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Dr. Richard Binzel, Tuesday, 11-9-14 December 10, 2014

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Dr. Richard Binzel, Tuesday, 11-9-14


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Guest:  Dr. Richard Binzel.  Topics:  NEO Survey, NASA ARM, asteroids.  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 http://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 Dr. Richard Binzel to the show to discuss asteroids, the NASA ARM, and completing the NEO survey.  During the program, Dr. Binzel referenced two items. The first, his article in Nature is at http://www.nature.com/news/human-spaceflight-find-asteroids-to-get-to-mars-1.16216.  The National Academies study he mentioned is at http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12842.  During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Dr. Binzel introduced us to the asteroid topic, the asteroid belt, 1 km size asteroids and he responded to my questions about Asteroid UR 116.  Our guest then addressed the NASA ARM and explained why he is not supportive of it.  He referenced his above article in Nature on the subject.  You can get this article at the above URL.  He talked about visiting asteroids in their natural orbit rather than bringing a small one back to orbit the Moon.  He had much to say that was positive about visiting an asteroid, explaining as well why such a visit is on the path to HSF to Mars.  He then explained his program for completing the NEO survey which is to find and catalog specific NEOs.  Listeners asked him many questions including if radar was a good tool for finding asteroids.  He said no because it uses a very narrow beam.  He also said that were the NEO survey completed, most of the most accessible destinations for HSF and science missions would be cataloged and would open up space.  He goes into detail on this near the end of our show.  We talked about international NEO survey and planetary defense issues.  While the U.S. remains the leader, ESA is doing more and more.  He also said that rather than spending just $20 million on asteroid detection, we should be spending $200 million annually until the survey is completed.  Joe in Houston sent in a series of questions starting in this segment and ending when the show ended.  His questions, all of which were read on air, centered around ways to bring an asteroid into orbit around the Moon.  Listen to what our guest had to say about his multiple suggestions/questions.  Professor Binzel clearly likes and welcomes fresh ideas & also insists on running the numbers and doing the trade analysis.  John called from Ft. Worth asking about the size of an asteroid that should be getting our attention.  Time lines were brought up as we need time for the best way to deflect an asteroid on an Earth collision trajectory.  Near the end of the segment, our guest talked about a NASA Grand Challenge Mission around asteroid detection and intervention methods starting first with the survey, the concepts on how best to deflect an asteroid and then about 30 years out, a contest on an ISRU test for resource extraction on an asteroid.


In the second segment, Doug sent in multiple questions, then after I asked our guest a few of them, he called in to talk about some of the other questions on his list.  Doug asked Dr. Binzel good questions so listen carefully to their discussion.  One thing of note was that the size of an asteroid presenting the greatest risk to Earth is 140 meters.  Joe continued emailing evolutions of his initial three questions from the first segment.  Asteroid ISRU was again discussed in this segment, so was the likelihood of a comet impact on Earth, & a privately funded mission to complete the NEO survey was also discussed. As the program was ending, Dr. Binzel spoke to the issue of the NEO survey being a game changer and opening the gateway to our future.  This is important so do listen to his comments on this issue.


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