Broadcast 2115 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest: Dr. Taylor Dark. Topics: Space advocacy per his chapter "Reclaiming The Future: Space Advocacy And The Idea Of Progress." Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, 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 We welcomed Dr. Taylor Dark to the program to discuss his chapter on space advocacy, "Reclaiming The Future: Space Advocacy And The Idea Of Progress." Dr. Dark's chapter appeared in a NASA book around 2007, The Societal Impact of Spaceflight. The .pdf version is a free download at You can read Dr. Dark's chapter at For more information about our guest, please visit his website, I urge you to read Dr. Dark's chapter before listening to this program. During the first segment of our 2 hour 1 minute discussion, Dr. Dark told us about his space advocacy background given that he started the first high school L5 organization when he was around 14 years old. From there, we talked about aspects of space advocacy and specific personalities such as Dr. Zubrin and Taylor's early fascination with O'Neill colonies. He then described his shift to a different view of advocacy during his undergraduate college days. Taylor went into detail about advocacy being connected to the idea of progress for humanity and listed three major space advocacy claims: (1) No limits on growth or human capacity; (2) All good things go together meaning elements of progress are linked together & are reinforcing; (3) Innate Directionality meaning progress is always probable. He discussed these claims on air but he goes into them in detail in his chapter. The utopian or messianic view of some advocates was discussed. Dr. Dark also pointed out that space advocacy was not the only outlet for science, progress for humanity, etc. Next, he talked about the frontier idea which he said was a weak argument. He cited many national experiences that had had no frontier and have done well with their space program. A listener asked our guest for his three top space arguments which were space exploration for more understanding of the universe, planetary defense of potential NEO hits, & commercial activity that was really profitable. John called in to talk about the need for low cost space access and RLVs which would in turn cause space advocates to engage in lots of potentially profitable ventures. In our second segment, Doug called to talk about the probable costs of the O'Neill vision including the lunar base, SSP, & the habitat. He suggested space tourism was a potential scalable profitable venture and he talked about space and lunar settlement. Doug also talked about propellant in Earth orbit and satellites from LEO to GEO. I spoke with Doug about project financing and how commercial or public sector project viability is analyzed which was different from what Doug talked about. Taylor suggested that advocates don't typically engage in something like project financing, instead opting for solutions that fit their advocacy agenda. Taylor talked about the challenges of many advocacy claims including HE3 and fusion and the need for large space settlements. As we were ending the discussion, Taylor was asked about the possible impact of microbial life being discovered, past or present, or ET. We also talked about advocacy for inspiration & education and the impact of the Chinese program on advocacy and civil/commercial space. Please post comments/questions on The Space Show blog above. Dr. Dark can be reached through his website.



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05 Nov 2013 Dr. Taylor Dark
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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  • The Space Foundation Conference