Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Final Report (2010) NRC


Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Final Report (2010) 


The United States spends approximately four million dollars each year searching for near-Earth objects (NEOs). The objective is to detect those that may collide with Earth. The majority of this funding supports the operation of several observatories that scan the sky searching for NEOs. This, however, is insufficient in detecting the majority of NEOs that may present a tangible threat to humanity. A significantly smaller amount of funding supports ways to protect the Earth from such a potential collision or "mitigation." 
In 2005, a Congressional mandate called for NASA to detect 90 percent of NEOs with diameters of 140 meters of greater by 2020. Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies identifies the need for detection of objects as small as 30 to 50 meters as these can be highly destructive. The book explores four main types of mitigation including civil defense, "slow push" or "pull" methods, kinetic impactors and nuclear explosions. It also asserts that responding effectively to hazards posed by NEOs requires national and international cooperation. Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies is a useful guide for scientists, astronomers, policy makers and engineers.


For immediate release                                        

contact: JP Marin,
Space Development Steering Committee                718 622 2278
 In the 19th century, America redefined the global economy by opening a new frontier, a new landscape of real estate, resources, and opportunities.  That American advance ended famine in Europe by giving the world the grain harvests of the Midwest.    And some of the frontier real estate that seemed wildly overpriced at 80 cents an acre in 1836 is now worth over $12 million.

In the wake of  the Great Recession of 2008,  it’s time for America to pioneer again.  This time by opening vast new landscapes not just to humanity, but to biomass, to ecosystems, and to the grand experiment of life.

In the shadow of the Chinese Century, one technology in which America continues to lead the world is access to space.  Let’s use that technology to make the next great economic leap.  Not just for ourselves, but for all humanity.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


International, June 24, 2010 – In light of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, The Space Renaissance Initiative (SRI) recommends that energy companies follow the courageus “Beyond Petroleum” address of a few years ago, and drill up, not down. Rather than risk further disasters as nations desperately drill for diminishing oil, SRI calls upon the leaders of the G20 to support the research and development of Space Based Solar Power (SBSP) as the energy of the future.
Rick Tumlinson, president of Space Frontier, and member of the Space Renaissance Initiative Board, says “For less than the cost of one offshore platform—and far, far less than the cost of the clean up of this disaster—we could build and operate the first tests of a space based power satellite.”
In fact, companies in Japan, Europe, and the USA have declared their intention to build a solar power station in space and beam that energy to Earth. However, the intention has not yet become realized. SRI recommends public-private partnerships between G20 governments and companies who want to grow their businesses above the atmosphere, where the Sun never sets.
“When this is accomplished, the world can access an unlimited energy supply that by-passes the need for oil; synergizing with the borning Space Tourism industry, SBSP will boost the greatest economic revolution of all times”, says Adriano Autino, President of the Space Renaissance Initiative.
Space Based Solar Power (SBSP) was first proposed by Dr Peter Glaser in 1968 and promoted in 1976 by Professor Gerard K. O'Neill of Princeton, who also proposed to use Lunar raw materials for building solar power satellites, to supply global energy markets.
SRI sees the positive benefits of SBSP and its enormous spin-off technology potentials as a gamechanging human endeavour for achieving this goal, and for transforming our earth-bound, oildependent economy into a space-faring solar economy.
About the Space Renaissance Initiative:
SRI is an international organization that has the support of 73 space-related organisations, such as: The Moon Society (USA), Next Gen Expo (USA), Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali (Italy), Advanced Technology Working Group (USA), SpaceFuture (UK, Japan), Technologies of the Frontier (Italy). SRI exists to promote the completion of the kopernican revolution: venturing out to space will assure the survival and the further growth of our civilization.
Adriano Autino
Via Borgomasino 25/A 13040 Moncrivello (VC) Italia
+39 335 8244435
Peter Wainwright / Carol Pinchefsky
240 West 73rd St. #1201, New York, NY 10023 USA
+1 212 5802556

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Open Letter To Congress On Commercial Space

Open Letter To Congress On Commercial Space

Dear Members of Congress: 

We, the undersigned space leaders, are strong supporters of human spaceflight. We are writing to urge you to both (1) fully fund the commercial crew to Space Station program proposed in the President's FY2011 budget request for NASA, and (2) accelerate the pace and funding of NASA's human space exploration projects beyond Earth orbit.

