ready for a comeback. A core team is being formed to discuss and develop the project mission statement, its overarching goals and objectives, and the general project structure. We have defined the roles we are in most need of and are ready to engage in weekly meetings again. We want to invite our entire community to participate and collaborate on this awesome project, and you can do so by filling out this form. We welcome people from all backgrounds and levels of expertise, as long as they can collaborate in harmony with the team.
If you are interested, and would like to know more and get inspired, I urge you to read our previous articles about Coral here and here. While the structure and objectives may have shifted, the main idea of our mission remains the same: to demonstrate additive manufacturing on the Moon’s surface using lunar regolith as feedstock. But instead of reinventing the wheel and trying to develop 3D printing technology from scrap, the new Coral is forging partnerships with scientific institutions that have already been working on the “how” and are in need of an engineering team to provide applications for their regolith 3D printing technologies. We will be that team.
Our high level game plan for Coral Mission One is the following:
1) Definition of the problem: identify the possible applications of ISRU-based 3D printing and decide which to focus on
2) Definition of the mission statement: clearly state the mission, goals, and objectives we are pursuing
3) Determine follow-on developments: what happens once Mission One is accomplished?
4) Develop the Schedule and Timeline for Mission One - Break down the project into SMART goals, keeping an eye on the big picture.
5) Technical Data-Mining: Partner with research institutions for the development of the technological applications or their existing research.
6) Develop the mission: design, build a little, test a little, reiterate.
7) Raise funds (in parallel to mission development)
Coral is a highly ambitious mission, and we are certain that we can accomplish it through our collaborative approach. Join us in making this a reality, and help us pave the way to sustainable space exploration done by the people, for the people.