Episode 9: Bringing Earth Along - Moving to Space Development while Staying Connected to Earth

Season Two | Episode 9

Bringing Earth Along: Moving to Space Development while Staying Connected


How will space-based humans “Bring Earth Along” when they become an off-planet species? Here’s an inside look how an Earth and space-based future will unlock new technologies and opportunities.

Thank you to our guest on this episode of Lockheed Martin Space Makers for histime and expertise:

Ben Pearson from Lockheed Martin

Episode Notes

To dig deeper into some of the topics referenced in today’s episode, please follow these links:

Blurring the Karman Line: Bringing Digital Transformation to Space

From Discovery to Defense: Unlocking the Power of the Digital Thread

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Host: Welcome to Lockheed Martin Space Makers, the podcast that takes you out of this world for an inside look at some of our most challenging and innovative missions. My name is Ben, and I'll be your host.

[00:00:14] In season two, we explore Lockheed Martin's bold new vision of a future we call "Space 2050." We partnered with our Advanced Technology Center to bring you an inside look at the innovations and technologies we are developing to make that future a reality. Because getting there is just the beginning.

[00:00:35] Lockheed Martin is working on the foundational technologies that will enable humans to untether from Earth. Maybe it looks more like tethering space to Earth. My colleague Natalya Oleksik takes a closer at how Earth will be brought along as humans become an off-planet species. 

[00:00:53] Natalya: Welcome to Space Makers. I'm talking to Ben about untethering from Earth. Ben, can you tell us your name and your title?

[00:00:59] Ben Pearson: Yeah. Hi. I'm Ben Pearson for Lockheed Martin Space. I'm a strategic planner in commercial civil space, and my primary focus is the lunar infrastructure and all the fantastic things we can do on the Moon and even looking beyond the Moon. What can we do when we go past the Moon to Mars and the asteroid belts and everything that's in deep space beyond?

[00:01:20] Natalya: So before all of that starts, it's all about getting there. What can you tell us about some of those challenges that you work with getting us up there?

[00:01:27] Ben Pearson: So one of the first things that we really need to do and really to be able to establish to be able to start working in space is we need to establish our ability to generate value from space. Of course, there's immense value, and the human need for exploration and to push our boundaries and to be able to find out what is out there and really explore the human spirit. But the fact of the matter is, as well, the vast resources of space will really pull humanity forward in the future in a very, very real tangible sense. And what we're talking about in the near future is beginning to be able to unlock those capabilities and those futures.

[00:02:12] So when we ask what we need to get up there, one are the reasons ... one of the really big things we need is a good reason to be out there, and the reasons that we start going there is to explore lunar regolith, for example, to be able to find ice in that lunar soil, to be able to find other resources in that lunar soil. We want to be able to explore orbital environments, that we're able to take advantage of microgravity and be able to start manufacturing really, high-fidelity systems that you simply could not be able to build in an Earth gravity environment. And then we wanna be pushing past there. We wanna be pushing towards Mars.

[00:02:51] We wanna be pushing towards the asteroid belt, and we wanna be justifying our expansion into the solar system and making sure that we're bringing those assets all the way back down to Earth to help the people who are here and to help bring those people who are here on Earth into the broader solar system with us.

[00:03:09] Natalya: Is there anything that will provide an economic tipping point to really spur further exploration so that we go after those assets up there?

[00:03:20] Ben Pearson: The first and probably most vital resource that's gonna be available to us in the near future is the billions and billions of tons of water locked in ice on the lunar surface. And what we can do with the ice on this lunar surface is we can crack it and we can turn it into propellant for other systems in cislunar space and lunar space and beyond lunar space. So we can turn this ice into fuel for our rockets, our satellites. We can also turn it into oxygen just for humans to be able to use when they're living on the surface of the Moon or in space stations around the Moon, and of course water is fundamental to any kind of life that we want as well moving forward that is gonna be joining us.

[00:04:08] So if we want crops, we need water. If we want pets, we want water. If we want our friends and family out there, we, we need water. So what we start talking about as maybe one of our fundamental steppingstones for what are we talking about in the space economy, we start talking about water-based and hydrogen-based economies as, as a real level set starting point. What we have beyond that as well though, we also have lots and lots of other vital resources in ... locked in the Moon, locked in asteroids that we're able to exploit as well. So the Moon has really excellent reserves of specific metals.

