Broadcast 934 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

27 Apr 2008 Dennis Bushnell
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Guest: Dr. Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist at NASA Langley Research Center, was the guest for today's program. We began our discussion talking about the advancements in revolutionary technology needed for a manned mission to Mars. Dr. Bushnell has a published paper on this subject, titled "Advanced-to-Revolutionary Technology Options for Humans-Mars," which I will send as a Word document if you email me and request it. Based on this paper and the first part of our discussion, Dr. Bushnell outlined the reasons for humans in space, the factors that are rendering those reasons inert, and the need for revolutionary technologies and revolutionary business/market thinking. Several of the revolutionary propulsion ideas are discussed in his paper and during the show, but, as we learned, there are no groups working on such technologies which would require 10-15 years to develop and another 10-15 years to commercially exploit. Make sure you hear this discussion. Later in the program, Dr. Bushnell received a NewSpace question, suggesting that NASA was Old Space and the NewSpace arena held the potential for the breakthroughs that were being discussed on the show. Dennis did not concur with the listener, but you will want to hear what he has to say about this matter. Virtual reality in five dimensions was discussed and he suggested this will likely render humans going to Mars as not viable for a variety of reasons. You will want to hear what he has to say about the coming five dimension virtual reality and what it will mean for humans in space. One listener question dealt with Gen Y and space education. Another asked about He-3 and chemicals here on Earth, such as hydrogen and Boron-11, which would make the need for He-3 irrelevant. Space Solar Power was discussed in some detail, so you will want to hear what he has to say about it. Please pay close attention to his economic analysis for energy alternatives here on Earth. In his energy explanation, he mentions the developing use of algae and what it means for backing oil out of the equation. He is not optimistic that SSP will play a role in our economy anytime soon and he even references the study groups he works with which are examining these issues. SSP is not even discussed for the reasons he cites on air. Do not miss this energy discussion in the last segment of the program. Dennis also talks about the need for revolutationary businesses if there is going tobe new industrial development in space.He is not optimistic that this will happen. For concluding remarks, Dr. Bushnell was asked what the space advocate/enthusiast community could do better to enhance our becoming space-faring. He suggested two things. First, the community needs to push for and participate in revolutionary and advanced technologies. This is vital. Second, the private space community needs to develop stronger reasons for going into space, reasons that will stand up to the scrutiny of investigators, financiers, and competitive terrestrial technologies. Our personal reasons, which we express frequently and which come to me daily through email, don't cut it. As I tell listeners and those emailing me, our own reasons for space development are fine, but if they resonated with the public, with humanity, with Congress, we would be far more advanced in space development technologies than we are today. Somehow, we have to get beyond our own personal reasons and realize that they usually don't meet the tests Dr. Bushnell talked about during this show. For space development to happen as we would like to see it happen, we need to make the case and have it stand up to those critics who will do proper due diligence and look at all aspects of the issues as Dennis talked about on this show. If you have comments or questions for Dr. Dennis Bushnell, please email them to him at



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