Broadcast 1279 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

22 Dec 2009 Thomas A Ligon, Michael Simon
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Guests: Tom Ligon; Michael Simon. Topics: Polywell fusion, fusion, space propulsion. Tom Ligon returned to The Space Show and we welcomed Michael Simon to update us on the Dr. Bussard fusion program with Polywell Fusion and more. We started our first segment with an overview of Dr. Bussard's fusion work.. Our gusts brought us current with the status of the EMC2 Fusion Development Corporation and explained Polywell Fusion, the concept of using Proton Boron-11 (PB-11) fuel, along with the idea of using HE3 on the Moon. Our second segment led off with a call from Jack inquiring about the fusion work by Dr. George Miley at the University of Ill as well as a timeline for the applied research demonstrator. Tom and Simon then described as much as they could about the contracts and funding for Polywell Fusion and the use of PB-11. Much of what is known is classified so our briefing was a general update. Jack also inquired about a possible hybrid with fission and fusion reactors. As Jack attended the Ares 1X test flight, he shared with us what he saw and his perceptions of that launch. As we neared the end of the second segment, the issue of climate change and the need for fusion cam up as did peak oil. Regardless of one's position or thoughts on climate change, it makes total sense and should be an objective of us all to move toward clean and powerful fusion energy, not just for our terrestrial power needs, but for the positive differences it would make in space access and propulsion. In our third and final segment which was extended, our guests talked about the commercial potential of Polywell and the fact that there was no patent on the Polywell. Don't miss this discussion. Throughout the show and particularly in this segment, we fielded several questions from John about using HE3, the problems related to using PB-11 as a fuel, SSP, and other fusion issues. Our guests thought that if PB-11 could be confirmed, it would probably be so cost effective and abundant that it would render these other power ideas and HE3 unnecessary. The issue of fusion funding came up and as you will hear, more than $10 billion has been invested in traditional fusion and many millions have been invested in alternative fusion such as the Polywell. This led to a discussion about the tokomaks, their usefulness and contribution to the fusion efforts so far, and how research money is spent on fusion. Several of the smaller fusion efforts were mentioned and our guests said that the success of any one of them stands to change humanity and while everyone hopes for their effort to be successful, the success of any of these methods would be a huge step forward. The nuclear rocket came up for discussion and Tom talked about the pioneering work on the nuclear rocket by Dr. Bussard. A Denver listener emailed in a question about extraordinary claims and rhetoric needing extraordinary proof and this became an important part of our discussion, not just for fusion but for science, climate issues, politics, healthcare, etc. I asked the question again that I ask on air all the time and that is how can we the people avoid the spin, the rhetoric, the misleading hype because we don't have the time to do due diligence on every single thing. If you have a solution to this problem, let us hear from you. Toward the end of the segment, a listener asked about WB 8 and 8.1 being built to use PB-11. By the way, we learned that WB stands for Wiffle Ball and you will want to hear this explanation. There are several websites to check out for more information on this subject:;;; and To contact Tom Ligon and Michael Simon, use for Tom and for Simon, use msimon6808 at yahoo d*t com.



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