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Dr. James Hansen, Monday, 8-26-13 August 27, 2013

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Dr. James Hansen, Monday, 8-26-13


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Guest:  Dr. James Hansen.   Topics:  Neil Armstrong on the first anniversary of his passing.  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. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed Dr. James Hansen to the program to discuss his book, the only officially approved biography of Neil Armstrong, “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong,” on the one year anniversary of Neil’s death.  Dr. Hansen also wrote an op-ed for Space.com which you will find interesting (www.space.com/22510-neil-armstrong-astronaut-icon-remembered.html).  During this one hour 25 minute program, Dr. Hansen had much to say about Neil Armstrong starting with his days as a 21 year old Naval aviator in the Korean War.  In fact, he told us a Korean War story about Neil flying his jet and coming upon North Korean troops exercising.  We also learned that Neil favored aviation over space flight and Dr. Hansen spoke with us as to  why this was so.  Our guest received lots of questions about the Apollo 11 crew, personalities of all the crew members and how the crew interacted with one another on mission work and in their personal lives. He also described Armstrong as being modest and a bit “Garbo-like.”  Listen to his explanation of why he thought that was so.  Dr. Hansen got questions about Neil as a university professor and what his students thought of him, plus did the students pester him about the Moon landing given how modest Armstrong was about the Apollo 11 landing and his accomplishments in general.  We also talked about his role in the Augustine Commission and his perspective about the need to go back to the Moon and to avoid a gap in U.S. human spaceflight capability.

In our second segment, I asked Dr. Hansen to elaborate on the Clint Eastwood effort to do a Neil Armstrong movie.  Dr. Hansen related a good Clint Eastwood and Neil Armstrong golf story to us which you will enjoy.  Our guest was asked about Neil’s role in both the Challenger and the Columbia accidents.  As we learned, Neil turned down an opportunity to be part of the Columbia accident board but he did serve on the Challenger board and Dr. Hansen had much to say about that.   We then spoke about preserving the Apollo landing sites as historical sites, then our guest was asked if the Apollo 11 crew traits discussed earlier in the show were the traits needed for the first HSF to Mars.  Agin, Dr. Hansen had much to say on this issue so don’t miss his comments.  Toward the end, Dr. Hansen spoke about the fact that there were no photos taken of Neil on the Moon as all the photos are of Buzz.  The official line at the time was that such photos were not in the mission plan.  He also told us a never before heard story regarding Jim Lovell & crew selection for the Moon landing.  Dr. Hansen had much to say about these incidents so don’t miss his comments.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  If you want to contact Dr. Hansen, you can do through me.


1. Dwayne Day - September 7, 2013

I liked Hansen’s comment about Armstrong not being a “recluse.” Everything that I heard, and my own experience, was that he was engaged in lots of things, and didn’t hide in his house. But he simply turned down a lot of media requests and did not seek out publicity because he didn’t see any real value in it. We live in this celebrity culture where everybody wants their ten seconds of fame and they will jump in front of any TV camera to get it. Armstrong didn’t need to keep feeding that ego like Buzz did. But that did not make him a “recluse.”

2. Dwayne Day - September 4, 2013

This was a great show. I really enjoyed it. I think that James Hansen managed to capture Armstrong. To a certain extent, one of the things that makes Armstrong enigmatic is that he was relatively simple. He was not filled with contradictions or complications. I think that in our modern age we expect major figures to be filled with contradictions, dark secrets, or even hypocrisies. Armstrong was not like that and in many ways we are lucky. As a hero, he never really disappointed us.

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