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Space Settlement: an Easier Way (Globus) | Low-Latency Telepresence (Adamo)

December 12, 2020 @ 10:00 am 1:40 pm PST

Space Settlement: an Easier Way by Al Globus | Mars/Space Exploration through Low-Latency Telepresence (LLT) by Daniel R. Adamo

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Saturday, December 12, 2020, 10 am PST

AIAA LA-LV e-Town Hall Meeting

Space Settlement: an Easier Way


Al Globus

Contract software engineer, NASA Ames Research Center – Retired

AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee

NSS Board of Directors


Exploring Solar System / Mars through Low-Latency Telepresence (LLT)


Daniel R. Adamo

Independent Aerodynamics Consultant, NASA JSC – Retired

AIAA Distinguished Lecturer

AIAA Associate Fellow



Tentative Agenda: (Pacific Time, US/Canada)


10:05 am: Dr. Chandrashekhar Sonwane (Welcome)

10:10 am: Mr. Al Globus

11:40 am: Mr. Dan Adamo

01:40 pm: Adjourn



Space Settlement: an Easier Way


Al Globus worked at NASA Ames for 39 years as a contract software engineer on space settlement, asteroid mining, Hubble, space stations, X37, shuttle, Earth observation, TDRSS, cubesats, lunar teleoperation, spaceflight effects on bone, molecular nanotechnology, scientific visualization, and space solar power publishing dozens of papers on these and other topics. He founded and has run the annual NSS Space Settlement Contest for 7-12 grade students for over 25 years. The contest attracted 14,000 kids in 2020. Most recently, he found a way to build O’Neill-style space settlements with multiple orders of magnitude less mass and place them close to Earth, making launch from Earth practical.


Al is a member of the NSS Board of Directors, chairman of the Space Settlement Advocacy Committee, member of the Policy committee, and sits on the board of the Alliance for Space Development.




In the 1970’s Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill showed that we can build giant spacecraft in free space (in orbit, not on a planet or moon) and live in them. These space settlements could be wonderful places to live; about the size of a California beach town and endowed with weightless recreation, fantastic views, freedom, elbow-room in spades, and great wealth.


As fantastic as Dr. O’Neill’s work is, the space settlements envisioned are too big, too massive, and too far away to be a practical place to start. We now know how to massively reduce the size, mass, and shorten supply lines of early space settlements by:


Placing settlements in a region of low radiation 500-600 km above the equator. Calculations suggest that at 500 km above Earth and zero inclination such settlements may require no radiation shielding.

Making settlements smaller by rotating (to produce pseudo-gravity) at up to four rpm. Settlers will become ill at first but adapt within a few hours or perhaps a day or two.

This reduces the size, distance, and mass of settlement to the point that the vehicles currently in flight test may be sufficient to provide affordable transportation from Earth to settlements.

Space hotel development can provide an incremental path to settlement construction with income along the way.



Exploring Solar System / Mars through Low-Latency Telepresence (LLT)


Mr. Dan Adamo is an astrodynamics consultant focused on space mission trajectory design, operations, and architecture. He works with clients primarily at NASA and in academia.


Until retirement in 2008, Mr. Adamo was employed by United Space Alliance as a trajectory expert, serving as a “front room” flight controller for 60 Space Shuttle missions. Along with console duties during simulations and missions, this job entailed development of trajectory designs, software tools, flight rules, console procedures, and operations concepts. Mr. Adamo began his career at the Perkin-Elmer Corporation where he developed and operated proof-of-concept software for computer-controlled polishing of optical elements. He has degrees in Physical Sciences and Optical Engineering from the University of Houston and the University of Rochester, respectively.


Mr. Adamo is an AIAA Associate Fellow and the author of many publications (ref. http://www.aiaahouston.org/adamo_astrodynamics/). He has received numerous awards, including 14 NASA Group Achievement Awards.




Why would it make sense to send humans more than 99% of the way to an off-Earth exploration destination like Mars without putting “boots on the ground”? How can average speeds achieved by robotic Mars rovers, typically a leisurely 0.4 meters per hour, be dramatically increased? This 2-hour lecture will answer these questions by suggesting humans operate in synergy with nearby robotic systems as a game-changing space exploration strategy. When command/feedback delays between human explorers and their robotic proxies are reduced sufficiently, today’s user interface technology can impart multi-sensory impressions of “being there”, a state of cognizance called low-latency telepresence (LLT). Using LLT-based strategies, impressive exploration productivity gains are realizable, together with reduced programmatic cost and risk, when compared to more conventional exploration strategies based on the Apollo Program circa 1970. These benefits accrue regardless of whether humans orbit above or loiter on/beneath a nearby exploration region.


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