Broadcast 2963: Starship Congress review with Kim Holder

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Guest:   Kim Holder;  Topics:  A review of the many topics discussed at the Starship Congress 2017 event which was held early August 2017 in Monterey, CA.  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,   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 Kim Holder back to the show to discuss with me the recently concluded Starship Congress 2017 event.  The Congress has a YouTube channel for the video presentations from the event though most talks from the event are not yet posted.  The channel is  Scroll down until you find the events "Starship Congress 2017 Live Stream."  Both Kim and I hope that the presentations will soon be uploaded and identified on this site.  I will put the URLs for the talks on the blog once the event has been edited and uploaded.

During the initial part of our discussion for today which went for 96 minutes in one segment, Kim and I started out by talking about our one on one conversation with Dr. Miguel Alcubierre regarding his warp drive concept and Faster Than Light travel possibilities.  Both Kim and I were surprised by what Dr. Alcubierre told us in our one on one, then later said in his talk.  I will be inviting Miguel to The Space Show so look for him to be with us soon.  You might be surprised by what he said about warp drive, negative mass/energy, and the realistic possibility for warp drive.

Kim and I also talked about the talk and our conversations with Dr. Richard Obousy who has been a guest on The Space Show and Hotel Mars several times in recent years.  Richard ran the numbers, showed us the equations and talked about what type of energy it would take to accomplish FTL travel were that possible.  While quantitative, it was a talk almost all of us could understand.  You definitely want to see his talk and visuals once it is archived on the Starship Congress 2017 site. Richard will also be returning to The Space Show as a guest in the near future.

Another speaker that I liked very much and that Kim also liked was Alice Qannik Glenn from Barrows, Alaska on the North Slope.  She had a very interesting story to tell as to how she ended up studying aerospace engineering, but also she talked about the extreme environment in Barrows and how that related to long duration human spaceflight for BLEO.  I believe Alice will also be on the show in the near future.  Her discussion will certainly resonate with many of you.  I urge you to watch it with her visuals once the program is archived on the Starship Congress YouTube channel site.

Kim and I had much to say about the conference theme "space is for everyone."  We parted company from the theme in a few ways that we described on the program, plus I expanded the theme to include having access to technology, discoveries, benefits and the like that emerge from space commerce and exploration.  We talked about space not being limited by disability, gender and other issues which were important to the Congress theme.  Listen to what Kim and I said about this and post your comments on our blog.  Kim was most articulate in this discussion. 

Listener Ted from San Diego sent in a note asking about networking possibilities at the event.  We had two breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, plus a break for lunch and as it turned out dinner as most all the talks went overtime and the events lasted longer each day than planned.  We would have preferred a social mixer or something for networking with the entire group but there was ample time to talk to the speakers, meet people and networking without such a group social. There were about 60-70 people there so over the three days we could easily network and talk with anyone we wanted to.  People were extremely friendly and easy to connect with all during the event.

Alan Hale, astronomer and co-discoverer of Hale-Bopp Comet was there.  Alan was a regular on the show several years ago and will be returning soon. He gave an excellent talk on how comet finding observations have changed since Hale-Bopp, plus he talked about exoplanets.  His presentation was very interesting.

Other speakers were signaled out by Kim during our show.  Just to mention a few, Angelo Vermeulen on interstellar biology was fascinating.  So was Christoph Lahtz on DNA and some of the findings from the NASA Twins study.  Former Space Show guest Nick Nielsen delivered an excellent sociology like talk on a future lunar civilization and Michelle Hanlon gave an excellent talk on the need to protect Apollo lunar landing sites.   

Dr. Benaroya, besides being part of the Moonwards panel which consisted of Kim, myself, Freemont John (John Jossy) and Haym, gave a keynote talk on future lunar structures, engineering, and habs.  We learned much from Haym's talk including the fact that due to advances, inflatables might be the best way to go with initial lunar habs.  He did say that if we waited long enough, possibly 3D layering will provide better options.  You definitely want to watch Haym's  talk when it is archived.  By the way, as Haym was about to end his talk, I asked him for the timeline to return to stay with humans on the Moon if we started today.  He said 10-15 years minimum, maybe even longer. He also said he did not see it happening any faster.  I told him I did not like his answer!

Kim did an excellent Moonwards presentation.  Again, you want to see it when her presentation is archived on the Congress YouTube site.  Following Kim, the four of us presented our panel which had the theme of how best to go to the Moon to stay within 50 years.   Though Kim and I have a built in prejudice for having liked our panel, we do think we hit a home run clear out of the park over the centerfield fence!  Haym and John agreed.  We covered lots of topics during our panel discussion and had a very active audience interaction covering commercial ventures on the moon, regulation, human issues, children, you name it.  Please watch our panel which I will put up on the blog for this show once it is archived on the Congress site. 

As we neared the end of the program, we talked about the combination launch program (Skyhook) that Eagle presented at the event.  Many of you may remember Eagle calling our Open Lines program in early March of this year to talk with us about Skyhook.  What followed was a very active Space Show blog discussion which had some critical things to offer Eagle regarding his work.  Eagle definitely had the interest of those in attendance.  Kim got to speak with him privately quite a bit but unfortunately I did not.  That said, I am reviewing his material and may ask him back too TSS for a full program based on his Starship Congress presentation and some engineering peer review that I might attempt to help me out in the interview.  Eagle was focused not just on his concept and project but on the need to have low cost space access for without it, nothing else will follow.  Listen to what Kim had to say about Eagle and Skyhook as she did get the chance to talk privately with him throughout the Congress.

Earlier in the show, I read a blog post question from Freemont John who could not be with us as he returned to work when he got back from Monterey.  He expressed some disappointment in the Congress but listen to what I read.  You can also read his note as it is posted on the blog for this show.  By the way, Haym could not join us for this discussion as he already had other plans that he could not change. 

Before the show ended, Adrian sent in an email question from San Diego.  I read it on air in full but here is what he asked:

"A question I have regarding all conferences is that of a value added contribution effect to measure its success. Did this conference bring even distant human civilization any closer to REAL interstellar travel and exploration?  With the numbers of believers in questionable space propulsion claims, EM drives and such distracting actual advances in space travel and the evident lack of focus by society at least in this country to at least a viable plan for an expedient human form of interplanetary travel and settlement, shouldn't all these space conferences focus on a unified effort by space proponents into attempting to influence leadership in accomplishing this goal?  I'm really looking forward to listening to Dr Franklin Diaz as someone who is realistically developing space drives that will allow something other than infrequent or sporadic flights to Mars and elsewhere in our solar system."

Kim was the first to respond to what Adrian asked and I seconded what Kim said.  I then expanded my answer a bit because in my opinion, it would be almost impossible to compute the value of any conference in terms its success in leading to say interstellar travel and exploration.  But as you will hear from Kim and me, conferences have many ways of being of value to those participating and attending.  I found the Starship Congress to be lots of fun, enjoyable, a great source of new guests for The Space Show and I learned much from many of the speakers.  I thought the Congress was very valuable to me from those perspectives.  Trying to decide if it will contribute to realizing interstellar flight may require lots more time for to do that one would have to follow all those that there to see how their contacts and efforts led to this or that over the coming years.  Who knows, maybe something said at this event will be key to inspiring someone down the road that actually does bring us closer to interstellar flight.  How do you value that today?  If you know, post it on the blog. 

One more thing I noted on this show that was our Monday program for August 14 will start at 2:15 PM PDT, not 2 PM PDT.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Kim Holder through me or




Starship Congress review with Kim Holder

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11 Aug 2017 Kim Holder
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