Sustainable Terrestrial Power is Unsustainable?

New Scientist has an article Why sustainable power is unsustainable . It suggested that because of the limits of indium and platinum solar and hydrogen may not be real options for wide scale use.

What Does This Mean For Space Development?

Will expensive solar cells be put in space because they are more efficient up there?

Will this drive lunar manufacture of solar cells and asteroid mining?
Or will the rise in demand be matched with new searches and finds of these materials so it quickly becomes a no issue.

Global Warming Debate Heating Up

Harrison Schmitt doesn’t believe that humans are causing global warming. “I don’t think the human effect is significant compared to the natural effect,” said Schmitt.
Former astronaut speaks out on global warming

Imagine There’s No Global Warming


On the other side John P. Holdren, President Obama’s choice to advise him on matters of science policy says  “Climate change is real, it is accelerating, it is caused in substantial part by human activity, it is dangerous and it is getting more so,”
Climate Change by Frank Morring Jr. for Aviation Week.

This should get interesting. I propose we act as if we are causing it while we figure out if we are.

Space Florida – Hindering Space Commericalization in Florida

According to the Orlando Sentinel’s article  Florida’s space boosters failed to launch, critics say  , Florida has spent nearly $50 million on an agency which is hampering space commercialization. 

According to Elon Musk the agency introduces red tape into everything it touches.

I was especially distribed by the two quotes below taken from separate parts of the article, togther the paint a dismaying picture.

 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University— headquartered in Daytona Beach — presented Kohler in November 2006 with an idea to start a facility that would prepare so-called “space tourists” willing to pay for rocket flights that would take them to the edge of space.

Nothing happened for a year, until Kohler toured an upscale sports-medicine facility near Pensacola. In an interview, Kohler said he thought immediately that its wealthy clients would be “a perfect fit” for a space-tourism program — and tailored a $500,000 grant from the state to the Andrews Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center.

Embry-Riddle was not pleased.

“We were dismayed to find out that Space Florida funded ‘Project Odyssey’ as a noncompeted grant to begin work in an area in which many universities and organizations in Florida have expertise and interest,”


The Governor’s Office is investigating one of its groundbreaking deals — a space-tourist training program called “Project Odyssey” — after the Sentinel disclosed that a state employee who worked on the contract resigned his job to go to work for the clinic that won it, a potential violation of Florida’s “revolving door” ethics laws.

Space Commericalization is very hard. We don’t need government agencies working against us. With “Help” like that from the government, it is easy to see why so many in the space movement want government to just stay out of the way.

Space-Based Solar Power study released by Naval Research Laboratory

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) this week publicly released a study completed in November 2008 on Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP). This study was initiated by and prepared for top NRL management in part as result of the publication in October 2007 of the National Security Space Office’s (NSSO) report “Space-Based Solar Power as an Opportunity for Strategic Security”.

The study concluded “that SBSP concepts and technologies are inherently viable, require further development, and are integral to many national security applications for energy independence and military superiority. Compelling research and collaboration opportunities exists for qualified organizations like NRL. Leadership needs to focus these efforts to construct a SBSP capability with true benefit and value.”

The complete report, Space-Based Solar Power: Possible Defense Applications and Opportunities for NRL Contribution, is now available online as part of the NSS Space Solar Power Library.

RLV's The New Rail Roads and Space Solar Power The New Hydroelectric Projects?

Will space be the place for the next major government infrastructure projects? Lincoln  built the Transcontinental Railroad. Roosevelt’s New Deal built the Grand Coulee, Hoover and Tennessee Valley Authority Dams. These authors think space will be where Obama build his great infrastructure projects.
Lincoln and railroads, Obama and RLVs? by Taylor Dinerman

In the years before the Civil War politicians in Washington fought a series of bitter battles over the Transcontinental Railroad. The Southerners fought for a southern route that would enrich and further empower their slave-based economy and the North rejected this. The war settled the question and the Pacific Railroad Act was signed by President Lincoln on July 1, 1862. Six years later the job was finished and California was connected to the East Coast. The nation was now an economic as well as a political whole.

Since the late 1980s the US government has been unable to find a way to develop a new low-cost vehicle that will put payloads into orbit. The travails of the DC-X, the X-33, the X-37, the Orbital Space Plane, and other programs have been as frustrating to serious advocates of space exploration and settlement as the congressional battles of the 1850s must have been to the Californians of that age.


