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Chris Carberry, Sunday, 1-4-15 January 5, 2015

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Chris Carberry, Sunday, 1-4-15


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Guest:  Chris Carberry.  Topics:  Human spaceflight to Mars, Exploremars.org, Mars political advocacy.  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.  Please note that in the second segment there were two very noisy cell phone calls and we apologize for that. I believe the noise was outdoor wind noise at the callers location.

We welcomed back Chris Carberry, Executive Director of Explore Mars, to outline for us their Mars 2015 plans along with proposed political advocacy with the new Congress and upcoming 2016 presidential election.  In the first segment of our 96 minute discussion, Chris mentioned some of the highlight planned for Explore Mars for 2015 including their H2M Conference at GWU from May 5-7 plus he updated us on the ExoLance and their time capsule projects.  We talked about the political work needed and what Explore Mars was doing regarding this with the incoming congressional members and in preparing for the 2016 presidential race.  I asked Chris to tell how human spaceflight to Mars is presented to congressional members for the most impact and what the biggest objections were which he said focused on the budget.  He also suggested there was lots of political interest in human spaceflight to Mars.  Later we talked about Mars or the Moon, competing for funding and for priority status.  Marshall called with questions about needed energy for a human venture to Mars, focusing on either solar power or nuclear power.  The nuclear power part set up a more extensive discussion.  Chris responded to several emails about lunar water and should it be the Moon or Mars.  He was also asked about depots and their possible support of a humans to Mars mission.

In the second segment, Kirk called in for updates on ExoLance and he asked about a sustainable one way mission to Mars, particularly if public money was used for the mission. Chris thought we were far off from a publicly funded one way Martian mission.  Later, Chris talked about increased interest and talk about going to Mars and he mentioned several companies have plans for a humans to Mars mission.  Orion and SLS came up as well.  A 20 year time line was suggested for the Mars mission.  Toward the end of the discussion, Chris said their 2015 agenda was to continue focusing on building the Mars coalition, to start briefing presidential candidates in advance of the 2016 election, plus working with the new congress.  Toward the end of the show, Chris was asked about going to the moons of Mars instead of Mars.  Tim, our last caller, wanted to know about Red Dragon.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can contact Chris through his website or me.


1. J Fincannon - April 26, 2015

The guest stated that one of the reasons to send humans to Mars is that there may be existing life on Mars. This would actually seem to be the best reason not to send humans to Mars. An analogy is sending colonists to the shores of America. The Pilgrims and those families prior to them that came to America did not care if they would affect the ecology of the environment. Microorganisms were beyond their ken, and they had more practical pursuits of survival to contend with. Yet it turns out the resident ecology WAS affected by the newly arrived human presence, surprisingly, in the form of microorganisms such as smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, typhoid, typhus, influenza, whooping cough, tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria and chickenpox. I am not claiming there are higher life forms on Mars that would catch our colds, but the visitation of microorganism-laden humans to Mars cannot fail to place terrstrial microorganisms there which could damage/infect/destroy potential Mars microorganisms, where ever they may be hidden (surface or underground).

