CLASS/FSI Seminar: Jim Kervala, OffWorld
TITLE: OffWorld: Using smart robots to enable human expansion beyond our home planet.
PRESENTER: Jim Kervala, OffWorld
ABSTRACT: ‘The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need people who can dream of things that never were’. John F Kennedy.
The human drive that for thousands of years has driven us relentlessly to venture beyond our horizon is manifested in the visionary leaders that plough the road forward to greater benefits for all of humanity. Today, save for a few robotic craft with remote sensors, our horizon remains ﬁrmly at Low Earth Orbit. The urgency for taking the next step is mounting geometrically as population growth, energy, resource and fresh water utilization put Earth and its ecosystem under ever increasing demands. By reaching out to the bounty of the solar system and opening Earth’s closed economic sphere, we reduce mounting existential risks and secure the future of humanity. The next step to take beyond LEO is the Moon. It is our neighbor, our nearest port of call in the stormy oceans of the cosmos that will provide us with a foothold to the stars.
At OffWorld, we envision millions of smart robots working under human supervision on and offworld, turning the inner solar system into a better, gentler, greener place for life and civilization. We can’t simply export the 20th century heavy industrial paradigm offworld. So in pursuit of our offworld aspirations, we are reinventing how we mine, process, manufacture and build cities on Earth. Jim Keravala, co-founder and chief executive of OffWorld (www.offworld.ai), is leading the deployment of a machine learning industrial robotic workforce to undertake mining, manufacturing and construction on planetary surfaces and in space. Our generation is facing the greatest challenges in the history of human civilization. Our economic, environmental, demographic and social burdens are becoming more significant each year. The pace of technology development and economic growth is perpetuating a resource imbalance across our species. We must cherish this one habitable zone world that we have and reach out to the resources of space to take industrialization off world and reach for the stars with purpose and urgency. To meet this objective, OffWorld’s industrial robotic workforce forms the foundation of a solar system platform that will enable the construction of space based solar power stations, infrastructure and entire settlements in space.
Jim Keravala brings 30 years of experience and visionary leadership in innovation in multidisciplinary areas such as aerospace engineering, space systems, robotics and machine intelligence, manufacturing and construction, computer science, synthetic biology and molecularly precise control systems. Jim is a prolific technologist and an accomplished entrepreneur able to constantly identify new acceleration ramps in the technological landscape.
Jim started his career in the space launch industry managing launch programs overseeing over a dozen successful orbital launches on Russian, European and US launch vehicles. Modular satellite design, integration engineering and program management were part of this process.
Jim also architected major space programs including new space agencies and launches at Surrey Satellite Technology and as cofounder of Shackleton Energy, space propellant depots utilizing requiring lunar mining and a continuous supply of fuel in space. Jim studied aerospace engineering, spacecraft engineering and physics at University of London, Surrey University, Aachen Technical University and International Space University, was previously faculty at Singularity University and is on advisory boards and Board of Directors of a number of space institutes including Board Member of the National Space Society, The International Moonbase Alliance and the Moon Village Association.