Solution: Energy From Space by Ralph Nansen 
ISBN 978-1-926592-06-0

When Grand Coulee Dam rose on the Columbia River during the Great Depression, it not only employed thousands of people but also provided an abundant source of cheap energy for the Pacific Northwest, ushering in a long era of economic prosperity for the region. As we now confront an economic crisis approaching the scope of the Great Depression, we are also forced to confront the severe consequences of our addiction to finite fossil fuel resources.

Solution: Energy from Space presents a bold solution for the problems we face today: dependence on oil as our primary energy source, global climate change caused by the proliferation of carbon dioxide, and the threat of wars over diminishing oil supplies. It explores how our energy situation is driving these major world problems, and how developing energy from space could bring unprecedented economic prosperity and opportunity to the world, just as Grand Coulee Dam did for the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s.

NASA Advisory Council 2/5/09 Presentations

NAC Presentations from February 5, 2009

Aeronautics Committee – Gen. Lester Lyles, Chair

Audit and Finance Committee – Mr. Robert Hanisee, Chair

Exploration Committee – Gen. James J. Abrahamson, Chair
Briefing 1 – Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Status
Gen. James J. Abrahamson

Briefing 2 – Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS)
Dr. John Logsdon

Briefing 3 – ad hoc Biomedical Committee Report
Dr. Stephen Katz

Space Operations Committee – Col. Eileen Collins, Chair

Space Art, NASA, and NSS

Many people have cited science fiction as instilling in them an interest in space exploration. For me it wasn’t just science fiction but also space art, not to mention the space program itself. The vision of artists like Chesley Bonestell allowed me to imagine myself standing on the surface of other worlds – heady stuff for a kid.

Very early on NASA realized the power of art to capture the historic nature of our first steps out of the cradle. Art not just to illustrate yet to be built hardware but art to capture the emotional aspect of space exploration. NASA created the NASA Art Program in 1962 and gave artists unprecedented access to the astronauts and facilities so that those artists could share their impressions with the world.

NASA/ART: 50 Years of Exploration is a new book that features a broad sampling of the art produced by the NASA Art Program. I recently wrote a review of that book and provided a number of links to related space art resources.
Read the NASA/ART: 50 Years of Exploration book review

In 2006-2007 I managed the NSS’ first ever space art contest and production of the 2008 Space Settlement Calendar. For me the project was a true pleasure in that we were able to facilitate the creation of some great space art. You should check out the 2008 NSS Space Settlement Calendar Art Contest Gallery. The contest was repeated in 2007-2008 for the production of a calendar for 2009. If you don’t have a calendar for 2009 yet and you are a lover of space art, I highly recommend the NSS Space Settlement 2009 Wall Calendar which is currently on sale at a discounted price. Of course the proceeds go to support the National Space Society’s programs and projects like the International Space Development Conference.

For more space art, check out the NSS Photograph and Art Gallery Index

Ad Astra, Jim

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP)

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP)

The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP), based at NASA Ames Research Center, has undertaken the task of translating the original analog data from 1,500 tapes taken from the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft into digital form. The Lunar Orbiter images were taken in the 1960s by cameras onboard five separate Lunar Orbiter spacecraft. They were captured on magnetic tapes and then transferred to film for analysis. Unfortunately, the full resolution of those images was not available because the technology didn’t exist to extract it all. Thankfully, the tapes were saved from destruction decades ago by Nancy Evans, co-creator of the Planetary Data System. Now the digitized LOIRP images, which are the highest-resolution taken of the lunar surface to date, can finally be analyzed.

LOIRP, the brainchild of Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing, has faced many challenges, including resurrecting antiquated equipment and image processing techniques.

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Overview

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Progress Report 5 February 2009

Spacefest 2009 San Diego February 19-22, 2009

Spacefest is being held in San Diego this year at the Town and Country resort, from February 19-22. It will be the largest gathering of pioneer astronauts in the area, as well as some of the most compelling, charismatic and expert astronomy speakers on the planet.
There will also be the world’s largest Space Art exhibit, featuring NASA artists, as well artists from TV, movies, documentaries, books, magazines, and digital media.

A reception, banquet, luncheon, autograph show and a Thursday golf tournament will give folks a chance to share a meal and rub elbows with our celebrity guests.

Admission is $30 daily/$65 all weekend (in advance), or $50 daily/$95 for all weekend at the door. Active military cheerfully admitted for only $10/day or $20 for a military family.