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Dr. Martin Elvis, Monday, 8-11-14 August 12, 2014

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Dr. Martin Elvis, Monday, 8-11-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2294-BWB-2014-08-11.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Martin Elvis.  Topics:  Asteroid mining, commercial space, NASA.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed Dr. Martin Elvis to the program to discuss asteroid mining, commercial space, NASA & more.  In the fist segment of our 91 minute discussion, after telling us about an asteroid being named after himself, Martin responded to my question about what he sees as our future in space.  Dr. Elvis answered this question throughout both segments of today’s program, making it clear that he sees solutions and development through astronomy & commercial space, not NASA.  He began talking about our great space telescopes and the fact that the budgets are not there for such great tools and instruments to continue and be sustained, even to the tune of not being able to properly support the JWST.  He had much to say on rising costs, budgets and when I asked about priorities, he said how much is the right amount to make space exploration, science, even HSF, a priority?  What is their information worth compared to other worthy causes and uses for federal money?  This analysis has led him to understand the future rests with commercial space to pay for space programs and ventures rather than relying on government funds.  We then jumped into mining asteroids and the commercial potential of this emerging industry.  He talked about initial small markets, maybe 10 worthy asteroids for mining or possibly doubling that number given uncertainties and risks associated with the formula for estimating the number of commercially viable asteroids.  Do not miss this discussion as I am sure we will be referring to it frequently in future Space Show program discussions.  The size and type of asteroid matter as you will hear with mining needing at least a 100 meter wide asteroid in the billion dollar range with Delta V requirements that are cost effective for getting to and from the target.  Primarily we talked about water and PGM re asteroids.  Listeners asked questions about trillion dollar asteroids per press reports, he looked them up and said the Delta V to get there, land, etc., was simply too high, a fact often ignored by articles referencing potential asteroid value.  Doug emailed in about smaller asteroids, say 20 meters.  Dr. Elvis had much to say about the smaller asteroids and their mining potential as well.  Toward the end of the segment, we talked about regulatory and legal-illegal acts including the possibility of a competing company hijacking an asteroid for commercial purposes.  Don’t miss what he said about this.

In the second segment, we started with a call from Doug.  Doug and Martin had a log discussion as Doug wanted to compare mining potentials for asteroids and the Moon.  Later, we talked more about space telescopes and Doug wanted to know if Hubble could be pointed in the direction of the sun for specific reasons.  Later, we talked about Rosetta and P67.  B John in Sweden sent in lots of questions about why not mine the Moon rather than an asteroid.  Martin explained the value of going to an asteroid for mining and getting virgin scientific info over the Moon so listen to this discussion.  Other topics included economics, depressing prices of PGM here on Earth by bringing this material back to Earth, zero G issues, Pluto, Kuiper Belt Objects and more.

Please post comments/questions on TSS Blog above.  You can reach Dr. Elvis through me.

Comments»

1. Dwayne Day - August 24, 2014

Having listened to the program now, a few comments:

At the beginning of the program he mentions about planetary science (and also astronomy) that everybody wants to do everything all at once–Mars, Europa, comets and asteroids. What he should have also said was that because there are so many scientists who want to do different things they have developed a system for prioritizing what to do first, second, etc., and it works quite well. It’s called the decadal survey.

As a result of the DS, NASA is currently funding the highest priority mission, the Mars 2020 rover, and is studying the second highest, the Europa mission. It is also funding some smaller space missions. Preparing to hold a competition in the Discovery class and in a few years a competition in the New Frontiers class. It’s actually working out quite well. And compared to human spaceflight, the science community is pretty effective at setting goals and sticking to them. It’s not a chaotic system by any means. In fact, it is impressive how well it works.

Later in the program he mentioned the B612 Foundation and their proposal for a Sentinel spacecraft. This subject really got a drubbing at the SBAG meeting that he mentioned. They are seeking private funding and show no signs of having much of any money after several years of trying. In addition, some people at the meeting questioned their approach. The Sentinel proposal is to put a survey telescope inside of Earth’s orbit, nearer toward Venus’ orbit. However, this increases complexity. There are people who believe that it is unnecessary and that the proper way to do it is to put a less expensive and less complicated telescope out near a Lagrange point.

2. Kelly Starks - August 15, 2014

A comment related to folks steeling a ore bearing body. Its my understanding that its worse then he thinks. If company A finds a rick ore body. They can’t legally restrict others from using it and could only claim ownership to what they pick up — and legally both parties are ordered not to do anything to interfear with each others mining. HOWEVER, as soon as you do move it from where it was in space, you do legally own it. So if your hard rock claim jumpers get to the rich body before company A and moves it – as soon as they move it, it legally becomes the property of the jumpers. No one else can make any further claims on it or its materials.

Yeah, space law needs some work.

B John - August 16, 2014

Yes in the end it does need some work. But there’s no hurry since there’s no scarcity in space resources. People just don’t fly around moving other peoples asteroids. And it is quite futile now to speculate how they one day might do so. I don’t think space property law has any relevance at all to investments in ISRU this century. If Bigalow lands one of their hotels on the Moon, no one will come and break into it. Not until that investment has been economically written off. Lawyers have a reputation for making up unnecessary regulations, and ISRU space law might take the prize!

Traffic in Earth orbit is probably getting more important to law making. But the agreements in place seem to work well. Even throughout the cold war I don’t think there were any legal space conflicts.

3. Kelly Starks - August 15, 2014

Did the doctor publish tables or a book or such on the objects and their worth? I could really use it for reference for my (to damn long dithered with) book where I have a concept for large scale mining using polywell fusion powered ships – but not much idea of what there is out there and where to mine what I’m looking to sell.


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