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Open Lines, Sunday, 10-5-14 October 6, 2014

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Open Lines, Sunday, 10-5-14


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Guest:  Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston.  Topics:  As this was an Open Lines show, we discussed a wide variety of topic per listener calls & emails.  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 http://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.

Welcome to this two hour discussion on a variety of space topics per listener emails and calls.  During the first segment, our first caller was Dr. Dough Haynes of Blue Ridge Nebula Airlines.  He wanted to talk about his books as well as his advanced propulsion vehicle in the form of a “flying saucer.” He also spoke about starting a drone business and his Open House later this month in the Denver area.  Visit his websites for more information, http://www.blueridgeairlines.com,  http://bluenebula.com.  Given we were at the 10th anniversary of the winning of the X Prize, I asked Doug about his progress as well as the industry’s progress in doing suborbital tourist flights.  He had some interesting comments specifically addressing his technology projects.  I also read an email from B John in Sweden who commented on the Boeing-SpaceX award for commercial crew based on the information I put out in the introduction of today’s show.
Doug from S. California called next and told us about his plans to develop and build an inflatable lunar hab module, perhaps at the UofA in Tucson,.  He went on to describe the hab including materials and size.  He also said this would be supportive of his lunar conference he is planning for Oct. 2015 in Flagstaff, AZ.  He wanted more information, possibly from listeners, regarding sanitation issues in space and recycling human waste.  Toward the end of his comments, we talked about the recent lunar tourism article “A Lunar Road Trip” by Dr. Spudis, http://www.spudislunarresources.com/blog/a-lunar-road-trip.

In the second segment, I read an email from Luis in Venezuela which I will post on the blog on his behalf.  Though it was addressed to Dr. Doug in S. California, others may be interested in it as well.  Our next caller was SLS John in Ft. Worth.  John wanted to talk about the Boeing-SpaceX NASA commercial crew award and why Boeing was rated higher than the other parties.  He spent some time explaining his thoughts, then Alan sent him an email asking if he had finally changed his mind on SLS.  John had not and again explained his SLS position.  I suggested an SLS debate on TSS show with him and Rick Boozer who I will invite for such a program. I did get John to agree to do it.  Before John ended his comments, he brought up the recent Dr. Don Lincoln show about alien contact and UFOs and such.  This turned into quite a discussion about the topic which I really like but admit to very little credible information and evidence existing.  After John left the phone, Marshall called in to say that both sides of this argument often come to the table with their specific interest at the top of the list and that makes it even harder to study as a serious issue.  I also went over the upcoming Space Show schedule during this segment.

Post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach any of the callers or those sending in emails through me.



1. Andy Hill - October 15, 2014

I was interested in what Doug was proposing with an inflatable habitat and wondered if somebody could make something along the lines of a children’s bouncy castle that could be portable and shown off at different venues.

With regard to the commercial crew contracts choices, I think that it was very unlikely that SpaceX would not have been chosen given where they are and that Boeing represents a safe pair of hands as far as NASA is concerned. If Dreamchaser hadn’t skidded of the runway or been further along I think they might have stood a good chance of replacing Boeing but that counted against them.

I think that SNC made a misstep by tying themself to Atlas V and the associated RD-180 issues so closely and that they should have emphasised their ability to launch on a range of rockets more. It will be interesting to see if their protest has any legs or if it gets brushed aside by NASA. I do not think that they will be able to partner with ESA or anyone outside the US with any great success due to the ITAR issues plus I cant see NASA allowing a competing transport system which they have no control over to exist.

2. Dan - October 8, 2014

By the way, there’s a fun asteroid/UFO news-like 1994 movie called “Without Warning”; even has Arthur C. Clarke interview in it. Pity they mention a photograph of a crater taken by a sat from the altitude of 12 miles, among other interesting foolish mistakes.

And to John (Forth Worth): I would like to hear of just one really credible alien craft encounter. You have to mention a specific one with verifiable details, not just was seen by an experienced observer and tracked by radar; maybe it was a meteor, huh? Or a meteor in every case you know about? We all know they’re pounding our atmosphere. And it’s more likely it was that pesky, supposed-to-exist mythical Aurora (SR-71’s successor), or something like it than a starship, isn’t it? There’s just too many explanations, like with Fermi paradox. Every speculator has dozens of answers, you can argue forever, there’s no data; it makes the whole argument completely valueless and that’s why nobody serious considers it.

John (in Fort Worth) - October 8, 2014

You sound a little nervous about the subject. I don’t really blame you.

