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SpaceVidcast Episode 004 - 04/17/2008

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Welcome to SpaceVidcast Episode 004. My name is Benjamin Higginbotham. You always do something with the numbers in the beginning. Do I? Yeah, every time. When they are double digits I'm going to have a harder time. (laughter) My name is Benjamin Higginbotham - I am the space geek. This is my beautiful, wonderful, and incredibly talented wife - Cariann. Not a space geek. My job is to educate YOU as to why Space is important and the future of humanity. As well as this one right here - 'cause she just don't get it. Nope. Still, I haven't actually broken through that yet? Not quite, but I heard about living on one of Mars' moons. Yeah. And how it takes just as much fuel for us to get our moon as it does to get to that moon. Really? Yeah, so I was like - huh, sweet! Awesome. There's a cool little crater there and everything. Now we have got a freaking fantastic show for you. This show is going to be scary good. Let me tell you what we've done. First off we have flesh toned this one. See that, look at that - actual color in our faces. Last show we were white as a sheet. Except for me - I really am that color. Yeah, well - so anyhow. So that's great, that's good news. So we're using a better camera. And, the second thing - we have all new audio. We have a director, Kay, is directing the entire show. So, instead of me doing this every 30 seconds. We're making her do it. We're making her do that. Yeah, it's great. So I can make contact with you. And, we have got a live guest on Skype who will be joining us for the second segment. But, first I think we need to cover some Space News. Space News! Space News! We still don't have an open for that, do we? Graphic. Alright, so starting up the Russian Space Shuttle is sailing the Rhine River. So here's a shot of it. This is thier Space Shuttle. Not a lot of people know this, but the Russians actually built a space shuttle as well. And in my humble opinion, it was actually a better shuttle than the American shuttle. Ouch, it does look like ours. So, do not be fooled - this really is one of thiers. Yup, yup. It does help, because in the picture - if I'm looking at this correctly - to sail it up the river they did take the wings off. Yeah, and the tail and a bunch of other things. Well yeah but anyways. The cool thing about this shuttle is that actually has jet engines on the back. So, it can actually do a little bit more than just the coasting flight that the U.S. Space Shuttle can do. And it didn't use a solid rocket booster, it used a liquid engine to launch. There was only one launch of this particular shuttle and it was... 1988. Oh wow look at you. Boo-ya baby! Up with the information - look at you go! And it launched once and it was a completely unmanned launch. Yeah, that was one of the big - that's why they thought it was superior to ours because it could go on autopilot. Yup. Which makes a lot of sense to me. It even landed into a tailwind or a crosswind or something like that. Something like that, yeah. Much higher than even the U.S. Shuttle can land. So a very cool vehicle - too bad it didn't do much. Now they are coming out with another vehicle. But, that's one of those 'did you know's'. Oh! You mean you have to pay attention? You have to pay attention to this show or you're not going to know. And you have to read. There are subtitles to our show. Sorry. (laughter) Next new item - a new crew is taking charge of the space station. I'm sorry SpaceVidcasters - Peggy is leaving. Ohhh, Peggy. We love Peggy. We love Peggy - Peggy's a lot of fun. It was a Russian cosmonaut who's taken over the postion. Do you have his name on there? I will in a second. I didn't bother to write that down. Ah, but Peggy also set a U.S. record for number of days in space. I believe it was just over a year? 374 - thank you very much. Just over a year, days in space. That's a U.S. record, I believe the Russians actually hold the world record. Or galaxy record? Ooo - the galaxy record. I'm not sure. I'm sure there's somebody in space who'd like...screw you, I've been up here my whole life. (laughter) Exactly. I don't know what you would call that record. But, I believe the Russians have that with the Mir Space Station. And I also believe the Mir station had a human on it for 10 years. Wow. So we've got a long ways to go with the International Space Station. Yeah, no joke. That's Sergey Volkov. There you go - thank you. So Expedition 17 has relieved the Expedition 16 crew and Peggy will be coming home. Now keep in mind - stay tuned to SpaceVidcast, we're going to have coverage of the Expedition 17 crew coming home, when they air that live. Check for that list of events. That time can change based on events: solar wind, solar tonadoes, things like that. What, tonadoes? Solar hurricanes - thery're no good. Tornadoes don't bother anyone. (laughter) There is a...the company Spaceport has launched a test of future spacecrafts. Yeah - this actually confused me to no end. I had to read this article like three times because I didn't understand the concept that Spaceport was a company. A company...not a port. So like