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Guest: Dr. Haym Benaroya; Topics: Lunar policy, returning to the Moon, engineering and life support, economics, and much more.
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We welcomed back Dr. Haym Benaroya for this one segment 126 minute discussion about all things lunar including a return to the Moon to stay. We started our discussion with a reference to the recent National Space Council first meeting and Haym suggesting that maybe we could actually see the "light at the end of the tunnel." This was our primary topic for a good part of the first part of our discussion. At one point during the discussion I suggested to Haym that since we had all heard why the Moon was so important, why we should go to the Moon before Mars and we might yet see another government policy project advocating going to the Moon, why should we believe it would work this time around. I reminded him that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome might possibly be defined as insanity. Don't miss how our guest responded to this question. Hint: New people, new technology, new motivations, more private money and such. After you hear his response to my comment, let us know what you think by posting your comments on our blog.
Haym also spoke about the recent LEAG meeting focusing on going to the Moon. I asked him if he was seeing Moon fever sweeping through the space community. Don't miss what he said about Moon fever! Our guest was then asked about his thoughts on The Deep Space Gateway, an orbiting lunar space station. Haym was not impressed by it and set forth many advantages for being on the surface of the moon, not in orbit around it. He was then asked what early astronauts would do on the surface of the Moon. He divided their tasks between developing technology and developing biology. He suggested commercial activities might not happen for 10 years or so and that the early lunar crew members might be rotated in and out at a regular interval and would probably be focused on survival issues. He said commercial would evolve but not initially and over a longer period of time.
Other topics in this segment dealt with the lunar base process and the use of robots. He repeated that early on the focus would be survival. He refuted a listener comment suggesting it might be busy work.
Kim called from Mexico, referenced Haym's Starship Congress talk and then discussed the safety factor of 5, asking Haym why it was so and high and suggesting that the higher the safety factor, the higher the cost and the longer the development time. Dr. Benaroya had much to say about this, even suggesting that the safety factor might be reduced to 2 or 2.5. He said on Earth, a usual safety factor for engineering or something similar might be expressed in a percentage such as 20-30%. He then repeated that the first mission, probably sever of the early missions would be survival missions using pressure vessel structures. He said there would be lots of lessons learned and the structures and habitats would evolve, including their design.
Later, Ben asked about the lunar engineering designs. Haym said they were fairly general and classical structures. New designs would evolve including those that were inflatable and made via 3D printing and other methods. He talked about structures in the future so don't miss his comments. Listener Matt as if the early or initial structures would be at the S. Pole at the Peaks of Eternal Light. Haym was not convinced about that but listen to all of what he said on this topic and early pressure vessel structure placement. He then said that in moving forward, not only would there be engineering and design changes and challenges but also legal issues, property rights and possibly our space agreements would follow. The subject of the lunar surface vs. being in lunar orbit came up again. This time Dr. Benaroya addressed the finding of giant lava tubes on the Moon as well as caves. He suggested these might make future habitats.
Linda from Seattle aske our guest how we would know the designs we were going to use on the Moon would work. Don't miss what our guest said about this, including testing hardware, tools, and methods on Earth. I asked Haym what the ideal crew makeup would be for the early lunar residents. He talked about engineers, technicians and scientists. I mentioned to him my terrestrial real estate experience working with architects and engineers and asked if that might be something that would happen on the moon. Don't miss my story and how Haym responded to it and why he thought lunar engineering and construction would be different than terrestrial real estate or house development. Haym talked about lunar construction and what he identified as concurrent engineering.
Before ending our discussion with Dr. Benaroya, I asked him about his coming book which is about lunar development. He said it would be out by the end of the year or the first part of next year plus he told us about the book. Dr. Benaroya will be back as a guest to talk in detail about the book and his lunar development concepts once the book is on the market. We concluded the show with listener Chris asking Haym if he had or would collaborate with the new type of space architects such as Rachel Armstrong who work with living architecture or designing a living spaceship for interstellar flight. Haym was open to the idea of collaborating, especially has human spaceflight evolves toward settlement and longer duration flights.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can reach Dr. Benaroya through me or his Rutgers University website.