OSIRIS-REx, launched in September of 2016, returns this month! On September 24, the spacecraft will drop its payload into Earth orbit and continue on to the asteroid Apophis for more work. The payload capsule, with its 8.8 ounces of the asteroid Bennu, will deorbit and land in the Utah desert later that morning.
Human activity on the Moon will increase dramatically in the next decade. This article provides a concise view why.
A subplot in the forthcoming book, Water, involves a cousin on Earth who’s dad gets an assignment at the south pole of the Moon, studying ice cores for a new mine.
This is interesting. A group of researchers developed an agent-based model of a Martian colony “to explore the psychological, social, technological, economic, and logistical factors that would influence the long-term viability of a human Martian settlement.”
They found that the minimum number of individuals needed to create a colony with a stable population was much smaller than one might anticipate: 22.
The population of Dawn, in my books, is around 5000. I’ve worried that this might be too small for self-sufficiency. The fact that this model suggests 22 individuals are enough for population stability (albeit with regular shipments from Earth) suggests otherwise.
The personality categorization used in the model is necessarily blunt. People are, of course, more complicated than what can be modeled in an agent-based system like this one. However, based on the characters I’ve written in Generation Mars, I think that if one were to attempt to categorize the population of Dawn in a similar way, it would lean heavily in the direction the model suggests as most likely to survive: agreeable, social, with a creative approach to life.
This is a long read, but worthwhile. It is not hyperbole to say that Starship will change everything. And it will happen faster than the current space industry is prepared to adapt.
From the article:
“There are still major risks on the critical path between now and a fully reusable Starship, but no miracles are required to solve them.
Starship will change the way we do business in space, and now is the time to start preparing.
Annual capacity to LEO climbs from its current average of 500 T for the whole of our civilization to perhaps 500 T per week. Eventually, it could exceed 1,000,000 T/year. At the same time, launch costs drop as low as $50/kg, roughly 100x lower than the present. For the same budget in launch, supply will have increased by roughly 100x. How can the space industry saturate this increased launch supply?
Prior to Starship, heavy machinery for building a Moon base could only come from NASA, because only NASA has the expertise to build a rocket propelled titanium Moon tractor for a billion dollars per unit. After Starship, Caterpillar or Deere or Kamaz can space qualify their existing commodity products with very minimal changes and operate them in space.
Even if the space industry fully understood Starship, I think it would be very difficult for them to plan and adapt rapidly enough to match the coming explosion in launch capacity.”
I want to go to there. All the “theres”.
Maybe I should submit the design of my surface suits…
Though, to be fair, my suits are a fictional combination of the ideas of Dava Newman and Kava Manyapu. But I came up with the waste disposal mechanism (capillary action through the compression layer into a pad beneath the outer layer, which can be changed).