Spaceport - yeah I don't know. I've been watching entirely too much like Stargate Atlantis or Stargate or Earth: Final Conflict. Or something where I was thinking - hey cool there's a port now! This is in New Mexico, by the way. And Lockheed Martin has been using it with some of their 'less publicized technology'. Which I think is hysterical because their less publicized technology is now being publicized. But hey, don't mind that - that's not a big deal. What Lockheed though, is doing is that they have a spacecraft that they're flying. It's about 1/5 the size of what a future vehicle would be. But it is not intended for human flight. It is purely for satellites and other things like that. But it's to be an easier, faster way to get them up in the air. And so I thought that was really kind of cool. And they started testing. Yes, that's kind of what this whole sha-bang is all about - yes. So that is news for this past week in space...Space News. Space News. Coming up next we're going to have a live Skype interview with the First Chair for the Office of Tomorrows Mars. There's an office already for that? There is. This is going to be a fascinating interview - this is the essence of why SpaceVidcast is here. So you guys stay tuned. We'll be back, right after this. This segment is sponsered by Brain TonIQ. Get rid of the head fog. With zero caffiene or processed sugar. For more information go to A new spacecraft. What!? Oh yeah. No, no, no - we already have enough. (laughter) Actually, we have a picture of that. It's called the Kliper. Help me out there. Kilper, clipper, kliper? Kliper - go ahead, I think we have a shot of that. Oh it's so cute, it's a little baby one! Pretty cool. (laughter) It's actually pretty big. No, it looks like you could fit two people in there. Yeah, but it is manned. So, that's what they are working on. That's so cute. Alright, our guest for today is James Smith. He is with the Office of Tomorrows Mars. He is the First Chair. It almost sounds like a Disney title; doesn't it? (laughter) Kind of, a little bit actually yeah. So James welcome to the show. I hear you're having a little bit of weather where you are at right now. Believe it or not, it's actually completely gone away. Oh my gosh! Out of nowhere, so. Thank goodness - thank you for knocking on the wood earlier. Yeah, yeah. In pre-show we had a... we had a fun pre-show with power outages, tornado warnings. But not on our side. We said - as soon as we do the show everything is going to work great. And lo and behold it has. So, James, what is The Office of Tomorrows Mars? Well, we are a group of people and hopefully more people will join, who is for the masses to go to Space. Right now unfortunately NASA, ESA and other private firms - their still catering only to the elite. And we want to have everyone to be able to go and that's probably what's most important. When you, when they came here from Europe to the United States and they first colonized here. They didn't come here with these elite top minds. They came here with your average everyday person ready to make a new life. And that's what we want to do. So, how are you going to be able to do that? Part of the reason NASA and these other space programs cost so much - let's use Virgin Galactic - it's $200,000 per seat. And that's now. They're not even flying yet. Probably the reason it's so expensive is it's bleeding edge technology. I mean, this is something that's very difficult to do. How are you going to keep... drive that cost down? Well, the first thing is is that we take a common sense approach to space exploration. Most of the technologies already exist. When they went to the Moon the first time. It was, it was yes costly, but yet they didn't go with all this special luxuries. They didn't have all these detailed maps and these unmanned probes that they sent repeatedly, costing billions of taxpayer dollars. That are even now in question by the United States government. And, where as we know as we... the different places that we want to land. Thanks to of course NASA for already have provided this information. We have some simple designs for rockets that will move heavy masses and we are talking in excess of five million pounds or more in one vehicle. And I've sent some pictures, which I would be happy to walk through them. I know we have one of them... our Generation 1 LV2A, which we call our launch vehicle 2A. So, it's probably a launch vehicle for the director? Well, it runs an outrigger. The rockets are on the outside of the rocket and raised up slightly. So you can move large masses and instead of being a couple hundred foot rocket or a three hundred foot rocket; this rocket is fairly large. It's over five hundred feet in height for the main cargo unit. I think we have a picture of it. Kay, it's called I-launch something. It should be Jen1lv2a. Yeah, their renamed for the show. Those names don't work inside of the camtwist interface. (laughter) But, it would be on th bottom right-hand side. Well, it's a unique design and it uses a very large number of boosters. Ya'know we know that solid fuel's great, solid fuel pushes. The problem with solid fuel - a good example is the Challenger. I know that was once, a long time