New in the NSS Space Settlement Journal: Orbital Space Settlement Radiation Shielding

Orbital Space Settlement Radiation Shielding
, a paper by Al Globus and Joe Strout, has just been published in the NSS Space Settlement Journal.


We examine the radiation shielding requirements for protecting the inhabitants of orbital space settlements. Following an extensive analysis of the literature, we recommend a limit of 20 mSv/yr for the general population and 6.6 mGy/yr for pregnant women based on the most relevant standards, existing data and background radiation on Earth. In a surprising result, radiation measurements on the International Space Station (ISS) and our calculations using OLTARIS, NASA’s online radiation computational tool, indicate that space settlements in Equatorial Low Earth Orbit (ELEO) below about 500 km are likely to meet this standard with little or no dedicated radiation shielding. This reduces the mass of typical orbital space settlement designs by 95% or more, suggesting that the easiest place to build the first space settlements is in ELEO due to proximity to Earth and relatively low system mass.

It is important to note that there are significant uncertainties in our understanding of the human effects of the continuous low-level high-energy particle radiation characteristic of space in general and ELEO in particular that need to be resolved. Thus, our conclusions should be considered preliminary.

Read full paper.

Losing the Geomagnetic Shield: A Critical Issue for Space Settlement

Losing the Geomagnetic Shield: A Critical Issue for Space Settlement, a new paper by Philip K. Chapman, has just been published in the NSS Space Settlement Journal.

Abstract.  The geomagnetic field seems to be collapsing. This has happened many times in the deep past, but never since civilization began. One implication is that the cost of space settlement will increase substantially if we do not expedite deployment of initial facilities in low Earth orbit. Another implication, less certain but much more damaging, is that the collapse may lead to catastrophic global cooling before the end of this century. We must establish self-sufficient communities off Earth before that happens.

Read full paper.

A Survey of Space Settlement Designs

The paper “A Survey of Space Settlement Designs” by Thomas Marotta has been just been published in the NSS Space Settlement Journal.


The author compiled every known orbital space settlement design into a database. Grouped into chronological ‘eras,’ the database describes basic information for each design: population capacity, dimensions, gravity level, energy source, etc. Using this information one can conclude that interest in space settlement is increasing, 1g is the preferred gravity level, solar power is the preferred energy source, and a torus is the preferred geometry. As for location, Earth-Moon Lagrange points dominate but there is a budding movement to place settlements in low Earth orbits. The database is accessible at

New in the NSS Space Settlement Journal: Bootstrapping Lunar Industry

Making It on the Moon: Bootstrapping Lunar Industry
, a paper by Dave Dietzler, has just been published in the NSS Space Settlement Journal.

Abstract: The cost of rocketing cargo into space is very high. Great savings can result if local resources like oxygen and materials from lunar regolith are used to build and expand Moon bases and create industrial settlements to supply materials for solar power satellites and space settlements, tourism, planetary defense, asteroid mining and research stations. This paper attempts to illustrate the components of a lunar “industrial seed” consisting of equipment needed to produce materials on the Moon and establish a growing industrial presence there that leads to space settlement. The first section discusses some of the issues surrounding transportation to the Moon and the second section quickly examines materials production, manufacturing and construction. Space settlers and industrialists must get an idea of how much propellant and cargo must be launched from Earth and plan out the actual cargoes to determine the size of capital outlay for a Moon mining project.

Read full paper.

National Space Society Issues Position Paper on Protecting Earth from Cosmic Impacts

On February 15, 2013, a meteor exploded over the Chelyabinsk region of Russia. The blast damaged over 7,000 buildings and almost 1,500 people suffered injuries requiring treatment. As we observe the anniversary of that event, it is important to understand its significance and specifically what it means for the United States. Millions of objects in space, including asteroids and comets, are in orbits around the Sun that cross Earth’s orbit. When they approach Earth, they are referred to as Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). Some NEOs are large enough to cause significant damage if they impact the Earth. Many such objects have struck Earth in the past, inflicting damage ranging from trivial up to and including global catastrophe. While a future large strike with catastrophic consequences is certain, we do not know whether it will happen in 150 million years or fifteen months.

The Washington DC-based National Space Society (NSS) has been a consistent supporter of actions to defend our home planet from such events. In a position paper released today, the Society focuses attention on the near-term need and the opportunity to significantly improve our ability to detect and track collision threats to the Earth. While recognizing that this is a global problem, the paper focuses on recommended actions for the United States. Additionally, NSS urges all space faring nations to add an amount of at least one percent of their civilian space budget for developing defenses against these threats.

NSS believes that the immediate task before us is to find and track NEOs large enough to cause damage on Earth. To this end, current US ground-based searches should continue, including use of the Arecibo radio telescope. The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope should be fully funded and encouraged to vigorously pursue NEO detection. The B612 Foundation’s Sentinel Project and the JPL NEOCam infra-red space telescope should be fully funded. The Society also feels that now is the time to more seriously address the detection of long period comets. Additional work should be done on NEO characterization and deflection research.

NSS Director and Space Settlement Advocacy Committee chair Al Globus summed up the situation: “We face an existential threat. We can develop the ability to remove it. There is little or no benefit to waiting. Let’s do it.”

