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The Next 50 Years: Challenges for Future Exploration

  • Space Center Houston 1601 East NASA Parkway Houston, TX, 77058 United States (map)

Governments are seeking commercial services to and on the Moon.  In addition, entrepreneurs and commercial entities are planning exploration activities beyond Low Earth Orbit for a variety of purposes. Several of these objectives and plans will be addressed during this Session.

Chair: Steve Oswald, Retired Astronaut, President, Syzygy Enterprises, USA

Organizers: Steve Oswald and Michael Lopez-Alegria


  • Dr. Haitham Abdulaziz Altwaijri, Supervisor, Space Research Institute, Saudi Arabia “Future Saudi Space Activities”

  • Dr. Brad Bailey, Program Scientist, Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program, NASA Headquarters, USA ”Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program Update”

Panel: The “Nautilus” Paradigm: Space Power and Propulsion for the Next 50 Years
In the next fifty years, a transportation paradigm shift will be required for humans to travel fast and safely throughout the solar system. This paradigm shift will be enabled by nuclear power. Nuclear propulsion comes in two flavors: nuclear-thermal (NTP) and nuclear-electric (NEP).

This panel will present, from recognized experts in the field, the differences, advantages and limitations of both NTP and NEP, clear up any misconceptions, and discuss the value proposition and transformational potential of nuclear power for human interplanetary transport.

Chair: Franklin Chang-Diaz, PhD, Retired Astronaut, Chairman and CEO, Ad Astra Rocket Company, USA


  • Dr. Ronald Litchford, Principal Technologist, Game Changing Development Program, NASA Office of the Chief Technologist, USA

  • Dr. Dennis Whyte, Nuclear Science & Engineering Professor and Director, MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, USA

  • David I. Poston, Nuclear Design and Risk Analysis Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA (invited)

  • Capt. Stephen Bowen, United States Navy, NASA Astronaut