[00:04:49] It has fairly good portions of rare earth metals as well, which are currently considered highly strategic and terrestrially are locked in places where they're sometimes less accessible to the United States and its allies. So being able to take advantage of rare earth metals, for example, in the solar system could potentially be another avenue of exploration. And of course, if we, if we put on our future hats, we can start thinking really hard about helium-3 as well, for example, and being able to leverage that for nuclear fusion in space and bringing it back to the terrestrial sphere to take advantage of a massive jump leaps and jumps in power generation capability.

[00:05:29] Natalya: All those things, from metals to obviously the building block of life, water. Does it stay up there? We find it, we process it up there or do we bring it back to Earth, process it in facilities on Earth? Is there a scenario where we don't even have to bring it back? We can do it all up there?

[00:05:46] Ben Pearson: I think that's a really excellent question, and it's gonna have an answer which is always wildly unsatisfying, but it's nevertheless ... Still the answer, which is it depends. Resources, let's talk about asteroid resources and lunar resources, for example, just to start with. For a sheer mass perspective, it makes a lot more sense if we can start grabbing regolith or grabbing chunks of asteroid and pulling out the really useful pieces of those bodies and be able to pull that back to wherever it is we wanna pull it back to just because the amount of useful stuff in those, in those bodies is ... it's gonna to be less than it would've been in its raw form, of course.

[00:06:26] So if you have exciting tugs, which are probably likely to be autonomous in the future, trying to pull material around in the solar system, then it's better to be able to do that with better refined products. So the more refinement, the better in that particular instance. But what you do with it once you've had any degree of refinement in whichever point it is that you're doing that refinement, you are probably mostly talking about leveraging those resources in the, in orbit, in space. That said, there are certainly ... There are certainly areas where there will be exceptions to that rule. Some of these rare earth metals perhaps could make their way back to terrestrial sphere, though they will have plenty of applicability in space as well.

[00:07:15] We're able to talk about helium-3, which I mentioned earlier, which again is a bit of a future hat element, but it's still worth talking about seriously. That would certainly have viability to bring back to Earth because it doesn't really exist on Earth. We're talking about kind of an isotope of an element which is really, really hard to find on Earth. So if we lean into nuclear fusion, we will be able to bring this back to Earth.

[00:07:38] Natalya: Does that ... I'm gonna interrupt just because this is-

[00:07:40] Ben Pearson: Please.

[00:07:40] Natalya: ... fascinating. Helium-3 comes back to Earth. Does that add a whole new element of powering the Earth?

[00:07:48] Ben Pearson: It absolutely does, and that's something that's really, really vital and really, really exciting about space, which is that so many pieces of space are immediately applicable back down on Earth. For helium-3 specifically, helium-3 is ... Gosh, it's probably about a ... considered a third-generation nuclear fusion fuel at, at this juncture. That's not usually what we're exploring at the moment with our current iterations of fusion generators. I say current. They're still a little far out there. But as, as we work to develop them, for the most part, we're talking in terms of deuterium and tritium, which are hydrogen isotopes, and helium-3 leading into helium-3 removes a lot of the radioactivity from that equation. So it's immediately valuable to, to be able to bring back to Earth.

[00:08:34] Natalya: So disruptive to the economy on Earth, but also hugely an asset to the economy on Earth when it gets back down here?

[00:08:40] Ben Pearson: Hugely so, and you could say very much the same thing for the, the materials and the finished products that you're able to create on orbits or in microgravity. So we might not necessarily be bringing big slabs of aluminum or silicon back to Earth because it doesn't make a lot of sense. There's plenty of that here. But what we can start doing is we can start setting up production facilities on the Moon or in microgravity around Earth, and we can start leveraging the resources that we find in space to start creating finished, really, really high-quality finished products, which are not replicable at all on Earth. You could go as far as to say that the microgravity environment is ideal for creating organs even.

[00:09:23] Natalya: Human organ?

