“Inspiration Mars” to pursue human mission to the Red Planet in 2018

New nonprofit foundation to move U.S. farther and faster toward its destiny as world leader in technical innovation, science, exploration and discovery

Full Press Conference:

Press Release from Inspiration Mars:

A unique window of opportunity for humankind will open in January 2018, and the Inspiration Mars Foundation intends to seize it, announcing plans today to pursue a challenging manned mission to Mars and back. This historic 501-day journey around the Red Planet is made possible by a rare planetary alignment that occurs five years from now. Two professional crew members – one man, one woman – flying as private citizens will embark on what is known as a “fast, free-return” mission, passing within 100 miles of Mars before swinging back and safely returning to Earth. Target launch date is Jan. 5, 2018.

Officials with the Inspiration Mars Foundation, a new nonprofit organization founded by private space traveler Dennis Tito, announced their plans to pursue the audacious to provide a platform for unprecedented science, engineering and education opportunities, while reaching out to American youth to expand their visions of their own futures in space exploration.

“When nations boldly follow opportunities, rooted in curiosity and guided by technological innovation, they grow, prosper, learn and lead. And this is what makes a nation great,” said Tito, chairman of the Inspiration Mars Foundation.

“Human exploration of space is a critical catalyst for our future growth and prosperity,” he added. “This is ‘A Mission for America’ that will generate knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It will encourage and embolden all Americans to believe, again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, and inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue their destiny through STEM education.”

The mission will be built around proven, existing space transportation systems and technologies derived from industry, NASA and the International Space Station that can be available in time to support the launch date.

“Investments in human space exploration technologies and operations by NASA and the space industry are converging at the right time to make this mission achievable,” said Taber MacCallum, chief technology officer for Inspiration Mars. MacCallum is also CEO/C TO of Paragon Space Development Corporation, and was a member of the Biosphere 2 Design, Development, Test & Operations team, and a crew member in the first two-year mission.

The mission system will consist of a modified capsule launched out of Earth orbit using a single propulsive maneuver to achieve the Mars trajectory. An inflatable habitat module will be deployed after launch and detached prior to re-entry. Closed-loop life support and operational components will be located inside the vehicle, designed for simplicity and “hands-on” maintenance and repair.

ISDC 2013: Registration Open for Exhibitors and Authors for Book Signings

Calling all exhibitors! The International Space Development Conference (ISDC) 2013 exhibitor sign-up form is now open. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2013. Go to:

isdc.nss.org/2013/exhibits.shtml

The 32nd International Space Development Conference, the annual conference of the National Space Society, will be held at the La Jolla Hyatt Regency, San Diego, California, May 23-28, 2013.

More info:  isdc.nss.org/2013

National Space Society Kickstarter Campaign – Thanks to you, we did it!

NSS is proud to announce that nearly 700 backers from over 20 nations have considerably exceeded our funding milestone of $35,000 in our first-ever Kickstarter campaign — the campaign reached $57,571!

The campaign is to fund the creation of a professional video, “Our Future in Space,” showing an inspiring and informative look at the near-future of space development, and to bring this vision to a new generation in the US and throughout the world. Specifically because we reached our stretch goals, we will tell our story to the Congress, and Governors of every state, along with the President and his Cabinet. We could not have achieved this success without your help!

NSS is especially grateful to the following for their generous support of our Kickstarter campaign:

