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Dr. Erik Conway, Monday, 4-13-15 April 14, 2015

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Dr. Erik Conway

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2452-BWB-2015-04-13.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Erik Conway.  Topics:  Dr. Conway’s book, “Exploration and Engineering: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Quest for Mars”  & 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 Dr. Erik Conway to the show to discuss his new book, “Exploration and Engineering: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Quest for Mars,” JPL history, engineering, Mars missions, and much more all from the historical perspective.  In the first segment of our 1 hour 28 minute discussion, I asked Dr. Conway how JPL engineers did things that led to major Mars exploration breakthroughs.  He cited the Mars Pathfinder mission as an example and the decision to use airbags for the landing.  Dr. Conway took us through the process, the cost benefit analysis of the decision and the role played by budgets, the engineers, policy makers, and others contributing to the mission.  Our guest provided us with other examples as well from other Mars projects and missions.  Listeners asked our guest about human missions.  Here, Dr. Conway had much to say throughout our discussion focusing on the fact that humans are dirty with bacteria, planetary protection is a priority, and there is zero risk or near zero risk for a human mission.  When asked if the Moon required the same planetary protection policies as Mars, he said no though in the early days of lunar exploration, it did.  I asked our guest about the roles played by policy makers and engineers and this resulted is a very interesting discussion. Don’t miss it.  Listener Barbara in Seattle asked our guest about Curiosity cost overruns and how that would be reported on in history.  This led to a discussion about the impact of management and others on the initial design and budgets.  Later, Dr. Conway was asked why JPL had a focus on Mars in the first place.  Doug called in to ask about the humans vs. robot debate for science.  Don’t miss the response to this question by our guest.  Doug also brought up the issue of finding past or present life on Mars and what that might mean for future  Mars missions.  Dr. Conway agreed that probably all sides in the argument of avoiding Mars to avoid contaminating and disturbing life to the opposite perspective will be arguing the issues for a long time to come.  Dr. Conway addressed commercialization and while supporting reduced launch costs said the cost reduction needed to be magnitudes lower than even the lower costs of today.  Dwayne called and addressed planetary protection, then he turned his attention toward asking about the research opportunities at JPL for outside historical researchers.  Erik explained why these opportunities were limited, partly holding ITAR responsible.

In the second segment, Erik talked about the risk versus return on the costs.  He talked about there being almost zero tolerance for accidents and losses with Mars missions and human missions.  He also said the zero risk tolerance for these missions has been a significant cost driver.  Our guest had much to say on this subject with regards to Mars so don’t miss it as it covered most of the second segment. Later in this segment, Jake inquired about the early JPL history and its founders and their impact on the JPL of today.  Penny wanted to know about the Cal Tech-JPL relationship.  Dwayne sent in an email asking about the Faster, Better, Cheaper programs and what happened with the JPL programs using this approach.  This was an interesting way to wind up the show. As we were ending we learned that Goddard has no historian so their programs are not being recorded or document.  I sked Erik the difference in JPL and the APL.  Note how he explained the difference between the two labs, their risk tolerance, and decision process.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Dr. Conway through JPL or me.

Emily Lakdawalla, Tuesday, 3-10-15 March 11, 2015

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 Emily Lakdawalla, Tuesday, 3-10-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2431-BWB-2015-03-10.mp3

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Guest:  Emily Lakdawalla.  Topics:  We discussed planetary science missions, the outer and inner planets, Ceres, icy moons, and 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 Emily Lakdawalla for a far ranging planetary science and mission discussion.  During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Emily was asked questions about the Planetary Society’s solar sail mission, LightSail.  Look forward to a special Space Show program about this project in the near future.  I asked her about her Cassini Icy Moons article on her Planetary Society blog which can be found at http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla.  We talked about the photo mosaics and Emily told us about the software and how any of could easily do similar mosaics.  As you will hear, we talked about icy moons throughout our program.  The Dawn mission with its approach to Ceres was an important discussion topic as was New Horizons on the way to Pluto.  As all of you have heard before, this is the year of the Dwarf Planet!  Dan called with questions about Mars 2020 and the sample return mission.  We touched on human spaceflight and addressed the NASA planetary budget.  Roy called to ask about the Thursday press conference about Ganymede, then before the break we got a question about the Rosetta mission and the Ceres bright spot.

In the second segment, Emily had more to say about New Horizons, how photos and data would be sent back to Earth, and the upcoming cliff hanging moments with New Horizons and why they are considered cliff hanging.  Don’t miss our New Horizons discussion.  Callers and questions came in about Europa, the overall cost of planetary missions for the American taxpayer, the Dawn orbit around Ceres and limitations due to hydrazine.  One listener even asked if there would be public events around New Horizons arriving at Pluto.  Near the end of the segment, Doug sent in several emails asking about Uranus and Neptune and here Emily had much to say in support of such missions.  I asked our guest about her preference between inner and outer planets.  We also talked about returning to the Moon.  Near the end of the program, Carl wanted to know what was going to happen with planetary science after New Horizons.  A series of lunar questions came in with one asking about a lunar sample return.  I asked Emily if a lunar sample return was needed given the quantity of Moon Rocks that we have from the Apollo era.  Don’t miss her most interesting reply with a focus on possible contamination from the lunar Imbrium event.  As our program was ending, Barry wanted to know why we were using radio communications from the outer planets rather than light.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. Emily Lakdawalla can be reached through her blog or me.

