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The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 4-3-13 April 4, 2013

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The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 4-3-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1987-BWB-2013-04-03.mp3

Guests:  John Batchelor, Dr. David Grinspoon, Dr. David Livingston:  Topics:  Venus and Titan, a moon of Saturn.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We do not permit the commercial use of any Space Show program or part thereof, nor do we permit Space Show programs to be edited, placed on YouTube, or other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted in news articles, papers, academic & research work but must be cited or referenced in the proper citation format. Contact Dr. Livingston for questions about our copyright and trademark policies which we do enforce.  This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com.

During our 11 minute plus discussion with Dr. David Grinspoon, we talked about the new studies of the atmospheric vortex over the south pole of Venus and what this might mean for Venus and related studies.  Later in our segment, we switched over to talk about the new JPL Titan simulation and the possibility of organic building blocks on Titan.  You will find our discussion of both Venus and Titan most interesting and jam packed with new information for our short 11 minute segment.

Please post any comments/questions you might have on The Space Show blog.  You can contact any of  us through drspace@thespaceshow.com.

 

Dr. David Lawrence, Friday, 12-28-12 December 29, 2012

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Dr. David Lawrence, Friday, 12-28-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1919-BWB-2012-12-28.mp3

Guest:  Dr. David Lawrence.  Topic:  The planet Mercury & the NASA Messenger Mission.  Please direct all comments & questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments & questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright & are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information.   We welcomed Dr. David Lawrence to the program to discuss the planet Mercury & the NASA Messenger Mission’s latest finding.  For more information, visit the Messenger websites, http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/main/index.html & http://messenger.jhuapl.edu.  We started our discussion by describing the Mercury & the Messenger mission.  For example, it took over six years to get to Mercury because of the difficulty in slowing the spacecraft down given the close proximity to the sun.  Dr. Lawrence explained this process to us & the Venus, Mercury, & Earth flyby program used by the spacecraft to orbit around Mercury.  We talked about the spacecraft health, the instruments on board & the problem with the gamma ray spectrometer which worked for about 9,000 hours on an expected life of 8,000 hours.  However, data from this instrument is still being analyzed & will be for some time to come.  Other instruments on Messenger are fine & the spacecraft has a life expectancy to 2015.  Our guest explained mission nominal life & the process for mission extensions with additional NASA funding. We talked about funding issues for Messenger & other planetary missions in light of NASA budget issues & the overall U.S. economy.  Dr. Lawrence told us how the missions compete for extension & additional funding, plus the requirements they must meet to be extended.  Listeners wanted to know about the application of Messenger & Mercury science to Earth & other solar system missions, our Moon, a NEO, even Mars.  Other listeners wanted to know Mercury’s distances from the sun & Earth, as well as more about possible tectonic activity on Mercury.  We discussed basic chemical elements found on Mercury as well as volatile elements.

In our second segment, Dr. Lawrence was asked to identify the biggest surprise so far which he said had to do with the composition of the planet & volatile elements with high concentrations of sulfur & sodium, among others.  A listener asked about Mercury radiation levels & another listener wanted to know how Mercury crater’s got their names.  Dr. Lawrence then took us through the crater naming process which you can also read about on the Messenger websites.  We talked about Messenger’s discovery of Hollows (see, http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/24oct_sleepyhollows).  One listener asked our guest how one gets on a science team like Messenger. Dr. Lawrence explained the paths to joining these teams.  Mercury’s high density came up & our guest talked about most all of the iron on the planet being concentrated in its core.  We also talked about data analysis, archives, embargos, & availability.  Our guest directed us to the NASA Planetary Portal System for more information.  Near the end, we talked about the NASA Discovery Program & other successful Discovery missions including Dawn.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can email Dr. Lawrence through me or the APL Messenger website.

Dr. Catharine Conley, Monday, 10-8-12 October 9, 2012

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Dr. Catharine Conley, Monday, 10-8-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1868-BWB-2012-10-08.mp3