These twin pillars of human spaceflight are each crucial to the long-term health of our Nation's space program. They are also interdependent.

And they will together generate thousands of high tech U.S. jobs for people in multiple states, including Florida, Alabama, Texas, California, Nevada, Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, and Maryland.

Among us are over 50 space leaders--former NASA executives and advisors, former astronauts, CEOs of firms large and small, a former FAA Associate Administrator, space scientists, space journalists, and others. We are a diverse group, but we are only a handful of the Nation's citizens who support U.S. leadership in human space flight in general, and the development of commercial human spaceflight in particular.

We specifically wish to express our concern that the commercial crew to Space Station program is sometimes seen as optional or too risky to America's future in space, but nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, the commercial crew to Space Station program is a fundamental enabler of NASA's human space exploration beyond Earth orbit, specifically because it will free up the NASA dollars needed to develop deep space transportation and exploration systems for astronauts.

Moreover, a commercial crew to Station transportation system, involving multiple separate space lines as the President has proposed, is more robust than a single-legged transportation plan, whether domestic or foreign.

For these reasons and others, we fully and enthusiastically support both full funding for the commercial crew to Space Station program and also the acceleration of exploration beyond Earth orbit, as the top two priorities within NASA's human spaceflight budget.

Together, these two efforts will also:
  • Provide an affordable and fast way to close the current post-Shuttle gap in indigenous U.S. human orbital spaceflight capability, by using launch vehicles that already exist.
  • Provide a safe and robust future transportation network to low Earth orbit and beyond for U.S. astronauts. Ensure that our dependence on foreign human launch capabilities is reduced quickly and economically.
  • Reduce space access costs and enhance our national security industrial base.
  • Allow NASA to better focus on accelerating space exploration and the development of its enabling technologies.
  • Excite young Americans to careers in science, engineering, and technology.
  • Stimulate the private sector economy and the development of space commerce over in a dramatic way, by catalyzing other U.S. space interests such as space tourism and the operation of private in-space research facilities.
  • Excite entrepreneurs to envision and then give birth to new commercial services and capabilities in space, further stimulating the Nation's economy. Others have said that one of the greatest fears of any generation is not leaving things better for the young people of the next generation. We agree with this.
Therefore we reiterate that the near term development of commercial human spaceflight and a clearly defined program of human exploration beyond Earth orbit are both essential. Without either, our Nation's leadership in space will significantly suffer.

We urge you to make these two goals your highest priorities within NASA's FY2011 budget for human spaceflight.


The undersigned, listed alphabetically

Mr. Bretton Alexander
President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Washington, D.C.

Mr. Eric Anderson
President and CEO, Space Adventures
Vienna, Virginia

Dr. Daniel N. Baker
Director, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado
Boulder, Colorado

Dr. Jim Bell
Professor, Planetary Scientist, and Member of the Mars Exploration Rover team, Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

Capt. Ken Bowersox, Ret.
Former NASA Astronaut, and Vice President of Mission Assurance & Astronaut Safety, Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
Hawthorne, California

Mr. Chad Brinkley
President, DCI Services and Consulting 
Houston, Texas

Ms. Heather Bulk
President and CEO, Special Aerospace Services
Boulder, Colorado

Mr. John Carmack
President and CEO, Armadillo Aerospace
Caddo Mills, Texas

Dr. Peter Diamandis
Chairman and CEO, X-Prize Foundation
Playa Vista, California

Mr. Frank DiBello
President and CEO, Space Florida
Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Dr. Michael Drake
Head, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona

Mr. Art Dula
CEO, Excalibur Almaz
Houston, Texas

Ms. Esther Dyson
Principal, EDyson Ventures
New York, New York

Mr. Edward Ellegood
Director of Aerospace Development, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, Florida

