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Guest: Dr. Ajay Kothari; Topics: Returning to the Moon. See his plans in his PDF "Come Hell or High Water" which is posted on the blog and linked in comments.
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We welcomed back to the show Dr. Ajay Kothari for a wo segment 1 hour 48 minute discussion about returning to the Moon. Please follow along with his PDF document uploaded to the blog as he talked about several of the document's slides. To start our discussion, Dr. Kothari told us about growing up in India in a remote area and listening to the Apollo Moon programs on an old Phillips radio. He talked about his and others feelings about America and how going to the Moon was for all humanity. He recalled Buzz and Neil's visit to India and much more. His story was interesting and as you will hear, was the foundation for inspiring him to become an aerospace engineering and a career in the space industry. He then said American space leadership was essential. Don't miss what he said about as he brought it up several times during our program.
After telling us his personal story, he transitioned to VP Pence talking about returning to the Moon by 2024 and the Artemis program. He talked about the amount of water ice that has most likely been discovered on the Moon, especially at the South Pole. He said this was a game changer and opened up the door lunar settlement and industrialization. He addressed water ice tonnage along with advantages of the low gravity of the Moon as compared to Earth's gravity. Dr. Kothari was making the case for our lunar return and opening up a lunar economic environment saying if we did not do it, other would do it. We spent considerable time on this subject so do listen up, then post your thoughts on our blog regarding lunar commercialization and industrialization.
Dr. Kothari also talked about the need for a Space Force which he said would down the road engage in rescue as needed. Listen to all of what he said on this subject. We paused and took a call from Marshall in Oklahoma. Marshall brought up a Real Clear Politics article about the space elevator on the Moon. You can read the article referred to by Marshall in this call at
www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/space-elevator-moon-could-be-doable-surprisingly-cheap-ncna1051496. Ajay and Marshall had quite the mini-discussion on the subject of the lunar space elevator which they said might be a sort of trial balloon. Dr. Kothari took this opportunity to talk about how we can do the Moon cheaper and quicker with his method which he began to explain to us and which was the subject of his "Come Hell Or Highwater" PDF paper which has been uploaded to our blog page as well as linked to Dr. Kothari's website in one of his comments. I strongly urge you to follow along with Dr. Kothari regarding his PDF slides. For example, our guest had much to say about the possible use of the Falcon Heavy in his lunar return plans plus second stages and even later the SLS 3rd stage. Part of this discussion focused on Delta-v which our guest talked about extensively during our full program.
Listener BJohn in Sweden sent in a note asking about a lunar cycler approach to the Moon instead of the Gateway approach. Next, our guest talked about the relevance of the number of flights annually to the Moon. Here, he talked some more about the Falcon Heavy but now he added in the New Glenn by Blue Origin. Propellant along with depots were big parts of his discussion and plan.
In the second segment, Dr. Kothari talked about the recent Indian lunar orbiter and failed lander, Chandrayaan 2. Ajay provided his idea as to why the lander crash landed on the surface but he said not all was lost as the orbiter part of the mission was doing well. Don't miss his back of the envelope analysis of the crash.
Ajay talked about going to the Moon to stay and eventually have several hundred people on the Moon. He said this could be done with the Falcon Heavy and the New Glenn. He also said we should be concentrating on SLS upper stages plus we needed to perfect the Public Private Partnership for funding our lunar effort between the private sector and the government.
Listeners asked Ajay why we should do all this so don't miss his response. He said it was essential and even used language including national emergency. I suggested instead to use national priority language. We talked policy and what type of implementation plans were in play with his proposal. He explained his challenges and the difficulties he was facing in getting his proposal turned into policy. He did say that it was very important to have the general public on board for returning to the Moon and he thought his program could help inspire that enthusiasm.
Later in the discussion as we were nearing the program ending, listener Jim who was a student in St. Louis asked what happened when the water ice was used up. He wanted to know what filled the space that the water ice was occupying on the Moon when it was consumed. Ajay provided a pretty good answer for Jim so don't miss it. Feel free to add to what was said by posting on the blog.
Before we ended, Ajay was asked why we don't just bypass the Moon and go to Mars. This listener thought there might be more support for a Mars direct program than a lunar return program. We talked about the commercial potential for the Moon, then the commercial potential for Mars. Ajay brought up other factors that he said favored the Moon. What do you favor? Let us know on our blog.
Ajay concluded by talking about their being a national emergency and a space race with China to return to the Moon. I talked about developing a cislunar economy and the benefits of doing that for all of us. Ajay offered us additional closing comments so be sure to hear all of them. He also provided his email address so you can contact him.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this program. You can reach him through me or is address that he gave out on air or his company, Astrox (see www.astrox.com).