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Open Lines, Tuesday, 10-13-15 October 14, 2015

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Open Lines, Tuesday, 10-13-15


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Guest: Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston. Topics: Space Show website updates, the movie “The Martian, gravity prescription, HSF medical issues & more. 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.

Welcome to our Open Lines show and my return to broadcasting given my post surgery recovery from my Oct. 1 spinal sugary. It was great to be back on the air. During the first segment of our two hour show, I updated everyone as to my post surgery recovery progress, I dedicated the show to the memory of our near friend Declan O’Donnell who passed away October 1 of this year, then I updated everyone on the progress being made on our new website development project and my ability to start fulfilling Indiegogo perk orders. As I stated, there have clearly been delays due to the first two weeks post surgery but we are getting back on track and I expect reasonable progress moving forward. As I explained I continue to have mobility limitations and sitting issues but things are improving all the time so I expect the delays will soon be a thing of the past. Several times during the program I mentioned booking future guests now that I am back on the air and suggested those of you that selected the co-host perk or the host your own show or be your own guest perk take advantage of the available dates for the balance of 2015 to bring your co-host guest to the program, or your host your own show to the schedule. Let me know and I will support you in invitations, etc. to get these programs booked with you even before the new website is launched. I also read an email from Matt from Switzerland who wanted to follow up from the earlier show with Ally regarding some sort of online virtual space advocacy training. If this interests you, post comments and your ideas on The Space Show blog. Matt will see them and maybe interested parties can get something going. Our first caller was Dr. Rowe who expressed misgivings about all the talk about being able to have humans walk on Mars by 2030. Dr. Row cited some of his well known and highly regarded medical research in support of his statements but as usual, committed space advocates challenged him. One was by text message to me which I did not read on air but was highly critical of Dr. Rowe wondering who he was and why in the world he would be talking about such things. Via a reply text I did tell this listener who Bill was and briefly listed his credentials for his research. I know his work is controversial and many listeners to this show do not support Bill’s conclusions but that does not invalidate his work. Doug asked Bill about running the numbers for what propellant it would take to spin up a craft with a tether long enough to get one gee but relatively low RPMs as the subject moved to needing to be in 1g and maybe even marginally less gravity would not work for humans. Lots of discussions followed about the gravity prescription issue, the need to know it for BLEO spaceflight, then Doug expressed his ideas of why it was not so important to know the gravity prescription at this time. Don’t miss Doug’s full comments on this subject and see if you agree with his perspective or not. Bill had some other medical issues to talk about, especially cardiology issues with Irwin and Armstrong. I have tremendous respect for Dr. Rowe’s work though I am not qualified to do any type of due diligence on it as I am not a medical doctor. Still, knowing it is controversial, especially with segments of The Space Show audience, I urge space cadets to be more open minded rather than married to agendas. In the end, Dr. Rowe’s work may prove more valuable and important than many think or would like to think. After a decent discussion with Dr. Rowe and listeners on related topics to Bill’s phone call, we started talking about the movie “The Martian.” This discussion took us through the rest of the show with breaks here and there for different or related topics. Everyone who called to talk about the movie like it and we did have some fun discussions about the movie and maybe some different scenarios.

In the second segment, John from Freemont, CA called to talk about the movie. he also talked about the gravity prescription and the plans by the SSI to do some sort of gravity prescription experiment. I talked about that as I have done shows on it and spoken to Gary Hudson about their efforts to fund this experiment,. He also mentioned the SpaceGAMBIT Organization which sounds very interesting. Check it out at www.spacegambit.org. June from Tucson emailed us wondering why there was criticism of the NASA Roadmap To Mars. I started answering her somewhat reluctantly but Doug called and I passed the response to Doug who handled the reply to June with a few side comments from me. In the process of talking about the roadmap, we talked about going to Phobos, cislunar development, SLS launches & much more. Doug then spoke about the movie which was the main reason for his call. During the conversation I incorrectly referenced a Dr. Lurio text to me over the weekend but fortunately Charles was listening to the show, sent me the correct text which I read on air. Charles then called the show and we had a good discussion about the movie, sci fi in general, and certain issues surrounding the movie. He also went into detail on the three items that made him see Hermes in the context of 2001. Advanced propulsion came up and several us wondered why nuclear propulsion was not a NASA solution to the rescue of the Martian. Here, we talked about the movie being about a NASA government program, not focusing on commercial or Newspace. Dr. Lurio offered a reason for this and I reminded listeners of this topic on the interview we did with Andy Weir several months ago. John Hunt called and we talked about audience and age differences with the movie. The last caller was Tim from Huntsville who saw it with friends, including non-space cadet friends. The non-space cadet friends liked the movie as much as the space oriented people liked it.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach any of the program participants through me.