Dr. Gil Levin, Friday, 1-23-15 January 24, 2015

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Dr. Gil Levin, Friday, 1-23-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2399-BWB-2015-01-23.mp3

Guest: Dr. Gil Levin. Topics: Searching for life on Mars, 1976 Viking Labeled Release Experiments and 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 Dr. Gil Levin to discuss searching for and finding microbial life on Mars. During the first segment of our 86 minute program, Dr. Levin first responded to an email question about the type of science equipment needed to find life on Mars & why was it missing from Curiosity. He also wanted to know if it could be added to the Mars 2020 mission. As Dr. Levin pointed out, MSL and Curiosity were not equipped with any life detection instrumentation. As for Mars 2020, it will collect samples and store them for a future sample return mission to Earth. Dr. Levin had much to say about a sample return mission as part of this discussion. Dr. Levin then went over his Label Release Experiments (LRE) from the 1976 Viking Landers and said many times during the show that not only was it suitable for detecting life, it did detect life. Gil then spent the better part of the first segment talking about life detection on Mars, the need to convene an expert panel to look at all the data available today to come to scientific conclusions about microbial life on Mars and more. Listeners emailed many questions to Dr. Levin asking about bacteria that could survive in the Mars environment, perchlorates, & XE-129. Doug from S. California phoned in and wanted to know if NASA had made a choice not to detect life on Mars as he thought they were avoiding doing so. Doug had several additional questions for Dr. Levin.

In the second segment, Kirk called to ask about the chiro experiment, LRE, and the use of fresh samples. Following up on what I asked our guest as the earlier segment ended, I asked Gil what was wrong with the step by step methodology NASA was using regarding Mars life research. Later he talked about the LRE being an effective tool for today, its use of Carbon 14, then he talked about putting a microscope on Mars and why that would be beneficial. I asked Gil if he had anticipated the controversy surrounding the LRE and he said no. Another listener asked about first going to one of the Martian moons. Gil explained why he thought that was a bad idea. He was also asked about Europa instead of Mars 2020. We talked about the high interest level in finding life on Mars and Gil said he believed that their was microbial life on Mars today. Another listener wanted to know if the results of the Viking experiments were only valid for the two Viking locations or most likely widespread on Mars. Gil explained why the findings were most likely applicable across Mars. We discussed Mars and our space policy & he was asked about both RNA and DNA. Don’t miss his final comment about Occam’s razor and Martian DNA.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can email Dr. Gil Levin through me.

The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 1-21-15 January 22, 2015

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The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 1-21-15

Guest:  Dr. Ashwin Vasavada

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2398-BWB-2015-01-21.mp3

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Guests: John Batchelor, Dr. Ashwin Vasavada, Dr. David Livingston. Topics: Mars Curiosity findings announced Dec. 2013. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We do not permit the commercial use of any Space Show program or part thereof, nor do we permit Space Show programs to be edited, placed on YouTube, or other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted in news articles, papers, academic & research work but must be cited or referenced in the proper citation format. Contact Dr. Livingston for questions about our copyright and trademark policies which we do enforce.  This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com. Remember, your Amazon Purchases Can Help Support The Space Show/OGLF (www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm). For those of you listening to archives on live365.com & rating the programs, please email me the reasons for your rating. This will definitely help improve Space Show programming. Thank you.

 

John Batchelor and I welcomed Dr. Ashwin Vasavada to Hotel Mars to discuss the latest findings announced by NASA in December 2013 regarding methane discoveries, organics in rocks, and indications that there had been flowing water on Mars, perhaps during the first billion years of Mars. As we learned, the first billion Martian years were likely to have been more supportive of microbial life than later times on Mars for a variety of reasons which our guest discussed during our 20 minute Hotel Mars segment. During our two part segment, we talked about free flowing water on Mars, the Mars methane as detected by Curiosity, and the organics found in Cumberland Rock. We asked Dr. Vasavada, the new Chief Scientist for MSL and Curiosity, many questions pertaining to these three end of the year 2013 NASA announcements and our guest guided us through the science, discoveries, plus he responded well to our inquiries. This is a Hotel Mars segment you will not want to miss! Note that the two parts of this segment are joined together as I eliminated the break.

 

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can email Mr. Batchelor or Dr. Vasavada through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

Tom Olson, Replay, 2011 Space Year In Review December 22, 2014

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Tom Olson, Replay, 2011 Space Year In Review

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2380-BWB-2014-12-22.mp3

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Guest: Tom Olson. Topics: The year 2011 in review regarding all space issues. 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.