[00:09:24] Ben Pearson: Human organs because the way they create human organs at the moment is effectively by dripping stem cells onto a kind of a framework, almost. It's my layman's understanding of it, at least. The situation you run into, of course, is because you're in a gravity environment, you have those stem cells tripping unevenly or in directions you don't necessarily want them do, and add some complication to this situation, or is in a microgravity environment or zero G. It's not really zero G. It's microgravity. But conventionally speaking, if you're in orbit, then you don't have the same gravity which means you don't always have the same striations. So human origin was could be very viable for, for the future as a way to take advantage of our space domain.

[00:10:06] Natalya: You're talking about something where Earth benefits space, things that we anticipate doing up in space are gonna vastly benefit Earth, but we need to talk to each other to do that, not just between Earth and the Moon, and Earth and Mars, and Mars and the Moon. How do we address that?

[00:10:24] Ben Pearson: So there are a number of ways we can address communications with deep space, and you're ... absolutely, you're right on two fronts. The first front is you're absolutely right that all of these things, they're so tied together, and at a certain point, it almost becomes impossible to untether Earth from space. They're so interlinked that there, there is no untethering because they're tied together. The other thing that you're completely right on though is that, as we do move into deeper space, as we engage in our deep space operations and try to explore beyond Earth, we run into these communications hurdles to overcome. And there's no magic Star Trek solution to overcoming the speed of light, certainly not within our current understanding of physics.

[00:11:09] Natalya: And we're up against something like a three-minute lag if we go to Mars, is that right? Or is it even more than more than that?

[00:11:14] Ben Pearson: It's, it's more than that. It's ... On average, it's, um, it's gonna be between 10 and 15 minutes, is the usual conversation time. They talk about the seven minutes of terror when they have a lot of those rover landings, and that's just the sheer amount of time that it takes for light to get from, from one to the other, in that particular instance. And there's a few ways that we can talk about addressing that. The first is by ensuring that our communication systems are optimally equipped to make sure that they're streamlining the amount of data that needs to be streamlined between the planetary bodies.

[00:11:45] By that what it means is that if we have assets on the Martian surface, for example, and they're doing real science, they're doing real living, they're doing real habitation, we're starting to talk about real settlements on Mars, then the amount of communications bandwidth is gonna have to increase massively exponentially to be able to have those conversations between the planets, because right now our communication systems between the planets is, it's a bit pulled together out of loose parts. In, in some instances, really fantastic loose parts that have lasted for a long time, but it's certainly not gonna be of the magnitude or capability that will be necessary moving forward.

[00:12:22] And the, the second way that we deal with this, which is very much related to the first, is high reliance on autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Fact of the matter is an astronaut who lands on Mars, who, who puts feet on Mars is going to a place where they will not be helped in immediate near term by, by-

[00:12:45] Natalya: If they're injured.

[00:12:46] Ben Pearson: ... ground systems. If they're injured, yeah. If they're injured, if they need rescuing, if they ... if something goes wrong. And of course, in all instances, the human brain is the best mechanism we have for overcoming human problems, and oftentimes the best way of overcoming machine problems as well. But what can't be understated is the importance of artificial intelligence on the surface which is gonna be able to pick up a lot of the slack for the operations and not need to have that conversation with Earth to say, "Hey, what do I do next in this situation? And now what are we doing?" Because it's gonna take too long to be able to make those decisions.

[00:13:23] Natalya: Can artificial intelligence really help us untether from Earth all the way? Or is it really important that we put more people up there so that they can use their brains up there to solve these problems?

[00:13:34] Ben Pearson: So I'm never gonna be someone who advocates completely untethering from Earth. I would be someone who would advocate a highly collaborative environment, at the end of the day. We don't want to leave Earth behind. We wanna to bring anything that we're discovering back to Earth's goodness, at, at the very least, and we want to be able to ... We want to be bringing Earth to Mars, not the other way around in, in most of these instances, because Mars is a desolate wasteland and Earth is ... Earth is our home. So we wanna to be taking home with us when we go, when we explore the solar system. Both people and robots are gonna be specially skilled at doing certain specific things.

