Broadcast 3229 Dr. Haym Benaroya

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Guest:  Dr. Haym Benaroya; Topics:  Lunar space policy, planning a lunar mission, habitats, Mars, advocacy and more.

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We welcomed back Dr. Haym Benaroya to discuss our lunar policy, returning to the Moon, planning a human lunar return mission, commercial lunar market potential, advocacy action and more. During the first segment of our two segment two hour six minute discussion, Dr. Benaroya and I discussed our lunar return mission, the need for mission planning and the apparent absence of substantial pre-planning mission requirements making us both have doubt about our return to the Moon policy..  Dr. Benaroya suggested that given the absence of real mission planning, that perhaps our lunar return efforts were not that serious.  What do you think?  Please let us know by posting on the blog.

Listeners asked our guest about his assessment of the actual TRL for returning to the Moon.  Here, Haym answered by breaking it into a technology TRL and a human factors TRL.  Don't miss what he said regarding each sector.  He was also asked if he saw a lunar human spaceflight commercial path with an ROI in the near to intermediate term.  In addition, Haym was asked about the possibility of just skipping the human lunar return and going to Mars.  Our guest had much to say about this as he did not think a humans to Mars mission was feasible at this time.  Don't miss all of this discussion. 

Kim called the show for an important discussion on multiple issues  per our conversation so far.  Some of this included talking about the actual ISRU potential, power concerns, and the need for some specific additional studies.  Also the idea of the humans to Mars missions was discussed though both did not think it was feasible at this time and that going to the Moon first was an important step before undertaking a humans to Mars mission. About the time of Kim's call, BJohn sent in a note about precursor robotic missions specifically for lunar site selection.  I read BJohn's email after Kim's call.  Don't miss what Haym said in response to the BJohn comments.

In the second segment, we talked about Haym's latest book, "Building Habitats on the Moon."  Listener Judy wanted to know if Haym's students were interested in lunar habs and the engineering for returning to the surface of the Moon. The answer was a clear yes but listen to all of what our guest said regarding this question.  Several listener questions came up regarding the use of the Gateway.  Dr. Benaroya was not supportive of the Gateway but listen to all of what he said on the subject.  Doug then sent in a series of emails in this segment, the first asking about uncertainties regarding the lunar terrain. Haym talked about precursor robotic missions to help determine lunar landing sites which was the topic of the BJohn email.

The topic switched to the BFR when Crystal asked if Haym thought the BFR was technically feasible given many of the issues it faced, including the acoustic issue.  Our guest talked about BFR challenges and then he said he did not think it would be applicable for Earth point to point missions as has been talked about. 

Doug sent in his following emails regarding the lunar south pole as a landing site, suggesting we knew enough to plan a landing at that location.  Don't mis how our guest responded to him as he did not concur with Doug, suggesting we needed some additional and specific information that we do not yet have.  Let us know what you think by posting your comments on our blog.

Listeners asked Haym about Elon Musk and his Mars plans and more.  Our guest was also asked about commercial opportunities and was he finding commercial opportunities for his lunar engineering and habitat expertise.  You might be surprised by what our guest had to say on these subjects so don't miss the discussion.

Our guest did offer concluding comments which led me to making a statement about space advocates/enthusiasts wanting to make an individual contributions and differences to our lunar policy.  As part of this discussion, I gave a shout out to Dr. Doug for being able to take his advocacy to the policy makers in congress as well as NASA and with the National Space Council.  I pointed out how unusual I thought this was despite the fact that I hear about many excellent and interesting plans and projects but when I ask the person how he/she intends to bring the plan to life, there usually is no follow up on the drawing board.  I also referenced a non-space industry example of a person who did this regarding the non-profit organization for CF research,  Emily's Entourage.  I briefly told Emily's story which you can read here: and if you are interested in the Foundation she started and its success, check it out here:  As long time listeners to the show know, I typically ask guests and callers who promote a space plan or project what they have and will be  doing to make it happen.  I believe that more advocates and enthusiasts need to work at making their plans happen if they believe in them.  Doug has figured out how to get his ideas in the hands of policy makers regardless of what they may think of his plans or if they ultimately dismiss them.  Emily took action on her own because mainstream CF research was not addressing the nonsense gene issue which impacted her and many others.  I would like to be able to share more stories like this on The Space Show and to invite people having done this to the program as I believe it is important to do more than just come up with a great idea or plan or presenting at a conference or writing a paper about it.  If you know others that have been able to make their ideas come to life so to speak, or get them in front of the key policy makers, please let me know about them.  This is not to diminish the excellent work done in group by many outstanding space advocate organizations but not everyone wants to be part of a group.  My comments are focused on those that are individualistic nature and wanting to do something to make a difference.  Please note that when our program ended, I did receive a complain about my comments on this subject.  Part of the complaint was about my diminishing the important work done by excellent advocacy organizations.  Other parts of the complaint I received were more personal as the person clearly did not agree with even the premise of my commentary.  I do think it is important for people to be able to bring their plans to action, certainly to at least try to do that as it is not enough to just have a good plan and leave it at that.  Let's hear from all of you on this topic so share your thoughts with us by posting on the blog.  Being critical is fine, the only rule we have is one requiring civility. 

Please post your comments/questions on our blog for this show.  You can reach Dr. Benaroya through me or his professor website page at Rutgers University.




Lunar engineeering, habitats, enviornmental concerns and more

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30 Nov 2018 Dr. Haym Benaroya
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