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Homer Hickam, Friday, 4-13-12 April 13, 2012

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Homer Hickam, Friday, 4-13-12


Guest:  Homer Hickam.  Topics:  We discussed his new book “Crater” & how he developed the technologies & systems to make living on the Moon credible.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, & discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, & any discussion must be relevant & applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed back Homer Hickam to the program to discuss his new book “Crater” & his new Kindle book, “Paco: The Cat Who Meowed in Space.”  You can buy each book from Amazon using these special URLs & Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF:  For “Crater,” use www.amazon.com/Crater-Helium-3-Novel-Homer-Hickam/dp/1595546642/ref=onegiantlea20.  For “Paco,” use www.amazon.com/Paco-Meowed-Kindle-Single-ebook/dp/B007K1OC6K/ref=onegiantlea20.  Homer explained that Crater (set 120 years in the future) was a teenage orphan working to mine HE3 which was sent back to Earth as Earth desperately needed it for fusion energy.  While telling us about his book, we learned that Homer created solutions to many of the challenges to living on the Moon.  For example, microgravity & radiation – listen to how he solved the problems.  Muscle deterioration? He solved that one too.  Transportation back & forth between Earth & the Moon?  That one too.  Spacesuits, the use of one atmosphere, all sorts of other challenges to our having a lunar settlement have a solution to make the Crater story credible.  As you will hear, not only does Homer go into detail about the storyline, but he focused on the solutions & this makes the story both believable & credible.  Issues such as lunar dust, children on the Moon, even pregnancy, well, there is a solution.  Food & water too.  We did go off the topic of his books to ask about space policy.  As you will hear, Homer thinks the Moon will be developed by entrepreneurs for commercial value.  He sees companies such as Space X changing the game for our space policy & does not see government space programs being what they once were though development of needed infrastructure is part of what government can & should do.  The lunar transportation systems he talked about will be private commercial businesses.  When asked how he came up with solutions to problems encountered when living on the Moon, he talked about a study he did in the 1990s which is on his website, www.homerhickam.com. Homer was asked why the Moon & not Mars.  Don’t miss his response to this listener question. We also talked about the space programs for other countries such as China. Homer then told how he envisioned the world to be 120 years in the future. As you will hear, countries have broken up into smaller, more manageable nations, including the United States.  The world is not as we know it today.  Toward the end of the first segment, Homer was asked about the difference in times from when he grew up in W. Virginia to today given the listener said his son could not even fly an Estes rocket in their city. Part of his reply stressed the need to join rocket clubs today.  Before the break, we talked about insitu resources, water, food, law, & justice on the Moon.

During our short second segment, Homer was asked about strip mining on the Moon & he had much to say about it. Don’t miss this discussion.  He was also asked about other uses for the Moon besides HE3 including solar, radio telescopes, & manufacturing.  As the show ended, he commented on the need to have better political leadership to lead us forward in space development. He also had more to say about slime mold which plays an important part in his book.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  Mr. Hickam can be contacted through his website.


1. Terry in Corpus Christi - April 24, 2012

Homer, this would be a good night to call into the space show. They are talking about the proposed mining asteroids. You would be a great person to call in with your mining experience.

2. Terry in Corpus ChristI - April 14, 2012

I wonder what the cost would be on the moon cycler (approximately)?
What would you run into with interfering orbits of existing satellites?

Homer Hickam - April 14, 2012

I checked on the cost of building a 110,000 ton cruise ship and it is around $750,000,000. I think that’s reasonable for a cycler. Of course, the cost would be affected on how it was built. For instance, its components might be launched from Earth and linked together like the Int’l Space Station (expensive) or fabricated on the moon (cheaper if there was the infrastructure there to do it). Lots of variables. As for crossing orbits, the Cycler wouldn’t come much nearer to the Earth than a thousand miles so it would be above most satellites. It also has radar and some maneuvering ability.

3. Homer Hickam - April 14, 2012

Thank you for having me on your show, David. It was fun, stimulating, and the questions from you and your listeners were great and provocative. Talk to you soon, I hope!

Terry in Corpus ChristI - April 14, 2012

How soon do you think we might have a permanent
Base on the moon? I enjoy the speculation of going to Mars, but the moon makes perfect sense for a South Pole-type base.

Homer Hickam - April 14, 2012

I agree. In fact, I did a NASA study in 1992 that used the USA’s South Pole Station as an analog for a similar station on the moon. Go to our newsletter blog – http://homerhickamblog.blogspot.com/ – and scroll down several newsletters and you will see it. How soon? If we were in a desperate hurry and willing to take some risks, we could have it built in five years.

Terry in Corpus ChristI - April 15, 2012

Thanks for all your replies. I tried to call in on the space show Friday but it was at the end of the program. I have always admired what you have accomplished. How soon could we have a base on the moon without a crash program? Would it be hard to have an underground base constructed with today’s technology? Elon Musk has no real plans for the moon but says if someone pays for the trip, he would be happy to take them.

Homer Hickam - April 15, 2012

I think Elon will eventually change his mind on that. He’s a bit fixated on Mars but the moon is really where it’s at. As for how soon a moon base, absent a crash program, it all depends on the urgency and willingness to do it. From ten years to a hundred.

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