Dr. Robert Farquhar
Senior Mission Designer, KinetX Corp.
Fairfax, Virginia

Mr. Jeff Feige
CEO, Orbital Outfitters
Los Angeles, California

Mr. Jim Foreman
President, Blue Smoke LLC
Houston, Texas

Dr. Owen Garriott
Former NASA Astronaut, and Aerospace Consultant
Huntsville, Alabama

Mr. Richard Garriott
Commercial Astronaut
Austin, Texas

Mr. Jeffrey Greason
CEO, XCOR Aerospace
Mojave, California

Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman
Former NASA Astronaut, and MIT professor
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Mr. Richard Homans
Executive Director, New Mexico Spaceport
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Dr. Scott Hubbard
Former Director of NASA Ames, and Professor
San Francisco, California

Mr. Michael Joyce
President, Next Giant Leap LLC
Boulder, Colorado

Mr. Dale Ketcham
Director, Spaceport Research & Technology Institute
Meritt Island, Florida

Mr. Jim Kennedy
Former Director, NASA Kennedy Space Center
Cocoa Beach, Florida

Mr. Glenn King
Chief Operating Officer, NASTAR; Pennsylvania
Southampton, Pennsylvania

Mr. Bill Khourie
Executive Director, Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority, Oklahoma Spaceport
Burns Flat, Oklahoma

Dr. Byron Lichtenberg
Former NASA Astronaut
Houston, Texas

Mr. Todd Lindner
Director, Cecil Field Spaceport, Jacksonville Aviation Authority
Jacksonville, Florida

Dr. John Logsdon
Founder, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University.
Washington, D.C.

Lt. Col. J. Mike Lounge, Ret.
Former Astronaut, and President, Cisneros Innovation Strategies
Houston, Texas

Dr. Stephen Mackwell
Director, Lunar and Planetary Institute
Houston, Texas

Mr. David Masten
CEO, Masten Space Systems Inc.
Mojave, California

Mr. Bill Mitchell
CEO, Environmental Tectonics Corporation
Southampton, Pennsylvania

Mr. James A.M. Muncy
Co-Founder, Space Frontier Foundation
Alexandria, Virginia

Dr. John Muratore
Former Space Shuttle Flight Director and University of Tennessee Space Institute
Tullahoma, Tennessee

Mr. Elon Musk
CEO and CTO, Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
Hawthorne, California

Mr. Miles O'Brien
Aerospace Journalist, and Managing Editor of "This Week in Space"
New York, New York

Mr. Rich Phillips
President, Phillips & Company
Austin, Texas

Mr. Joseph E. Palaia, IV
Manager, NewSpace Center, and Vice President, 4Frontiers Corp.
New Port Richey, Florida

Mr. Brian Rishikof
CEO, Odyssey Space Research
Houston, Texas

Dr. Rusty Schweickart
Former NASA Astronaut, and Aerospace Consultant
Los Angeles, California

Col. Richard Searfoss, Ret.
Former NASA Astronaut, and Chief Test Pilot, XCOR Aerospace
Mojave, California

Mr. Frank Sietzen, Jr.
Author, and Former Editor in Chief of Ad Astra Magazine of the National Space Society
Arlington, Virginia

Mr. Mark Sirangelo
Chairman, Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems, and Chairman of the Board, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Lousville, Colorado

Mr. Frederick A. Slane
Executive Director, Space Infrastructure Foundation, Inc.
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Ms. Linda Kenny Sloan
President, Information Universe
Carson, California

Ms. Patti Grace Smith
Former FAA Associate Administrator, and Aerospace Consultant
Washington, D.C.

Mr. John Spencer
Founder and President, Space Tourism Society
Los Angeles, California

Dr. Alan Stern
Former NASA Associate Administrator for Science, and Aerospace Consultant
Niwot, Colorado

Dr. Frederick A. Tarantino
President ad CEO, Universities Space Research Association
Columbia, Maryland

Mr. Rick N. Tumlinson,
Co-founder, Space Frontier Foundation
Toluca Lake, California

Col. Jim Voss, Ret.
Former NASA Astronaut, and Director of Advanced Programs, Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems
Louisville, Colorado

Mr. Robert W. Werb
Co-founder, Space Frontier Foundation
Nyack, New York

Mr. Stuart Witt
General Manager, Mojave Air and Space Port
Mojave, California

Drill up, not down, Mr. Obama

contact: Space Development Steering Committee
JP Marin, 718 622 2278,

This week the president of the United States, Barack Obama, will announce a new national space policy. If the president is smart, that space policy will be an energy policy. It will focus on solar power harvested in space.

