HONOLULU — Video game entrepreneur Henk Rogers is calling for the state to become a leader in space exploration and has proposed developing a prototype lunar base in Hawaii.
Rogers, chairman of the board for the state-funded Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, made his proposal Tuesday during a discussion at the state Capitol as part of the 2016 Hawaii Aerospace Summit, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2dGMpMU).
Rogers said the group is “tired of being the followers” and has the ability to lead Hawaii in an effort to boost the aerospace industry.
He compared the moon base plan to President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 proposal to send an American to the moon by the end of that decade.
“Make no mistake about it, humanity is going back to the moon, and we might as well be the ones to take humanity there,” Rogers said.
The two-day aerospace summit was coordinated by the Office of Aerospace Development, which is part of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Speakers included Gov. David Ige, former Gov. George Ariyoshi and Capt. Vincent Johnson, commander of the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.
State House Vice Speaker John Mizuno, who also attended the event, predicted the public would be in support of efforts to advance Hawaii’s aerospace industry. While public protests have erupted over projects such as the Hawaii Superferry and the Thirty Meter Telescope, Mizunto said he didn’t think there would be “any negativity or demonstrations against aerospace in Hawaii.”
The summit participants will develop a five-year plan to move the industry forward.
Rogers said the main thing his moon base proposal needed to be carried out was willpower.
“The money will come. First of all you have to have the vision, and then you have to have the willpower,” he said.
Rogers suggested a lunar base prototype be built on the Big Island. Materials found on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea can be used for the project and are similar to those found on the moon, he said.
“We’ll need to build a full-size moon base so that we can actually walk around and stay in it and understand what that feels like,” Rogers said. He added that the project would help “work out all the technologies that are necessary” and consist of launching robots “using small satellite launch capability” to build the lunar facility.
Ige told the Star-Advertiser the aerospace summit is meant to bring the public and private sectors together to come up with solutions for how to move forward.
“So, I’m excited about the opportunity, and we’ll see what programs they come up with,” Ige said.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com