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Robert Walker, Friday, 3-14-14 March 15, 2014

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Robert Walker, Friday, 3-14-14


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Guest:  Robert Walker.  Topics:  Artificial gravity, Earth gravity, life on Mars, and more.  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.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed back Robert Walker from the UK to discuss artificial gravity with us given our recent Space Show programs on the subject.  There was an audio issue with this program so listen carefully so you don’t miss anything.  During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Robert went over some of the basics such as the Coriolis effect, the gravity gradient, tethers, centrifuges, the vestibular effect, and more.  He also went over linear acceleration, spin rates, Russian experiments, issues facing space tourists, and spinning a Dragon capsule.  Robert has written many articles on artificial gravity which can be found at www.science20.com/space.  One such article was discussed yesterday. See  www.science20.com/robert_inventor/blog/ingeious_idea_soyuz_crew_tether_spin_way_iss_artificial_gravity_almost_no_extra_fuel-131278.  Also, check out www.science20.com/print/131279; www.science20.com/print/131278 & www.science20.com/print/129424.

In our second segment, Robert talked about both Inspiration Mars and Mars One as it relates to spinning to create artificial gravity, the number of revolutions per minute, simulate programs, and his favorite, a 2-3 year precursor mission at Earth L2.  He wants the mission designed to be a comprehensive test bed for artificial gravity.  Later in the segment while discussing Mars, he suggested we orbit Mars and not land on the planet.  Listen to his reasoning for this type of human Mars mission.  For one thing, he said its much safer to be in orbit.  We then focused on the possibility of microbial life on Mars, we talked about the Viking Labeled Release experiments.  Robert was asked a question about the sleeping centrifuge (you sleep horizontal as one does on Earth).  Partial gravity was discussed as well.  Robert said many times that we must find out what is going on with Mars. He mentioned the Phoenix mission which Mars One is planning to copy to some degree with its robotic mission to Mars in 2018.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Robert via his articles or through me.


1. Space-for-All at HobbySpace » Space policy roundup – March.17.14 [Update] - March 17, 2014

[…] Robert Walker, Friday, 3-14-14 | Thespaceshow’s Blog […]

2. Joe from Houston - March 16, 2014

Performing artificial gravity using people tied to tethers spinning in space on their way to the ISS puts the crew and the mission success in jeopardy to a non-trivial degree. For example, recently, a SpaceX Dragon had a problem getting their orbit insertion burn off on time. They eventually got it working and limped up to the ISS. The Dragon was scheduled to deploy several commercial micro-satellites on its way to the ISS to get paid another $10M. $10M is not a trivial amount to SpaceX. ISS program managers decided to cancel that deployment and $10M profit for SpaceX due to the very slightly increased risk to the ISS crew and Visiting Vehicle mission success.

Any degree greater than zero that puts the crew and mission success at jeopardy is easily discounted by NASA ISS program managers who ultimately control all access to the ISS. If you involve the Russians to do the experiment using the Soyuz on the way up, the experiment proposal eventually ends up on the desk of the NASA ISS program manager for approval.

The only thing that gets NASA interested in such an experiment is boldly doing the exact opposite thing; i.e., an experiment that reduces risk to the crew and mission success. The history of tethered vehicles includes much more failures than successes. Small companies interested in using government funds to create jobs to work out the kinks in tethered methods with people at risk are blind to the primary requirement of such a mission; a political motive other than creating specialized niche space jobs.

Any tethered experiments with long cables capable of vehicle entanglement would likely be done by another space program other than NASA in an orbit far far away from the ISS orbit. I see no political motives in authorizing such endeavors that put people and the ISS at risk, especially in today’s global political climate of overzealous risk aversion.

Performing artificial gravity using small animals in contained centrifuges already on the ISS seems much less risky.

I think about first answering the following question at the lowest cost and lowest human or program risk. “How much artificial gravity does it takes to observe and measure any expected bone density changes on a mammal animal?” Since we do not know the answer to this very basic question, we shall continue imagining instead of acting what it would be like to explore space with humans beyond low earth orbit for periods longer than 6 months.

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