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.

Peter Kokh at ISDC 2019
Peter Kokh at ISDC 2019


Keith Garrett and Ben Smith at ISDC 2019
Keith Garrett and Ben Smith at ISDC 2019








Publish Date