[00:14:14] There will be situations where we're more easily able to say, "Okay, thank you, Robot MacGuffin, go and explore that asteroid and bring us back all these fun resources. Thank you. Bye. We'll see you in a couple of years." And that's a really ideal application of these robotic systems, and Lockheed Martin has been sending robotic probes out into the solar system and exploring asteroids that we might wanna be exploring more robustly for decades now, where nobody does it better. But there's other instances where robotics are not going to be the solution that you wanna pursue.

[00:14:49] And the fact the matter is you need people for everything that is human and everything that makes us human when we're taking our society beyond Earth. Humans are always gonna be more tactile and more capable of thinking on the spot and doing various things when they're interacting with a Martian surface. You don't need to pre-program human to say, "Go pick up that rock." You can just say, "Go pick up that rock," or they can think for themselves, even better, and go pick up the rock and do whatever sciences they plan to do with that rock.

[00:15:21] But also, a lot of the point of being able to explore the solar system is to be able to take our humanity with us. We would be bringing teachers, we'd be bringing doctors, we'd be bringing artists, and, and so on with us when we get our final established territories, settlements. And gosh, if, if the pandemic of the last couple of years has taught us anything, then I think it should be that we should never try to replace our teachers with robots. It's just not [crosstalk 00:14:57] something you can do. You can't replace all human functions with robots. You need to be doing these things in concert.

[00:15:56] Where I would see a lot of the real concert between humanity and between our robotic friends on ... off surface, off the Earth's surface, is in situations where we need to process a lot of data very, very quickly, and we have sensors, for example, artificial intelligence enabled sensors, even better, that are able to observe a situation very, very precisely and from a lot of angles, and to be able to look at that data and derive meaning from that data and be able to bring that meaning and being able to bring the full informatics back to the astronaut, who then gets to make the decision based on the real machine learning informed information that they actually have is a really big enabler for those astronauts.

[00:16:41] And of course, we, we get ourselves into a situation where we start thinking forward enough, and the AI is gonna be able to make some of those decisions itself, as well, and start being able to actually take actions based on the information that is generating and we're able to see that in back on Earth as, as well, just as well as in deep space. But, but really, what the future looks like is being able to use the informatics and data that our systems are generating to be able to maximize human potential.

[00:17:11] Natalya: So you're talking about a very important partnership, but you're also stressing the fact that we need to get humans up there as quickly as possible, to do the deep work, to do the intuitive work, to fill the gaps between all of the science that we're also making for that. Do you see that as an impediment or do you think there are solutions for that to get people up there quickly?

[00:17:31] Ben Pearson: I see as not an impediment, but an opportunity for Lockheed and an opportunity for humans. Yes, we absolutely need to be putting more people into space as, as soon as possible, and we're exploring methods and mechanisms to be able to do that. But one of the hurdles we run into is that this is something that nobody's ever done before, and we need to make sure that the value is really there, or rather than we're articulating the value well enough to ourselves to be able to start putting real high numbers of people on the lunar surface. But we need to start putting systems and infrastructures in place to be able to really enable that forward lean.

[00:18:09] So this is the conversation that we started having before, "Hey, how do we get people to the Moon?" Is, "Hey, how do we get people to the Moon and have them be able to make the most of their time on the Moon? Hey, water's gonna be really important." But of course, in addition to water, unless we want them to be sitting there for two weeks and then leaving, which we don't, because we want this to be a permanent situation, what we really want is we need to add power, we need to add communications, we need to add mobility, we need to start adding all of the critical elements that we have as a human species down on Earth, these infrastructural elements. They need to start existing on the Moon and on any other body that we decide to explore as well moving forward. And how do we lean into a future where they're able to stay there and where they're able to keep bringing maximum value out of there stays there?

[00:19:05] Natalya: And one of the barriers to that, of course, is the extremely hostile atmosphere they'll face with radiation.

[00:19:10] Ben Pearson: There are, radiation is a very genuine, very real problem in the space environment. I'm familiar with two conflicting, but no less worrying, perspectives on, on radiation. The first is that if we try to send folks to Mars and just kick them out there, they'll come back riddled with cancer and turn into jelly.

