SSI held the 14th Conference on Space Manufacturing and Space Settlement at the NASA Ames Research Center on October 29-31, 2010. This marked a successful return of our influential meeting. Since the last conference, there has been huge progress in some technical areas and little in others. In particular, there has been excellent progress in automated and teleoperated mining technology, great progress in developing highly reusable rocket engines, and much improved knowledge of the distribution of extraterrestrial resources. Except for the SSI work on closed environment life support systems completed a few years ago, there has been little progress in this critical technology for space settlement.
The panel discussion “Moon, Mars or Asteroids: Where Do We Go First For Resources?” was enlightening. The consensus was that the Moon would be the first body to be used for non-terrestrial resources. The advantage the Moon has over asteroids is logistical. Travel times to asteroids are long and mission opportunities are few, and the longer physical distance makes teleoperation of mining equipment impossible. A successful asteroid mining expedition would involve a human crew with a mission duration of years. Resupply would be difficult with current technology. The Moon, on the other hand, is only three days away and has multiple flight windows per month. Teleoperation with a lunar time delay is known to be possible, and spare parts or a human repair crew could be sent with comparative ease. Continue reading Space Studies Institute Update Winter 2011→
Excellent content developed by conference chairs John Lewis and Lee Valentine, and session chairs Gary Hudson, Michael A’Hearn, Taber MacCallum, Red Whittaker, Peter Schubert, Philip Chapman and Brad Blair.
Produced and directed by Robin Snelson, Haley Jackson, Douglas Messier, Henry Vanderbilt, Joshua Nelson, Nicole Thom, Gary Marx and Mark Ciotola.
Video archives, presentations and published proceedings coming soon. Watch this space.
The conference includes two days of sessions at the NASA Ames Conference Center and several events at the Sheraton Sunnyvale Hotel. Highlights include:
“Moon, Mars, Asteroids: Where to Go First for Resources?” NASA Ames Center Director Pete Worden will moderate a panel of six other experts to debate our first moves in expanding beyond Earth orbit. The round table will be followed by a reception. Friday, Oct. 29 from 7-10 p.m., Sheraton Sunnyvale Hotel. (Free to conference attendees and general public)
“Synthetic Genomics”: Famed biologist Craig Venter will focus on the role that synthetic organisms can play in future space settlement. This is a joint session with the Synthetic Biology Workshop. Saturday, Oct. 30 from 5-6:30 p.m. (Conference and workshop attendees and media only)
“Asia’s Road to the Moon”: Dr. John Lewis, an adviser to the Chinese lunar program, will discuss the growing role of Asia in space exploration. Saturday, Oct. 30 from 7:30-9:30 p.m., Sheraton Sunnyvale Hotel. (Separate ticket required)