Ice extracted from asteroids or lunar craters will not be competitive with fuel launched from Earth on reusable rockets costing fifty thousand dollars. This should concern us.
15 tons of high quality fuels trucked from sophisticated refineries in Houston then launched for $250,000 on Falcon 9s in Brownsvile will always outcompete expensive fuels cracked from water-ice extracted out of lunar craters using as of yet non-existent multi-billion dollar technologies. In fact, the ability to launch tons of fuels from Earth to LEO on reusable rockets may delay the development of in-space resource utilization for decades.
When Musk achieves reusable rockets, development of all near Earth resources may be delayed from any cislunar source – even unfortunately asteroids with their superior concentrations of ore and favorable zero g environment. This ironically however provides a reason for taxpayer support of asteroid retrieval: private/public research partnerships teleoperating on an asteroid in Earth orbit owned by all U.S. citizens (NASA) could jump-start technologies humanity will need to develop asteroids. Humanity needs access to asteroids long-term. Asteroids – not the moon – will fuel a billion-fold increase in our industrial base. Despite a huge disparity in initial cost-competition with launches from Earth, government subsidized R&D on asteroids placed in an elliptical orbit around Earth could advance for-profit Free World leadership of in-space resource utilization by decades.
When I had the idea for SpaceVR, I was sitting at a coworking desk. No team. No funding. Recently spent most of my money to move to San Francisco from Tampa, Florida. I wanted to do something I could spend my life on. Something that could really change the world.
During my research, I found a documentary called Overview. A beautifully done, short film interviewing astronauts about their experience in space. After enough interviews, it became clear that the experience of being in space wasn’t just an experience. It was a life changing event.
It changed them. They now understood something from direct exposure that we on Earth do not. They realized that the world we know and love, the world that we wake up and go to sleep on everyday is not significant. It’s small and delicate. Something to be fiercely protected.
We hear about issues every single day. Syrian refugees. School shootings. Short term policy decisions. Military overspending. Education underspending. We approach these issues like they have nothing to do with us. Like they only exist somewhere else.
I believe that we can bridge that gap. With as simple of an act as exposing the world to space through virtual reality, we will have the opportunity to know who we really are as a civilization. We can realize that this small world is ours and we can shape it into the beautiful paradise that we want.
Here we are today in front of you with ambitious hearts, a functioning prototype and a solid plan.
Let’s show the world that there are no limits. There are no borders. That anyone with a dream can change the world forever.
“I can remember thinking, truthfully, these words about twenty years ago: ‘That, unfortunately,
the space program is all dressed up – with no place to go’…now you might’a guessed, I don’t
believe that anymore. Now here’s what happened that changed my perspective. About ten
years ago I became part of a team at NASA that develops technologies to utilize resources in
space […] a robotosphere which will grow to have an economic output a million times that of
the United States. Imagine a million Americas in space. Then in just ten more years: America a
“We don’t have a resource problem. What we have is an imagination problem: it’s hard to imagine making a civilization that can access the resources of our solar system and bring them into the sphere of human activity.”
“The Robonaut Challenge calls on contestants to write algorithms that allow R2 to interact with a training dashboard the space agency built.”
“R2 is meant to contribute back to the ISS by freeing the astronauts up to do more scientific research and the more difficult tasks,” Allison Thackston of the Robonaut team tells Mashable via email. “We measure our cost savings in crew hours saved, which translates into more important scientific and engineering research being done.”
“Eventually, the goal is to get R2 to take on even more of the mundane tasks currently undertaken by astronauts, freeing up the astronauts to spend more time with hands-on experimentation. The robot is slated to get an additional set of arms, which the team calls “legs.” They should allow R2 to take care of simple cleaning tasks, among other routine responsibilities.”
“The faster we develop near-Earth telepresence, the more quickly we will send humans
beyond cislunar space – to the only destinations it makes sense to send humans:
Mars, Mercury, the Asteroid Belt, the Outer Solar System, and beyond.”