This collection archives lectures from UND's Space Studies Colloquium from 2006 to the present day. The goal of the Space Studies Colloquium is to bring guest researchers from the astronautical and space science communities in both industry and academia to support space-related scholarship in the Department of Space Studies and at UND and other North Dakota institutions of higher education. Guest researchers are invited by the Department of Space Studies to give a seminar in their area of professional expertise, guest lecture in existing courses offered through the Department, and consult on space-related research with faculty and students. Guest researchers are invited from a variety of backgrounds and research areas such as Space Engineering, Space Life Sciences, Planetary Sciences, Astrobiology, Earth System Sciences, and Space Policy. In addition to the Department of Space Studies, guest speakers interact with faculty, researchers, and students in a number of programs at UND including the School of Aerospace Sciences, College of Business, and the Departments of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, Physics, and Political Science.
See Space Studies News for upcoming presentations.
The humans that will explore the far reaches of space will experience unprecedented biological, physiological, and psychological challenges brought on by extreme environmental exposures. The NASA Huma Research Program pursues research that characterizes the effects of these hazardous exposures and is responsible for developing and validating mitigation strategies that reduce the risk to the humans and the mission. In my presentation I will describe the hazards of spaceflight including the exposure to altered gravity fields, a closed environment, isolation and confinement, and galactic cosmic radiation. I will also discuss that while humans are extremely adaptable, these exposures could lead to significant health and performance decrements during the mission and later in life long after the mission is complete. The NASA Human Research Program refers to these decrements as human system risks and uses this construct to describe our portfolio of work. I will also describe how we continue to do surveillance of the experience during human spaceflight to enable the identification of new and emerging risks. The final piece of the presentation will provide an overview of how the NASA Human Research Program interacts with researchers from academia and industry.
This presentation will explore the concept of non-interference zones for space activities and how this concept produces an inevitable constraint on policy and decision makers planning future space activities. Generally, non-interference zones are volumes of space around spacecraft and/or space activities determined by a set of criteria that creates a location or relative position of exclusivity for the operator. The murky question of whether this idea is in accordance with the outer space treaty system and/or US law and policy is gaining some clarity. And while the legal considerations are important, the realities of physics and mathematics place a limitation on the flexibility of the criteria for non-interference zones to handle the proliferation of new operators and activities, and this raises the important question about the degree of exclusivity that is permissible and expected. This issue will have major implications for future mission and architectural designs and set the development cadence of space settlement on a celestial body. Adjusting to the space environment will be key to ensure successful operations on the Moon or other celestial bodies, but the physical limitations of the space environment highlight the need to keep discussions surrounding the cadence of this new space race ongoing because, eventually, we will run out of space.
Lunar dust proved to be troublesome during the Apollo missions. The powdery dust got into everything, abrading spacesuit fabric, clogging seals and other critical equipment. Even inside the lunar module, Apollo astronauts were exposed to this dust after they removed their dust coated spacesuits. While efforts are under way to figure out how to return astronauts to the Moon and set up habitats for long duration missions, the issue of lunar dust remains relevant. Consequently, NASA has identified dust as a critical environmental challenge to overcome for future planetary surface missions characterized by dusty environments.
The lecture provides an overview of the various types of spacesuits required for space travel. Several concepts that were successfully investigated by the international research community for preventing deposition of lunar dust on space hardware will be reviewed and novel technologies for preventing spacesuit/space habitat dust contamination for future Lunar and Martian missions will be discussed.
Have you or someone you know ever dreamed of doing something big - perhaps starting a business or working for the aerospace industry and/or NASA? You (they) can. Have you or someone you know been challenged by a visible or invisible disability thinking it may be a career-breaking barrier that may not be overcome? You (they) can! The old adage, 'where there is a will, there is a way' is true! Recognizing, understanding, and being willing to work through - and with - life’s challenges along the way is paramount. As an educator, employer, or friend, we can help to facilitate and include those with exceptional needs so that reaching for their star career choice is an option.