Last week, in his June 15th Oval Office BP oil spill address, President Obama called for a destiny-changing clean energy program. Says Howard Bloom, head of the Space Development Steering Committee, a group that includes Buzz Aldrin, Edgar Mitchell, and members from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense, “The answer is eight minutes above Mr. Obama’s head. Space.” Says Bloom, “Solar power harvested in space means jobs, economic recovery, power to the global poor, and a new American century. Space solar power can turn America from a billion dollar a day oil importer to a net energy exporter. Space solar power can be harvested 24/7 and transmitted directly to the cities and villages that need it, from America, Europe, India, and China to the electricity-deprived corners of Africa and Asia.”

Drill up, not down, Mr. Obama. Space solar power.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bill Nye New Planetary Society Executive Director

Bill Nye Signs on as Planetary Society's New Executive Director

Bill Nye the Science Guy® will take the helm as the new Executive Director of the Planetary Society. Louis Friedman, co-founder and Executive Director since the organization began 30 years ago, is stepping down in September, 2010, but will remain closely involved with the non-profit space group, continuing to direct its solar sail project -- Lightsail-1 -- and other Planetary Society initiatives. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Space Solar Power means no more energy wars, and no more dependence on foreign oil. It means a new economy, new jobs power to global poor, a new American future.

Space solar is fives times the power of Earth Based solar, is available 24/7, and no nation can hoard it. We can begin beaming energy back from space as soon as 2016.

The World can't wait any longer. Goggle Search: SPACE SOLAR

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spudis and Zubrin Don't Understand The Problem with NASA

SPUDIS & ZUBRIN: NASA's mission to nowhere Big, fat, pointless and expensive describes plan to twiddle our fingers By Paul D. Spudis and Robert Zubrin Monday, May 31, 2010 for The Washington Times.

It is shocking that Dr. Paul Spudis and Dr. Robert Zubrin are fighting so hard for a program which will only delay their dreams, as long as it exists. The Vision for Space Exploration at first seemed a miracle, that NASA had finally seen the light but it soon became corrupted by shuttle culture. The Vision soon lost all talk of permanence, and insitu resource utilization and developed into a jobs program which used the Moon and Mars as an excuse for continuation of the shuttle architecture with its extraordinarily high costs because of its standing army. The dependence of the shuttle architecture on it standing army justifies its existence while assuring neither the Moon or Mars will ever be developed due to so the extremely high costs of continuing to maintain the standing army.

Jobs programs are by definition more expensive then the alternative which isn't a jobs program. Jobs programs will also always be expensive. The reason launch costs are high is that launch is a jobs program. High launch costs are the main reason we have not developed space. Space development requires space commerce and high launch costs assure there will be no space commerce.

The root of the problem with NASA today lies way back before the Apollo 11 Moon Landing when NASA used the funds to Maintain THE Saturn 5 ASSEMBLY LINE to do the INITIAL DESIGN STUDIES FOR THE SPACE SHUTTLE. Let me emphasize, NASA traded the capability to build any more Saturn 5 rockets for the first study into building the Space Shuttle BEFORE WE LANDED ON THE MOON. That meant they bet the entire future of human space flight on making the shuttle work when they hadn't yet done a design study and assured that the path of lunar development and Mars, after Apollo was not an option.

NASA lost that bet. The US has paid for it for forty years with high launch costs since the shuttle costs more per pound to launch than the Saturn 5. We paid for it the lives of 14 Astronauts.100% of US casualties in space were shuttle accidents directly caused by that decision. We have paid for it with 40 years of being stuck on the road to space development. Far worse the shuttle has poisoned th whole US National System of Innovation. By teaching several generations of engineers and scientists to compromise, lower expectations and avoid truth.

