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 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.

Space settlement is the alternative to a pessimistic future

NSS Senior Operating Officer Mark Hopkins writes on Alternative Futures in the latest issue of Ad Astra magazine:

Because the Earth is running out of resources, the media is full of stories about our limited future. The public has been told over and over again that we live on a planet with finite resources, that the economic system is closed, resource availability is declining, and the environment is deteriorating.

As a consequence, for the first time in history Americans are pessimistic. A fundamental part of the American dream is that each generation will be better off than the previous one. Polls taken before the current recession show that Americans no longer believe this to be true. Pessimism about the future among Europeans is even greater.

But the reason for all of this pessimism is not true. Members of the Space Movement know that resources are not limited to those which are available on Earth. We can tap into the truly vast resources that await in space. Space is the alternative to a pessimistic future.

Read full article.

Recent NSS Book Reviews

In case you missed any of them, here are some space book reviews recently added to the NSS website book review section:

The New Space Race: China vs. the United States, By Erik Seedhouse. The “race” with China for the dominance of space is more subtle than the old US-Soviet race. Reviewed by Ted Spitzmiller.

Krafft Ehricke’s Extraterrestrial Imperative, by Marsha Freeman. Biography and selected writings of one of the great thinkers of the space age. Reviewed by David Brandt-Erichsen.

Missions to the Moon, by Rod Pyle. With relatively few pages, this book is oversized and crammed with information — even with all the other histories out there, a valuable and fun book. Reviewed by Steve Adamczyk.

Impact, by Douglas Preston. This fiction book is not a disaster novel but a clever story focused on a mysterious meteorite impact. Reviewed by Marianne Dyson.

Financial and Organizational Analysis for a Space Solar Power System

A ground-breaking new paper on space solar power has just been added to the online NSS Space Solar Power Library. The paper is: “Financial and Organizational Analysis for a Space Solar Power System: A Business Plan to Make Space Solar Power a Reality,” May 18, 2009, 179 pages, 10.7 MB PDF.

Lt. Col. Peter Garretson, NSS Director and one of the principal authors of the Department of Defense report Space-Based Solar Power As an Opportunity for Strategic Security writes:

“This is the first modern paper to include a stakeholder analysis, an in-depth discussion of international organizational aspects (including intellectual property and separation of manufacture and operator companies), and Net Present Value calculations of niche systems (such as front-line military power).”

Authors of the paper are Sun Xin, IT Director of the China Academy of Space and Technology; Evelyn Panier, Finance Application Consultant; Cornelius Zund, Control Systems Engineer at Pratt & Whitney Canada; and Raul Gutierrez Gomez, Lieutenant Colonel in the Colombian Air Force and Planning Director of Military Aeronautical Institute.

The paper was a multicultural team project submitted in partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of Business Administration in Aerospace Management at Toulouse Business School, Toulouse, France.

NSS Space Solar Power Library Growing

The NSS Space Solar Power Library is the largest source of information about space solar power on the web, and NSS has an onging project of adding documents to this Library and in particular to the large body of information derived from the early DOE/NASA Satellite Power System Concept Development and Evaluation Program carried out between 1977-1981, which remains the largest study of space solar power to date. NSS has a single volunteer who is gradually obtaining these documents and scanning them for the NSS website, making them available to researchers, students, policy makers, and the general public. Added since January 1 of this year are the following:

