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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


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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.

The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 1-22-14 January 23, 2014

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The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 1-22-14


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Guests: John Batchelor, Dr. Martin Elvis, Dr. David Livingston.  Topics:  Asteroid mining as a commercially viable option.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written 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 do not permit the commercial use of any Space Show program or part thereof, nor do we permit Space Show programs to be edited, placed on YouTube, or other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted in news articles, papers, academic & research work but must be cited or referenced in the proper citation format. Contact Dr. Livingston for questions about our copyright and trademark policies which we do enforce.  This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com.  Remember, your Amazon Purchases Can Help Support The Space Show/OGLF (www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm).

During our 11 minute plus discussion, John, Dr. Elvis & I discussed the work done by Dr. Elvis in mathematically figuring out the potential number of commercially viable asteroids.  During the segment, he explains how he created his formula, he went through key assumptions with us, we talked about Delta V needed to reach the asteroids, the Delta V for the return trip with ore on board, and showing how this determines the minimum size for an asteroid of commercial value. He also said his analysis is probably on the conservative side and with more data, he can refine his analysis.  I am listing the URLs and articles that have reported on his work as he publication gave his work a different slant:  BBC:  The headline gives the wrong impression, though the article is fair enough (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25716103).   Dr Elvis told BBC News: “I want to stress that my paper does not mean that there is no commercial future for asteroid mining. It does mean that gold mines are rare, which shouldn’t be too surprising. Not every mountain on Earth hides a fortune, and not every flying mountain in space will either.” New Scientist had it first:  www.newscientist.com/article/dn24696-alienhunting-equation-revamped-for-mining-asteroids.html#.Utf6F3kTs2Q.  Wired.co.uk:  www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-01/14/asteroid-mining-not-viable where they correctly say “Elvis does, however, continually point out in his research paper that the estimates are conservative, and that far more work needs to be done to improve upon these predictions. In fact, the paper is more of a call to action that a warning from a naysayer.”  Newser: www.newser.com/story/180656/there-are-only-10-asteroids-worth-mining.html;  Mining.com also has a good summary: www.mining.com/is-space-mining-commercially-viable-22553; They are all picking up off Slashdot (http://beta.slashdot.org/story/196587).   100s of comments, not all really to the point. Slashdot got it from a good summary at medium.com (https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/e0063699d199).

Please post any comments/questions you might have on The Space Show blog.  You can contact any of  us through drspace@thespaceshow.com.