2013 Starship Congress Speaker Announcement – Kenneth Roy: “The Shell World Approach to Terraforming Small Planets and Large Moons”

Engineer Kenneth Roy has been announced as a speaker for Icarus Interstellar’s 2013 Starship Congress, with the following talk:  The Shell World Approach to Terraforming Small Planets and Large Moons.

Kenneth Roy has a BS degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Fire Protection Engineering and an MS degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in Industrial Engineering.  He is a registered professional engineer with extensive experience as a contractor working for the US Department of Energy.

He is currently living and working amidst the relics of the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  He invented the “Shell World” concept with a paper published in JBIS in 2009.  In 1997, he made the cover of the prestigious Proceeding of the U.S. Naval Institute for his forecast of anti-ship, space based, kinetic energy weapons.  With his co-authors R.G. Kennedy and D.E. Fields, he has appeared multiple times in Acta Astronautica.  Ken enjoys reading books on history and science fiction.  His primary interest is in the terraforming and colonization of planets very different from Earth.

Following is the abstract for Ken’s talk The Shell World Approach to Terraforming Small Planets and Large Moons:

When humanity travels to the stars we will probably find that Earth-type worlds are very, very rare, that Earth-sized planets in a star’s habitable zone suitable for traditional terraforming are more common, but that Mars-type worlds are ubiquitous.  Terraforming Mars-type worlds may be the only option for future human colonists to create a terrestrial-type home. The shell world approach requires construction of an engineered shell around the planet to contain (and partially replace) an atmosphere. This shell also provides radiation protection as well as additional real estate.  Lighting under the shell must be artificial but permits Earth-like conditions to be simulated, regardless of the type of star that the world orbits. The shell also allows for the control of the planet’s temperature, making the distance from its star and location with respect to the star’s habitable zone irrelevant. This approach could be applied to Mars, the Earth’s moon, and perhaps Mercury within our own solar system. The structural stresses and stability of the shell with respect to the central body will be discussed.  These would be small worlds, not merely large habitats, stable across millennia. Each shell world would contain a full, self-sustaining ecology based entirely on life imported from Earth. This approach allows for the terraforming of planets around stars not usually considered suitable for colonization such as Red Dwarfs, Brown Dwarfs, and even lone orphan planets far distant from any star.