[00:19:27] Natalya: [laughs]

[00:19:27] Ben Pearson: Which is not an, an appealing visual obviously. The other opinion is, hey, radiation might be the least of our worries on, on that adventure as well, which isn't necessarily a soothing thought considering that the first point is not incorrect. There's still some small hurdles that we need to be able to overcome to really be able to actually make that traverse to Mars. But whether on a Mars transfer or operating in deep space or on the Moon itself, you- you're not wrong. There's absolutely this radiation environment to overcome, and there are a few ways we've begun to explore being able to manage this. The first, there's a really exciting vest, and which we're testing on Orion in the very near future, and the intent behind this vest is to very much mitigate the impacts of this radiation or-

[00:20:13] Natalya: The AstroRad? The AstroRad vest?

[00:20:15] Ben Pearson: Yes, the AstroRad vest. Thank you. To stop radiation from getting to the astronauts in the first place. There are other solutions similar to the AstroRad vest, but greater in scale, which could perhaps involve magnetic shielding, for example. So you've set up power systems which are able to actually deflect or deter the radiation from even being able to get near the humans in the first place. You can also leverage some of these resources again that we were talking about. One of the, one of the very best radiation shields is water. So you can work yourself in architecture where your astronauts are almost living in an ice bubble on the lunar surface. [crosstalk 00:20:02]

[00:20:54] Natalya: It sounds cold.

[00:20:55] Ben Pearson: It, it does sound cold, but frankly, if frozen ice is the worst of our problems again, then that's ... [laughs] That's, that's not such a bad one. The lunar surface temperature dips below a couple 100 degrees negative couple 100 degrees at any given time. So it's cold in the first place. So, so, so those are solutions we have to really be able to directly address this radiation. But there's a whole other direction that we as humanity are, are exploring and may find ourselves being able to best leverage in the future, and that's Astro-biological solutions as well.

[00:21:29] Being able to put ourselves in a situation where we are editing astronauts' genetics, for example, to be able to be immune or at least more resilience to some of these radiation issues. And there's a really interesting fact about some of the Apollo missions, and, and that is that, by preference, they actually wanted to launch during solar maximum. Solar maximum is basically when the sun is most active and when it's spewing out the most particles, and the reason for that is that those particles that it's spewing out actually protect us from particles coming from the rest of the universe. The entire universe is trying to kill us at all time.

[00:22:09] Natalya: [laughs]

[00:22:09] Ben Pearson: And so, so of-

[00:22:09] Natalya: So of course, we wanna go up further into the universe?

[00:22:12] Ben Pearson: So of course, you wanna go further into the universe. You wanna tell it what's what. That's, that's what I say. But you find yourself in a situation where you're picking between two evils. There is, is really what you're encountering. So, so radiation is absolutely just this tremendous thing to overcome, and it's not just an issue to be able to overcome for humans, it's an issue that we need to overcome for our electronics as well. We were talking about artificial intelligence, advanced sensors, autonomy, and all of those systems, of course, are heavily, heavily, heavily reliant on microchips, systems, computers that are getting smaller and smaller, and therefore more and more, just by default, susceptible to, to these issues.

[00:22:49] Natalya: They're sensitive to the environment around them, is that what you're saying?

[00:22:52] Ben Pearson: That's exactly right. And, and the radiation that, that is trying to mess with them for, for lack of, lack of better words. Now, of course, as we develop our capabilities, we're also coming up with solutions that are able to address that in turn. So we have computers which are dissimilar computers. We take voting systems, for example. So you've got three flight computers on a system, and they vote against each other almost for when they need to make a decision, for when they need to do something. So what that means is that if a chunk of radiation flips a beep in a chip and makes that chip do something that that chip's not supposed to be doing or makes that chip see some information that it's not supposed to be seeing, then hopefully, it is outvoted by the other two computers when they're, when they're needing to make this decision and it can reboot and then adjust for that.

[00:23:40] Natalya: You have to have an odd number every time you do this, right? Of computers. [crosstalk 00:22:51] In other words, you can't have a tie.

[00:23:45] Ben Pearson: It's ... Yeah. A tie will certain to be highly problematic.

