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Ken Murphy, Tuesday, 12-22-15 December 23, 2015

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Ken Murphy, Tuesday, 12-22-15


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Guest: Ken Murphy. Topics: Cislunar development, returning to the Moon, Mars, Moon Day, NASA and much 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.

We welcomed back Ken Murphy to discuss space current events, his coming articles and stories, and reasons for returning to the Moon and developing cislunar space.  During the first segment of our 2 hour 2 minute discussion, Ken started out by telling us about his upcoming Jan. 4, 2016 Space Review article regarding the July 2016 Moon Day celebration in Dallas.  He provided the logistical details for the event throughout our discussion, plus he described the event, the Lunar Sample Bags, the educational outreach, and their ham radio connection to the ISS via the ARISS Program.  This discussion was followed by our talking about the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch and first stage recovery.  Ken then talked about making significant changes in NASA to advance space development, especially getting younger employees at NASA with an average age in the 30’s by getting rid of the older NASA employees.  This comment caused John from Ft. Worth to call to remind Ken of anti-age discrimination laws, wondering just how Ken would get rid of the older people at NASA.  We shifted our discussion to cislunar development and international lunar development efforts.  We talked about the need for public private programs to do cislunar and lunar development.  Betty emailed Ken to ask him if he thought all the lunar advocacy made a difference and helped the cause of our getting back to the Moon.  Ken’s response to Betty might surprise you so don’t miss it.  Before the break, we talked about education and the public’s space educational level.  You definitely want to hear what Ken said about the average person’s space knowledge and teachers in our K-high school grades.  Tell us what you think about Ken’s education and teacher analysis and comments by posting your thoughts on TSS blog.

In the second segment, we talked about going back to the Moon, then Ken brought up lunar dust issues, then in response to the typical Moon or Mars question, he said the Moon was our sand box made to order to train us for solar system exploration and even settlement.  He also said while he is interested in Mars and space settlement, his near term focus was on cislunar development and returning to the Moon.  During our program, he often referred to talks he has given to the general public so he talked at length about both space and STEM being a hook for getting young people interested in space and the STEM topics.  He again mentioned that on Moon Day, they would be talking with the ISS crew via the ARISS program,.  Preston from Chicago asked him if he had seen The Martian or the latest Star Wars movie.  His response and what he said about the movies will have to be a surprise for you.  Near the end of the program, Jerry asked him about his support for advanced propulsion and Jack asked him what he thought of Elon’s plans to go to Mars in 15 years or so.  Ken was also asked for his opinion on space solar power and about using water ice on the Moon for fuel.  Ken said it would be better to work the Moon from L1.  In conclusion, he offered us a good takeaway message and a good set of closing statements you will want to hear.

Make sure you post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Ken through The Space Show or The Moon Society (www.moonsociety.org).  Finally, Merry Christmas everyone.  The Space Show team and I wish you a very good holiday season.



1. Andy Hill - December 27, 2015

I thought it was naïve to think that by retiring or pushing out a lot of older NASA people would solve some of its problems. Being unwilling to try new ideas or accept change is not necessarily a question of age it is more about institutional thought. While thought patterns become more ingrained with time it is also true that experience gives access to older ideas that were once unworkable but due to changes in technology or materials may now work.

The arguments over whether NASA should use the FAA or space acts to operate contracts is prime example of where the primary problem is. The outcry from various Senators about releasing some of the control on how NASA operates was very telling.

NASA has evolved into a puppet of the US congress and follows the path set for it, the people who need changing are there. They are the ones with the power to direct NASA to operate in a way that will develop cis-lunar space.

Ken Murphy - January 1, 2016

Irrespective of whether NASA is a creature of Congress, the replacement of older NASA workers with younger workers is going to happen. It is a demographic inevitability, no matter how much some folks would wish it were otherwise.

Addressing this demographic inevitability leads to the question “How do we manage this?” As I noted, NASA’s workforce is about 50% Baby Boomers. The tail end of this generation hit 50 y.o. in 2014. That means you’ve got a payroll loaded with employees who have been there a long time, and are at the upper bounds of their salary bands. As I noted in the show, I feel that a peak in the bell curve somewhere in the mid-30s is probably a healthier demographic balance for the organization.

It has been noted that demographics is destiny. I’m not against sage elders and emeritus advisers; they have a critical role to play in cultivating the younger generations and ensuring that knowledge is not lost. That has been the key missing ingredient over the last couple of decades, and its effects are coming home to roost.

2. DougSpace - December 24, 2015

I think that Ken is exactly right about the lunar dust issue. We already know that it is problematic. But the most straightforward way of dealing with it is to try to avoid it as much as possible. He mentioned several of the ideas that people have come up with. But the most effective way of avoiding it is to simply come in contact with it as little as possible — stay inside. I would take it a step further than Ken. Instead of sending people out to work on the rover, in the dust, bring it into a dirty garage, gown up and dust it down until it is clean and then move it into the clean garage.

3. Mark - December 23, 2015

All this Moon talk reminded me of the new Earthrise photo from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. It looks so astonishingly fake and unreal, but it is not. Wow. Merry Christmas.


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