David Criswell

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David R. Criswell, Ph.D is the Director of the Institute for Space Systems Operations at the University of Houston. ISSO is the operational agent for the Houston Partnership for Space Exploration.

Criswell received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1963 (graduating cum laude) and a Master of Science degree in Physics in 1964 from the University of North Texas, in Denton, Texas. In 1968, he received a Doctorate degree in space physics and Astronomy from Rice University in Houston, Texas.[1]

He is an active member of the Power from Space Committee of the International Astronautical Federation and participates in IAF and United Nations Summits dealing with supplying energy to Earth. He also serves on the Board of Governors of the National Space Society, a non-profit space advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.

Views on exploiting lunar resources[edit]

Solar power plant on the moon with microwave phased arrays

For over thirty years, Criswell has been an advocate for obtaining solar power from the moon. He proposes the large-scale construction of solar collectors on the lunar surface, using local lunar materials. The solar energy would be converted to microwave energy and transmitted to Earth.[2]

Criswell envisions that this energy source would spur an unprecedented amount of global economic growth (Gross World Product increasing by a factor of 10), while having a positive environmental impact (fossil fuel-burning power plants would be decommissioned). He points out that lunar-solar energy would not generate nuclear waste, and is not a finite resource (in the sense that fossil fuels are a finite resource).

He estimates that a 1 GigaWatt demo of the lunar-solar power generation system could be built over a 10-year period for approximately $50 billion.[3] If this estimate is accurate, it would indeed be a relatively small investment (To put the figure in perspective, Bill Gates' personal wealth is estimated to be $69 billion [1] and the 2008 total estimate for the war at Iraq is $500 billion[citation needed]).

In short, Criswell believes that lunar-solar energy is the only viable option for generating the massive amounts of electrical power that would be needed to raise the standard of living in third-world nations to that of first-world nations.

He once said, from the University of Houston, that "We are already well beyond what the biosphere can provide. We have to go outside to get something else."

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