Coral — August 2018 Community Update
The first month of working together on a shared lunar mission
Coral is an open lunar space program coordinated by Space Decentral, and the primary objective of Coral’s first mission is to demonstrate in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and 3D printing technologies on the Moon’s surface using lunar regolith as feedstock.
As the Coral program concludes its fourth week as an open and collaborative space project, we begin to see the fruits of all the hard work our team members have put into it. It takes a while for people to get used to the collaborative approach, where we have multiple coordinators and leads instead a single boss that everyone must answer to. Every member of the team has a chance to present different ideas and there are volunteer-driven opportunities to become leads and share the coordination efforts. Little by little our team gains confidence in our capability to pull this together, and we begin to see small signs of the grandeur of the project. Our discussions become more focused and structured, and our objectives begin to take clear form.
The purpose of the Coral program is to eventually develop the technology to enable the ability to use lunar regolith to produce a habitat in-situ. However, Coral doesn’t have a client — we are doing this because we feel that it is one of the best ways to contribute to the development of space exploration. But not having a client means we weren’t handed a set of constraints and requirements to begin with, hence the first thing we need to do is to clearly define the problem we are trying to solve. That’s the phase we are in right now.
With a team of 25 people from various backgrounds, including four NASA veterans, PhDs, students, engineers, programmers, designers, architects and scientists, we are defining our top-level requirements for CORAL-1, our first Coral mission to 3D print a simple or small object on the lunar surface, using local materials. Besides defining requirements, the team is researching the available technologies, materials and methodologies.
To help organize the work and make sure everyone’s contribution is accounted for, we are using Github as our task management tool, and have subdivided the teams into working groups according to ones preferences and backgrounds. Each working group is responsible for the research of a specific category, but there’s flexibility that allows multidisciplinarity approaches. The initial working groups reflect the overall functions that would be required in any lunar ISRU 3D printing mission: Mining, Processing, Manufacturing, Subsystems, and Mission Engineering.
It is amazing to be part of Coral and to work together on a shared lunar mission. We have people in five different time zones, and it is a huge challenge to get everyone together - that is why we aim to record every meeting and send detailed follow-up emails every week. While not everyone is yet comfortable with all of the tools, the will to participate makes everything easier and acceptance increases day by day - as the team realizes the importance of being connected and of using the right platform for each function. We do hope one day to have the majority of the workflow managed using Aragon apps, but it will take time until that approach is ready for full production.
Coral is always open to new members, and we can use your help! Don’t worry if you don’t have an engineering or aerospace background — if you really want to participate, there are many other categories of tasks that can be created such as administrative help, outreach, community management, writing, graphic design, and video production etc. If interested, fill out our team signup form and then introduce yourself in our weekly Coral meeting which occurs every Monday at 8pm PDT/PST.
We also welcome you all to join our Riot channels for announcements, discussion on Coral, and more!
About Space Decentral
Space Decentral is a decentralized autonomous space agency that will leverage Aragon and the Ethereum blockchain to reinvigorate the push for space exploration, with global citizens in control. Space missions will be designed collaboratively, research will be shared for peer review, science will be crowdsourced, and worthy projects that accelerate human expansion will be crowdfunded.