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Guest: Dr. George Sowers; Topics: Multiple topics for commercial space, space resources, cislunar development, propulsion and fuels, the need for figuring out the gravity prescription for humans in space, the Colorado School Space Resources program and much more.
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We welcomed Dr. Sowers back to the program for a commercial space, space mining, space resources and space development discussion. In addition, George talked about his department at the Colorado School of Mines, The Center for Space Resources. Later in the program he described the all online programs when Dr. Kothari called and expressed an interest in his possibly attending the program. For those interested, given its all online, it sounds like a winner to me.
As with many other Space Show program summaries, I urge you to follow the Tags as they accurately and largely in order reflect our discussion topics for this program. For your convenience, the tags are repeated below:
Tags: Dr. George Sowers, Colorado School of Mines, golden age of commercial space, space resources, space lunar surface, most excitement small to medium companies, refueling economy, selling propellant in space, thermal risk, Viper Mission, lunar PSR areas, Cislunar 1000, cislunar development, cislunar development timeline, selling ULA, space settlement, Colorado School of Mines Space Resources Graduation program, online studies, Big Idea Challenge Program, Lunar Outpost Co., stem degrees, space robotics, space solar power, U.S. D.O.E., nuclear energy, thorium, free market economic opportunity, water ice on the Mon, lunar poles, hydrocarbons, C type asteroid, carbon, mining water out of asteroids, propellant innovation, nuclear propulsion options, LCross, humans in space, space agriculture, earth worms in lunar regolith, free space development, gravity prescription.
For me, I found what George had to stay about the beginning of the UAL Cislunar 1000 program to be very interesting. I recall that shortly after the program was announced, ULA CEO Tory Bruno was a guest on the show for the first time. He was asked about the Cislunar 1000 program at ULA and he talked about it on that Space Show program for quite some time. While I don't know about putting 1,000 or more people into cislunar space by a specific deadline, I do believe that since that program was announced, there has been a measurable amount of increased focus on developing and commercializing cislunar space. While I have no stats to support my claim, I do think that the Cislunar 1000 program was responsible for much of that increased interest in cislunar development.
During or discussion, George mentioned multiple companies at different times as examples of what he was talking about. Some of the companies I was not familiar with so I suggest you listen with pen in hand and jot down the various businesses for some looking into at a later date and for possible Space Show guest suggestions. If you do check out some of the new businesses he mentioned and think they should be on The Space Show, please drop me a note with that request.
Space Solar Power came up and George got some calls and emails dealing with the topic. George has been an SSP supporter for a very long time and had much to say and contribute to the discussion, especially when he was asked why the U.S. was lagging in R&D. Don't miss how he responded to those questions as you might be surprised. The same for the subject of space settlement which a listener brought up. Don't miss his comments on developing settlement with the need for minerals, water, metals, energy and such. This led him to mention the NASA Big Idea Challenge Program (https://bigidea.nianet.org).
Dr. Kothari called near the end of the program to talk about nuclear energy and nuclear propulsion. He cited the economics of it compared to even SSP. As Ajay is also a strong supporter of the use of thorium for power, he asked our guest about thorium for energy on Earth and for space destinations. Don't miss what George had to say about nuclear everything including thorium. Later, both Marshall and Ft. Worth John called on different subjects. Specific types of asteroids for Marshall and John for lunar ice.
Our final program topic which I appreciated was humans in space, food needs in space and of course the gravity prescription for humans outside of 1g. Each of these topics received discussion time before we brought the program to a close.
Please post your questions/comments for Dr. Sowers on our blog for this show. You can reach our guest through me or his faculty page at the Colorado School of Mines.