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Showing posts from November, 2008

Another message on space to Pres-elect Obama

What I'm posting to Obama's new Change.gov site:

Create a NEW PATH INTO SPACE, challenging NASA to begin delivering robots, equipment and materials to the moon by the beginning of 2011, using the ARES I rocket. The robots *must* be controlled by human operators on Earth, creating tremenduous flexibility. The ultimate goal will be extraction and use of lunar resources to reduce the amount of material that must be launched from Earth in the future, slashing the cost of access to space.

Establish a "STEPPING STONE TO SPACE" program, in which any group - academic, commerical, or even private volunteers - will be able to purchase or obtain a grant of time using the lunar robots and equipment, or space on a robotic delivery to the moon. Announcing this early should get a lot of people excited, including small for-profit companies, if NASA establishes a series of prizes and contracts aimed at encouraging development of useful lunar capabilities.

Finally, begin AIMING F…

Proposed Presidential Vision and Plan for NASA

Proposed Presidential Vision and Five Point Plan for re-directing NASA to more sensible, efficient and far-sighted human-in-space operations :

1) Challenge NASA with a new PLAN FOR SPACE - to begin delivering robots, supplies and equipment to the moon within TWO YEARS. The robots should be simple but dextrous, durable and repairable - in order to carry out a mission of long-term exploration, research and development focused on establishing industrial production capabilities on the moon. Since the moon is relatively close, the robots will be directly (though remotely) controlled by human operators on Earth. Controlling the robots will be tedious and slow, due to radio communication delays between Earth and the moon. But one remote controlled robot, operated in 24-7 shifts, should be able to accomplish at least as much per day as one space-suited human, and keep at it for years (with repairs), at roughly 1/100th the cost of a "manned" program and with no peril to human lif…

To the Moon, Alice!

My pet space project - take advantage of the moon being only light-seconds away and always facing Earth. Immediately start launching robots to set up an industrial base there.

They could be quite simple robots initially. No need to build in *any* AI - they can be remotely controlled by human operators on Earth. We could download AI software as we develop it later, to reduce the inconvenience of the light-speed delay.

Of course they won't be as capable as humans on site. Though humans would be encumbered by space suits. And they'd be limited to a few hours work outside each day. And of course, each human would require many (many) tons of life-support equipment as well as a reliable ride home in case things go wrong.

While each remote controlled robot would probably be 10x slower than a human on site, they can work 24 hours (with multiple shifts of operators on Earth), so they'll get about the same amount done per day, for perhaps 1/100th the cost.

If we started from s…