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Dr. Madhu Thangalevu, Monday, 8-17-15 August 18, 2015

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Dr. Madhu Thangalevu, Monday, 8-17-15


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Guests: Dr. Madhu Thangavelu; Tihomir Dimitrov (Tisho); Topics: ISU Summer Session, Planetary Defense, the Moon Studio Class. 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 Dr. Madhu Thangavelu to discuss the Planetary Defense Team and their work at the ISU Summer Session which was held this year at Ohio University. About 20 minutes into the show, he was joined by one of the student participants in the session, Tihomir Dimitrov (Tisho). Madhu explained that he gave the team an impossible scenario to solve. The scenario was that a comet was heading toward Earth and would impact us in two yeas. The students had to come up with a mitigation strategy. The first segment of our program talks about the considerations, the plans, & the mitigation means which included directed energy and modified nuclear weapons. Listeners and I pushed both Dr. Thangalevu and Tisho on these two strategies, plus I challenged them on their goal of changing the world by engaging in planetary defense of the Earth, the Moon, and even Mars. I kept asking them why they don’t improve humanity in Africa and the Middle East because as host, I can play the part of the devil’s advocate to challenge their reasoning and thinking. In the end, it seemed that the solution to the problem was based on how much work was done in the time leading up to the discovery of the incoming comet. Our guests also talked about evacuation strategies and making touch decisions for the good of society and the planet but maybe not so good for the city, town, region or people that get hit by the comet. Its an interesting discussion and I am sure all of us would have enjoyed being in this summer session class. You can read the Executive Summary Report for this class at https://isulibrary.isunet.edu/opac/doc_num.php?explnum_id=719. The Final Report can be found at https://isulibrary.isunet.edu/opac/doc_num.php?explnum_id=722.

In the second segment, Madhu talked about his upcoming design studio class with the theme this year of exploring the role of the Moon in our future space activity. He talked about the role of governments in making the Moon part of our future in space as compared to the role of private companies and entrepreneurs. At one point he said the key would be in how we change the way we look at space. When asked by a listener, Dr. Thangalevu clarified that he was talking about the role of the Moon in human space activity, not just robotic missions. Madhu also directed us to his earlier articles in Mars Daily on this subject which you can read here: (1): www.marsdaily.com/reports/The_Moon_or_Mars_Flawed_Debate_False_Choice___Part_One_999.html; (2): www.marsdaily.com/reports/Flawed_Debates_begets_false_choices_beyond_LEO___Part_Two_999.html.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog per above. You can reach Dr. Thangalevu through his USC faculty page or through me.


1. J Fincannon - August 25, 2015

I could not understand Dr. Livingston’s insistence on having the students to try and solve non-space issues using the ISU program. Yes, “evil doing” in various countries sucks. Yes, something should be done about it. But the whole point of ISU is space, and it is not to have students try to solve people problems like war and mayhem via satellites. If one wants to form a WPSU (World Problem Solving University), then this would be the appropriate forum to address such issues. I think that it would be interesting to get people thinking about how to solve these kind of problems. I think that the only ways to “solve” the war and evil-doing problem is to take away massive amounts of personal liberty (i.e. mind control or totalitarian states) or accept collateral damage. As long as people have the “right” to make decisions, some can (and will) make make wrong ones. Using space assets to monitor everyone and either controlling them or punishing them is too draconian.

I did like the students’ idea of placing the planetary defense station at the lunar poles out of direct visibility of Earth. It was always a problem how to deal with the notion of using such assets as a weapon.

2. DougSpace - August 24, 2015

Statistically, the risk to humanity’s survival is far, far greater from our own self-replicating technology than from any type of incoming. It would have been nice if the extremely low risk of the incoming scenario described had been clarified. Of the incomings, it is the Tunguska-sized NEOs which pose the greatest threat because there’s so many more of them and they can still be a surprise not allowing adequate evacuation. Better population surveys and last minute detection (2+ days warning for evacuation) are the best ways of dealing with those threats.

If the extremely unlikely scenario described on the Show were to occur, then the two years’ warning could be used for a crash program of rocket production and adapting our Cold War arsenal for numerous nuke strikes breaking the incoming into pieces and then blowing those pieces apart. If you do the math, 10% of our Cold War arsenal would be more than enough to vaporize a comet the size of Halley’s Comet (13 km diameter). In such an extreme emergency, there would be no shortage of will to act.

3. Kristophr - August 23, 2015

Concerning why we don’t solve starvation and beheadings on Earth:

Both of these problems are caused by bad governments in the third world. Fixing these governments requires the use of force by good governments.

This kind of colonization is considered bad these days, even if the state targeted is completely morally bankrupt.

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