Infrastructure is the backbone of civilization. A multi-planetary civilization needs interplanetary infrastructure to support its expansion, facilitate trade, and keep its citizens and their societies connected. The Interplanetary Infrastructure session considers whether investments in infrastructure, especially two-way transportation infrastructure, can address some of the most pressing problems associated with humanity’s initial efforts to expand into the solar system. Historically, infrastructure has facilitated human expansion. It increased accessibility and reduced the personal sacrifices that adventurous settlers and their families had to make. Infrastructure projects tend to be somewhat conservative in nature. They generally use technologies and materials that have been applied in other industries and that are already well-understood and well-characterized by engineers. Successful infrastructure projects are economically viable because their long-term benefit to society exceeds their upfront cost, even when the upfront cost is significant. The speakers presenting concepts in this session adhere to these fundamental principles and can demonstrate that their proposals do indeed pencil out.
Phil Swan has a track record of developing successful innovations while working on advanced multi-disciplinary projects including Starlink, Hololens, and Xbox. He has been granted 38 US patents, including, most recently, a patent for the Tethered Ring. He is the recipient of three corporate recognition awards.