[00:23:48] Natalya: Yeah.

[00:23:48] Ben Pearson: There's a school of thought that says let's put as many of these computers, these minicomputer chips up as physically possible to make sure that, hey, you're gonna lose X number of these chips, but you'll have Y number to be able to compensate for-

[00:24:02] Natalya: Redundancy.

[00:24:03] Ben Pearson: The redundancy, that's exactly right. Three is the minimum in this kind of situation. But then that means that you need all your systems in triplicate, so being able to circumvent triplicate systems would be ... That'd be ideal, but it's gonna become a triplicate system, you need to be able to deal with for so many things, so many future assets, so many future robotics. It's-

[00:24:24] Natalya: You're talking about a serious infrastructure we need up there.

[00:24:27] Ben Pearson: I'm talking about a serious infrastructure we need on Earth, as, as, as well as out there.

[00:24:30] Natalya: Ground system.

[00:24:31] Ben Pearson: Yeah, ground systems and chip manufacturing facilities is an eternal issue that we're encountering at the moment on Earth and being able to take advantage of ... taking advantage of space in the face of a chip shortage, which is the environment that we're currently in, and done on Earth is-

[00:24:46] Natalya: Yeah.

[00:24:46] Ben Pearson: ... problematic enough. If you can start bringing some of those capabilities out into space and being able to start making those chips in space, then that'd be really fantastic as a way to start being able to improve our robustness and our resilience moving forward.

[00:25:02] Natalya: So the further we push it in our efforts to get an economy established in space, human colonies, do you anticipate we'll be finding discoveries hand over fist that we can transport to Earth and, and help Earth?

[00:25:14] Ben Pearson: Yes, absolutely. Gosh, yes. Again, I hate to sound like a broken record, but this untethering, it's-

[00:25:20] Natalya: No untethering. [crosstalk 00:24:27]

[00:25:21] Ben Pearson: It's an imaginary untethering.

[00:25:22] Natalya: [laughs]

[00:25:22] Ben Pearson: Radiation is ...Gosh, it's one of so very many possibilities that we could be bringing back as a solution. We also find ourselves in a situation where in order to stand up a sustainable habitat on the lunar surface or in deep space, you of course need to explore some technologies which are directly applicable back down here on Earth. To pull some really simple examples water purification. That's something that you need to be able to cycle. You're not just using, you know, just reusing the water that already exists at the habitat and pulling it in from regolith, for example. You're also distributing for your plants, for example.

[00:26:02] But, of course, water purification is an immediate vast need that we need down on Earth, especially in climate strained environments and impoverished communities. We of course need to be considering our food security when we're in deep space, and its applicability, it's direct applicability, back down to Earth. Of course, when you're in deep space, you don't wanna be hauling every single calorie worth of astronaut food out to Mars every time they, they need a snack or a meal. What you really wanna do with a position that you wanna get yourself into is a situation where they're able to grow their own food, where they're able to get their own calories.

[00:26:35] And Martian soil may well be viable for this, and we may well be able to leverage similar systems in orbits and indeed on the lunar surface. So those lessons that we'll need to learn to be able to support astronauts in a deep space environment, those are lessons that we can bring directly right back down to Earth.

[00:26:56] Natalya: So we're looking at as an enormous opportunity as we move further into the new space age. And one of the things I've learned from you during our conversation today is, no, you don't untether from Earth. You ... Instead, we expand our humanity to reach into space. Does that vision include all the mundanities of humankind? Grocery stores and restaurants? Tell us a little bit of what about ...what pops up in your head when you're thinking about the lunar landscape of the future 50 years from now?

[00:27:28] Ben Pearson: Yeah, it absolutely includes every single one of those mundanities, and in addition to the “excitemanities.”

[00:27:35] Natalya: [laughs]

[00:27:35] Ben Pearson: The, the, the, the ... They come, they come ... That comes with humanity. We're not sitting here visualizing a future where we have a couple rogue astronauts to hang out in a tiny hub conducting meaningful but less meaningful perhaps science experiments than a full society really entails. What we're envisioning is settlements and habitations of vibrant human experience in these types of domains. We've talked a little bit about some of the really fantastic resources and assets that you get just by being in these space domains. But the fact of the matter is, wherever those resources are, culture pops up to make sure that they're really brought to fruition.

