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Mark Whittington, Sunday, 9-6-15 September 7, 2015

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Mark Whittington, Sunday, 9-6-15

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Guest: Mark Whittington; Topics: We discussed Mark’s new book, “Why Is It So Hard to Go Back to the Moon.? 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 Mark Whittington back to the show for this 1 hour 56 minute discussion of his new book, “Why Is It So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?,” During the first segment of our program, Mark introduced us to the book and immediately said that the missing element in being able to go back to the Moon is the lack political support and leadership to drive the return to the Moon program. Mark also spoke to the need for the president to lead the effort, then he did a brief historical overview over both Bush presidencies plus the Clinton administration. He talked about the Space Exploration Initiative, Constellation, and the ISS. As you will hear, listeners had much to say about Mark’s examples as they added to this short historical summary of this part of the space program. Doug called to mention the high costs of the Altair lander as a cause for shutting down Constellation. Mark disagreed with Doug to some extent because with a president that wanted to keep the program, the problems would have been fixed. Michael Listener emailed us about the drawbacks of international partners and policies per the return to the Moon effort. Michael said The ISS was completed over many administrations because it was the result of an international treaty so it was not a good example of a program surviving multiple administrations. Before the break, Kelly sent in an email to make the point that Constellation was not really cancelled. Instead, surviving components were given a new name but the projects continue.


In the second segment, Mark started out by talking about his book which can be ordered from most bookstores but it is also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. The book is also available as Kindle on amazon. He said it was a short book, an easy read. The paperback sells for $6 while the Kindle version sells for $2.00. Remember, if you use The Space Show/OGLF portal, Amazon will make a contribution to the show. Instructions for doing this are on all archived summary statements on the website and the blog, plus you can see them on both The Space Show website and the One Giant Leap Foundation site. Mark talked about getting the book in the hands of congressional members and staffers, then talked about individual space lobby efforts for returning to the Moon and even sending a copy of the book to one’s representatives or their staffers. Policy making and the 2016 elections were a big part of this segment of the show. Later he was asked for his thoughts on settlement which he supported. He was also asked about HE3, fusion, and a permanent resource base on the Moon. The recent ELA study on more efficient ways to go back to the Moon came up along with a few other topics. In talking about his book’s recommendations, he talked about outreach to the public, the media, international partners, the commercial sector, and students.


Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Mark through me or his blog which is referenced in his bio.


1. Joe from Houston - September 8, 2015

Bless Mark’s heart!

He represents quite a few Moon Advocates still clinging to an unpopular policy in the current administration. These people unfortunately are the least heard by politicians fighting for jobs in their district. They are easily told to talk to the hand since they are a relative minority not in tune with today’s political trends.

In my opinion, whining to politicians to fire hose their district with NASA jobs and funding is simply not going to work. This is not to say we will never go to the Moon, however. In reality, we are not facing world war and nuclear annihilation like we were during the Apollo Era. If we were, we would have our hands full trying to get the upper hand.

I am so sorry. We can easily come up with hundreds of reasons why we should go to the Moon and never get the government funding. The problem solution of going to the Moon is not well thought out, however.

Fuel refinery infrastructure in space?
Passing the torch from one Moon Walker to another?
Threat from China?
Monthly Kennedy speeches?
NASA spinoffs?
Confront the politicians?

Did I miss anything more important?

The vast majority of people in the 60’s felt a swelling of national pride and patriotism when they were given this gift of TV coverage of the lunar excursions. What a relief it was to see our Kennedy heroes walking on a distant planetary body! It reset our thinking from negative to positive. The Nixon Administration soon collapsed, the war ended with a whisper, the threat of nuclear annihilation eventually went ‘poof’ in the 80’s and the economy boomed (double digit inflation).

The primary reason we went there was a knee-jerk reaction to basic human behavior, i.e., world war and the notion of complete nuclear annihilation. We had to in order to feel good about ourselves in times of serious personal stress. Going to the moon helped the voting public to make up their minds as if drawing a line in the sand like they did at the Alamo that they were living in the greatest country in this world and they needed to put on their boots by pulling on the straps to get through some pretty tough times.

What is happening is a total revamping of the space exploration industry. Please pay attention to this fact. No matter what we space advocates do, this movement is moving forwards and it is going to wipe out all of the naysayers that do nothing but whine when rockets blow up.

Unfortunately, it is completely out of reach or control by space advocates who whine to powerful politicians. We are likely to go to the Moon using commercial companies forming the new space movement, i.e., space exploration that is not umbilicalled to political funds devoted to fire hosing political districts of powerful politicians.

The reason they are going to the Moon is to make money by taking a huge financial risk using the cream of the crop of rocket scientists. It takes hundreds of experienced rocket scientists where the real intellectual property resides who are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs watching a manned spacecraft fly around and around the Earth for more than 17 years.

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