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Hannah Kerner, Tuesday, 8-4-15 August 5, 2015

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Hannah Kerner, Tuesday, 8-4-15


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Guest: Hannah Kerner; Topics: Hannah’s op-ed “The Space Destination Debate Gets Us Nowhere…Literally,” NewSpace movement. 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 to the show Hannah Kerner for this 61 minute discussion about here recent space.com op-ed, “The Space Destination Debate Gets Us Nowhere…Literally.” You can read her op-ed at www.space.com/29659-debating-space-destination-is-grounding-exploration.html. Hannah is also the incoming new Executive Director of The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) so we talked with about her ideas on space advocacy as well as SFF. We started out with a focus on the space destination debate which Hannah said was frustrating, not productive, and helped to create the situation where nobody goes anyplace. She also suggested that regardless of the destination, all space destinations benefit one another. The Stepping Stone Approach was discussed, especially in terms of what makes most sense from both the TRL and economic perspectives. Later in the segment, Hannah talked about the impact of the current go nowhere human spaceflight program on young people or millennials in school and entering the job market. This was a very interesting discussion from the millennial perspective so don’t miss it. As an example, our guest compared career options with NASA to those with companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, and other tech giants. We talked about their quick turnaround time with projects as compared to really long space projects, maybe up to a decade or more, with the risk of delays and even cancellation. Using the Europa mission as an example, I asked her how that would be viewed by a person in school wanting to do something important but seeing how long it would take plus the risks of delays or even project cancellation. She talked about devoting one’s career to a life long project like that and how that might be viewed by today’s students and graduates. For the balance of the program, we turned to The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) and space advocacy in general. Hannah told us about an informal survey SFF conducted at the recent NewSpace Conference asking people how they viewed space players like Russia, China, India, the US, etc., either in terms of tension or innovation. She said 70% of those responding viewed participation by these players as spurring innovation, not adding to national or global tensions. The Linda Billings Scientific American article came up and Hannah gave us a different perspective than we have been hearing. She did not think it was an attack on SFF but rather the author was not that well informed about the Foundation or NewSpace. We then talked about the changes in the Foundation and space advocacy in general, diversity which is improving, the increase of women in the movement, having access to advocacy organizations, ideas, and information. Hannah said the new breed of space entrepreneurs and advocates are not promoting space settlement and issues the way it was promoted in years past which is what Linda was describing. We talked about the diversity among the NewSpace attendees which is vastly improved from the past, especially with women and Asians. In this context, we discussed technology, space settlement, Manifest Destiny, and much more. Hannah indicated that this new group of advocates was looking to establish more collaborative space eco-systems. Listeners emailed Hannah about diversity issues and finding ways to involve more minorities in space advocacy. Space attorney Michael Listner called to talk about advocacy and related issues from his perspective which was different than what Hannah was describing. Don’t miss this discussion. Hannah left us with closing comments you will certainly want to hear.


Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Hannah through me.




1. Jim Davis - August 7, 2015

I can’t say I was much impressed by Ms. Kerner. I was never much attracted to the Space Frontier Foundation; if she’s typical of SFF leadership I’m less so now.

I’m certain it is not an easy matter to have to answer impromptu questions but the number of superfluous phrases such as “like” and “y’know” and “right?” were excessive and very distracting. It made her sound much younger. I would have guessed her to be in high school instead of preparing for a PhD. As a face of the SFF I hope she takes time to work on this.

Far more serious to my mind was the identity issues she addressed. I was reminded of Goldin’s “male, pale, and stale” comment in the ’90s. Obsessing over demographics is divisive and distracts from the goals of the SFF. If the goals of the SFF happen to resonate more with white males above a certain age I don’t think that’s any indication that the goals are any less worthwhile.

I hope Ms. Kerner has more strengths than she displayed on the show.

B John - August 8, 2015

She’ll catch up. She knows much more about space flight than I did at her age. That political stuff is just a nonsensical fashion, it will change. You and I will never walk on the Moon, but she might. And it is a change on the Show, compared to the repetitive old story with some grumpy old man complaining about how wrong it is that the biggest launcher in the world ever is being built and going to the wrong place or whatever else is wrong all the time.

2. Joe from Houston - August 7, 2015

Great to listen to young Hanna. You go girl! All I can say is “Actions speak louder than words!” You took the action to talk to us on The Space Show!

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