A scientific approach to the human exploration of Mars began in 1952 with the publication of Wernher von Braun’s Das Marsprojekt, which described the mathematics necessary to enable interplanetary travel. The English-language version (The Mars Project) led to a series of articles in Collier’s, a weekly magazine with a tradition of influencing public opinion and government policy. The series, titled “Man Will Conquer Space Soon!” was published in eight, beautifully-illustrated installments between 1952 and 1954. Those articles inspired Walt Disney to recruit von Braun and other experts for three episodes of the wildly-popular Disneyland television program; the third episode, “Mars and Beyond,” was broadcast in December 1957, two months after the Soviet Union shocked the world with the launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, which led directly to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA has been designing equipment, space suits, and space habitats, and preparing plans for the human exploration of Mars since the agency was formed in 1958. Thousands of scientists and engineers at NASA, universities, and aerospace contractors have worked on dozens of plans for a human expedition to Mars since then. However, no one actually identified the tasks that would likely be performed by the explorers, until now.
Dr. Jack Stuster will present the results of a three-year study that addresses several NASA risks by identifying the work that will be performed during an expedition to Mars and the abilities, skills, and knowledge that will be required of crew members. The study began by developing a comprehensive inventory of 1,125 tasks that are likely to be performed during the 12 phases of the first human expeditions to Mars, from launch to landing more than 30 months later. Sixty subject matter experts (including UND faculty and graduate students) rated expedition tasks in terms of frequency, difficulty to learn, and importance to mission success. Seventy-two SMEs placed the physical, cognitive, and social abilities necessary to perform the tasks in order of importance for eight specialist domains identified by the task analysis. The research team then identified, 1) Abilities, skills, and knowledge that can be generalized across tasks; 2) Cross-training strategies; and, 3) Implications for crew size and composition, and for the design of equipment, suits, habitats, and procedures to support sustained human performance during exploration-class space missions. The days of describing an interplanetary mission plan with detailed mathematical calculations and a few sentences of speculation about the humans who would make the journey are gone.
The Outer Space Treaty celebrated its 50th birthday last year. This foundational document for international space law was created during a time when government actors conducted most space activities and when projections of space technology to come greatly differed from the reality of space technology today. Thus, this presentation analyzes the international legal regime with specific focus on private cis-Lunar activities, including treaties and “soft law” pledges, identifying gaps and issues that could hinder the development of such activities. This presentation also provides options moving forward for international and domestic legal and policy developments to support a viable and sustainable private cis-Lunar space industry.
The Spring 2018 Space Studies Colloquium Series focuses on CisLunar infrastructure, and will feature several leading experts in this field. The first presentation in this series will feature Jim Keravala, Co-founder and CEO of OffWorld of Pasadena, California, who are "developing a new generation of universal industrial robots to do the heavy lifting on Earth, Moon, asteroids and Mars"
The development and utilization of space resources will enable an economic transformation for humankind on par with the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution. The development and utilization of space resources will liberate humankind from the resource constraints of a finite earth and usher an era of unprecedented economic growth and prosperity. The first steps along this road are the development of the resources of the Moon and near-Earth asteroids to create a self-sustaining economy in cislunar space. The first economically viable resource in cislunar space will be rocket propellant from water mined on the Moon or asteroids. Recent research at the Colorado School of Mines shows that mining water for propellant in the permanently shadowed regions of the Moon is feasible at costs that can meet the requirements of a purely commercial business case. Once space-sourced propellants are available, the cost of transportation in cislunar space plummets enabling other space businesses to become viable. Space based solar power, beaming unlimited clean energy to Earth, is just one example.
A common trope in science fiction is the concept of humankind “slipping the surly bonds of Earth”, and coming to live and work in outer space. Indeed, as the world’s nations become increasingly dependent on space, policymakers and legislators have begun to see space, and its celestial bodies, as a means to satisfy curiosity, expand knowledge, and obtain precious resources. In the mid-twentieth century, the United Nations proposed a series of treaties to govern humanity’s burgeoning pursuit of space, and these documents, beginning with the esteemed Outer Space Treaty, continue to influence the activities of nations the world over. The treaty regime established several critical principles for the uses of space, and noted, amongst its primary articles, that neither outer space, nor its celestial bodies, could become “appropriated” territory for any country. Left unstated by those treaties, however, was the extent to which nations—or the people for whom they were responsible—were permitted to use the resources found on celestial bodies. For the past several years, multiple efforts have been made at the level of the United States Congress to initiate the exploration and exploitation of space resources. Some rules were proposed but rejected, whereas others were passed into law. The common theme of these rules was that celestial bodies in general, and asteroids in particular, are ripe for resource extraction programs. While much of the brouhaha surrounding these Congressional activities concerns the use of asteroids by private, commercial companies, the story is much more complex than one first surmises. Indeed, if humanity is to continue the pursuit of lengthy stays in space, or if it wishes to extend its reach to other planets with human explorers, using asteroids as waystations or resource providers may be inevitable. This talk will analyze the extent to which nations and private companies may use asteroids, including the legal and policy ramifications of extracting their resources, attempting to move such bodies, and creating potential markets.
