Broadcast 3671 Davide Sivolella

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Guest:  Davide Sivolella;  Topics:  We discussed Davide's new book, "Space Mining & Manufacturing" plus the makeup of this up and coming industry.  Our guest linked it all to benefiting Earth to solve the declining Earth environmental conditions (many of them).  Post your comments on our blog with your thoughts on this.

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We welcomed back to the show Davide Sivolella to discuss his new book which you can purchase on Amazon, "Space Mining and Manufacturing:  Off-World Resources and Revolutionary Engineering Techniques."  As we started the discussion, our guest strongly suggested that we link these essential space activities to improving conditions here on Earth for everyone.  This was important because as you will hear later in the program, Davide talked about how essential it was to bring the general public on board with space mining, resources usage and even bringing back resources for the benefit of us all here.

Early on Davide started making the case that we need these space activities because Earth's environment was deteriorating due to human causation, climate concern, scarcity issues and much more.  He talked about the space activities being necessary to help change the direction we were taking Earth regarding the decline and to no less save the Earth or at least strongly mitigate the damage being done to the Earth through the use of space development.  Much of the program was based on these early comments as Davide drew from the book economic examples and other information used as being instrumental in helping reverse the downward slide for our planet.  He talked about climate change, pollution, damage to our biosphere, and more.  When he got to the part about needing raw materials to help avoid scarcity problems and economics here on Earth, he pointed out that while Earth had limited supplies of what humans need, we could get unlimited supplies form space.

Listeners asked our guest multiple questions about costs and economics.  For example, one listener wanted to know how mining and manufacturing in space could possibly be cost effective when bringing the items back to Earth. Don't miss how Davide responded to this question.  For the most part Davide said we needed to test out ideas and see what worked and did not work to know if this or that one was actually feasible. Our guest was advocating a type of in space and on the job testing which would include testing for economic value. 

As the discussion moved on, listener Bob mentioned that for the most part, environmentalists were not supportive of space program, especially the launch part.  Listen to what Davide said in response to this comment.  For the most part, they reply centered around the need to prove that there was a benefit for all here on Earth per his earlier commentary.  Post your thoughts about this on our blog.

Our TRL levels came up a few times during the program.  Davide indicated we were still in the R&D phase but as we started doing things, slowing moving out with initial mining or mfg possibilities such as the 3D printing already happening, our skill sets would improve rapidly, thus advancing us to a higher TRL level.  Davide mentioned multiple examples to support what he was talking about. 

The who pays question kept coming up during the show.  Davide used the international ITER reactor as an example to urge financing through an international consortium similar to the financing for ITER.  He had more to say so don't miss all of this thread.  Our guest integrated private sector financing into the projects  but since this was in the category of needed infrastructure, he saw a strong role for government and consortium financing.

Davide was asked about timelines or what would happen first.  He suggested mining on the Moon, then asteroid mining. He listed examples and some details that would support his preference for early prioritization.  As for manufacturing, he talked about microchips and told us about and 1980's GE example with the auto industry.  He said that for space, the fact that it was a vacuum was a real benefit and advantage over Earth-based manufacturing.

Jerry from Denver asked our guest for his thoughts on space settlement.  Following the settlement discussion, Marshall called to talk about space junk/debris in orbit, the need to recycle and questioned if there were recycling plans for the ISS.  Given what Davide and Marshall talked about, I asked Davide for the biggest challenges and roadblocks to his goals as specified in his book and in our discussion.  He suggested that government was he biggest challenge, then he said it was also a huge challenge to get the general population on board.  Taking a lead from other Space Show programs where the general population questions has come up, I asked our guest what percentage of the general population had to be on board to be effective.  I was looking for a specific percentage.  Please listen to the discussion to find out if I got the specific percentage answer.

As we were nearing the end of the program, Bill questioned the economic cost benefits of what Davide was suggesting.  Davide talked about prices coming down, the lower costs of the F9 launcher and he mentioned planned technologies for debris mitigation, an orbital space tug and more.  Davide did say costs had to come down even further but we were going in the right direction.

Just before ending the program, a listener asked what Europe, Scandinavia and the UK were doing towards the goals Davide talked about and wrote about in his book.  Be sure to hear the short summary of activity in the UK, Europe, other nations, and Scandinavia.  In the end, he said the bulk of everything he wrote about and was talking about was coming from the U.S.  At this point I received a news alert that NASA had selected SpaceX for the manned lunar lander.  We discussed this plus Ft. Worth John called in to talk about it.  After this discussion, which by the way I connected to what Davide had written about in his book and talked about on the show, our guest provided us with a good summary and overview of our discussion and his book.  Remember, if you buy the book from Amazon, please use the large Amazon button in the center of our homepage so that Amazon will contribute a percentage of the purchase price to The Space Show.

Please post your comments/questions for Davide Sivolella on our blog for this show.  You can reach our guest through me.

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Davide's new book, "Space Mining and Manufacturing"

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16 Apr 2021 Davide Sivolella
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