ago, but they're still dangerous. And they're are very costly. Whereas, you talk about LOX, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. Well, you could obtain that from the water. So, I believe the planet is 70 percent water. Something like that. I don't understand the cost in why it does cost as much as it does. And of course that's once again... and by no means trying to down on NASA. They've done a great job up until now, but it's over-inflated. Ok, so we launch. Are you launching from Earth or are you setting up a base somewhere else? Or, are you going to do a vertical launch from Earth? It would be a vertical launch somewhere along the equator. We are considering areas within South America. Just due to the cost behind building facilities. Everything would be built on site. And of course there is another image of the actual vehicle, which is nothing like any other vehicle. And it's kind of a crude 3D drawing of it. The one that was the construction facility, which is the first vehicle we do want to send. It's approximately... close to 100 feet in height by 100 feet wide by almost 200 feet long. This vehicle has its own gravity. Biggest problem with the Space Station is that people don't have gravity. That causes gum deteriorization, muscle deteriorization, and all sorts of other problems. But, what we've done is we basically... we are going to build a giant drum inside of this box. And that drum is going to use simple gears and it's going to spin. Actually, I think we have a shot of that as well. Yeah, you should have the Generation 1 Construction Facilty. It's basically... the facility would be built similar to how mobile homes are built. And once again with existing technologies, we know how to build mobile homes. Obviously, the south is full of them. (laughter) But, instead of using just regular wood and whatnot, things that would weigh a lot. We actually want to use structural carbon fibers, which you can get fairly inexpensively. Build it all in a facility that... build it and vacuum coats it, slide it into the drum, secure it, spin it, do the next level. So, by the time your done, you have the inside blueprints actually laid out on the inside of the drum. So you could walk around, you have rooms, you have bedrooms, you have a control room, mini data center, labs. And you have most importantly gravity. How much gravity do you have? You're not going to have Earth's gravity, are you? It's close to it. It's not quite, really it's all a matter of how fast you spin it. Ok. So it functions the same way as centrifugal force. Like if you look at your dryer. Clothes spin, they go to the outside. Yup. So it's a lot like when you watch "2001: A Space Odyssey"... they have the giant spinning space station. Correct, they also have that in "Mission to Mars", I believe it was. Yeah, ok. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, "Red Planet". I'm sorry, "Red Planet" they had that. With Tim Robbins and Cheadle, Don Cheadle. Sorry. (laughter) It's the same concept. So we're launching, we're going to Mars and you're going to put humans on Mars. Which in and of itself is a huge feat, but you go a step beyond that. Where do you from there? Well, what our plan is is that these vehicles, these particular vehicles we're going to build two of them, that we call the OFs. Those are orbital facilites. One will be over Earth, one will be over Mars. When we do everything, we're going to do everything all at once. There's none of this sending six at a time, sending 12 at a time. We want to send 48 at a time. A number that can make a colony. You can't make a colony off of 12. You know in fact I know for a fact that my family, my partner and his family are more than likely to go without question. Just because we know that what we're going to do is going to work. We know that our habitats will work. Beacuse again, they are existing technologies. Now it is an existing technology, but you are on an alien planet at this point. So, you're missing simple things like oxygen and water. How are you going generate those? Because these are things that we don't normally have to do here on Earth, because it is all around us in abundance. Well, first off the vehicle can move such a large amount of mass at once. We can have one entire vehicle move nothing but water on one launch. And then we can do the same thing the ISS does and that is do a hydrolysis of water, and there we have oxygen. As well if you look at the other image, which is the blueprints for the constuction orbital facility launch vehicle. It's actually the blueprint. It actually has rooms that will grow vegetation, that will continue to produce oxygen for the vehicle. I think that's a 3D perspective room, Kay. I'm not sure what the heck that's called. Yeah, you know that's a little off, I threw furniture in there. But I wanted the... this is all going to come out in our book, which we hope to have published in about two months. Ok. I want people to see it and I don't want them to them to look at it like it, for example the Mars Society. I have great respect for the Mars Society and Robert Zubrin and various other doctors and scientists at NASA and ESA, but I don't want this to be a tin can. I don't want this to be