Common Heritage, not Common Law: The Legal Regulation of Natural Resource Exploitation in Outer Space
This presentation will be a brief run-down of historical developments in international space law, the reasons why international law-making is now difficult and the challenges this poses in the face of rapidly expanding technology, an analysis of how the existing framework anticipates the management of natural resource exploitation in outer space, a reconciliation of (seemingly inconsistent) relevant principles regarding celestial body exploitation, the implications of recent national law developments, and a suggestion for the most appropriate path forward.
Asteroids are samples of the population of planetesimals which filled the early inner solar system and from which the terrestrial planets accreted. The asteroid fragments that fall to Earth as meteorites represent samples of at least 135 chemically distinct parent bodies. Following their formation, these parent bodies experienced a wide range of thermal histories from essentially unheated through complete melting. The meteorites are a very biased sample of main belt population, being dominated by parent bodies located near “escape hatches” (orbital resonances) in the main belt. The near-Earth asteroid / object (NEA, NEO) population suffers a similar but somewhat less severe bias. Care must be exercised in extrapolating the relative frequency of compositional and physical types among the meteorites to the NEO population. Understanding the suite of physical and chemical properties among the NEO population is critical to accessing the impact hazard and resource potential of these objects.
Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover and the Road to Human Exploration of the Red Planet: An Operations and Engineering Perspective
Since landing on Mars August 6, 2012 the NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover has been exploring the Martian surface with the most sophisticated suite of instruments ever deployed to another planet. In addition, this nuclear powered car-sized rover has supporting orbital assets that allow for high data rate transmission and high-resolution orbital imagery. Landing at Gale crater (5°24′S 137°48′E / 5.4°S 137.8°E) using an innovative and complex entry, decent, and landing (EDL) system, MSL has demonstrated several key technologies and mission operation systems that will be critical when planning and executing a human mission to Mars. In this presentation, I’ll discuss the MSL mission from the perspective of tactical and strategic planetary mission operations, science and engineering goals of MSL, and what we’ve learned from the mission that will aid in the planning and preparation for the most extraordinary undertaking in human history – a crewed mission to Mars!
The Space Shuttle was a crown jewel in NASA’s human spaceflight program for over three decades. This spectacular flying machine served as a symbol of our nation’s prowess in science and technology, along with a demonstration of our “can do” attitude. The Space Shuttle program was a major leap forward in our quest for space exploration. It prepared us for our next steps with a fully operational International Space Station. It set the stage for journeys to destinations like Mars. This presentation will focus on the select science accomplishments from this cathedral to space technology.
In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) and Space mining are concepts developed by science fiction writers a while ago. However, only now technologies reach maturation level where ISRU and Space mining could actually be feasible. ISRU, in general terms, refers to using local resources to enable or enhance robotic and human exploration. For example water can be mined on the Moon and processed to sustain human presence for longer duration. Space mining, in most terms, refers to mining space resources for commercial gains. For example water can be mined on asteroids, electrolyzed into H2 and O2 and shipped back to Earth to refuel GEO and LEO satellites. In recent years, several companies were funded to do just that. This presentation will give a background to ISRU and space mining and then several examples of current and future missions.
Sheryl L. Bishop
To boldly go…! But with lots of preparation, planning, testing and educated guesswork. Yet, just how DO you prepare crews for an experience that has never been encountered in the history of humankind…leaving our entire world and every other member of our species unequivocally behind as we reach for the next stepping stone in our expansion to the stars?
One approach is to try living and working in space from a nearby off-earth location. Our progress along this line has resulted in a couple of small orbiting space stations hosting 2-3 persons (hardly a ‘group’) with more ease of rescue and assistance than our Antarctic bases down below. Given the limited access to the space frontier and the investment in collective effort and resources, our ability to study individual and group functioning in the actual space environment has been, and will continue to be, severely limited. Until we can establish more permanent and larger facilities on the moon or in orbit, our knowledge of how to train groups for long duration missions will also be limited. The second approach is through analogs, i.e., locations here on Earth that are characterized by some of the critical features we expect to be a part of any long duration mission: isolation, confinement, and extreme environments with both known and unknown dangers. Studies on real-world groups situated in extreme environments here on Earth have provided us insight into many factors that impact group performance, health and well-being. Not only have we expanded our knowledge about the things we knew were problems but we’ve also discovered a number of issues that were not obvious. Thus, studying groups in terrestrial extreme environments as analogues has been a productive way to provide predictive insight into the things that we need to prepare for in long duration space missions.
