Futures At

Fullerton and Cypress Colleges


Dr. Bruce Cordell

Division of Natural Sciences
Fullerton College

About Bruce

         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. 

In 1984 Bruce received tenure in Physics and Geophysics at California State University, Bakersfield.  Later, he became a program manager and space scientist 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.

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 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.

Bruce is a dean and teaches astronomy at Fullerton College in California; he co-founded the Center for the Future there in 2005.