Guest: Dr. Catharine Conley. Topics: NASA & international planetary protection policy, methodology, & applications. You are invited to comment, ask questions, & discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, & any discussion must be relevant & applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Dr. Catharine Conley, NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer to the show for a comprehensive discussion on the subject of planetary protection. Planetary Protection is concerned with preventing the transfer of life between planetary bodies. For more information, visit the NASA Planetary Protection website at http://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov. Dr. Conley started our discussion with the definition of planetary protection, followed by a brief history dating back to the Apollo missions & planetary quarantine. Dr. Conley talked extensively about microbes & their survival. One of the points she made in response to a question was just how friendly the very cold temperatures of space could be for microbes.  On the other hand, radiation & the UV light are the enemies of microbial survival. We talked about a Mars sample return mission, what safety precautions would be taken, & then our guest was asked about using the ISS or the Moon as a quarantine lab to protect Earth. You will hear why this is not a good idea & later when asked about using a Bigelow habitat as a planetary protection lab since it would not be a government lab, our guest applied the same reasoning. Dr. Conley talked about the Viking missions as the most stringent ever for planetary protection. In terms of the methodology, we talked about how a mission is prepared for planetary protection, the probability of contamination, & I asked about cost-benefit analysis & the value of added costs & more time for planetary protection if the probability of contamination was so low. As you will hear, building in planetary protection starting with the concept stage is not a significant contributor to costs as its usually less than 1% of mission costs. We also talked about protocols for a NEO mission, the New Horizons mission on the way to Pluto, & missions to other planets & flyby missions. Next, our guest addressed issues with Mars Science Lab & Curiosity. Near the end of the first segment, we talked about international protocols, Article 9 of the OST, & the international COSPAR Planetary Protection Policy. Dr. Conley talked about international space agency adherence to the policy, country by country. Viruses & extra-terrestrial life possibilities brought us to the close of this segment.

In our second segment, Dr. Conley talked about the need for public awareness & educational outreach regarding planetary protection. Listeners asked about human flights to Mars, even one way flights.  Don’t miss this discussion. Did you know that it is very likely that humans will be restricted as to where they can go on Mars based on planetary protection policy? Or, by the time we send humans to Mars, we will have learned enough about Mars so that the human part regarding planetary protection will not prove to be much of a threat or risk. We talked about terreforming, what to do with a crew member death on Mars & being able to bury the body, then we talked about planetary protection policy among the NASA centers. Near the end, our guest was asked about the Phobos-Grunt mission & the Russian adherence to planetary protection policies. We inquired about Mars meteorites here on Earth & future missions being worked on with the planetary protection office including two Mars missions & the concept of a Europa mission.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. If you want to contact Dr. Conley, send your note to me & I will forward it to her.

Dr. Anita Sengupta, Tuesday, 8-28-12 August 29, 2012

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Dr. Anita Sengupta, Tuesday, 8-28-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1843-BWB-2012-08-28.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Anita Sengupta.  Topics:  Entry, Descent, & Landing for Mars, Venus, propulsion, parachute issues, & more.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  We welcomed Dr. Anita Sengupta, Senior Systems Engineer at JPL in Entry, Descent & Landing (EDL) Advanced Technologies Group to discuss EDL for Mars, other planets, and much more.  In our first segment, Dr. Sengupta described conditions relevant to Mars and landing an object on the planet. We talked about the Martian atmosphere and what an EDL team needs to consider and design to land any payload on Mars as well as humans. We also learned that EDL for a different size payload would be different than what was used for Curiosity, probably needing new systems.  We talked about supersonic parachutes & parachutes in general, addressing parachute materials, velocity, parachute violent extremes, the speed of sound & much more.  Another topic was testing on Earth to make sure the devices work on Mars.  Dr. Sengupta explained how such testing & Mars simulation is done on Earth.  Other landing techniques such as airbags were mentioned along with retro rockets.  During this discussion, our guest did a great job of explaining the various forces and physics involved in landing & how each of these forces must be dealt with for a successful landing.  We then talked about landing a payload on Venus and just how different Venus is to Mars.  The same for our Moon and the moons of Mars, Phobos & Deimos.  Listeners sent in questions about the rover debris being left on Mars as well as wondering if there were other ways to explore Mars than using rovers.  John called to inquire about first stage reusability & our guest talked about doing the “trades” (running the numbers to see if reusability is economic or not). Doug called to talk about orbital transfer vehicles, aerobraking, and more.  This led us to a discussion about larger launch vehicles, the need to dissipate lots of energy on reentry, and why larger areas with drag are preferable.

In our second segment, I asked about software programs we might use for the basic type of analysis Dr. Sengupta had been discussing. Note her recommendations.  We then talked about plasma propulsion and ion thrusters.  Dr. Sengupta had much to say on this subject including ion thruster fuel, costs, ISP, and again, the importance of doing trade studies for a mission to determine the best methodology/economics for the mission. Our guest also talked about the lower ISP Hall ion thruster which was also lower in cost but with substantially more ISP than a chemical engine.  Also in this segment, we talked about the Dawn mission & Vega, a possible Europa mission & the use of nano satellites for the Europa mission.  Doug called back regarding ion propulsion fuel, xenon, iron, lunar fuel, etc.  As our program was ending, Anita mentioned the Orion parachute system tests she works on & the new Mars mission InSight.  Several times during the program, Dr. Sengupta stressed the need to do the trade studies regarding mission planning to determine the best economics & cost effectiveness for the mission.  Many of you have heard on The Space Show that if one does not “run the numbers,” it is impossible to know if what you want to do is economically & mission productive/viable.  On Oct. 28, Dr. Jurist is doing a special webinar with his interactive Excel spreadsheet on rocket/mission planning.  It is essential to be able to do this in mission planning.  Trusting your beliefs, gut, & preferences are not the way to go so watch this webinar if you can.

