SSP Won’t Lessen OPEC Dependence

Like many advocates of space solar power (SSP), O. Glenn Smith begins his argument by lamenting dependence of the
United States
on petroleum [“Demonstrating Space Solar Power Aboard ISS,” Commentary, July 7, page 19]. He then focuses on use of SSP in supplying power to the
electricity grid, arguing that SSP will offset petroleum use. The problem in linking these two points – petroleum and electricity – is that only 1.5 percent of
electricity is oil-fired (see the statistics at It is unlikely that SSP will contribute to Smith’s concern that something be done to alleviate “a massive transfer of wealth from the
United States
to [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] OPEC countries over the next 10 to 20 years.”

Molly K. Macauley


Useless Research

The program you reported on is another example of how NASA wastes good money pursuing essentially useless research [“NASA Getting Its Human Hardware Ready for Exploration Projects,” June 30, page 7].

First, of course, we do have some very good real experience of the effect of humans working on the Moon. Granted, it was only a few days, however there were no ill effects. Most of the astronauts said they enjoyed the experience.

But the real bummer to this research is the fact that bed rest will not duplicate how the human body reacts to working in one-sixth gravity because there will be no stress on bones or other parts of the body that will be experienced by those who might go to the Moon.

Has anyone challenged this research or is it just another example of “make work” that no one will criticize because they hope to get in on spending NASA (taxpayer) dollars?

Donald Beattie