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Dr. Ian Crawford, Friday, 5-29-15 May 30, 2015

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Dr. Ian Crawford, Friday, 5-29-15

Dr. Haym Benaroya, Co-host

Download his paper here:  http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbiac/Lunar_resources_review_preprint_accepted_manuscript.pdf


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Guests:  Dr. Ian Crawford, Dr. Haym Benaroya.  Topics:  Lunar resource and policy.  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 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. Ian Crawford to the program to discuss his work and paper “Lunar Resources: A Review.”  This paper can be found on The Space Show blog for this date and show, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  In addition, Dr. Haym Benaroya co-hosted the program with me.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 20 minute discussion, Dr. Crawford explained the motivation behind his research plus I asked him about any surprises he came upon during his research.  Two areas that surprised him included Platinum Group Metals (PGM) and helium three (HE3).  He referred to HE3 several times but he discussed it in more detail in the second segment so I will defer until then.  We talked at length as to why the Moon was of interest. He talked about the scientific value of the Moon as well as learning how to do things in space that we will need later on gong to Mars or other destinations.  He said the Moon was resource rich but that we were only beginning to learn what we can do on the Moon and how to benefit from its resources.  Both our guests were asked if we were nearing the maximum point of benefit for remote sensing lunar operations.  The answer was yes but we were not there yet as more improvements in HD resolution and other areas are yet to be realized.  That said, robotic lunar exploration is now available as is human exploration.  Both Haym and Ian said the format for lunar exploration would likely need to be public private partnerships, even with international missions.  They also said we need to start doing it now. Haym said it was a bootstrap type of process and Ian said it was a learn as you do process.  On the job lunar training!  Haym also mentioned that 3D printing and robotic systems would lead the way before humans.  He also suggested they might evolve to the point that they can do construction so astronauts going to the Moon do not have to be “construction workers.”  As the segment was ending, Ian was asked about the needed legal infrastructure to commercialize lunar resources.  He had much to say about this before the segment ended.  As the segment was ended, an 11th hour question was asked about making rocket fuel from water ice & could we do it today.

In the second segment, Doug from S. California called & wanted to know if there was any resource needed for settlement on the Moon that was completely lacking or unavailable on the Moon.  Ian said it was a complicated answer given that a resource might be there but the needed energy to use it might make it impractical. He said for a long time to come we would be making things on Earth and importing Earth products to the Moon but as Haym said earlier, it would be a bootstrapping and learn as you go and do process.  Ian then talked about the solar wind and its deposits of material in the lunar soil such as nitrogen, HE3 and more.  He talked some about polar ice, then told us why he did not think there was an economic case for HE3 and that its claims were vastly overstated.  Doug got in a question about inflatable lunar structures and Haym said they would need to be made rigid but otherwise a good way to start.  Doug did not like the Caterpillar analogy for lunar mining equipment given such equipment would not look like Earth equipment, especially since here on Earth equipment works in 1G.  We talked about the likelihood that companies like Caterpillar would still have their orange paint and logo on the Moon because if there was an equipment business case to be made, existing companies would likely want to compete in that market & Caterpillar is an industry leader.  Near the end of the discussion, Frank sent in a question asking him about his comments in his paper about cis-lunar being the first market available for exploitation.  Ian responded to Frank’s question so don’t miss the answer.  Jane emailed in asking if there was a resource case to be made for HSF to Mars.  Another Frank emailed in from Dallas asking about U.S. space leadership and could the international community carry on a robust lunar development program with the U.S. sitting on the sidelines.  Dr. Crawford talked for some time addressing this issue.  He also pointed to additional resources by checking out the Global Exploration Strategy and The International Space Exploration Coordination Group.  The latter has a document on its website outlining the major benefits of space exploration, www.globalspaceexploration.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Benefits-Stemming-from-Space-Exploration-2013.pdf.  Before the program ended, he was asked about using asteroid resources so don’t miss his response on this timely topic.  In closing comments, Haym made the case for the Moon being the logical next step on our space development timeline.  Ian supported those comments adding even more rational to what Dr. Benaroya said.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  You can reach Dr. Crawford or Dr. Benaroya through their university websites or me.