2. Joe from Houston - January 6, 2015

Here are the arguments for the major reason for going to Mars by Chris Carberry and myself.
When conducting a limited public poll, Chris Carberry asks them about why we should send humans to Mars on April 21, 2014 (http://spacenews.com/40289profile-chris-carberry-executive-director-and-co-founder-explore-mars-inc). Quote: The first question was, What do you think is NASA’s percentage of the overall federal budget? To answer, we gave them a sliding scale from zero to 6 percent. The average answer was 2.5 percent, five times NASA’s share. End quote.
In other words, the results of his polling question are worded to show the public that they do not really know about what they are supposedly concerned about. The cost of a proposed Mars mission is many times smaller compared to what is spent on the ground helping people who can’t help themselves. This justification has worked in the past but it is as old as NASA itself and deserves a radical facelift. If NASA does not go through a radical change pretty quickly, they will turn to dust and commercial space will emerge as the global-go-to entity for space exploration.
Even though taking a public poll is a polite and organized way to expose the public’s ignorance of NASA budget facts, it fuels those who don’t like to be embarrassed. Its purpose is also to help sway Congressmen to increase NASA funding since the public already believes NASA is getting 6 times more than they currently believe they are receiving. But NASA watch dogs always come back and argue about the wasted money spent on NASA programs which infuriates those trying to increase NASA’s budget. The best way to avoid a knee jerk reaction to hitting the knee just right is to choose not to hit the knee in the first place. Maybe funding commercial space to explore Mars with fewer jobs at a fraction of the cost is what Congressmen should do since it is the mission achievements that bring scientific return on investment rather than the creation of massive amounts of jobs, some of which are totally useless.
When presenting to anyone willing to listen, Chris Carberry talks about why we should send humans to Mars. Quote: Robots are good for certain things. Humans are good for other things. But the amount of science and exploring that a human crew could do vastly outpaces that of any robots we’ve ever sent. End quote.
In other words, when you send humans instead of robots you get passionate stories of how they overcame adversity and conquered the threat of death in space. It is kind of like a war story with a happy ending that unites, inspires, and electrifies politicians which in turn justifies continued funding as long as the happy endings continue, of course.
Here is why I think we should just focus on sending robots to Mars for now. We can do it now and not in 30 years. It is cheaper and safer to do and the amount of return on scientific investment is magnitudes larger than what a couple of people on the surface can achieve for the same cost. It is that simple. Nobody risks certain death. No money is spent keeping people alive and healthy. Just massive amounts of scientific return on investment within just a few years from now. Eventually, these missions will be so automated and reliable that putting people on them 30 years from now will not be a problem.
For the same cost as sending people to Mars, you could have sent 10 robotic missions that are simultaneously dispersed all over Mars at the same time. The public gets what they want, i.e., the money saved from a cheaper and safer mission and the scientific return that helps inspire their children to seek higher education. The congressmen get what they want, i.e., scientific return on investment and global partnerships. Global partnerships help keep Walmarts packed full of stuff to buy. The people from all over the world get what they want, i.e., lots of jobs collaborating, planning, and conducting the robotic missions on Mars instead of plotting against each other.
The only thing a human can do that robots can’t do yet is recognize peculiar anomalies out of the corner of their eyes. Should that be the ultimate reason for sending people to Mars 30 years from now? I think not. The fact is that robots that were capable of collecting tons of scientific return never went to the Moon to explore it before we sent people there. The reason is because they did not exist. We sent people there because we had no choice and were ordered by our leaders to win political prestige by proving global technology dominance. Just like the explorers that came to America. They had no other way at their disposal.
With today’s technology advances, we have many choices and we seem to be in a money saving mode and safety seeking mode at the same time. These modes currently do not lend themselves to sending humans to hazardous space environments to recognize peculiar anomalies out of the corner of their eyes.

3. Kirk - January 5, 2015

Hey John!

Not everyone’s gotten the memo that Orion isn’t destined to land on Mars. Check out this story which appears to conflate NASA Langley’s work on inflatable heat Shields with Orion’s possible role in any Mars mission, and speaks of “the eventual Orion mission to Mars in the 2030s” and says that “there’s not enough atmosphere on Mars to rely on technology like parachutes, especially not for a lander the size of Orion.”

I know that’s not Orion’s role, but I still find it strange that it is being touted for Mars missions. I thought that it was a heavy, long duration capsule for weeks-long missions in cis-lunar space. A reentry capsule for a Mars mission will have to be accelerated out of Earth orbit, into Mars orbit upon arrival, and back out of Mars orbit for the trip home, and since the reentry capsule can’t be expected to be much of a lifeboat for a months long return from Mars, I had assumed that it would be designed to be as light as possible.

Isn’t Orion essentially the Crew Exploration Vehicle from the Constellation Program, which was centered on return to the Moon? I would understand if NASA said that they were using Orion & SLS for building up near-term experience in cis-lunar space, possibly with a return to the Moon, and then use a different, much lighter reentry capsule in any Mars mission architecture. But what I hear these days sounds like they’ve taken hardware from one mission but the destination from a different mission. I’m still confused.

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