1. J Fincannon - October 17, 2015

I always appreciate Dr. Rowe’s insights and information. I am sure that the powers that be feel that the issues he raises can be dealt with eventually or that the risks can be accepted. I think the issue of life on Mars being damaged by our biota’s presence or whether we would allow back astronauts that have immersed themselves in possible Mars biota will more likely delay any Mars footprints. As an engineer, artificial gravity seems a good approach. Perhaps there is a less cumbersome way to generate it.

2. Andrew Jones - October 15, 2015

Wonderful to hear you’re back home and on your way back to full fitness. And great to hear the show again.

Just listened to (most of) the open lines podcast. Regarding The Martian, it’s great that everyone – that is, with an interest in and angle on space – has an opinion on the film/book. I can understand the disappointment from some regarding the weather on Mars, the rockets depicted, the lack of a commercial space involvement (the book is a few years old already). But I think all of this detracts from the actual story – and it is primarily a story – which seems to me to be one drawing on the themes of the future of humanity and a common, global vision of the future. Cooperation with China – despite, or even because of, the political context – is probably the best way put such a message across.

If we’re nitpicking, the CNSA is basically a small front for China’s dealings with foreign space agencies and organisations, isn’t analogous to NASA, and wouldn’t be calling any of the shots as in the film. Policy decisions would come from the State Council/SASTIND and guided/decided by the upper echelons of the Communist Party.

Come to think of it, NASA wouldn’t call the shots domestically either. But who knows and cares about this and the labrynthine nomenclature of the Chinese state, and would we want to hear the polarised nonsense from Congress before accepting help from China? Back to commercial space, even the now-high-profile SpaceX would confuse too many people. So, NASA and CNSA it is.

It’s about making the film as accessible as possible to send its message to as wide and diverse an audience as possible (which admittedly doesn’t hurt ticket sales). Now, isn’t that the kind of thing – a common future in space – that is mentioned in the intro to the Space Show? 😉 Awesome film, will have to see it again.

All the best and get well soon!

3. DDAY - October 15, 2015

I’m currently working on a project where artificial gravity has come up. Interesting thing is that apparently if you talk to the space medicine experts there is no consensus that it is actually required. Apparently many of them think that their current countermeasures are sufficient.

The bottom line as I understand it is that there is no strong consensus–or even consensus–among the space medicine community that zero-g is so much of a problem that we A) need artificial gravity, or B) even need to get more gravity data. Without that consensus, NASA is not going to fund a gravity lab, because there are not enough people saying it is worth the cost.

Welcome back, David.

B John (Björn) - October 17, 2015

It certainly seems to me that what will happen is a crewed trip to Mars’ moons, with about 2 years in microgravity. Countermeasures and remedies do progress. And when after that humans land on Mars, there’s only 6+ months in microgravity, which is handled just fine on the ISS already. They skip simulated gravity because they have issues with higher priorities (stuff like radiation, life support recycling, time lag autonomy, everything not exploding). Simulated gravity is not needed for trips to Mars or a permanent base on the Moon. It’ll be developed for improved comfort later on and for multi year missions.

4. Jim Davis - October 15, 2015

It’s great to see Dr. Livingston back in the saddle again. I wish him a speedy recovery.

However, I must take issue with his contention that the NERVA engine is ready for service and that all we would have to do is “take it out of storage and dust it off”. The NERVA engine is about as ready for service as the Saturn Vs being exhibited in Houston and Cape Canaveral.

