May 25 2008
Bruce Cordell is an educator and consultant who writes and speaks often on space exploration and colonization. He has degrees from UCLA (M.S.) and the University of Arizona (Ph.D.) in planetary and space physics, and was a Weizmann postdoctoral fellow at Caltech.
After serving as a physics professor at the California State University, Dr. Cordell flourished as a corporate space scientist and program manager for several years with General Dynamics, Space Systems in San Diego. During this time he worked closely with NASA on R&D contracts involving lunar bases and human missions to Mars, space transportation, and space resources.
General Dynamics awarded Dr. Cordell two Extraordinary Achievement Awards: the first for, “Acquisition of the Mars/Lunar Advanced Research Study contracts from NASA,” and the second for, “…promoting a favorable General Dynamics image in the San Diego area.”
Bruce organized and managed a diverse 10-member international team in support of General Dynamics’ advanced space studies efforts. It included 3 foreign firms (from Japan, Italy, Canada), 4 U.S. companies, 3 universities, and several consultants.
Ever since he was 7 years old, while growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, Dr. Cordell has been fascinated by the idea of humans going to Mars. In 1991, he was named one of the “100 Stars of Space”, by Ad Astra, The Magazine of the National Space Society (Washington, D.C.). He was described by Ad Astra as one of the top, “…imaginers of the future… freethinkers of the space program…”
In the 1970s while using spacecraft data, Bruce provided some of the first evidence that water was common on Mars. In 1982, he proposed a new (still viable) mechanism for climate change on Mars based on ion-induced nucleation processes and physical analogies with magnetic polarity reversals on Earth. In 1985, based on geological and geophysical data, Bruce published the first systematic study of the potential for ore bodies on Mars and concluded it resembled parts of east and south Africa.
In the mid-1980s, Dr. Cordell developed a ground-breaking concept for interplanetary commerce featuring retrieval of water from the moons of Mars for transportation and industrial uses in the Earth-Moon system. He led the first study – supported by grants from NASA and the General Dynamics Corporation – showing its economic advantages and technical feasibility.
In 1989 Dr. Cordell was invited to the Joint Propulsion Conference in Monterey, CA to summarize the state-of-the-art of manned Mars missions. He published a 20,000 word review of the strategies, technologies, concepts, and rationales for human missions to Mars.
Bruce was an invited speaker at Space Summit 1991 – An International Conference on Space Programs, held at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, AL. He described his new concept for a world space agency (“Interspace”) in which its core members – Russia, Europe, Japan, U.S. – share power equally and support participation from any nation.
In 1996, Dr. Cordell published “Forecasting the Next Major Thrust into Space” (in Space Policy), in which he introduced his new theory, based on patterns in long-term trends in the economy and technology over the last 200 years, that logically explained our romance with President Kennedy’s space program in the 1960s and our boredom with it in the 1970s. And more importantly, based on macroeconomic and macrohistorical trends, he was able to forecast that the decade from 2015 to 2025 will be the analog of the 1960’s. For example, it should culminate in humans on Mars and lunar tourists. In 2006, these ideas were expanded in “21st Century Waves: Forecasting Technology Booms and Human Expansion into the Cosmos” that appeared in Futures Research Quarterly. (See The Articles)
Dr. Cordell has appeared on television news and entertainment programs a total of nearly 100 times (mostly in Southern California) describing space exploration and astrophysics events in the news. For example, in 1994 Dr. Cordell was featured in the PBS television series “FutureQuest”. He commented about Mars bases, space tourism, and interstellar travel along with Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, comedian Dennis Miller, former JPL director Bruce Murray, and others. Actor Jeff Goldblum was the host.
A few years earlier, Bruce was featured in a 2-hour call-in television show available to middle and high school students across the United States which originated from the KPBS-TV studios at San Diego State University. Also featured were Apollo astronaut Wally Schirra (who frequently appeared with Walter Cronkite on CBS space news programs in the 1960s) and Alan Lovelace, former Deputy Administrator of NASA.
Bruce has given over 150 public talks on space to groups of all types across the United States and in Europe and India. His presentations have stimulated a wide range of audiences including corporations (e.g., Shimizu, United Technologies, Alitalia, Halliburton), colleges (e.g., UC San Diego, University of Houston, Caltech, International Space University), government agencies (e.g., U.S. Air Force, NASA, Congressional staffs) and clubs and museums (e.g., Del Mar Rotary, Griffith Observatory, MIT Alumni Club). His memberships include the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, World Future Society, British Interplanetary Society, and Society for College and University Planning.
When he’s not writing or speaking about the future, Dr. Cordell enjoys playing tennis, visiting Maui, and exploring bookstores. He lives in Southern California.
To request Bruce to speak to your group, click HERE.