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Guest: Dr. David Brin; Topics: Artemis and why our guest deeply opposes the program. Also, asteroid mining, resource mining the asteroids compared to the Moon, Tic-tac and ET matters, global society history and nefarious forces opposing the U.S. experiment and more.
We welcomed back to the program Dr. David Brin. Check out his website and blog posts at https://www.davidbrin.com. His blog, "Contrary Brin" is at http://davidbrin.blogspot.com. Note that I posted links to blog articles and papers he referenced during our discussion. I also posted the specific pictures (PPT slides) he talked about on the website as a modified Power Point for the slides in question.
We started the discussion with a few comments about Dr. Brin's excellent book, "Existence" which I am still reading. The story is about finding an ET artifact in Earth's orbit and what happens after that. I assure you, it’s a great read that you will both enjoy and learn from. Don't miss the name of a major character in the book. For further elaboration, here is the trailer for the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzr-DSDMkJM. After talking about his book, David said that he was deeply opposed to Artemis. We then spent a good part of our program listening to him regarding the Moon and Asteroids, plus questioning him as to his rational for his Artemis perspective.
Starting out, I need to be clear. Dr. Brin was not opposed to commercial lunar operations of sorts though he explained why he thought the Moon was definitely resource deficient. He explained this in scientific terms. He believed robots would be key to the Moon, not astronauts. He said that we could do more with our dollars by mining easier to obtain resources from key asteroids than would ever be the case with the Moon. He mentioned tourism as probably the only lunar economic drive for the foreseeable future. In addition, he talked about the need to quantify the amount of lunar water ice at the poles because depending on how much is, that will determine lunar resource usage and development. All of this was discussed in some detail during the first half to three quarters of our discussion. Listeners asked questions, we took a call from Oklahoma Marshall and Dr. Brin referenced the pictures that are now on the blog as a modified Power Point prepared for another lecture by Dr. Brin. Follow the slides with his commentary as he explained in detail his Artemis position.
One question that came to our guest early on via email, after our guest had been explaining his position, was why, Dr. Brin, being a man of influence and position, had not changed or modified the Artemis approach given his very thorough analysis of ISRU with the Moon compared to asteroids, costs for astronauts on the Moon compared to robots and such. David took the question head on and responded to Todd in a way that you will want to hear. Just prior to Todd sending in his question, David referred to Artemis and humans going back to the moon as snake oil. He also continually pointed out that we should focus on what we do best, with the Japanese and others, and let China and that group go play on the Moon because they cannot do what we do. He said we did the Moon 52 years ago, we need to focus on what our capabilities allow us and only us to be doing in space. This was an excellent discussion so don't miss a word of it. He also had much to say about China and our concerns and worry regarding China and their space efforts.
As we moved along in the discussion, Joan asked by email if it was too late with Artemis to change course. David thought it was but that Artemis would be delayed past the suggested 2024 landing. By the way, during the early part of the discussion, he was all in for SpaceX and others making human landers and rovers and space suits, then selling them to other countries or renting them through NASA. He saw that as a potential viable commercial market rather than us developing all the hardware and software for our going to the Moon or even worse, turning the project over to an international consortium and giving that consortium our technology. As to this latter point, our guest came back to it in a very strong fashion when, as we were closing in on the end of the program, David talked about threats and groups wanting to end the American experience in democracy, innovation, creativity, capitalism, entrepreneurism and such with one way of doing that which would be by giving our technology to an international consortium. He did not want to see that happen citing previous experiences in recent history.
David called SLS a boondoggle and said the only purpose of it was Artemis though he did support the Lunar Gateway. Don't miss what he said about the Gateway. Later on the lunar outpost idea came up. David addressed it in terms of national security plus he said SLS might be supportive with that in mind. Immediately following the lunar outpost commentary, Judy asked David if humans to Mars was a better idea than returning humans to the Moon. David put humans to Mars is a very different category than the Moon and talked about it being inspiring and so much more. Phobos was also talked about. That led him to mention the Apollo 8 Earthrise image which he talked about as changing humanity. He also referenced the year 1968 as being the worst possible year saying what we are going through now does not compare to 1968.
Randy in Dallas asked if we were alone in the universe. This led to our guest talking about the recent UAP-Tic Tac news which he refuted. See the blog post I made with his referred articles. As for Tic-tac, he said look up Brin, cats, and lasers as that would explain it. He had more to say on the UFO-UAP news, fuzzy images and the need to ask the right questions which he said were not being asked. He then mentioned the Fermi Paradox and his paper that he wrote, "The Great Silence." I have linked to that paper on my blog post along with his other suggested links so check it out. He mentioned having found lots and lots of exoplanets and he talked about the likelihood of finding sentient life in the universe.
We moved to an unexpected discussion on my part, Dr. Brin's take on forces around the world wanting to destroy the American experiment in government. He provided us with a short but relevant world history of nations rising and falling starting with Athens up through current times with the U.S. He referenced his previous pyramid view of human society and said 99% of human cultures are in the feudal type of system which he explained in historical terms. He talked about others wanting to destroy the great American experiment because we inspire and liberate humanity which the others don't want to happen, hence a new division of our Civil War is what they want to happen to keep our experiment from succeeding. My summary of this discussion is less than perfect so don't miss this all important part of the program. In addition, after the show David sent me two articles he wrote about this years ago. I posted the links to the two articles in my blog comments. I hope some of you if not all of you will want to comment on this with our blog and even ask David questions.
While the above discussion took us almost to the end of the show, we took a final question from Penny regarding past life on Mars and in other places in the solar system. David responded to each place in the solar system mentioned by Penny with his thought on the possibility of past life being present or not. Only one of Penny's mentions struck out. Venus got nixed for past life but listen to his explanation.
David provided a brief summary for the program and once again referenced the greatness of the American experiment that is now in fragile times. Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Brin on our blog for this show. You can reach him through me or his website per above.