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Guests: Lee Irons, Morgan Irons; Topics: Lee and Morgan discuss their paper, "Pancosmorio (world limit) theory of the sustainability of human migration and settlement in space." You can download and read this paper from our blog, plus you can find additional articles explaining and detailing their Pancosmorio theory.
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We welcomed Morgan Irons back to the show, this time with Lee Irons, to discuss their new paper and theory, Pancosmorio. I realize that both their paper and major parts of our discussion are technical so I strongly recommend that at least you review the material posted on our blog before you listen to this archived show. After that, note the tags because they follow our discussion and represent key terms, topics and questions about their theory which will guide you in this 1 hour 55 minute Space Show program. For your convenience, I have repeated the tags here:
Tags: Morgan Irons, Lee Irons, Deep Space Ecology Inc, Norfolk Institute, Soil & Crop Science PhD candidate, Lehmann Lab at Cornell University, Pancosmorio theory, human migration and settlement in space, recreate Earth's ecosystem with gravity and Oxygen for survival in space, self-restoring Earth-lie natural ecosystem, Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, sustainability, resilience, the Fermi paradox, terraforming, thermodynamics, living in space, cross disciplines, technofix, bioregenerative components, sustainable Earth levels, Level 1 sustainability, Level 2 sustainability, Level 4 sustainability, TRL 2, localized extinction, backups needed, timeline for development, dissipative structure, inductive reasoning, cislunar development, ISS as an example, 1st generation gravity, partial gravity, gravity prescription, humans and 1g, imitating 1g with centrifugal force, Mars, spinning for 1g efficiency, gravity and electricity, meteor strikes, a single destructive event, dinosaur killing event 65 million years ago, micro soil system, Earth is only human comparable point, triple redundancy, genetic modification, psychological interaction, required ecological services, accommodating extremes, ethics, off-Earth legal system, pregnancy in space, child birth space decisions, women's reproductive rights in space, rare Earth minerals, phosphorous.
Due to the often technical and sometimes complex topics of our discussion, I do strongly suggest you become familiar with the articles and the Pancosmorio theory paper on the blog before listening on archives. If I might try to summarize our discussion topic for today, the work by our guests suggests that humans are uniquely fit to live, work, play and develop in 1g and on Earth which has multiple complex environmental components. To thrive living in space, the goal would be to replicate Earth's environment so that we could handle settlements and established space living. This is different than making short hops to the Moon or Mars, then returning back to Earth. Based on their theory, the facts presented and material cited by our guests to support their theory, to advance with technology and to be able to replicate an Earth environment for living in space requires us to be more advanced than we are at this time. Our Space Show discussion was about the theory presented by our guests, the technology that might be needed to accomplish this type of space living, where we are now with technology plus related items. For example, about midway in our discussion, I asked Lee what he thought our TRL was for doing what their theory suggested. While some components of what they were suggesting rated a bit higher TRL, overall he said we were around a TRL2. Rather than using TRL, :Lee used Earth Level 1, Earth Level 2, Earth Level 3 and more to rate where we were today and how fast we were advancing toward the capabilities suggested by their work.
Multiple email questions from the listeners were fielded as several listeners called. One of our callers, Fremont John, asked where they though we should settle in space, where the settlement would be most sustainable, a key factor in their theory. As you can imagine, an O'Neill colony with spin gravity for 1 g rated tops but as you will hear, for true sustainability, the settlement would need backup, the capability to survive killer meteor strikes, would need at a minimum triple redundancy and all sorts of almost immediate replication capability to survive damage. Lee used the Earth as a type of example saying that while killer asteroids have hit Earth, not all of Earth was destroyed and it came back referencing the dinosaurs 65 million years ago or even the WW2 atomic bombs. So the Level 1 Earth settlement, which we cannot now reproduce, would have to survive and come back and thrive, just as Earth has done after catastrophic events. Much of our discussion was on this very point.
We moved on through the discussion but near the end we got into the subject of human reproduction, pregnancy and fetal development in space, children on the settlement, and women's pregnancy rights in space. Along with this topic we talked laws and regulations in space as we evolve our settlements to Level 3, Level 2 and one day Level 1. While there was much more work to be done and the theory needed to go through the scientific method rigorous analysis and screening, at least what I saw emerging from this work was, in my words, a sort of due diligence sustainable guide on how to evolve to real living off Earth on a planet, in free space or maybe even someway we have yet to think of regarding humans in space.
Before concluding this summary, near the end an email came in from Benny regarding genetic modification for humans in space. This is a topic very close to me given the potential for genetic modification for diseases like cystic fibrosis which is in my family. You have heard me talk about that on the show before and also with many of the gene researchers that have been on the show. Lee raised some interesting risk questions which I thought useful to consider. Following this email, Sheila from Chicago sent in a note that grabbed my attention. Sheila challenged the validity of the assumption that 1g would be sufficient for living off Earth. She said that given the complexity of Earth's full environment where humans flourish, it might just be that 1g is just one small part of what humans need to succeed in space living. Thus, if we cannot identify and replicate all of what there is about Earth's environment that allows us to be sustainable and continue advancing and developing, then maybe the focus on just 1g won't help that much. Morgan and Lee had some interesting commentary on Shelia's 1g assumption challenge. Don't miss this discussion as we were nearing the end of the program.
Please post your questions/comments for our two guests on our blog for this show. You can reach them both through me or the websites provided for Lee earlier in this summary plus Morgan's Cornell lab website page.