something that only the elite can go on. I want this to be where a family can go, people can go. We're not looking for the top scientists and the brightest minds always necessarily to be the only ones to go. We're looking for the construction workers, the educaters, the people who have a want to find something better. And I say better... when it comes to the United States right now unfortunatly it is the greatest country in the world, but there's a lot of problems. There's outrageous healthcare, there's people who are unhappy with their jobs. I'm previously a data center manager where I worked as many as three, four, five days straight in a data center.. With minimal sleep, not being with my family and with very little pay. I know how that goes. We have no idea what you are talking about. (laughter) So, you're not just launching humans into space at an affordable price, which in and of itself is very cool. Then you are building essentially space stations, you are also bringing these people to Mars and putting humans on Mars. Which is also very, very cool. You are then building an entire colony, or we'll call it a country, an independent country on this alien planet. Is that an accurate description of what you are doing? Yeah, that would be an accurate description and by no means am I wanted this to be labeled necessarily as a country. Um, it is just a different way of life. There are of course to be expected to be rules and reguations with that. But we just want to find something better. I've looked at the sky since I was a child and it just feels like you know I'm supposed to be there not here, you know. And most of the people that I know, that I know in this particular area that have these views, feel the same way. So what will it take for you to reach these goals? I can't imagine that this is terribly... excuse me. I mean you mentioned that this is common technology and you are basing it off of technology we already have today, but I still can't imagine that it's that cheap. You need funding to make this all go, do you not? Yes, we do. We are estimating one launch of one vehicle. But of course our LV2A is designed to launch up to three vehicles at one shot. So, we are talking about launching three basically one-story buildings in one shot. Wow. We're estimating one building, one launch at about a third of the estimated budget for the launch for the Space Shuttle. A Space Shuttle launch is at about 450 million dollars, if I remember correctly. So, that still is a substantially large amount of money. I mean, as someone who works in IT, I can almost guarantee your not just going to whip out your checkbook and like here's 120 million dollars. Just go ahead deposit that - I'll be on my spacecraft. So what is... is your plan to get venture capital money, are you seeking other investments, how are you going to fund this? We are seeking... we are seeking other investments. We are seeking venture capitalists. We have actually spoken to some at this point. We actually want to get our book out before we actively pursue this. We're... we're very progressive. We don't like waiting for the bureaucracy and that's one thing that our group doesn't have is the bureaucracy. But the money... the important key thing to remember here is that we come with one thing that even NASA, Mars Society, ESA does not - we come with RLI. Plain and simple. How so? Well, I put a facility up in space, well that facility has almost 30,000 square feet of floor space. Guess what, I've got eight labs. Eight labs that I can run out every month. That's our whole lot. So it's real estate, is what it really is. It's real estate. It's, it's... I mean one of our designs it will be in the book, which I didn't send you is a much larger orbital facility that will actually have a SETI array on it. Which if you... SETI could have an array of telescopes in space, or um satellites, er dishes in space... (laughter) that would beat any array that they have here on Earth. Wow. This seems like an incredibly awesome project. We meet up several weeks ago through this show and you kind of mentioned what you were doing. I hit your website, which I do with every one of our guests and I was immediately intrigued with what you had. And you know I've joined the website and I encourage everyone in the chatroom and everyone that is watching to do the same. And you've got a lot of very valuable information on that website. And you really keep up with a lot of stuff. And you're not like one of those crazy guys wearing a hat going "I can go to Mars for ten dollars, NASA vever went to the Moon". You actually have... you outline this stuff on the website. You have a plan, you have a vision, and you have steps to accomplish these plans and visions. And they're not extreme, I mean I think they are all achievable. That's what really sets you apart from everyone else in my humble opinion. And that's correct. Well Mars Society, they you know, they have some reallly good ideas. But once again, they're going to spend 55 million dollars, at minimum, to send a 700 square foot tin can to Mars. I don't know about you, my second chair, we're best friends, we both agree that if he and I were stuck for that period of time in a 700 square foot