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NASA Space Exploration Track: Lunar Sub-Track Managed by Dave Dunlop | Countdown to ISDC 2014

NASA Space Exploration Track: Lunar Sub-Track Managed by Dave Dunlop | Countdown to ISDC 2014

Apr 29, 2014

The countdown continues for this year’s upcoming ISDC National Space Society conference held in Los Angeles at the Sheraton Hotel LAX May 14-18. Dave Dunlop will be presenting and managing Track Chair of the Lunar Sub-Track during the NASA Exploration session. Dave has been part of the International Committee of the National Space Society in partner with other organizations that share the same vision of a future in which the free enterprise human economy expands to include settlements on the Moon and elsewhere. QGITS had the pleasure in speaking with Dave Dunlop about the panelists presenting on the Lunar Sub-Track.

QGITS: Last year’s lunar track was about lunar lava tube exploration on the moon, will there be any talks about them again this year?

Dave Dunlop: This year we are inviting a number of presentations involving the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. We will be getting updates about the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) competition and their recent Milestone awards to several teams from Dr. Andrew Barton, Chief Technology Officer of the GLXP. He will be presenting at the Lunar Track, Friday May 16th, in the afternoon. Google Lunar XPRIZE teams that will also be presenting at ISDC conference are: Moon Express, Penn State Lunar Lions, and Team Synergy Moon.

Although we devoted an entire day of our two day lunar track last year to lava tubes this year we have a more diverse range of topics and presentations. Last year we talked about lava tubes on the moon but there are also a number pits on the Mars shield volcanos that would seem to be evidence of underlying lava tubes there as well. Astrobotic is another GLXP team that is planning a future lunar lava tube mission. This continues to be a hot topic for exploration. To get something into the lunar lava tube is something that has never been tried before – it’s quite challenging. I hope they can pull that off.

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The Google Lunar XPRIZE is going to be a reality show on Discovery and Science Channel in 2015.

QGITS: What will also be presented on the Lunar Sub-Track panel?

Dave Dunlop: Another aspect of the Lunar track this year includes a talk about lunar cycling orbits by Al Anzaldua of NSS Tucson; the development of lunar economy by Brad Blair an economic geologist and a couple of presentations on space radiation by Dr. Dennis Wright of Stanford Linear Accelerator and Dr. Doug Plata. Although it’s a Lunar track we are very pleased to have a special session on the Mercury Messenger mission by that outstanding team. So it’s a wider range of topics than last year and I hope that everyone who attends will find it both highly interesting and stimulating.

ISDC 2013

QGITS: What will you be speaking about at this year’s Lunar Sub-Track 2014?

Dave Dunlop: I am giving a talk on the International Lunar Geophysical Campaign. We are trying to do is to stimulate international interest in sending more small affordable science missions to the moon. At present only three countries have managed to soft land on the Moon. If you look at a number of missions that are being planned over the next 10 years, there’s quite a few. What I have counted amount about 24 missions in development right now. Mostly those come from major spacefaring powers like China, India, Japan, Canada and Russia. If you look at these missions, there only 8 countries out of the major G-20 economies. Why aren’t there more lunar missions coming from G-20 countries? Our campaign is trying to encourage the number of these affordable Lunar CubeSat scale missions and more nations to be engaged.

We hope for example that some of the GLXP teams that have not had the ability to raise enough capital or adequate time to meet the GLXP deadline can repurpose their efforts and subsequently find both national as well as private sponsors for lunar science missions. NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual network has a number of international nodes and I understand that some additional nations are also joining that network. Perhaps there can be some collaborative project that these initiatives can mutually develop. We could see a new paradigm of small scale affordable science missions undertaken by more countries than ever before as a result.

More Latest ISDC News & Updates: The National Space Society’s prestigious Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award will be presented to Elon Musk at the 2014 International Space Development Conference (ISDC). The conference will run from May 14-18, 2014 in Los Angeles, Ca. The NSS has over 50 chapters around the world with conferences held in major cities and venues throughout the United States that covers several broad areas of study related to building a spacefaring civilization, including transportation to and through space, technology needed to live and work in space and Earth based activities to advocate for or educate others about space development.

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