The next great American frontier is UP!

The Space Development Steering Committee has released the following statement with accompanying graphic, which may be freely distributed:

In the 19th century, America redefined the global economy by opening a new frontier, a new landscape of real estate, resources, and opportunities. That American advance ended famine in Europe by giving the world the grain harvests of the Midwest. And some of the frontier real estate that seemed wildly overpriced at 80 cents an acre in 1836 is now worth over $12 million.

In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008, it’s time for America to pioneer again. This time by opening vast new landscapes not just to humanity, but to biomass, to ecosystems, and to the grand experiment of life.

In the shadow of the Chinese Century, one technology in which America continues to lead the world is access to space. Let’s use that technology to make the next great economic leap. Not just for ourselves, but for all humanity.

Click on image for larger version. May be freely distributed.
Click on image for larger version. May be freely distributed.

Statement on image: The next great American frontier is eight minutes above your head: SPACE COLONIES. Orbiting ecosystems with lawns, parks, fields and jobs. Housing, minus housing crashes, subprime mortgages, and foreclosures. 22 million square miles of real estate. Endless sunshine. And enough raw materials to end the energy and environmental crises back home. A new American dream. A new niche for nature. A new uplift for humanity. Google Search: O’Neill Colony.

The Space Development Steering Committee is an informal group of space experts, founded in 2006 by Howard Bloom, with which NSS is affiliated.

Defending Planet Earth: National Research Council Final Report

The latest addition to the NSS website Planetary Defense Library is Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Final Report (June 2010), by the National Research Council. The 132 page book is available for free download or for purchase in hard copy.

Abstract: The United States spends approximately $4 million each year searching for near-Earth objects (NEOs). The objective is to detect those that may collide with Earth. The majority of this funding supports the operation of several observatories that scan the sky searching for NEOs. This, however, is insufficient in detecting the majority of NEOs that may present a tangible threat to humanity. A significantly smaller amount of funding supports ways to protect the Earth from such a potential collision or “mitigation.” In 2005, a Congressional mandate called for NASA to detect 90 percent of NEOs with diameters of 140 meters or greater by 2020. Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies identifies the need for detection of objects as small as 30 to 50 meters as these can be highly destructive. The book explores four main types of mitigation including civil defense, “slow push” or “pull” methods, kinetic impactors and nuclear explosions. It also asserts that responding effectively to hazards posed by NEOs requires national and international cooperation. Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies is a useful guide for scientists, astronomers, policy makers and engineers.

National Space Society Co-Sponsors NewSpace 2010 Conference July 23-25

The National Space Society (NSS) is pleased to be a continuing co-Sponsor of the Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) NewSpace Conference. This year the conference will take place July 23-25, 2010, at the Domain Hotel in Silicon Valley, CA.

“The SFF NewSpace Conference seeks to expand the market place of ideas essential to growing the ecosystem of commercial/new space entrepreneurial companies and lay the foundation for opportunities to engage the wider space community,” said Gary Barnhard, Executive Director of the National Space Society.

On the heels of SpaceX’s successful Falcon 9 flight and the re-envisioning of NASA priorities, the NewSpace Conference is focused on the rapidly developing commercial space industry. The conference provides an opportunity to discuss the future of commercial spaceflight, as well as nurture entrepreneurial relationships in this field. Panel topics will cover space tourism, government-commercial cooperation, cutting edge technology, future missions, and more. The NewSpace Conference panels will be led by a host of CEOs, technologists, and thought leaders in the space industry.

Register now at the NewSpace 2010 Registration Page. The conference will be held at the Domain Hotel in Silicon Valley, CA., which is also providing an affordable group rate for guests attending the conference. For more information, visit newspace2010.spacefrontier.org and or RSVP on Facebook today.

New Space 2010

National Space Society Announces "NSS in Second Life" Machinima Contest Winner

The National Space Society announces that the winning video in the 2010 NSS in Second Life Machinima Contest is “Dreamer’s Journey” by Rocksea Renegade. Second Life is an online 3D virtual world where participants can interact as avatars. Machinima is an art form consisting of computer animation of such virtual worlds. Entries were required to have an outer space theme, with 50% of the video taking place in the National Space Society Second Life simulation. Musician Craig Lyons graciously permitted his music to be used in the videos.

Anyone may view the winning video plus the 10 other videos entered into this contest on the NSS website. Participation in NSS in Second Life requires registration and installation of free viewing software.

Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator, comments on NSS and NASA

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, who served as NSS Executive Director for almost a decade, shared her insights on numerous space matters in an exclusive video interview for NSS during the International Space Development Conference in Chicago last month. She credits NSS with a major role in the formation of her views on space policy and her vision of our future in space.

In the 9-minute statement she describes the roles of business and NASA, the importance of the International Space Station, timelines for solar system exploration, and the critical importance of lowering launch costs. She also comments on the vital role space will play in future economic growth.

Space Solar Power is Unspillable

Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the Moon, has proposed an answer to the Louisiana oil spill. It’s solar energy harvested in space, known in the space community as Space Solar Power.

“The timing of the oil catastrophe,” says Aldrin, “is a great opportunity for re-evaluating solar energy from space.”

Click on image for larger version. May be freely distributed.
Click on image for larger version. May be freely distributed.

We’ve been harvesting solar power in space and sending it to Earth since 1962, when the first commercial satellite, Telstar, was launched and began transmitting energy harvested by the solar panels studded all over its beach-ball-like surface. Today, the space solar power harvesting business is a quarter of a trillion dollar industry. We call it “the commercial satellite industry.” That industry uses space solar power transmitted to earth for everything from satellite radio and television to direction finding via GPS.

The Japanese space agency, JAXA, has committed  $27 million to space solar power and has plans for a satellite capable of powering 300,000 homes. JAXA says it has the backing of 15 other nations in its effort. And Russia, China, and India are all working on space solar power development.

Space solar power means no more Louisiana oil spills. No more carbon in the atmosphere. No more nuclear waste. No more energy wars. No more nations hogging resources and driving up prices. And no more villages in the hinterlands of Africa and Asia kept in poverty by the cost of running landlines hundreds of miles to reach them.

There are currently four American commercial companies seeking capital to make space solar a reality: Solaren, the Space Island Group, Space Energy Inc, and Managed Energy Technologies LLC. One of those firms, Solaren, has a power purchase agreement with the California’s Pacific Gas and Electric and anticipates being able to begin delivery of solar power from space by 2016.

Take the load off the Earth. Drill up not down.

From a press release of the Space Development Steering Committee.  A larger version (1050 x 1050 pixels) of the “Unspillable” graphic is available on the NSS website and may be freely distributed. Image credit: Jason Louv.