It used to be that "Good is the Enemy of the Best" meant don't settle for a good solution go for the best solution, but in the shuttle Era this has developed into meaning go for the good solution because the best solution costs too much. In reality the best rarely means the most expensive since cost should always be part of the calculus and the best usually is far cheaper over the long run. To build the shuttle NASA developed a culture of compromise- political compromises, compromises with safety, compromises with the truth.

It used to be that we expected progress, that each generation would live better than the last. But now we are barely hanging on as a nation. We are falling behind. NASA has convinced the US it is doing, hard stuff but that is only because it is doing everything the hard way. Instead of bringing the US the vast resources of space, NASA, has been puttering around in Low Earth Orbit for decades.

NASA has devolved to the point where a conference is considered infeasible and unpractical. The following line is from the NASA Open Government Plan Appendix, discussion of the Ideascale results, it most likely refers to the idea of having and Interagency Conference on Space Solar Power which was the most popular idea for NASA as well as the US Government as a whole on Ideascale, "Some of the ideas submitted to the site were infeasible or otherwise unpractical for NASA to address, yet received a high number of votes." A conference on any subject should not be considered infeasible and unpractical. If the sentence refers to Space Solar Power it really shows the lowering of expectations because the NASA of the 1970's didn't consider space Solar Power to be infeasible or impractical. In the 1970's space solar power seemed the natural next step which would be taken by the commercial energy sector, as soon as the shuttle was flying, the promised 50 flights a year.

The unfortunately truth is that each space shuttle turned out to be only capable of 2 flights a year each at enormous cost and considerable danger. So right now space solar power may be infeasible and impractical because launch capabilities have dropped so much and launch costs rose so high. Space solar power wasn't infeasible and impractical when the US still had a Saturn 5 Assembly line. Instead of being dependent on terrorists and polluter for our energy which we send billions abroad for every month, the US could have been not only energy independent but an energy exporter. We could have pulled our troops home and not worried about Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. Instead we have been fighting oil wars. We could have been free from foreign debt and foreign entanglements, beaming terrawatts clean solar of power down from space 24 hours a day, as much as we could sell. Science fiction? No, the truth is this is the path not taken because of NASA's choice to gut the Saturn 5 assembly line for the money to study the possibility of building a shuttle.

It used to be that truth was valued above all else in the US science and technology community but decades of the best funded civilian technical agency claiming to be making progress in space, when they obviously are not and using draconian means to assure compliance with the party line have severely diminished the value of truth and reality in our National System of Innovation. As a result scientific studies are often questioned for good reason as science is warped to say whatever researchers like and the technological community stands for it because they have been trained pointing out that the powerful are misstating the truth can end your career.

The Obama space policy will end this culture and return us to a time when everything was on the table and experimentation, scientific evidence and truth determines our path forward. Rather than premature choice. The Obama Space Policy does not end human space flight it will open the door to a Renaissance of new space technology in many fields. New space technology which we desperately need for any of the numerous possible destinations and activities which can be done beyond low earth orbit. We need new launch technology, should it be reusable or heavy lift? We really need reusable heavy lift but which path takes us there? Only history will tell. So we should try them all, which is exactly the Obama plan. With the Obama plan we have SpaceX, Atlas, Delta and Orbital as well as other new launch technology development. As long as options are funded and allowed to experiment in a decade we will have an entirely new portfolio of launch technologies reflecting that we are now in the third Millennium rather than stuck in the third quarter of the last century.

The Obama plan also directs NASA to develop numerous other technologies which will make development of the Moon and Mars possible. The Vision for Space Exploration had devolved to the point that it never envisions settlement, simply flags and foot prints. The Obama plan will allow for real development of all of space. Our destination should be space development. we should let scientific evidence and business profits determine our path, not political considerations.

NASA Human Space Flight has headed down the wrong path for 40 years. The Obama Administration has called for a Bootleg Turn. A pause in US Human Space Flight is the price we have to pay for real space development. If the Obama plan survives in congress the US will be well on its way to both the Moon and Mars to stay. If Obama fails to change NASA's culture we will delay space development indefinitely.