Speaker: Jeff Greenblatt, Founder and CEO at Emerging Futures, LLC Presentation Info: Refueling Starship with methane/oxygen propellant on the lunar surface using polar volatiles As the evidence for water in the lunar polar crater regions has accumulated, exploration and business plans have moved to embrace water ice mining as an important early activity on the Moon, providing hydrogen/oxygen propellant for return missions and surface operations, life support, radiation shielding and consumables for industrial processes.
However, absent from most analysis but clearly present in the LCROSS/LAMP impactor measurements at Cabeus crater were other volatiles besides water, including carbon-, nitrogen-, and sulfur-containing compounds.
In this talk, I review the estimated concentrations of these volatiles and show that there could be enough carbon to make methane/oxygen propellant for refueling SpaceX’s Starship (or other methane-burning rockets) to transport the mined water back to LEO, thereby closing the Starship Earth-to-Moon transport loop and delivering water to LEO at a fraction of the price that current estimates project.
Speaker Bio: Dr. Jeffery Greenblatt, Ph.D. is Founder and CEO of Emerging Futures, LLC, an environmental and space technology consultancy based in Berkeley, CA. He is also Chief Scientist at Spacexchange, LLC, which provides economic, risk and market analytics to the space industry, and Chief Visionary Officer at Orbital Assembly Corp., which is developing large-scale on-orbit construction capabilities. Jeff has a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a well-known expert in the fields of energy analysis, climate policy and sustainable transportation. Since 2014, he has expanded his focus to include emerging space technologies. In addition to its ongoing Earth-focused strategy and modeling work, Emerging Futures has been investigating topics related to technology development of in-situ resource utilization, human life support, space industrialization, and transport logistics for the Moon, Mars and Earth orbital locations.
He worked with Opus 12, Inc. under a NASA SBIR Phase II to develop ways to generate methane, oxygen and polyethylene on the Martian surface, and his submission to the Mars Society Mars Colony Prize was among the top 10 finalists in 2019. In the past year, he has focused on lunar resource development concepts, and was also a contributor to the recently-published “Lunar Development Cooperative” paper supporting the sustainable economic development of the Moon.
Previously, Jeff was a Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and he has also worked in leadership and research capacities at Google, Environmental Defense Fund, Princeton University and NASA Ames Research Center. From the 2020 Lunar Development Conference, held on July 19-20, 2020 as a virtual event by The Moon Society.