Any attempt to get nuclear thermal rockets into service would basically be starting from scratch. No doubt the NERVA documentation would be scrutinized for applicable lessons but that is about it. The SLS will cost tens of billions spent over ten years and more and it has the benefit of far more recent legacy programs (shuttle). A new nuclear thermal program would almost certainly have similar costs and time frame.

The Space Show - October 15, 2015

Jim, its a sci fi movie and book. In that realm, anything can happen. Since none of the story is really possible or plausible, why not throw nuclear propulsion into the mix of solutions for NASA since its about a government space program. Heck, why should NERVA be held to a more realism standard than anything else in the story line. Again, its all sci fi. Anything goes. It was not a real factual story based on realism though many of the scenarios were potentially plausible as Andy explained when he was on TSS several months ago. So go get him faster on an upgraded NERVA. Why not? It might have proved a good part of the story and a fun addition to the story depending on how Andy wrote it and had it play out in the movie.


J Fincannon - October 17, 2015

I agree with Jim. Whether sci-fi or not, taking a project “out of storage” and launching it in time to save one person’s life doesn’t seem feasible.

It doesn’t look to be in too good of shape and the only reason we have one at all on display is because it was NOT tested due to the project being cancelled. Testing would have made it radioactive and that would not be good for a public display. So all the test articles that were tested were dismantled and buried somewhere. But that’s just the engine. It needed to be fully integrated with large fuel tanks and then flight tested (not just the ground tests) to see if it could actually survive launch and operate in space. It would not only take years and years to fuel and integrate with a launch vehicle, but also a slew of other things that must be done to prevent it from blowing up throughout the mission. Better to get Harry Potter to conjure him to safety. The “Armageddon” movie had already built and had ready some sort of titanium hulled Shuttles (for some military reason…no… they had TWO ready for some reason). So in the movie universe you could have them storing some NERVA “ready to launch”. Ha!

But I like the movie (“Red Planet”) where the stranded Mars astronaut climbed aboard a partially broken old Russian robotic sample return lander and got himself into orbit and at just the right trajectory to rendezvous with the Earth spacecraft that was about to return to Earth.

5. Joe from Houston - October 15, 2015

Talking about the artificial gravity remedy, i.e., how much, how long, how to apply is just that. Unsubstantiated claims followed by questions without answers. We are free to spend our time here talking. It is always entertaining for new listeners to hear the talk but people talk about the same thing over and over leaving the new listeners wondering what to do next. The older listeners are getting bored.

The important thing to ponder is the question remains unanswered until an experiment is conducted. It would be fun to hear people talking about the experiment since it similar to what happened in The Martian movie. Matt did something to solve his problem since he had no one to talk too.

It is the call-to-action leaders that fund the experiment to find the gravity remedy. Political leaders are not interested at all in this experiment, therefore, begging them by the thousands won’t work. Politicians don’t solve problems in space. They solve problems on the ground. Artificial gravity remedy could be considered a threat to jobs on the ground by some politicians since it is expected to extend the time between launches. Decreasing the time between launches increases jobs on the ground. Decreasing the time going to and from Mars increases jobs on the ground. This is NASA’s path. This is why artificial gravity is ignored or easily discounted.

These non-political leaders are innovators, not politicians trying to get elected. The space station is not the best candidate to conduct that experiment because it is controlled by politically motivated organizations interested in jobs on the ground. It has evolved into a simple space habitat that does not react well to vibrations and momentum changes that upset its control system. This fact easily discounts any attempts at conducting such an experiment, even on tiny rodents and tiny centrifuges. Their resistance is simply ridiculous because they have the power to choose ridiculous justifications for discounting any attempts at any artificial gravity experiments on their vibration sensitive space habitat.

A new space station is likely to be the place where these experiments can be conducted. One that has an adequate control system capable of withstanding vibrations and momentum changes. We, as listeners, are not likely to know what these innovators plan until they make their plans public. We must wait patiently for their future announcements.

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