Analogs come in two broad categories: artificial situations called simulations that we construct and those that real world environments provide for us. Simulations provide a great deal of control over the kinds of things that crews are experiencing which allows us to study specific conditions with a great deal of precision. Unlike simulation studies, real world environments are very chaotic but provide very real environmental threats, physical hardship, as well as true isolation and confinement – all of which have proven to be key factors in individual and group coping. To demonstrate the usefulness of the various types of analogs in use today, results from several analog studies undertaken by the author (e.g., deep caving, desert survival teams, mountain climbers, Mars Desert Research Station, Antarctic and Arctic stations) will be presented focusing on interpersonal, environmental and individual factors that affected functioning and well-being at both the physiological and psychological levels.
Ronita L. Cromwell
This presentation will focus on ground-based analogs used by NASA and their international partners for simulating the effects of spaceflight on humans. Discussion of analogs that affect human physiology such as bed rest and dry immersion will be included. Analogs used for isolation and confinement such as the new NASA Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA), and polar stations will be presented. Collaborations with international partners in ground-based analogs will also be highlighted.
Pablo de León
The use of analogs to investigate and mitigate risks during long duration spaceflight has been an accepted practice since the beginning of human spaceflight.
With NASA actively engaged in the planning of long duration manned missions, there is a need to increase the fidelity of existing analogs. It is particularly important to focus on analogs capable of supporting planetary operations, especially with the development of new systems designed to support the simulation and training required for these missions.
This presentation will cover the existing analog systems capable of supporting simulated long duration missions, and will also detail the new developments taking place with the UND Lunar/Mars Habitat and its conversion, from a one-module unit, to a multi-module research facility.
A discussion of the evolving business model(s) for space exploration/utilization addressing the interesting dynamics at play that are changing the business of space and the relationship of the Federal Government, traditional Federal contractors, and the private companies of the “newspace” community. These factors will be evaluated in the context of the public/private partnerships, space policy, technology, investment and future career opportunities.
Behavioral Issues Associated With Isolation and Confinement: Lessons Learned From Space Analog Experiences
The history of exploration contains many examples of serious psychological problems in response to the isolation, confinement, and other stressors of expedition life. Accounts of Adolphus Greely's disastrous Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, from which only six of 25 returned in 1884, affected all subsequent polar explorers. The stories of insanity and cannibalism among the Greely party were known by the members of the Belgian Antarctic Expedition 13 years later when they became trapped in the ice and experienced a deep depression that killed one man and drove another to bizarre acts of psychosis. Roald Amundsen, who performed his apprenticeship as an explorer on that expedition, wrote later that, insanity and disease stalked the decks of the Belgica that winter.Similarly, the radio operator on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition in 1912 became psychotic and his ranting threatened to drive other members of the group insane, confined as they were to a small hut in the most inhospitable environment on Earth. That experience led Douglas Mawson to recommend to all future explorers that, In no department can a leader spend time more profitably than in the selection of men who are to accomplish the work. It was in response to these and other experiences that Richard Byrd reportedly included only two coffins, but 12 straightjackets among his supplies during two expeditions to Antarctica in the 1930s. The relevance of living and working at remote duty stations to what might be expected of space travel has been recognized since Werner von Braun looked to Antarctic experiences when identifying possible sources of risk for his Mars Project in 1954. Cosmonaut Valery Ryumin echoed von Braun's concerns when he wrote of his Soyuz space station experience in 1980, All the conditions necessary for murder are met if you shut two men in a cabin measuring 18 feet by 20 and leave them together for two months.
All fields of science and serious inquiry rely on metaphor when access to actual conditions is impossible. Engineers and architects build scale models of buildings, bridges, and aircraft and then subject them to tests of strength or aerodynamics. Medical researchers explore new therapies using what are called animal models, a euphemism for rats, pigs, and other contributors to increased human longevity. Economists create mathematical models to test hypotheses about commerce and finance. And, behavioral scientists look to analogous conditions when it is impractical, impossible, or unethical to subject humans to extreme stress for long durations. For this reason, it has been appropriate to study conditions on Earth characterized by varying degrees of isolation and confinement to extrapolate lessons for the designs of space craft and space habitats. Dr. Jack Stuster will summarize his space analog research and present recent results from the Journals Flight Experiment, the longest-running study to be conducted on the International Space Station.