Please post questions/comments on our blog.

The John Batchelor Show “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 7-11-12 July 12, 2012

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The John Batchelor Show “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 7-11-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1812-BWB-2012-07-11.mp3

Guests:  John Batchelor, Dr. Tom Jones, Dr. David Livingston.  Topics: The B 612 Foundation SENTINEL Project, NEOs, planetary defense.  . You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com. During our 11.5 minute discussion, we discussed the newly announced B 612 Foundation’s first privately funded deep space mission, the SENTINEL Project.  This project will launch a specially built infrared 20″ space telescope to orbit 170 million miles from Earth to discover and map near earth asteroids of potential risk and interest to us here on Earth.  Dr. Jones explained the program to us, responded to questions about why infrared, why a loop around Venus and why an orbit so far from Earth around the sun.  We talked about the cost of the program as well as the timelines.  Other topics included mass extinction events, becoming a multi-planet species, and more.  Please post your comments/question on The Space Show blog.

If you have a question for either John Batchelor or Dr. Tom Jones, send it to me and I will forward it to the person of your choice.

Dr. Jeff Bell, Tuesday, 7-10-12 July 11, 2012

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Dr. Jeff Bell, Tuesday, 7-10-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1811-BWB-2012-07-10.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Jeff Bell.  Topics:  Vintage Jeff Bell.  We discussed a wide range of space history and current space projects from Dr. Bell’s perspective.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed the return of Dr. Jeff Bell to The Space Show.  This 2.5 hour marathon discussion with Dr. Bell was classic Jeff Bell with space history, his analysis of current projects, new space ideas, NASA, Congress and well, you name it.  Dr. Bell had lots to say about many topics and for those of you familiar with Dr. Bell & his analysis, I promise you, you will not be disappointed with this discussion.  Those of you new to Dr. Bell, hold onto your seat!  Jeff started off with the cold war space history, X-33, and DCX. In doing so, he offered up his critique of the classic space book by G. Harry Stine, “Halfway To Anywhere: Achieving America’s Destiny In Space.”  As to be expected, Dr. Bell provided a very hard hitting, factual, and critical analysis of these topics & the book.  We also talked about the new company in Florida, Project Speed, and air breathing engines for space vehicles.  Dr. Bell spent some time on this analysis including scramjets, ramjets and the National Aerospace Plane.  When asked to confirm that little progress was being made from his perspective re space vehicles & even aviation, he cited the current military games going on in Hawaii, referencing the planes being used by the Air Force, Navy, & other military services, all to illustrate by example the points he was making.  He put out the fire on nuclear propulsion based on economics & costs, & then in discussing human spaceflight (HSF), like so many others, he said the rational for it was difficult justify to Congress & the taxpayers.  A listener asked Jeff he was biased in his analysis.  Jeff said he was unbiased in his examination of the facts. This issue surfaced again later during our program.  We then talked about a Washington Post article saying that our science field was over populated by excessive PhDs that cannot find work in their discipline (www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-pushes-for-more-scientists-but-the-jobs-arent-there/2012/07/07/gJQAZJpQUW_story.html?hpid=z1).  This prompted listeners to reply and John made some excellent points about science PhDs that Jeff missed.

In our second segment, we started off with space visions, including the one from this program, followed by a discussion of the “Sputnik Panic” following theUSSR launch of Sputnik.  We both had much to say about this event & its aftermath. Returning to the HSF rational, Jeff said there were two main problems with it. First, the very high cost.  Second, the is no place to go that does not require massive technology & support to sustain life.  He spent some time elaborating on this & responding to listener comments.  Next up, Planetary Resources, asteroid mining, space telescopes, & Earth imaging.  Dr. Bell took no prisoners in sharing his analysis with us.  He did talk about several serious projects including the B612 project & Pan Starrs.  As the program was ending, Dr. Bell had many positive things to say about the recently completed SpaceX Dragon & Falcon 9 flight, & the pork as he called it, SLS.  Dr. Bell was very strong & clear in his support for SpaceX and their accomplishments.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above.

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