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Dr. Tony Milligan, Monday, 3-30-15 March 31, 2015

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Dr. Tony Milligan, Monday, 3-30-15


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Guest:  Dr. Tony Milligan.  Topics:  Dr. Milligan’s new book, “Nobody Owns the Moon: The Ethics of Space Exploitation” plus commercial space development ethical issues.  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. Tony Milligan to the show to discuss his new book, “Nobody Owns the Moon:  The Ethics of Space Exploitation.”  Note that at approximately 1 hour 47 minutes into the program we lost our guest.  I took a short break and was able to get him back with us for the final ten minutes of our 1 hour 58 minute discussion.  In the first segment of the show, Dr. Milligan introduced us to the book and the topic from a moral and ethical perspective.  He said that he was in the middle range from not wanting any space development activity for ethical reasons to uncontrolled commercial development as in free market activity.  He said we had an obligation to do it right but defining what right meant was challenging.  I asked him about enforcement and that turned out to be a significant discussion topic for most of our program.  I took an early call from Kris in Wyoming who challenged our guest on all levels given his wanting to put a thorium reactor on the Moon, dispose of thorium waste inside a crater, and fuel a lunar settlement.  Kris and Tony went back and forth on the issues, approvals that should be required, trivial versus non-trivial, who decides or makes the decisions.  Tony cited the Sphinx and Pyramids to make a point which Kris and others rejected during their give and take and the show.  One of the issues that kept coming up was that the celestial item in discussion had cultural significance which Tony worked to define.  Many emails were received and discussed regarding cultural significance issues, the comparisons to terrestrial monuments and a celestial body, plus the point that the development on the Moon or Mars would not be visible from Earth so why should it matter.  See if you agree with Dr. Milligan on the visibility issue.  We talked about Ch. 7 in his book on mining off world.  Trivial and non-trivial pursuits came up again as our guest would not be inclined to approve a trivial pursuit but if it was significant, it would probably be approved.  Of course who decides if a project is trivial or not and then attempts to enforce all of this remains an issue.  Michael Listner called in and largely supported our guest saying this discussion was highly relevant.  We also talked about the NASA ARM mission , lunar protection, and more.

In the second segment, Tim from Huntsville was our first caller. He misread the bio for our guest but wanted to talk about vandalism and other issues but they were descriptive used for another book written by Dr. Milligan.  More emails came in including from Doug wanting to know who or by what process the Moon was assigned value and are there other countries where one could go to do commercial activities in space without regard to the issues our guest was speaking about.  Don’t miss Tony’s response to both of Doug’s questions.  Kirk wanted to know if Tony thought there was a difference in speaking about these issues in Europe as compared to the U.S. , then Doug called to talk with Tony about striking a balance and getting Tony to say what he would and would not be willing to approve.  In this discussion the cultural value of the Moon came up as Doug asked if he would approve this or that project.  Of course this means that Tony, someone else or some organization would have the approval or disapproval power based on certain criteria that may or may not be objective or to the liking of the entrepreneur for reasons totally contrary to the project’s goals.  Doug talked about the rational man standard but even that can be subjective as everyone always believes they are being rational.  I used as an example the current nuclear talks with Iran.  From the Iranian perspective, their demands are rational and in keeping with their “rational man” standards but not ours.  Michael Listner emailed in about the Apollo landing sites NASA guidelines.  Other emails came in including one four part note from Ken.  Tony responded to Ken with one consolidated answer for all his four questions.  Perhaps Ken will post his questions on the blog though I read the email on air.  Tim called back about the time we lost Tony on the call. Tim wanted to talk about Common Heritage of Mankind and benefit sharing plus the UN but Tony was already off the call.  I paused the discussion to get Tony back on the line for the last ten minutes of our show.  When Tony came back on we talked about the differences in the Moon and Mars regarding ethical issues, settlement as being trivial or non-trivial, and that only non-trivial pursuits should be permitted.  In the end, our guest said his book was meant to open these discussions and that all sides should be represented and have a voice, even those poorer nations that cannot access or do anything with space though he did not say they should have an equal voice to the space fairing nations.  As the program was ending, I asked Dr. Milligan about his upcoming book which will be an edited volume on these issues featuring both sides to the argument.  For sure we will invited Dr. Milligan back when that book is available.

Post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Dr. Milligan through me or his University of Hertfordshire website.  If you buy his book, please do so through the OGLF Amazon portal so that Amazon will contribute to The Space Show. Instructions are on all website archived summaries as well as the blog archive summaries.