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Dr. Paul Spudis, Monday, 10-20-14 October 21, 2014

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Dr. Paul Spudis, Monday, 10-20-14


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Guest:  Dr. Paul Spudis.  Topics:  A wide ranging discussion on current space topics including the Moon, ARM, Mars, and policy.  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.

We welcomed Dr. Paul Spudis back to the program for a wide ranging discussion on space topics plus we take a look at some of his recent blog posts.  You can follow his blog posts at www.spudislunarresources.com/blog and http://www.airspacemag.com/tag/once-and-future-moon/?no-cache&no-ist.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 52 minute program, Dr. Spudis talked about his blog article for a lunar tour, “A Lunar Road Trip” (www.spudislunarresources.com/blog/a-lunar-road-trip).  We talked with Paul about ways in which a future lunar tourist could actually move around on the Moon to see the places Paul described in his article.   The two methods discussed were hopping and using a vehicle on the order of the Lunar Winnebago concept.  The first listener question asked Dr. Spudis about the U.S. private sector doing lunar missions instead of the government.  He was also asked about the private lunar programs such as Golden Spike and others.  He spoke to some degree about the Google Lunar XPrize.  Paul also addressed the Chinese lunar program, then we talked about cislunar space and its economic development.  The ARM came up and Dr. Spudis called it a stunt.  He suggested it would be an Orion mission because there was no place to send Orion other than ARM.  He mentioned Inspiration Mars which he said was the ultimate stunt and ahead of its time.  In terms of changes in our space policy, he did not see any changes happening soon.  Next up was the NRC Pathways HSF Study which we have discussed on many Space Show program.  He said they asked and answered the wrong questions.  See what you think after hearing his comments.  Another topic that came up dealt with prizes.  He said they had not produced the desired outcome and cited evidence for it  saying prizes were overstated in terms of their impact on space development.  BJohn sent in several email questions including asking about Moon-Mars differences wondering why the Moon would be a good training place for HSF to Mars.  As the segment ended, we talked about water on the Moon and if it was now confirmed.

In the second segment, we honored James Charles Floyd on his 100th birthday for his role in the Canadian Avro Aero project and more.  BJohn asked about X37 B & then Dr. Spudis was asked about his blog post regarding recent government sponsored spaceflight studies and panels (“Quinquennial Follies” at http://www.spudislunarresources.com/blog/quinquennial-follies).  I asked Paul about space advocacy influence on policy and he told us an interesting story based on his experience regarding lunar space policy.  Don’t miss it.  Listeners asked about our technology readiness today for cislunar development and the building of a lunar outpost.  Our last email question came from Phil in New Brunswick asking about virtual space universities, teaching, and lectures.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  Dr. Spudis can be reached through his blogs or me.


1. Rick Kwan - October 24, 2014

I will agree that James Webb was perhaps the greatest of the NASA administrators, and had no serious engineering or science training. But he also had a deputy administrator who provided a lot of technical support and continuity: Hugh Dryden. If there is ever a follow-on deep space telescope after JWST, I have an idea for the name…

2. J Fincannon - October 22, 2014

Dr. Spudis is always an interesting guest, with a wealth of experience and knowledge.

I must point out that even though he stated correctly once in the program that there was “quasi-constant” illumination at the poles, he subsequently states several times that it was “permanent” illumination. Even in his original 1999 Geophysical Research Letters report, they did not discover “permanent” illumination at the poles using Clementine data (ignoring all its limitations). All subsequent spacecraft have confirmed the absence of “permanent” illumination at either pole.

It is interesting how the belief in permanent illumination might have encouraged early decision makers to think it easier to go to the poles. Of course, it is easier with “quasi-constant” illumination than the 2 week long darkness of the equator.

3. jimjxr - October 22, 2014

The decline and fall of the American civil space program did not start with VSE or retirement of the shuttle, it started when American launch providers can no longer compete in the international launch market. How could you have a viable space program when your rocket couldn’t even compete commercially? Fortunately this has started to change, thanks in large part to NASA’s COTS program.

4. B John - October 21, 2014

Putting boots on extraterrestrial ground has two options: Mars or the Moon. Third and fourth alternative would be Ganymede or the polar areas of Mercury, which aren’t seriously considered for good reasons.

My forecast is the following, correct me if anyone of you think I’m wrong:

The Moon will win! It can be done cheaper, sooner, safer, simpler. When it comes down to the practicalities about going to Mars, the question will be raised if something half similar couldn’t be done on the Moon cheaper, sooner, safer, simpler to begin with. And it will be so! In the engineering and the commercial and the political, the Moon first will win. I have no doubt about that.

And that will create ever greater infrastructural and economies of scale to the advantage of further Lunar travel and exploration, which in turn will feed back and reinforce. The choice between Mars and the Moon will economically and technologically gravitate towards the benefit of further exploration of the Moon. The relative gap between Mars and the Moon will get larger and larger, because the Moon will get easier and easier while Mars remains untouched. Especially since there, in my opinion, is little to learn from Lunar exploration which is useful to a mission to Mars. They are two very different kind of missions, I think.

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