Newsletter of the Molecular Manufacturing Shortcut Group of the National Space Society

Volume 4, Number 3 Third Quarter, 1996



President's Column

by Tom McKendree <tmckendree@msmail3.hac.com>

The International Space University invited me to lecture on nanotechnology and space at the 1997 Summer session. This was exciting. ISU students are bright, committed to space, likely to be much of the cadre of future space leaders, and deliberately seeking a multi-cultural, inter-disciplinary education. They are the perfect audience for MMSG's message. The plan was to have three people each discuss different aspects of the topic, in a day-long workshop. Just before I was to fly out to Vienna for the session, they called to say that the other two speakers were not going to be able to make it, and asked if I would mind giving a plenary lecture instead.

I flew out and spent a day getting over jet lag. The next evening I was prepared to give the plenary, but a power outage in the building (where both the lecture was scheduled and meals were served) led many to go elsewhere for dinner, and not come back for the talk. Thus, the attendance was disappointing. While the lecture went well, we did not explain the concept to a critical mass of the students or nearly any of the faculty.

Looking towards a better future, the 1998 Summer Session of ISU will be held at Stanford. Hopefully ISU will have several lectures and many discussions regarding molecular nanotechnology and space. Once the ISU faculty is

reasonably up to speed on the topic, they will be able to inform the ISU students year after year about the importance of nanotechnology to our real future in space.

Second, Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance, new book on molecular nanotechnology has come out. The editor is BC Crandall, and I have written a chapter. The whole book was nearly finished several years ago, but there have been many hurdles in actually getting it out the door. While there are a number of chapters, each on particular applications of molecular nanotechnology, none is particularly about space applications. Also, everyone is going to find some chapters easier than others. Nonetheless, it is quite interesting.

Ad Astra per Nanotechnologia!

Tom McKendree


Future Attractions

The next issue of The Assembler will contain a discussion by Robert Freitas, author of the famous 1980 NASA Summer Study on Space Automation, and Anthony Francis, Jr. of the Georgia Institute of Technology's AI/Cognitive Science Group disputing some of the assertions made by this quarter's "LEGO(TM)s to the Stars". Brian Drozdowski will be back with "Superoxides, Dismutase, and Aging", and we'll be reviewing Diamond Age. Finally, SSI's Director of Research, George Friedman, will express his view on Self-Replication and Molecular Nanotechnology.