Move over NASA and make room for the TVA of spaceDeep Space Industries and Planetary Resources; Golden Spike, which plans commercializing lunar exploration; and Bigelow Aerospace would be joined by many other firms doing even more exciting things if financing were available and if there were a clear legal framework for space industrial development.
The US can take the global lead in commercial space development through the formation of a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) of space development to accelerate space industrialization. TVA was formed in May 1933 as a federally chartered corporation to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in an area of the US particularly hard hit by the Great Depression. Space is in an analogous situation. There is an extraordinary abundance of identified resources to meet the needs of nations around the world for energy and sustained job-creating growth. There is no current development of space resources to meet human needs even through rooms full of plans have been crafted to do so and thousands of presentations have been made at countless conferences around the globe.
What would be the benefits of the formation of a “corporation for space development” (CSD) that is separate from NASA? Among many other questions is whether to form CSD on the model of TVA or that of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT), initially formed in 1964 as an intergovernmental consortium to foster telecommunications using satellites and privatized after 37 years of operation.
Space industrialization and the G20
In our recent essay here (see “Back to the future: Space and escaping the gravitational pull of economic crisis”, The Space Review, November 19, 2012), we suggested that space industrialization can pull the world out of economic crisis. The heightened interest in space, resulting not only from the Chelyabinsk event but also from achievements and developments in commercial space, suggest that the topic of space industrialization has a reasonable chance of being considered on the agenda of the G20. There are multiple upcoming meetings of various G20 working groups primarily in Russia, but also in Washington, Geneva, and Paris. Space development advocacy groups should be able to find ways to present their views to delegates to these various sessions that come before the September Summit. What’s needed is a position statement similar to the NSS-Kalam SBSP initiative launched on November 4, 2010.
Below is a draft position statement for presentation to the G20. We welcome comments and suggestions.
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In fact, General Bolden actually pleaded with Congress not “pour money into NEO detection and characterization,” saying “that would not be the right thing to do.”
Despite the heightened sense of awareness due to the recent meteor that caused a 300-500 kiloton airblast over Russia and the record-setting close encounter with asteroid 2012 DA14, General Bolden said that “the probability of any sizable NEO impacting Earth any time in the next 100 years is extremely remote.” Therefore, according to Bolden, “This is not an issue that we should worry about in the near term.”
...The current interest in planetary defense could provide an opportunity for such leadership. Unfortunately, General Bolden seems to be squandering that opportunity. This is not the first time the General has failed to make the case for a strong, yet cost-effective, space program before Congress. We can only hope that he starts to act more like a fighter pilot and less like a political appointee who doesn’t really want the job.
Survival in Space Unprotected Is Possible--Brieflyhttp://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=survival-in-space-unprotected-possible&WT.mc_id=SA_Facebook&WT.mc_id=SA_emailfriend
In reality, however, animal experiments and human accidents have shown that people can likely survive exposure to vacuum conditions for at least a couple of minutes. Not that you would remain conscious long enough to rescue yourself, but if your predicament was accidental, there could be time for fellow crew members to rescue and repressurize you with few ill effects.
Vacuums are indeed lethal: Under extremely low pressure air trapped in the lungs expands, tearing the tender gas-exchange tissues. This is especially grave if you are holding your breath or inhaling deeply when the pressure drops. Water in the soft tissues of your body vaporizes, causing gross swelling, though the tight seal of your skin would prevent you from actually bursting apart. Your eyes, likewise, would refrain from exploding, but continued escape of gas and water vapor leads to rapid cooling of the mouth and airways.