Michael D. Watson
The NASA Systems Engineering Research Consortium was formed at the end of 2010 to study the approaches to producing elegant systems on a consistent basis. This has been a transformative study looking at the engineering and organizational basis of systems engineering. The consortium has engaged in a variety of research topics to determine the path to elegant systems. In the second year of the consortium, a systems engineering framework emerged which structured the approach to systems engineering and guided our research. This led in the third year to set of systems engineering postulates that the consortium is continuing to refine. The consortium has conducted several research projects that have contributed significantly to the understanding of systems engineering. The consortium has surveyed the application of the NASA 17 systems engineering processes, explored the physics and statistics of systems integration, and considered organizational aspects of systems engineering discipline integration. The systems integration methods have included system exergy analysis, Akaike Information Criteria (AIC), State Variable Analysis, Multidisciplinary Coupling Analysis (MCA), Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO), System Cost Modelling, System Robustness, and Value Modelling. Organizational studies have included application of sociology principles to systems engineering, the variability of processes in change evaluations, margin management within the organization, information theory of board structures, social categorization of unintended consequences, and initial looks at applying cognitive science to systems engineering. Consortium members have also studied the bidirectional influence of policy and law with systems engineering.
William Bruce Banerdt
The InSight mission to Mars, the twelfth mission in NASA’s Discovery Program, will launch from Vandenberg AFB in California in March of 2016. It will land six months later in Elysium Planitia to begin a two-year primary mission. It reuses much of the design from the previous Phoenix mission to control cost and risk, two things that are critical for the selection and success of a cost-capped Discovery mission.
Unlike previous missions to Mars, which have focused on surface features and chemistry, InSight aims to explore the interior of the planet down to its very core. The planet Mars is a keystone in our quest for understanding the early processes of terrestrial planet formation and evolution. Unlike the Earth, its overall structure appears to be relatively unchanged since a few hundred million years after formation. Unlike the Moon, it is large enough that the pressure-temperature conditions within the planet span an appreciable fraction of the terrestrial planet range. Thus the large-scale chemical and structural evidence within Mars should tell us a great deal about the processes of planetary differentiation and thermal evolution.
InSight will pursue its fundamental science goals by performing the first comprehensive surface-based geophysical measurements on Mars, using seismology, precision tracking, and heat flow measurements. The limitation to a single location provides challenges to traditional seismology, which can be overcome with the application of single-station techniques that have been developed for terrestrial observations.
Planetary science missions are among the most complex systems that humanity builds, are developed over three to ten years, cost hundreds of millions to billions of dollars, and have fixed launch periods. Projects are formulated to address specific scientific objectives that drive planetary science forward, but also are influenced by technical, political and cultural factors. The development of projects are complex affairs that are typically dominated by large engineering teams that are needed to design and build the spacecraft.
Scientists advise the project during this phase by drafting science requirements that define what the spacecraft must do, defining the environments the spacecraft must operate in, and building scientific instruments to make the observations needed to address the scientific objectives. The science team is led by a Project Scientist or Principal Investigator and includes instrument Principal Investigators, Co-Investigators, Participating Scientists and collaborators.
The operations phase of projects typically includes most of the science team participating in an orchestrated process designed to make timely strategic and tactical decisions to acquire the data needed to answer the science objectives of the mission.
The two defining characteristics of the planet Venus are its atmospheric super-rotation and the planet-enshrouding cloud layers. The clouds reflect more than 70% of the incident solar flux back into space, but about half of the solar flux that is received by the planet is absorbed at the altitudes occupied by the clouds. But for its massive greenhouse effect, the planet Venus would be even cooler than Earth, despite being located closer to the Sun.
The clouds play a pivotal role here, too, as they are the fourth largest contributor to this greenhouse effect, following CO2, H2O, and SO2. Thus, a large fraction of the incident solar flux and a significant fraction of the upwelling infrared flux are absorbed by the Venusian cloud layers. This energy deposition possibly plays a significant role in sustaining the global super-rotation of Venus in which the entire atmosphere circles the planet with periods of as little as four days at the cloud tops. However, these clouds are also highly variable, especially when viewed at ultraviolet and near infrared wavelengths.
In this talk, I discuss the value of multispectral analysis of Venus in characterizing the properties of the planet’s clouds and their role in the global energy and momentum budgets; especially when coupled with in situ measurements of the clouds themselves.