Jim Logan, a former NASA flight surgeon who is the co-founder of the Space Enterprise Institute, shows plan for putting a space settlement inside the Martian moon Deimos. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)
The smaller of Mars’ two moons, Deimos, was named after the Greek god of terror — but the way former NASA flight surgeon Jim Logan sees it, Deimos could be a comfort zone for space settlers.
“The Mars-facing side of Deimos is probably the most valuable real estate in the solar system,” Logan, co-founder of the Space Enterprise Institute, said today at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
Logan laid out his case for Deimos during a conference on space settlement, presented this week by the Space Studies Institute to highlight the late Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill’s vision for humanity’s expansion into the solar system.
O’Neill outlined his concept for free-flying space habitats in a 1977 book titled “The High Frontier.” The concept inspired a Princeton student named Jeff Bezos to pursue his own space dreams, even as he built Amazon into an online retail juggernaut and became the world’s richest individual.
Today, Logan said the classic O’Neill habitat wouldn’t be the best place to put an off-Earth settlement. Based on up-to-date measurements of the radiation flux in deep space, he estimates that it would take three times as much bulk as O’Neill called for to provide Earth-level protection to the inhabitants of the Island One habitat described in “The High Frontier.” That translates to 8.5 million tons of shielding.
Former NASA flight surgeon James Logan is a co-founder of the Space Enterprise Institute. (SEI Photo)
Logan argued that the surface of the moon and Mars also would be ill-suited for long-term stays — again, primarily due to radiation exposure.
John Charles, who served a stint as chief scientist for NASA’s …read more