ISDC 2019 summary – June 9 by Ben Smith

Hi. I’m Ben Smith and this is a summary of my International Space Development Conference (ISDC) 2019 experience.


Sunday, June 9


Morning Plenary

Keynote Speaker: “Space 2.0: Into a New Space Age”

  • Panelists:
    • Greg Autry (Vice President for Space Development, National Space Society)
    • Bruce Pittman (Senior Vice President and Senior Operating Officer, National Space Society)
    • Dr. Allison Zuniga (NASA Ames Research Center).
  • Moderator: Rod Pyle, Space Author, Journalist, Historian and Editor-in-Chief, Ad Astra Magazine, National Space Society


  • Good panel but I didn’t take notes.


Morning Track – Moon

  • Moon Village Association Progress Report – Projects and Programs Update. John C. Mankins (Moon Village Association)
    • NSS is the North American representative of MVA.
  • They sound impressive but I joined and I can’t find any recent activity besides presenting at conferences.
  • The Economic Value of Lunar Settlement and Construction. Daniel Inocente (Skidmore Owings Merrill) and Brad Blair (NewSpace Analytics)
    • Their base design is interesting but impractical (in my opinion).
    • Seemed more like marketing for their architectural firm.
  • Establishing a Roadmap for the International Lunar Decade. Jim Crisafulli (National Space Society)
    • No notes. May have been skipped.
  • Man on the Moon: Health and Physiology in Partial Gravity. Dr. Joan Vernikos (Third Age LLC) and Dr. Adarsh Deepak (Taksha Institute)
    • People age faster is micro-gravity.
      • x10 faster (that doesn’t sound right)
      • Less stimulation of cells.
    • No signs of adaptation to micro-gravity in 6-12 months.
    • Exercise is not sufficient.
    • We don’t know the results of micro-gravity without constant exercise over time.
      • All studies so far have included significant exercising.
    • Circadian rhythms are also a problem.
    • Lunar dust is the biggest threat.
    • Human-powered centrifuge might be a solution.
  • Lunar Space Elevator Michael Laine (Liftport Group)
    • No notes. I think it was skipped.
  • The Remnant Project: Building a Self-Sustainable Habitat for Long-Term Human Missions to Moon. Roberto Rodriguez (InstarZ LLC)
    • Skipped.
  • NSS Student Space Settlement Contest Presentation
    • No notes.
  • Space Architecture: Options for Moon Settlements. Ayse Oren (Architect)
    • No notes.
  • Moon Village Association Working Discussion: MVA Catalyst Role for 2024 Return to the Moon – Establishing a Roadmap for the International Lunar Decade. John C. Mankins (Moon Village Association), Madhu Thangavelu (University of Southern California), Jim Crisafulli (National Space Society), Al Anzaldua (National Space Society)
    • No notes.


Morning tracks not attended

  • Many Roads to Space
  • Space Settlement



Lunch again with Keith and Dana. It was great meeting you both!


Afternoon Track – Earth Independence

  • Artificial Gravity & Producing Habitats. Art Harman (Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration)
    • Gravitron – horizontal centrifuge for long duration Lunar settlements
  • How Food Will be Grown? Bryce Meyer (St. Louis Space Frontier)
    • 8-person colony
    • Hydroponic gardens
    • 1 year stand up time
    • Bioreactor/photo-bioreactor/algae reactor/yeast reactor
    • Hydroponics with substrates are more efficient than without
    • Movement of gas/liquids are the #1 energy consumer
    • Unusable cellulose = trapped CO2
    • Fish/shrimp/bugs are efficient protein (feed to growth ratio)
      • Chickens for eggs is good also
    • Potatoes / squash = high efficiency
    • Potatoes / barley / wheat = high calorie density
    • Potatoes / radishes / wheat = efficient carbs
    • Inedible plant mass > worms/insects >chicken, fish, human food
    • Food production ≈ 10-100 kw and 45 m2 per person
  • Meat, Nutritional Needs, & Culinary Arts. Chris Wolfe (The Space Development Network)
    • Some of the note above probably belong here.
  • ISRU Production of Power Systems & Electronics. Dr. Alex Ignatiev (Lunar Resources, Inc.)
    • Working on using regolith to print thin film solar cells.
      • Scalable
      • Deliver to multiple locations
      • Redundant systems
      • Low weight / low cost
  • Children, Families, & Population Growth. Dr. Alexander Layendecker (The Space Development Network)
    • Mixed gender crews perform better (NASA study)
  • The Moon-Mars Analogue Base. Christian Meza (Tucson L5 Space Society)
    • No notes.
  • ROUNDTABLE – How Can We Make Progress? Dr. Doug Plata (The Space Development Network
    • I had to leave so I didn’t catch much of this.


Afternoon tracks not attended

  • Many Roads to Space
  • Moon (sorry Peter!)



Left to visit with my parents for a few days before heading home. The movie (that I skipped) was “Searching for Skylab”.


Final thoughts

ISDC 2019 was educational and fun. I’m glad I went. I’m not sure I would go back unless I was speaking.

Random photos

These photos were taken by Dana Carson at ISDC 2019.


Keith Garrett and Ben Smith at ISDC 2019