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Michael Paul, Penn St. Lunar Lion, Monday, 3-25-13 March 26, 2013

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Michael Paul, Penn St. Lunar Lion, Monday, 3-25-13


Guest:  Michael Paul.  Topics:  The Penn State Google Lunar X Prize entry, the Lunar Lion.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and 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 Michael Paul to the program, the leader of the Penn State Google Lunar X Prize team, the Lunar Lion.  For more information, visit their team website, http://lunarlion.psu.edu.  Michael brings to the table his experience with NASA and the Applied Physics Lab at John Hopkins as he was the spacecraft systems engineer for the NASA Messenger mission.  During the first segment of our 95 minute program, Michael talked about the Lunar Lion project.  We discussed launch contracts and vehicles, secondary payloads, landing sites, hoppers as opposed to rovers, and what happens to the hardware at the end of the mission.  We talked about the Penn State students working on the project and listeners and I asked questions about his experiences on Messenger being applied to a GLXP project.  The listeners seemed to think this was a step or two down but listen to how Michael explained lessons learned and applications to the Lunar Lion project.  We also talked about funding for their project and that if they win, the money goes to Penn State to endow further space related research and students. We also had a treat in the first segment in that Michael’s 10 year old son was with him. We invited him to the program and it appears we may have a future space guru in the making!

In the second segment, we talked about space education and general audience space enthusiasm and awareness given Michael’s public talks.  He had some interesting comments and experiences to share with us.  We also talked about potential regulations adversely impacting their mission, sample returns, lunar activities and such.  Charles called to talk about up and downstream communications and the use of lasers.  Spacecraft quality control was another issue along with the development of commercial tools for a much broader application than the Penn State GLXP entry.  He also mentioned efficiency in spacecraft design and management but used the term, “a frugal approach.” He explained the difference between frugal and efficiency in terms of spacecraft design & management.  As our program ended, we talked about thermal protection, radiation hardening, film and space subjects and topics.  Our final topic was oversight and 3rd party eyes on their project for review & quality control.

Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can email our guest through the Lunar Lion website or derspace@thespaceshow.com.


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