[00:28:23] A lot of towns were stood up in the United States on the way over to California and the gold rush, and of course, you needed these towns to be able to act as weigh stations, as points for the folks that were of course traveling on, and doing and say the same of the Moon, that there will be folks who want to travel to Mars and they will be passing through the Moon. And you can say that there are folks who will be going to the Moon to leverage its resources. So in, in both ways, lunar stations could be a bit of a, a way station towards some of the goals that folks are really trying to engage with moving forward.

[00:29:00] But just by default, at those way stations, you start seeing industries really cropping up. You start seeing all this humanity being able to emerge. You start having minors who bring their families, hopefully, and those families needs ... they need shops, they need education, they need hospitals, they need doctors, and of course, those miners and the companies those miners are working for will also find themselves in a situation where they need contractors, they need to other organizations, other industry partners to be able to really maximize their stays as well. There's not gonna be any one company that just does everything in the lunar sphere.

[00:29:40] This is no longer just a topic that we're talking about for the future. We've already got demonstration systems. We've already got the, the research that has demonstrated that this is possible. We found ourselves in a situation the, the last decade, the last couple of decades on an escalating basis. We found ourselves in a situation where electronics are becoming capable enough, small enough low power enough to really be able to maximize their opportunities moving forward. We're finding ourselves in a situation where the value that we can drive from the space environment is exponentially more than ever could have been possibly in, in human history before that.

[00:30:19] So the level at which we're able to think is all based in, not simple technologies because nothing about spaces is, as I'm sure you've gleaned here, is, is ever really simple. Everything out there is trying to kill us at all times. But we can see robust technical pathways towards addressing the needs that we have. We have a really robust vision of the future from a policy perspective, from NASA, and from presidential directives, and some of the areas that we're talking about moving in here. And what that means is that the resources are being focused into where they need to be focused, and we can see that there is a future in, in this area.

[00:31:01] Natalya: I've been speaking with Ben about untethering from Earth for season two Space Makers. Ben, it has been terrific having you here. You've raised a lot of great things to think about, and we hope to have you back some day to talk about whether or not we do get the first pet on the Moon.

[00:31:13] Ben Pearson: [laugh] It's been a real pleasure. Thank you very much for having me.

[00:31:16] Natalya: Bringing Earth along as humans become an off-planet species has some exciting prospects; leveraging the resources in space to unlock new technologies and innovations that have never been realized that will in turn help us on Earth.

[00:31:31] As we move to an off-planet species, we'll have to solve a host of new challenges, from the next lunar rover to communicating to the dark side of the Moon. New companies, workforces, trade routes, and economies will help establish our presence on the Moon and, one day, even Mars. Find out more in our next episode, "We Mean Business."

[00:31:55] Host: You've been listening to Ben Pearson who is a space maker. Whether you're a software engineer, systems, engineer, finance, or HR professional, we need space makers like you to make the seemingly impossible missions a reality. Please visit this episode’s show notes to learn more about what you just heard in this episode or the careers available at Lockheed Martin. If you enjoyed this show, please like and subscribe so others can find us and follow along for more out of this world stories. To learn more about our missions, products and people, follow our new Twitter handle @LMSpace and visit lockheedmartin.com/space. Join us on the next episode as we introduce you to more space makers.

[00:32:41] Space Makers is a production of Lockheed Martin Space.

[00:32:45] It's executive produced by Pavan Desai.

[00:32:47] Senior producer is Natalya Oleksik.

[00:32:49] Senior producer, writer, and host is Ben Dinsmore.

[00:32:52] Sound design and audio mastered by Julian Giraldo.

[00:32:56] Graphic design by Tim Roesch.

[00:32:58] Marketing and recruiting by Joe Portnoy, Shannon Myers, Mallory Richardson, and Stephanie Dixon.

[00:33:03] A huge thanks to all the communication professionals at Lockheed Martin who helped make these stories possible.

[00:33:10] Thanks for joining us and see you next time.