I’d recommend UFO’s: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record by Leslie Kean as a good starting place for some good cases.

I also recommend Report on Unidentified Flying Objects by Edward J. Ruppelt as an interesting second book. On that one you might note the tone of the first 16 chapters (1st edition) and the last three when he was obviously under a little pressure to recant. There is some good material there.

3. Paul - October 8, 2014

The UFO discussion was fun, but there’s really nothing to talk about. If there’s somebody out there with ultra technology level,

we can’t find them if they don’t want it; all that fantasy technology seems to be exactly that, fantasy. There’s a discussion of Betty

and Barney Hill supposed alien abduction in Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World. Sagan actually met with the Hills and

their psychotherapist for a few hours. The psychotherapist’s view was that the Hills “had experienced a species of

There’s plenty more on UFOs in that book, but don’t expect fireworks or confirmation; just the opposite. My bet is if a real

starship enters our system, it’ll be with such a bang or rather stream of exhaust that nobody will miss it.
One article about the Canadian minister: Agence France-Presse, UFO Science Key to Halting Climate Change: Former

Canadian Defense Minister, RAW STORY, Feb. 28, 2007, http://rawstory.com/news/afp/UFO-science.key-to_
halting_ climate_02282007.html.

Imagine that.

4. John (in Fort Worth) - October 7, 2014

First of all I fully understand why based on known physics anything like the UFO phenomena (as alien spacecraft) is basically impossible. One would assume that given all of the issues B John raises, the origin of such life would likely be far away. Given the realities of relativistic physics and the fact that fusion is the maximum known energy source we can show that a spacecraft would be doing well to reach 10% of the speed of light, Also, let say that life is a bit more common than you think and the aliens originate say 1000 light-years away it would take them 10,000 years to reach us. So this contact would be very unlikely.

However, the problem is that what is being observed doesn’t seem to be propelled by systems that are understandable based on known physics. Read any of many books upon the observed characteristics of UFOs and you can see that. They can hover and are emitting no observed thrust based on expelling reaction mass like with a jet or a rocket. So it would seem that if these observations are true then there must be laws of physics that we have yet to discover. In this case we can’t rule out radical capabilities including faster than light capability as well. This we just don’t know.

I was very serious critic of all of this until I happened to start studying it recently. It seems to me that people such as B John and (I was) haven’t really studied this subject in any detail. The other problem is that this subject has developed a cult following. This has resulted in a lot completely crazy claims which has the effect of discrediting the high quality cases.

So if this was based on a few cases no matter how credible the observers I say that this just has to be an anomaly. But, this has been going on for decades without stop. Most of the quality observations aren’t made by “believers” but become believers because of what they saw. Weather conditions can spoof radar and observers can make mistakes but when the human eye of the trained observer and radar tracks the same thing and the same time that a whole different thing. When landings leave physical traces that is another.

B John - October 7, 2014

Given “unknown physics” you can assume anything you want. You can be Napoleon Bonaparte if you want. When people see things they don’t understand, we should start with eliminating the impossible explanations, such as it being aliens flying around in Earth atmosphere.

I’m pretty convinced that the galaxy is full of advanced civilizations. It seems to be an unstoppable consequence of evolution. Going interstellar is evolutionary advantageous because it makes a tree of life which does that eternal, since it can outlive the life of a star and gets immune against comet impacts, gamma ray bursts and what have you. If life did it once, we know that it is still around. We are pretty sure we can do it within ten thousand years or so. Or let me use a more convenient unit of time: in 0.00001 billion years.

And if interstellar life exists, then it cannot be far away. We know that there has been life all around the Milky Way, because Earth has been there. It makes a revolution every 0.25 billion years. In 4.5 billion years we’ve made 18 rounds around the galaxy. There were dinosaurs on the other side of the galactic center. The Sun takes us on the ride. We only need to colonize the most nearby stars within ten or so light years as we approach them, say once every 0.00001 billion year. If the colonies do the same thing then “soon”, well within a billion years, the entire galaxy will be colonized. And it is already over 10 billion years old.

All of this with known physics! However, they will be nothing like us, just as “we” will be nothing like us in a million years.

5. Luis Reyna - October 7, 2014

The purpose of my question during the show was to address the argument that cheap space access and reusabilty is pointless as long as the market remains the same.

For some time I beleived that space based solar power could be a potential market for cheap space access, but I aknoledge it´s probably still to early for SBSP. In light of that, I´ve recently came to think that propellant transportation from earth could be an ideal first driver for cheap space access and reusabilty, while we build the infrastructure to get that propellant directly in space.