tin can one of us is not coming out. (laughter) I hear that. I don't care how much psychological training you have, it's unreasonable to expect that from anybody. Right, right. I think it sounds absolutely fascinating and I would love to keep up with the progress of the project. And definetely bring you back on the show from time to time, let us know what is going on. And we'll go into more depth. I think we definetely should bring you into different sections. The launching into Space part, the staying on Mars part, how each one of these goes. I mean, obviously ten minutes isn't nearly enough time to go into detail for all of these different things. But again I encourage everyone to go to And tell me a little bit more about this book. When can people get it and where will they be able to get it at? We're most likely we're going to end up doing self-publishing. Just because you know the money... the group itself is a technically it's a non-profit organization. But it is run like a corporation is. Corporation's are smart. They go for the buck. But we are going for the buck... but I'm not going for the buck, so that I can have a nice big house. Right. I'm going for the buck, so that I can have a nice big ship. (laughter) Yeah, you know I'm going to share it with everybody, of course. But I'm going for the big ship. I'm going for the big pretty lights. You know there's nothing like... I remember watching STS-8. I was pulled out of school by my father and flown to Orlando and watch STS-8 launch in '81. And it was the most amazing... it was the very first night launch of any Space Shuttle, but it was the Space Shuttle Challenger. And I remember sitting on the dam and he was going "Yeah, watch now here it's coming". We had a little transistor radio there and it was countdown. And I was like "I don't see anything". It was pitch dark. And all of a sudden it looked like this little bitty lighter was lite across the lake. And all of a sudden you felt the ground shake and you heard and felt this launch. And it was... it was the most amazing thing in the world. Well, and I'm sure that your craft will be just as impressive, if not more impressive because you are launching a lot more weight. Well, and again like I said the LV2A, if you look at it, instead of having one solid booster with one rocket inside of it. Our boosters are actually designed with anywhere from four to six RD180-type rockets. And these are 999,000 LVF rockets. I mean that...RD180 is the same rocket - the liquid rocket engine that's used on actually on the Space Shuttle, the larger of the rocket engines on the back of the Space Shuttle. And again it's liquid, so now imagine having a good 30 of those around the outside of this outrigger launching. I mean it's whew. Gives me chills thinking about it. (laughter) That's going to be awesomely cool. That's going to be a sight to behold. James, thank you so much for joining us. Like I said we'll bring you back. It's liveonmars I keep saying live on Mars beacuse... It's live on Mars, obviously. Live live on Mars. Live live on Mars? So, is where you can get additional information. You can sign up there. Become a member of the website. I believe that's free, is that correct, James? Correct, correct. We don't have any... any dues or anything. It is... right now we just want members. We actually have, if you don't mind I'd like to plug our design contest. Go ahead. We have a design contest going on. Like I said we're not like any other group. We're not like NASA. If you've got an idea, draw it up. I don't care if it's in Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, whatever. Draw it up. If it works... we'll test it, we'll try it. Awesome. And there's a cash prize. That makes it even more interesting - cash prize. Everyone's excited now here, cash prize. You've got us all giddy now. James, thank you so much for joining us and thank you to everyone for joining us here on We'll be coming back live next Thursday night at nine o'clock Central Daylight Time. You can of course check this archive out on one of MANY different file sharing websites. Check out our Facebook group, SpaceVidcast, is that our group name? Yes. You're our Facebook guru. I am, I am a little slacker at the moment so I apologize. But, yes it is SpaceVidcast. You can just search for that and we should pop-up. You'll recognize our logo. Ben and I are of course are both part of that as well as a bunch of people who have been in and out of the chatroom. And who have been following us for while. So yeah. So help us spead the word, help us get out there, help us educate people as to why SpaceCast...SpaceCast. Why space travel is the future of humanity and why we must, we must get off this planet and to populate other planets to ensure the survival of the human race. Thank you so much for watching - we'll see you in a week.

Video Details

Duration: 30 minutes and 8 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Benjamin Higginbotham
Director: Kay Lewis
Views: 164
Posted by: spacevidcast on Apr 17, 2008

We chat with James Smith, the First Chair for the Office of Tomorrows Mars. Think humans won't travel on Mars in your lifetime? Think again!

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