The video above is from one of my more elaborate talks at the Mars Society Conference in 2016. It focused on the type of economy that would be ideal for a space settlement, and how that informed designs for education, currency, and creating a robust, independent culture with a tiny population. (I wondered after seeing that frame grab what the heck I was saying that made me gesture like a politician. I was explaining how the cryptocurrency Etherium works around the 6:40 mark.)
I spoke at the October 2020 virtual Mars Society Conference.
Videos of the latest talks are now available! Click the titles below. Under each presentation description is a link to a PDF of my slides, if they are difficult to see on YouTube.
Description and Slides
Terraforming a whole planet and transferring an ecosystem is a very high technical and scientific wall. This is a practical intermediate approach that allows ecosystems to be selected, managed and refined in a canyon the size of Lake Erie on the Mars equator. This talk is roughly equal parts biology and architecture.
Using Starship components and simple frameworks, it is a fairly simple, scalable, modular path to build "self-feeding" deep space settlements from LEO to the asteroid belt using common components. These can be scaled from ten to 10,000 people.
My entry for the Mars Settlement Competition 2019, where entries were expected to solve the problems with building a 1000 person settlement on Mars. This was my entry.
PDF of Paper
The Kindle and Print versions of the top 21 entries were published on Amazon in a book called Mars Colonies: Plans for Settling the Red Planet. On February 7, Robert Zubrin presented a copy personally to Elon Musk at Bocca Chica. I'm delighted at the prospect that he may make it to chapter six and see my work.
This picks up on a thought Elon Musk put out on Twitter that we should send clouds of small space probes all over the solar system, particularly past asteroids, using a disposable version of Starship to launch them. This goes through all the low-cost technologies currently being used in low Earth orbit, and what a Starlink world and solar system would look like.
How does SpaceX innovate so quickly, and why does NASA seem so slow in comparison? When will SpaceX deliver on future promises based on past history? A quick, no-nonsense analysis of the root causes, implications, and methods of SpaceX. NOTE: This talk was picked up by Next Big Future and has been viewed on YouTube over 10,000 times. Thanks!
Now that heavy, affordable launch is becoming a reality, the next major objection to Mars settlement will be planetary protection (preventing Mars germs from getting to Earth, or Earth microbes from getting to Mars and interfering with the hunt for life there). This presentation looks at the situation objectively to find a path for Mars surface settlement with the least risk of either situation. Fortunately, this is also one of the easiest ways to set up early settlements.
While the early stages of the NewSpace revolution are in place, what projects could be done to expand human activity into deep space as soon as possible, with minimal cost and risk? This talk examines a few options that could be launched in the next few years.
This presentation examines the nature of technology revolutions, and the nature of the next revolution in space technology. It goes on to predict the nature of our expansion into the solar system, using principles from past technology revolutions.
What happens when you combine blockchain cryptocurrency, phased intellectual property cycles, distributism, and space settlement? This methodology can up space economies in a way that avoids past failures, while creating an engine for innovation and growth for rapid independence from Earth.
This is a concept for a highly modular space factory in high lunar orbit for use in rapidly advancing prototype technologies for asteroid mining, lunar settlement, Martian settlement, and deep space settlement. Equipment can be repurposed and prototyped rapidly and efficiently in near-proximity to Earth, while the base itself slowly grows and splits into the first independent asteroid mining craft, cyclers, and logistics depots for the solar system. In short, it deals with all the gaps in the L5 Society concept of going from Apollo directly to massive space settlements. It breaks the intermediate steps into efficient, minimal chunks for rapid start and efficient expansion from a single small lab to a full space settlement economy.
This is the breakdown of the challenges of space settlement, and a path of least resistance to achieving it. This talk is the forerunner of the two talks, above.
This talk gets into the economic and communication issues of space settlement and how they change the game. Just as standard rules of gravity and resource availability are disrupted when one leaves Earth, other rules of globalism, technology, and communication are set back up to 300 years or are entirely new. I originally gave this talk at the second 100 Year Starship Symposium in Houston, which explains the emphasis on starships at a Mars Society Conference. Worth watching just to see me getting progressively more annoyed with the squeaky door in the University of Colorado: Boulder classroom. Like the videos below, I intend to re-record this later.
Why do we explore, and who are we? This talk roots through the historic western cosmologies over the past 2500 years and how they still influence us today. This was originally presented at the first 100 Year Starship symposium and was published as a paper in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.
Below are links to older talks. I plan to re-record these to YouTube and replace these links with updated versions.
Space_Settlement Habitat Designs
Description and Slides
This discusses a minimal, cosmic ray protected shelter that could keep two people alive on Mars indefinitely. The shelters would be a bit like farmhouses, clustered into rows that would serve as a decentralized settlement. Permaculture and aquaponics would create a small river/grove the size of a barn with a novel solar collection system. Having a bit of nature close to the settlers would also diminish homesickness and contribute to psychological health.
Low Earth Orbit is a shooting range of space junk. This concept stores reinforced ice rather than liquid hydrogen and oxygen on orbit to protect against hazards, and also protect a crew from cosmic rays.
Building on the microcolony concept, above, what if these systems were modular, scalable, and portable? This concept started when Ayako Ono and I were approached by some college students from Peru who wanted to make a version of Mars Desert Research Station for the Atacama Desert. I created this concept in a few weeks. I also realized that the design could be adapted to anything from a mobile Earthship-type dreamhouse, a cabin, or a whole subdivision or city. Each home could be off-grid, self-sustaining for food, and interconnected logistically. It's an ideal community for both Earth and Mars.
One issue, with both real and simulated spacesuits on the surface of the Moon or Mars, is where you carry your stuff. This study was based on Kent’s work as commander of Crew 124.
Modular Mini Mission Modules – Unfortunately, the convention camera was aimed at me and not the slides, so this speech is very difficult to follow.
Time Lapse video of our crew building the new Science Dome at Mars Desert Research Station.
For the NASA Hack Night at Adler Planetarium, this Creative Commons License project. Basically a set of ideas revolving around using the limited perception of a spacesuit occupant, then augmenting it with AR, Drone, AI, and telepresence technologies to make the astronaut environmentally hypersensitive rather than isolated.