Matthew Ellis supports a program called MARIA—Minds and Resources in Action, energy philosopher Miro Kovacevich's plan to bring $21 billion in government funds to New Mexico's labs to kick-start the renewable energy economy. Ellis and Kovacevich make up Vivilux Institution and host the new radio show, Venus Transit Authority, which runs 8:30-9:30 am, Tuesdays and Thursdays on KRSN-AM 1490.

SFR: Before this, weren't you in charge of the Green Business Network? What happened to that?
ME: It's part of the Santa Fe Alliance now. I was ready to move on to new things and I wanted to make sure that it was in good hands. The Alliance was moving in a green-collar-jobs direction and it seemed like a good time to join forces. We were also originally Green Drinks, but that's merged with the Alliance as well. Miro and I actually met at the first Green Drinks. We were arguing and I said, 'Let's go have a drink,' so we argued for about seven hours straight at the Cowgirl one night and realized we had a lot in common in terms of vision.

Give me an idea of Vivilux's grand plan.
The grand plan is to make New Mexico necessary to the world. We have two diamonds in the desert: Los Alamos National Lab and Sandia National Lab. It's kind of like Texas Hold 'Em. If we don't use them, we're going to lose them. We have to play these aces. We have to go all in or New Mexico is going to lose its chance.

Last time SFR spoke to Miro, he bet his life he would get $21 billion out of President Obama. What's the status now on program MARIA?
We intend to present it to him. Probably later in the year, we're actually going to initiate a 'Peace Train.' Since we're looking at a Manhattan Project in reverse—and the Manhattan Project came out here by train—we're going to take the train back. What we would like to do is start from the Trinity test site. Symbolically, we want to take nuclear energy and dump it in the sea.
What do you make of T Boone Pickens' energy-independence plan?
We call the T Boone Pickens plan the 'fart plan' because it's all gas and wind. Our plan is a government-led program on the level of the National Recovery Act under Roosevelt, the Manhattan Project, Eisenhower's freeway system, NASA. Only government can drive this. When good government—not wasteful government—has a vision, they can plan for 10 or 20 years.

OK, so the Pickens Plan is out. What is your cocktail for energy independence?
Geothermal and solar thermal. Why? Because if we're going to move to a renewable energy economy, let's do it so it lasts for 7,000 years. I'm not joking. That nuclear reactor right up there in the sky and in the middle of the earth are going to be around for a very long time and, when they go out, we have nothing to worry about. We're going to be gone. But the real issue here is energy storage. We have here, in this state, some of the best minds in the world in energy-storage research.

Pickens has financial interests in energy. How are you guys paying for your efforts?
We are forming a nonprofit but, for the last three years, Miro and I have done this completely on our money. The reason is I have a 4½-year-old son, and Miro has two children and three grandchildren. We're lunatic and passionate enough to do it for our children and all the children of the planet.

What's with the name of your radio show? Venus Transit Authority sounds very Spaceport-ish.
All aboard! We're taking people to Venus. Isn't it perfect for Santa Fe? Look, it's this: The next time Venus eclipses the sun is June 6, 2012. We have four years to do the job. We're not gurus. We're certainly not some of the geniuses up there at the lab. What we are is the guys that are saying 'get on this train; we're going to take it there.' The other side of it is poetic. Why is the US interested in sending a mission to Mars? Mars is the god of war, and you have to look out into the darkness of the universe to see it. We could turn our gaze to the goddess of love, Venus. In order to look at Venus you've got to recognize the sun. So, our future is solar energy with love in the middle, not darkness, Pluto-plutonium, with war in the middle.