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Guest: Dr. Paul Spudis; Topics: Return to the Moon, space policy, lunar concerns, infrastructure, Mars, NASA, budget issues & more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed back Dr. Paul Spudis for this two hour 3 minute program without a break. Paul started the program by honoring his good friend and former Space Show guest, Bill Mellberg. Bill has been fighting a serious illness for sometime and Paul wanted to give a shout out to Bill. As part of the honor, retired Moonwalking astronaut Dr. Jack Schmitt called the show to talk about Bill, his relationship with him and Bill's work. Later in our program, Bill sent us an email which I read on air so don't miss it. Bill sent us a link from Dr. Schmitt's website regarding Dr. Schmitt's congressional testimony on Feb. 16, 2017: http://americasuncommonsense.com.
During our discussion with Dr. Spudis, he referenced several online articles. I have posted his email with the links in the comments section for this blog article. Be sure to check them out. After honoring our friend Bill, I asked Paul if he was optimistic about our returning to the Moon during the Trump administration. He said he was hopeful and encouraged but nothing was firm at this time. Most of the balance of our discussion focused on the Moon, missions to return, where to go on the Moon, why go to the Moon, policy, budget issues, and more.
We talked about budgets and costs. Paul thought there would be public private partnerships. He also made the case for his concept for returning to the Moon was affordable and essential for our becoming spacefaring. Later, Doug emailed in about his plan citing a very high cost figure. Paul disputed that cost figure, told what it would probably be and why it could be affordable. His discussion on budget and economic issues was certainly relevant when a listener challenged him given our national debt, inflation, the desire to cut taxes, and such. Paul took the lead to explain why space, especially cislunar, telecommunications, national security space, the Moon and more was essential for our nation's future.
I asked Paul if he thought the Google Lunar XPrize would help open up the Moon for our return. Paul disclosed that he was part of the Moon Express team. Listen to what he had to say about the Google Lunar XPrize contest.
Propulsion came up for discussion. Doug wanted to know about cislunar and solar electric propulsion (SEP). Paul did not think SEP was a viable alternative but listen to the complete discussion on this topic. Marshall called next to discuss soft landers and lava tubes.
Paul recently attended a ULA workshop on cislunar development. We discussed this workshop in detail plus the topic of cislunar development which was a main theme throughout our two our program. He talked about a main focus of the cislunar workshop as coming up with a truly commercial, money making model.
Kim called from Mexico and had a good discussion with Paul on lunar destinations when returning to the Moon. They also talked about water at the poles, the need for lunar navigation satellites, steep slope issues and more. Paul said such destination decisions were not necessary to make at this time as much more information was needed from more prospecting missions.
We received several emails from Eric throughout our program. Rather than summarize each question, I will say that they challenged Paul though many were based on advocacy dreams rather than solid engineering fact. In fact, toward the end of the show with persistence in questioning by Eric about lunar mining eventually being discarded for asteroid mining, Paul and I gave Eric a hard time which you will hear. That said, I extended an invitation to Eric on air and later after the show by email to follow through on my suggestion to put together an action plan, step by step, identifying the technology needed and some sort of timeline, all designed to implement the policy and programs he was talking about in his many questions. I promised him a full Space Show program once he tells me he has such a "business plan" type of action plan for what he was advocating. I hope he does it and my invitation to him has no expiration on it. If you would like to hear Eric come on the show to advocate his ideas with a plan behind them, let him know by posting so on the blog.
Freemont John tried to call but eventually ended up emailing us about the ULA vision asking how it could happen. I asked Paul for the chokepoints in such a proposed visionary plan. Don't miss what he had to say about that. Andrew in Finland wanted to know about upcoming Chinese missions and possible NASA participation or reaction. BJohn from Sweden inquired about a possible space station in lunar orbit. I then asked Paul what he thought of the idea to put a crew on the first SLS mission. Don't miss what Paul said about this idea. Spoiler alert: Stunt.
Paul was asked to comment on the idea of space settlement. Make sure you hear what Paul had to say about this. Let us know if you agree that settlement should not be part of the officially mandated NASA space mission.
I asked Paul about space being part of any proposed infrastructure bill that the administration might put forth later this year. As a result of this earlier discussion, Greg Allen called us as he was the chap we mentioned earlier who had written the article about space infrastructure from the Hill. You can read his article here: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/technology/321046-want-to-build-infrastructure-that-will-make-america-great-look. Greg, Paul and I had a very interesting discussion about infrastructure, the official Dept. of Homeland Security 18 classifications for critical infrastructure, space as a subset to 16 of the 18 classifications and Paul's connecting the dots to the need for cislunar and lunar development as enabling infrastructure for our nation. I am sure we will hear more from Greg on this topic. Note, I have been talking about making space infrastructure development part of the infrastructure bill for several months. Maybe it will happen in some form, assuming we actually see an infrastructure bill come out of this congress.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can reach Paul through me or though www.spudislunarresources.com.