Rachel Austin
Ernesto Avina
Gary Barnhard
Gary Bickford
Paul Blomdahl
Michael Blum
James Bohnsack
Jonathan Brandenburg
David Brandt-Erichsen
Laura Burns
James Callens
Andrew Canon
Peggy Carpenter
Bert Carson
James Chandler
Kyle Clifton
Debbie Cohen
Lammot Copeland
Stephen Covey
Hannah Craswell
Lloyd Crosby
Paul Damphousse
Gerald W. Driggers, author of
The Earth-Mars Chronicles
Mike Dudley
Ole-Morten Duesund
Scott Early
John Edwards
Dale Etheridge
Don Flournoy
Midnight Flyer
Lucas Fonseca
Chantale Gagnon
Anita Gale
Doug Griffith
Jim Haislip
Raymond Hardcastle
Spencer Hart
Tarek Hijaz
J. J. Hillard
Aftab Hussain
Kirby Ikin
Donald Jackson
Chuck James
Warren Jew
Dan Johnson
Dominic & Jeana Jones
Steven Jorgenson
Rich Kacik
Violeta Kalveliene
Charles Kersey
Scott Kimmle
P. J. King
Martin Koistinen
Ronnie Lajoie
Raymond LeVesque
Lloyd
Alla Malko
Thomas Malone
Marc
Jeffrey Mark
Morris Middleton
Richard Moak
Pat Montoure
Peter Mueller
Frederick Ordway
Christine Peterson
David Pierce
Roberto Pineda
Bruce Pittman
Bert Plummer
Glenn Pohs
Josh Powers
Andrew Rakowski
Rasmus
Joe Redfield
Stan Rosen
Hadley Rouse
Lanny Rudner
Ken Ruffin
Katherine Rupley
Bennett Rutledge
Edwin Sahakian
Peter Schubert
John Schulz
Wayne Short
Michael Simpson
David Smith
John Strickland
Joe Strout
Buford Taylor
Edward Thomas
Javan Thompson
Ken Tinkler
Dan Tran
Betty Tribble
Brian Usher
Phillippe Valdois
Tom Veal
Bryan Versteeg
Sigrid von Hurst
Barbara Wheatley
Jay Wittner
Marilyn Wittner
Gordon Woodcock
Alex Wright
Brent Ziarnick
Lynne Zielinski

Asteroid close approach, unrelated meteorite explosion in Russia

The same day that asteroid 2012 DA14 is approaching close to Earth, a meteorite explosion in Russia has injured over 900 people, mostly from broken glass. The two objects are unrelated and traveled in completely different directions.

The smaller of the two objects (the one that hit Russia) is estimated to be about 10 tons and exploded about 18-32 miles above the Earth’s surface [later estimates pegged it at 10,000 tons]. The larger object is estimated to be about 130,000 tons and will pass within about 17,000 miles of the Earth (closer than our communication satellites).

Videos of the Russian event:

See Russia Today for more information about this event.

Asteroid 2012 DA14, if it were to hit the Earth, would result in the approximate equivalent of the Tunguska event in 1908 (the equivalent of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs).

In the long run, the best way to avoid asteroid damage to the Earth (even possible extinction events) is to utilize the asteroids as building materials for space settlements, solar power satellites, etc.!

See the NSS website Planetary Defense Library.

NSS Thanks Backers for Reaching Minimum Goal in “Our Future in Space” Kickstarter Campaign — But don't stop! Keep backing until February 16!

Robert Heinlein, the famous science fiction author, said “Once you reach orbit, you’re halfway to anywhere in the solar system.” Well, our campaign has now made it into orbit – but we don’t want to stay there – we are reaching for the stars.

With additional backing we would create gorgeous trailers for our video that would facilitate better marketing. We would provide DVDs of our videos to everyone in Congress and to the Governors of all 50 states. We would make supplemental videos: Moon 101, Space Spinoffs, Dangers of Space Debris, and Mining the Moon – to name a few. We would distribute DVDs to hundreds of schools across the United States.

The campaign can be accessed at our Kickstarter web page. It not only provides an opportunity to help fund and support the film’s development, but also to use the completed video to help promote the Society’s mission.

“We’re very excited to be undertaking this video project,” noted Paul E. Damphousse, NSS Executive Director. “It’s a chance to create media that accurately and compellingly conveys why the space industry is so important for the U.S. and the world.”

NSS has gathered a stellar team of creative experts to bring the video to life, including Oscar-nominated producer Jeffrey Marvin. Members of the team have worked with some of the biggest stars in film and TV in both the U.S. and Europe, and have a history of space-themed movie creation.

At a time when so many are uncertain about our space future, “Our Future in Space” will show how the work of NASA and private industry can lead to a more prosperous future for the United States and the world. Drawing from decades of research and the latest film-making technology, the final product will present a compelling and motivating glimpse of what should be.

