Dennis Laurie, CEO of San Diego-based TransOrbital and Dr. Jim Arnold, Professor emeritus of Chemistry at USCD and a Co-Founder of the California Space Institute were guests on KPBS's These Days this morning [09.19.2002]
I only caught the latter half of the program, which means I missed all the juicy fact-filled setup at the top of the hour, and had to settle for the idiotic questions of a call-in talk show instead. I hate call-in talk shows. (No one ever calls in and asks questions. There were two questions the half-hour I listened. There were more than two callers.) I only forced myself to listen because I'm obsessed with the idea of commercial space exploration.
One final query from host Tom Fudge resulted in Laurie discussing TransOrbitals "seconday objectives", business objectives that are actually going to make them money in the long-term. His response was the most practical thing I've ever heard. Data storage, backups and archiving.
The lunar environment as physical host for failover and backup servers is an excellent idea. There are only two threats to something mechanical on the moon: temperature, and impact damage. The moon is dead: there's no earthquake-inducing tectonic movement, volcanoes, mudslides, lightning strikes, tornadoes -- any of those irritating little things that make seamless data management so touch-and-go for extremely large organizations, like, say, telecommunications providers.
Practical, practical, practical. I love it.