  • Compilation and Assessment of Microwave Bioeffects: A Selective Review of the Literature of Microwaves in Relation to the Satellite Power System. Battelle Memorial Institute Pacific Northwest Laboratory. PNL-2634 UC-41. May 1978, 87 pages. [PDF 0.6 MB]
  • Environmental Assessment for the Satellite Power System Concept Development and Evaluation Program – Microwave Health and Ecological Effects. DOE/ER-0035-2, November 1980. 144 pages. [PDF 5.8 MB]
  • Prototype Environmental Assessment of the Impacts of Siting and Constructing a Satellite Power System (SPS) Ground Receiving Station (GRS). DOE/ER-0072, August 1980. 270 pages. [PDF 2.5 MB]
  • Workshop on the Radiation Environment of the Satellite Power System. Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, September 1978, 263 pages. [PDF 5.2 MB]
  • An Initial Comparative Assessment of Orbital and Terrestrial Central Power Systems. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, March 1977, 159 pages. [PDF 6.2 MB]
  • Environmental Assessment of the Satellite Power System – Concept Development and Evaluation Program – Effects of Ionospheric Heating on Telecommunications. DOE/ER/10003-T2, August, 1980. 95 pages. [PDF 3.3 MB]
  • Impact Of SPS Heating on VLF, LF, and MF Telocommunications Systems Ascertained by Experimental Means. DOE/ER/10003-T1, July, 1980. 101 pages. [PDF 4.3 MB]
  • Ionizing Radiation Risks to Satellite Power Systems (SPS) Workers in Space. DOE/ER-0094, December 1980. 56 pages. [PDF 0.5 MB]
  • Comparative Health and Safety Assessment of the Satellite Power System and Other Electrical Generation Alternatives. DOE/ER-0091, December 1980. 141 pages. [PDF 1.5 MB]
  • Electronic and Mechanical Improvement of the Receiving Terminal of a Free-Space Microwave Power Transmission System. NASA Contractor Report 135194, William C. Brown, Raytheon Company, August 1977, 158 pages. [PDF 8.1 MB]
  • Microwave Power Transmission System Studies, Volume IV, Sections 9-14 with Appendices. NASA Contractor Report 134886, Raytheon Company, December 1975, 236 pages. [PDF 6.0 MB]
  • Microwave Beamed Power Technology Improvement, Final Report. NASA Contractor Report 163043, William C. Brown, Raytheon Company, May 1980, 148 pages. [PDF 8.2 MB]
  • Laser Power Conversion System Analysis, Final Report, Volume II. NASA Contractor Report 159523, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, September 1978, 136 pages. [PDF 4.0 MB]
  • Environmental Assessment for the Satellite Power System Concept Development and Evaluation Program – Electromagnetic Systems Compatibility. DOE/ER-0096, January, 1981. 92 pages. [PDF 2.8 MB]
  • Comparative Analysis of Net Energy Balance of Satellite Power Systems (SPS) and Other Energy Systems. DOE/ER-0056, April 1980. 131 pages. [PDF 3.9 MB]
  • Workshop on Satellite Power Systems (SPS) Effects on Optical and Radio Astronomy. CONF-7905143, April 1980. 246 pages. [PDF 8.9 MB]

More to come ….

Mark Hopkins: Space Movement – Spring 2009

Ideas: The Central Thrust of the NSS Strategic Plan

When we were in the early stages of producing the NSS Strategic Plan, we analyzed what had worked well for us in the past. We looked at not only the history of NSS, but also the history of our two precursor organizations, the L-5 Society and the National Space Institute. These organizations merged to form NSS in 1987. We found that our most important contributions were in the arena of ideas. Much success had been obtained by promoting ideas such as space settlement and the importance of space resources.

Ideas are powerful forces and can be used by organizations with no more resources than NSS to have a decisive impact on the course of human events. The key to such a strategy is to have powerful ideas; and that is NSS’s greatest strength. We are on the right side of history and that has profound strategic implications.

This article was written by Mark Hopkins, Senior Vice President and Senior Operating Officer of the National Space Society. The article originally appeared in Ad Astra, Spring, 2009.

NSS Space Settlement Nexus

Check out the Space Settlement Nexus on the NSS website!   It has numerous space settlement links including a link to the Space Settlement Library. 

Check out the NSS Space Settlement Library!

The NSS Space Settlement Library contains over 30,000 pages on site, including material for both the general reader and the researcher, and including a number of hard-to-find reference works.

New Book: "Remembering the Space Age"

A new NASA Special Publication (SP-4703) entitled Remembering the Space Age was released this month and is now available on the NSS website as a 9-megabyte PDF download.

This book is not just another space history. Instead, it examines the meaning of the Space Age in the broadest possible sense. It is an examination of the place of space exploration in human history and how the record of the Space Age has been preserved and represented in the wider culture.

The 480-page book consists of a collection of 21 essays stemming from an October 2007 conference sponsored by the NASA History Division and the National Air and Space Museum to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the dawn of the Space Age.

The essays cover a diverse range of topics from “Robert A. Heinlein’s Influence on Spaceflight” to “Cosmonaut Nostalgia in Soviet and Post-Soviet Film” to “China’s Human Spaceflight Program and Chinese National Identity” to “Cultural Functions of Space Exploration,” and much more.

A hard copy of the book retails for $54, but the PDF version is free and has been added to the online NSS Space Policy Library.