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Guest: Dr. Philip Metzger; Topics: Starting space industrialization, establishing Cislunar transportation, lunar development, asteroid development, thinking big, Mars and more.
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We welcomed back to the program Dr. Phil Metzger for a one segment 1 hour 45 minute wide ranging discussion on space industrialization, moving dirty and heavy industry off Earth to space, lunar development, establishing Cislunar routine transportation, asteroid mining and development then on to Mars. Please download and read the paper on this subject by our guest, "Affordable, Rapid Bootstrapping of Space Industry and Solar System Civilization" which you can find at https://www.philipmetzger.com/affordable-rapid-bootstrapping-space-industry-solar-system-civilization. For at least half of the first part of the program, we discussed the vision, potential economics, and benefits to humanity for moving industry to space, getting routine transportation going between Earth and the Moon and establishing lunar developments which our guest talked about in detail. In addition, our guest made an excellent case for why we should be moving toward relocating dirty and heavy industry off Earth. Listen carefully to this discussion and let us know what you think by posting your comments on our blog.
In addition to the Moon and then to asteroids, Phil talked about very large orbiting O’Neillian space stations for settlement and industry. In this context, we also talked about the recent press conference and space plans presented by Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin regarding his Blue Moon and space industrialization program. If you have not seen his nearly one hour presentation, you can watch it here: www.theverge.com/2019/5/11/18564655/blue-origin-jeff-bezos-space-moon-new-glenn.
We took many listener email questions and several phone calls focusing on a variety of topics per our earlier discussion briefly summarized above. Robotics and AI were a big part of our discussion, especially when we talked about the potential for worker and job displacement, a problem also likely for this type of industrialization here on Earth. Don't miss what our guest said about it and some suggestions for addressing this set of problems. Marshall called wanting to who spoke about space solar power, multiple new technologies needed, and more. Note what our guest said about the new type of collectors - dual use and of a type that would not cover up ground space. Don't miss this part of the discussion. Our guest suggested to Marshall that one would start with moving data and energy up and down as it would be massless.
Later I asked our guest about our Technology Readiness Level (TRL) to begin Cislunar transportation development, lunar development, and space industrialization. Phil had lots to say about this and our TRL for doing this right now. Later, I asked if all TRL definitions were the same. Phil spent some valuable time with us going through a brief history of the TRL classification system and what each TRL level meant and what was needed for each stage of a project. I don't believe we have had a detailed TRL discussion before so I found this to be very interesting and informative.
Later in the program, Barbara asked Phil what all the lunar industrialization would do to the Moon. Once again, don't miss what Phil said about this. You might be surprised. Hint: Move as quickly to asteroid industrialization as possible. Harry in Chicago sent in a note about scarcity economics and why our leaders seem to present ideas from that point of view rather then embracing what is possible given what our guest and others talk about, including Bezos and Musk. Phil had much to say on this topic, including outlining three different approaches to accomplishing the vision being discussed on the program tonight. He included government, the private sector and philanthropy in his approaches.
Another topic focused on space tourism and settlement and what impact and role they might have in what our guest was outlining to us tonight. Listen to what he had to say but in the end, Phil was not sure about the impact of both on space industrialization and economic development.
Having recently returned from Space Access, I asked Phil about the development of new space propulsion given I had three days of it at Space Access. Our guest was also asked about human factors, life support, artificial gravity, radiation and the gravity prescription per comments often made by Dr. Jim Logan. Phil spent time discussing these issues with us so do pay attention. He talked about risk exposure, how an AI space factory and 3D autonomous robots could do things to mitigate the risks but that in the end, there would be risks to the early participants. Listen to all of what he had to say on this subject.
As we were nearing an end to our discussion, our guest was asked if there was a sort of competition between Bezos and Musk. Phil replied by talking about complimentary visions and the different focus for each person. Before we ended, Phil gave a shout out to For All Moonkind and the need for lunar landing pads and why. Let us know what you think about this concept by posting on the blog. Our guest concluded by talking about one of the programs he would be involved with at the upcoming ISDC meeting. In addition, he took a final question on the need for standards for space industrialization.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Dr. Metzger through me or his UCF Faculty page.