The use of extraterrestrial resources to help facilitate space science and exploration

Space Resources for Astronomy (NASA)

An RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting

To be held on Friday 8 April 2016 at the Geological Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. Organised by Prof. Ian Crawford (Birkbeck College London), Dr Martin Elvis (Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), and Dr James Carpenter (European Space Agency). Contact:

To-date, all human economic activity has depended on the material and energy resources of a single planet, and it has long been recognized that developments in space exploration could in principle open our closed planetary economy to external resources of energy and raw materials. Recently, there has been renewed interest in these possibilities, with several private companies established with the stated aim of exploiting extraterrestrial resources. Space science and exploration are among the potential beneficiaries of space resources because they may permit the construction and operation of scientific facilities in space that would be unaffordable if all the required material and energy resources had to be lifted out of Earth's gravity. Examples may include the next generation of large space telescopes, sample return missions to the outer Solar System, and human research stations on the Moon and Mars. This meeting will explore these issues, and will provide an opportunity for space scientists and emerging space industrialists to discuss mutually advantageous possibilities.

09:30       COFFEE
10:00       Ian Crawford       Birlbeck College London       Introduction/Welcome
10:05       Martin Elvis       Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics       What can space resources do for astronomy?
10:30       Paul Spudis       Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston       The Moon as an enabling asset for spaceflight
10:55       Olivier de Weck       Massachusetts Institute Institute of Technology       Detour to the Moon: How lunar resources can save up to 68% of launch mass to Mars
11:20       Phil Metzger       University of Central Florida       Using ice for planetary surface propulsion: A strategic technology to initiate space industry
11:45       Jim Keravala       Shackleton Energy       Accelerating space science and exploration in partnership with commercial resource utilisation
12:10       James Carpenter       European Space Agency       Lunar resources: Exploration enabling science
12:25             LUNCH      
13:30       Simeon Barber       The Open University       PROSPECT: ESA's lunar resource prospecting tool as a precursor to lunar science and exploration
13:45       Vibha Srivastava       The Open University       Microwave processing of lunar soil for supporting longer-term exploration missions on the Moon
14:00       Manuel Grande       Aberystwyth University       Asteroid mining: What's in it for planetary science?
14:15       Colin Snodgrass       The Open University       Searching for water in asteroids
14:30       Colin McInnes       Glasgow University       Near Earth asteroid capture dynamics, material sorting and utilisation for large on-orbit reflectors
14:45       Michael Johnson       Imperial College London/       Replenishing prepositioned spacecraft-on-demand printers
15:00       Ian Crawford       Birkbeck College London       The long-term scientific benefits of space infrastructure
15:15             DISCUSSION      
15:30             END      

Abstracts of the talks are available here.

NB. Attendance at RAS Specialist Discussion meetings is free for RAS Fellows. Non-members will need to register at the door for a fee of 15 (5 for students). Further details are available at the RAS Meeting website.