See NSS Position Paper on Protecting Earth from Cosmic Impacts.

Videos from the 2013 International Space Development Conference

Thanks to our friends at MoonandbackMedia, some of the presentations from the 2013 NSS International Space Development Conference in San Diego are now online.

ISDC 2013 Opening Opening Ceremony. 16 minutes.

Jeff Greason Bas Landsdorp. 29 minutes. Opening Keynote Address. Bas Lansdorp is Co-Founder and CEO of Mars One.

Stephen D. Covey Asteroid Panel: Threats or Resources? 50 minutes. Moderated by Stephen D. Covey.

Martin Elvis Dr. Martin Elvis: Asteroid Characterization for Planetary Defense. 39 minutes.

Bob Richards Bob Richards. 46 minutes. Thursday Luncheon Speaker. Dr. Richards is Co-Founder and CEO of Moon Express.

Ohio University - Space Solar Power Ohio University – Space Solar Power. 14 minutes. Creative Visualizations of Space Solar Power.

Dana Rohrabacher Dana Rohrabacher. 46 minutes. Congressman Rohrabacher (CA) is Vice Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee.

Chris Lewicki and David Gump Asteroid Mining Prospects. 50 minutes. Chris Lewicki, President and Chief Engineer, Planetary Resources, and David Gump, CEO, Deep Space Industries.

Mark Sonter Mark Sonter: Asteroid Mining. 55 minutes. Director of Mining and Processing, Deep Space Industries.

Howard Bloom Howard Bloom. 47 minutes. Saturday Luncheon Presentation: Gardening the Solar System, Greening the Galaxy.

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. 73 minutes. Saturday Night Gala. Space Solar Power: Key to a Livable Planet Earth.

Mae Jemison Dr. Mae Jemison, physician astronaut. 61 minutes. Saturday Keynote Plenary Speaker.

Tom and Tina Sjogren Tom and Tina Sjogren: To Mars in Alpine Style. 49 minutes.

Robert Zubrin Robert Zubrin: Mars in Our Time. 52 minutes. Robert Zubrin is founder and president of the Mars Society.

Buzz Aldrin Buzz Aldrin. 85 minutes. Saturday Luncheon Speaker. A Unified Space Vision: Mission to Mars.

Maria Zuber Maria Zuber. 91 minutes. Principal Investigator of the lunar GRAIL mission. Saturday Banquet includes tribute to Women in Space and NSS Chapter Awards.

Robert Kerr Robert Kerr. 52 minutes. Director of the Arecibo Observatory.

Kalam Address at ISDC: Space Solar Power – Key to a Liveable Planet Earth

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, aerospace engineer and former President of India, presented the keynote address at the NSS International Space Development Conference on May 24 in San Diego on the subject Space Solar Power: Key to a Liveable Planet Earth.  The complete address is now available on the NSS website.

Kalam stated: “Considering the magnitude of the looming energy and environmental problems, a strong view has emerged that the situation faced by India warrants consideration of all energy options, including the concept of SSP. ISRO [Indian Space Research Organization] has recently carried out some preliminary concept studies on SSP and examined three SSP configurations. ISRO has also welcomed an International Preliminary Feasibility Study and are aware that this would call for strong and long-term cooperation between institutions in every nation blended into an International R&D programme for SSP.”

Kalam listed the following advantages of SSP:

1. Immensely Scalable. SSP can scale to provide the energy needs of the entire human civilization at well enhanced standards of living. Most other near-term renewable options are strictly limited in scalability.

2. A single kilometre-wide band of geosynchronous Earth orbit experiences enough solar flux in one year to nearly equal the amount of energy contained within all known recoverable conventional oil reserves on Earth today.

3. It is safe and globally available, and can be safely shared with all countries on this planet without proliferation concerns.

4. It is steady & assured, for SSP is a continuous, rather than intermittent, power source. It is not subject to the weather, the seasons, or the day-night cycle.

5. It needs no fundamental breakthroughs in either physics or engineering.

Kalam called for international cooperation in developing space solar power, stating “we shall embark on a path-breaking international mission for space solar power within the ambit of a global vision for space industrialization leading on to a new era of peace, prosperity and abundance for all mankind.”

Newly Illustrated Versions of the NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement Now Available

A newly illustrated version of the National Space Society publication Milestones to Space Settlement: An NSS Roadmap is now available in three new formats from

(1) A free downloadable PDF edition [6 MB]

(2) a free online full-screen flip-book edition

(3) a quality full-color magazine-style printed edition for $9.95 (think Father’s Day?)

Some new and striking art work appears for the first time in these new editions of the NSS Roadmap. Let these artists show you some of the possible paths to space development and settlement. These new editions provide additional ways to read and distribute this material to help promote the NSS Vision.

The NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement discusses milestones to be reached for the settlement of four destinations: the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and orbital space settlements. The Roadmap takes no stand on which may or should come first but supports all four destinations.

As originally announced in Ad Astra magazine, this Roadmap was adopted by the NSS Board of Directors in 2012, updating the original NSS Roadmap published in 2000. On May 24th the 2013 International Space Development Conference will feature a Roadmap Track and Press Conference about the Roadmap.