Monday, September 20, 2010

Bill White, Author of "Platinum Moon," Sunday, 9-19-10

Bill White, Author of "Platinum Moon," Sunday, 9-19-10

Guest:  Bill White.  Topics:  "Platinum Moon" and lunar development.  We welcomed Bill White to the program to talk about his best selling book, "Platinum Moon."  This book is available on the One Giant Leap Foundation Amazon book page and if you buy it from this page, Amazon contributes to The Space Show.  Please use  Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog,  In our first segment, author Bill White told us how he got the idea for his book back in 2005 and said the idea evolved from thinking Mir Corp meets "Moonrush" which was a book authored by Dennis Wingo.  He got the idea that there might be a high probability of platinum group metals (PGM) on the Moon.  PGM consists of six metallic elements, ruthenium, palladium, iridium, rhodium, osmium, and of course platinum.  Thus, Bill developed his story about a private business billionaire who puts together a private company consortium composed of representatives from various national space agencies to go to the Moon for PGMs.  He develops a propellant depot at the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 1, EML-1 and he named the spaceship for this project PGM-1.  During this segment, Bill explained the makeup of Harold Hewitt, his main character and the force behind the company Lunar Materials LLC.  A few listeners asked him why his book had such a strong Indian perspective to it to which Bill replied researching India and their space program was easy because it was based on the English language.  We also talked about Singapore as the corporate headquarters and why Singapore.  In the second segment, Bill told us why he chose the rocket fuels that he did and what he might do in a sequel to this book.  He talked about water ice on the moon and we had a discussion about bringing PGM back to Earth, skewing the supply and demand curve and what that might do to the economics of any plan to bring PGM back here.  We talked about using PGM and other materials and resources within space, i.e. In-Situ Resource Utilization, and then Bill told us how in his book the landing sites were chosen for his story.  ITAR came up which is why he said his story focused on using Russian rockets.  Later in this final segment, he got some questions about self-publishing books and he talked about the Amazon service, CreateSpace.  For more information about the book including technical information, please visit  If you have a question or comment for Bill White, you can reach him through his website or you can email him at  Bill's Twitter account is xplatinummoon.twitter.

1 comment:

  1. I'm rather dubious about the transportation system and ISRU fuel recovery. It doesn't seem to add up in any realistic present day scenario.

    I mean you need to transport cargo from luna, to Earth (aerobrakings a no brainer to save a lot of fuel/LOx, then get the transport back into space, refueled, and boosted back to Luna and landed. Your biggest fuel demand is for Earth to LEO, to Luna. (Luna back to Earth is a lot less then LEO to Luna.)

    Since capital costs to develop gear dominates per pound to - wherever - costs. You want to limit the amount of craft you build. Luna boosting to orbit and aerobraking and landing with a reusable is pretty doable. anding it allows servicing and check out back down here before reflight.

    Boosting it into LEO and refuel it to send it back to Luna either needs a HLV, or on orbit refueling. Also, no current launchers really capable enough to fly as many flights as you'd need - though you could make your Luna to Earth craft usable as a part of a reusable Earth to LEO system with little extra cost.

    Course since it sounds like the point of the story was justify the L-1 station, this wouldn't fit in with the stories plot.