Here are the steps you can take to support this campaign:

1. Become a “Backer” — visit the Kickstarter web page to pledge your support;

2. Spread the Word through Social Media — share your support across all of your social media accounts;

3. Email Everyone on Your Contact List — ask everyone you know to participate; and

4. Engage Your NSS Chapter and/or Other Organizations — there’s strength in numbers — bring in group support.

Note that this shorter URL can also be used to access the NSS Kickstarter web page:

tinyurl.com/nsskickstart

We have the potential to reach thousands of new people through this campaign and the successful production and distribution of this film. We know we can count on you to help and we thank you for your support in making “Our Future in Space” a reality!

Building a Lunar Base with 3D Printing

31 January 2013. Copyright European Space Agency (ESA). Reproduced with permission.

Lunar base made with 3D printing
Lunar base made with 3D printing

Setting up a lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials. Industrial partners including renowned architects Foster + Partners have joined with ESA to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil.

“Terrestrial 3D printing technology has produced entire structures,” said Laurent Pambaguian, heading the project for ESA.

“Our industrial team investigated if it could similarly be employed to build a lunar habitat.”

Foster + Partners devised a weight-bearing ‘catenary’ dome design with a cellular structured wall to shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a pressurised inflatable to shelter astronauts.

A hollow closed-cell structure – reminiscent of bird bones – provides a good combination of strength and weight.

The base’s design was guided in turn by the properties of 3D-printed lunar soil, with a 1.5 tonne building block produced as a demonstration.

1.5 tonne building block
1.5 tonne building block

“3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth,” added Scott Hovland of ESA’s human spaceflight team.

“The new possibilities this work opens up can then be considered by international space agencies as part of the current development of a common exploration strategy.”

“As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on Earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials,” remarked Xavier De Kestelier of Foster + Partners Specialist Modelling Group. “Our lunar habitation follows a similar logic.”

Multi-dome base being constructed
Multi-dome base being constructed

The UK’s Monolite supplied the D-Shape printer, with a mobile printing array of nozzles on a 6 m frame to spray a binding solution onto a sand-like building material.

D-Shape printer
D-Shape printer

3D ‘printouts’ are built up layer by layer – the company more typically uses its printer to create sculptures and is working on artificial coral reefs to help preserve beaches from energetic sea waves.

“First, we needed to mix the simulated lunar material with magnesium oxide. This turns it into ‘paper’ we can print with,” explained Monolite founder Enrico Dini.

“Then for our structural ‘ink’ we apply a binding salt which converts material to a stone-like solid.

“Our current printer builds at a rate of around 2 m per hour, while our next-generation design should attain 3.5 m per hour, completing an entire building in a week.”

Florida Today runs story on NSS Chapter in Florida

by James Dean, copyright Florida Today, January 18 (reproduced with permission)

Brevard space organization resets focus, changes name

The space program is changing, and with it one of the area’s leading advocacy organizations.

This week, the Space Coast chapter of the National Space Society unveiled a new name that it says better reflects its mission and goal to grow a broader and more active membership.

The chapter’s new identity: Florida Space Development Council.

“We found that to be a more descriptive title,” said chapter president Laura Seward. “We wanted something a little more inclusive.”

The chapter — not to be confused with the National Space Club Florida Committee — aims to act as a grassroots advocacy group welcoming anyone with a general interest in space.

“We don’t only support NASA,” said Seward, a 29-year-old Rockledge resident and Florida Tech graduate who is pursuing a doctorate in planetary science at the University of Central Florida. “We want to encourage the organizations out there, private and public, that will develop space and human interactions in space.”

Every other month the chapter hosts “Space Locals,” an informal lecture or roundtable discussion featuring local experts. The events are free, and annual membership is $5.

Started in 2006, the chapter in 2009 hosted the national society’s annual International Space Development Conference in Orlando, but nearly dissolved after that.

It has rebounded to about 40 paying members.

Seward said changes in space policy and in Brevard County in recent years contributed to a desire to rebrand and reinvigorate the chapter, one of two in the state.

“I love the fact that Kennedy Space Center is diversifying and I love the fact that the area is diversifying, which is why I’m really optimistic,” she said.