The Expanse depicts a robustly settled solar system teeming with intrigue, adventure, and possibility. Indeed, recent work has shown that the resources of the solar system are vast beyond imagining, and worth many fortunes. Despite all this bounty and already having the technology for much more aggressive human space activity, we have no Martian cities or asteroid mining camps. Why? The short answer is money. The sort of self-sustaining space settlement envisioned by sci-fi authors faces a fundamental paradox: it is too expensive to ship everything you need from Earth, but to get around that, you already need industry in space. Drawing on an academic paper he wrote on the topic, the presenter will argue that deploying orbital solar power relays will not only address some of the most pressing environmental and energy problems here on Earth, but can break the development paradox and kickstart meaningful space settlement.


Leet William Wood, PhD

Event Timeslots (1)

Friday, August 20
Room 144AB - Science Fair