There are of course the issues of propellant transfer in space (cryogenic ideally but there is a recent growing interest in methane which could be easier, I would think, though really not sure) and who to sell it to.

Regarding the later the names Bigelow, Tito, Golden Spike come to mind, even if there was no goverment interest, which I think would be very sad, but why discuss politics here. As for propellant transfer demonstration, I would advocate it would be an ideal next X Prize.

So there a few thoughts if someone likes to comment.

6. B John - October 6, 2014

Alien contact is impossible. There is enough knowledge about astronomy and biology to conclude that. Without any possible doubt.

The galaxy is about 10 billion years old. Even given a ridiculously high assumption of how many space traveling civilization have originated in it during that time, say 1 million, it is out of the question that anyone of them would be flying around in Earth atmosphere today. Only once every 10,000 years would a space faring nation in the Milky Way make its first Lunar landing and go on from there.

What was human civilization like 10,000 years ago? Just starting out with trying to use spoken language and planting some weed. Also, they’d have to come here. We’re on about 25,000 light years away from the average star in the galaxy. Even if they started out somewhat like us when they start their journey (and given the enormous diversity of biology, they most likely never were anything like us), they’d evolve and develop to something completely different on their huge multi-generational starship before they arrive. How to extrapolate the 100 or so years we’ve had powered flight, a thousand times into the future? The only thing we know about it is that we cannot know anything about it.

A million year old civilization is to humans, what humans are to ants. I don’t say “I met an ant”, I might say “I saw an ant”. Actually when I see ants creeping along my kitchen floor I don’t try to communicate them or hide myself from them. I just pour boiling water on them. Not that I hate them, they just happen to be in the way. That is how interstellar civilizations “communicate” with each other! The closest thing we have to a galaxy is Earth, and ignoring or eating each others is how different species here interact, although we’re all family.

Any kind of malfunctioning radars and pilots who don’t understand some light flashes, is totally off topic. We know that it has nothing at all to do with aliens.

The Space Show - October 6, 2014

Listener Luis R from Venezuela sent in this note which I did forward to Dr. Doug in S. California. As promised, I am posting it here for others to address. Thanks.

“Hi David, this is Luis from Venezuela,

Hoped to catch Dr. Doug on the phone, regarding both mining for fuel on the Moon, and reusability and reducing launch costs, which there are a few efforts going on, the most obvious being SpaceX, I wonder that an ideal first use for cheap space access be to launch cheap fuel from Earth. Eventually if it can be mined on the moon, which I think is preaty reasonable, it would eventually get cheaper that way, but initially while necesary infrastructure is been built, with reusabilty and cheap access I think it could be cheaper to launch from Earth, initially that is again.”

Mat - October 7, 2014

Hello “STS John”,

in principal you are right, also if I would select different explanations. Microbes may be quite common (but I am also not sure about this), however, intelligent life is very seldom. We are collecting more and more information about extrasolar planets. Based on that my impression is that Earth is very special. Very seldom row of events of events was necessary to make the Earth what it is today. From a Mars like panet impact, which created the moon and a specific internal structure in earth to distance to the sun. The existing of Jupiter and soon. My estimation is that is more probable that were at this time are alone (as a intelligent species) in the milky way as that there hundreds of them. Another aspect may be also that there will never a technology which allows to fly to the stars.

B John - October 7, 2014

Hi Mat,
A clarification to begin with, I’m not “STS John”. I’m “B John”. Half of the mailers and callers to this show are named John, the other half Doug, so I do understand your confusion, I share it with you. But that problem is not important right now.

I do not mean to say that there are not other space faring civilizations out there. I’m actually pretty convinced that there are! And I hope we can listen in on their ancient radio spaceshows one day ;-), but since they, as I explained, will be totally exotic to us because they MUST BE thousands of years older than we are, we’ll most probably be like ants and elephants together at best. No UFO aliens landing at the White House kind of thing. They won’t care about us and we won’t even perceive them.

Or do you try to communicate with the ants you meet? Do you “land” at their queen in order to try to negotiate? Of course not! Aliens won’t even have culture or society, those are very human specific and short lived phenomenon.

Tin can UFO believers just suffer from some psychological need to put themselves in the center of the universe and imagine that everyone is like they are. The most simple, naive and non-analytical of all possible imaginations. And the most convenient. It’s as simple as that.

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