 

Welcome to our Golden Oldie Decade of Review, this year with the space year 2011. Tom Olson was our reviewer for this 2011 review, aired live on Dec. 27, 2011.  We had much to cover in this 105 minute program. Tom started out reminding us that 2011 was the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight. He told us about the banner year for Yuri’s Night parties around the globe celebrating this important milestone and specifically about the even he attended in New Your City. Next, he pointed out the recent National Press Club talk given by Elon Musk on going to Mars and building the rockets to take us there, plus his recent New Scientist interview which you can read in full on the Mars Society website. Tom commented that the sky was actually falling in 2011 with two large junk satellites coming back to Earth. We also talked about the return of Phobos Grunt to earth probably in early to mid-January 2012. One of the big events we discussed for 2011 was the retirement of the shuttle. This led us to discussing the recent Chinese space rendezvous and the fact that China is now the number two launching country behind Russia having overtaken the U.S. this year. Planetary missions were part of our year in review with Vesta and Dawn, the Kepler Space Telescope, MSL with Curiosity. New Horizons continued its journey to Pluto and Explorer 1 continued beyond our solar system. Tom talked about SLS and the ORION MPC Vehicle, plus the James Webb Space Telescope and its cost issues in the context of its impact on the NASA budget. Soyuz rocket problems along with all the Russian rocket failures this year were fair game for our discussion. I asked Tom what he thought of the idea of SLS as a place holder for skill sets and technology until our space program improves. Don’t miss his answer. He brought up Virgin Galactic’s drop tests this year, especially the last one where trouble showed up. Making news for 2011 were NASA and space industry workforce layoffs and the successful Falcon 9 and Dragon launch. At the end of the first segment, Bigelow Aerospace was in our spotlight.

 

In segment two, Tom led off with XCOR news, Terry called wondering about CCDEV3 and Tom suggested program winners! Don’t miss his prediction. He also was asked to predict the cancellation year for SLS. Don’t miss this prediction as well. We talked about the upcoming New Space Business Plan Competition for 2012, the prizes which are the largest ever, and the timing. If this interests you, make sure to stay tuned for more information. Later in the segment we began a summary of our discussion and 2011. Tom was asked about the space elevator and the Lunar Space Elevator. We wrapped up our discussion talking about growth in the space conferences even in the tough economic year of 2011.

 

Post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.

The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 12-17-14 December 18, 2014

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The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 12-17-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2378-BWB-2014-12-17.mp3

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Guests: John Batchelor, Dr. Jeff Foust, Dr. David Livingston. Topics: Dr. Foust did a 2014 space year in review for us. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We do not permit the commercial use of any Space Show program or part thereof, nor do we permit Space Show programs to be edited, placed on YouTube, or other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted in news articles, papers, academic & research work but must be cited or referenced in the proper citation format. Contact Dr. Livingston for questions about our copyright and trademark policies which we do enforce. This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com. Remember, your Amazon Purchases Can Help Support The Space Show/OGLF (www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm). For those of you listening to archives on live365.com & rating the programs, please email me the reasons for your rating. This will definitely help improve Space Show programming. Thank you.

 

John Batchelor and I welcomed Dr. Jeff Foust back to Hotel Mars. During our 12 minute Hotel Mars segment, we talked about significant space events and missions during 2014 including the recent methane discovery on Mars, Curiosity findings, Space X & Orbital Science 2014 events, the Rosetta mission, New Horizons to Pluto, and the Dawn mission. Virgin Galactic’s accident was reviewed as was the Antares rocket motor explosion and Orbital making an agreement to get new RD 181 Russian rocket motors for Antares. Also discussed was Venus Express and recently launched Hayabusa 2 mission. Jeff provided us with updates on all of these missions and companies.

 

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can email Mr. Batchelor or Dr. Jeff Foust through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

 

Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 12-16-14 December 17, 2014

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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 12-16-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2377-BWB-2014-12-16.mp3

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Guest:  Robert (Bob) Zimmerman.  Topics: Space news projects and updates, end of the year review, looking to 2015.  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 Bob Zimmerman back to the program for a wide ranging discussion of space news, space companies, projects, programs and more.  During the first segment of our two hour seven minute show, Bob started off promoting his book on Apollo 8, “Genesis” as we are coming up on the anniversary of this famous flight orbiting the Moon on Christmas eve at a distant time in our past.  After Bob’s infomercial was complete, he did have much to say about the everlasting importance of the Apollo 8 mission.  I asked Bob for end of the year space events to keep our eyes on so we talked about the upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 launch and the attempt to recover the first stage on a barge as part of the SpaceX reusability plan.  We also talked about the Russian Angara rocket test flight.  A listener asked Bob for updates on the NTSB accident investigation for Virgin Galactic.  Bob also talked about SLS (it was yet another recurrent theme throughout the program) and as predicted, he had nothing good to say about it or Orion.  BJohn emailed us to ask about nuclear propulsion.  Both Bob and I responded and while we support it, there does not seem to be a business case for it or demand for it so there is no significant push to make it happen.  Marshall called to talk about the impact of falling oil prices on the space economy.  I had much to say about this as did Bob who in the end talked about trusting capitalism, freedom, and private enterprise to do the right thing.  We also talked about the impact of falling oil prices on the Russian economy, specifically their space program.  I then brought up the interest rate risk which is a huge potential danger for the US economy.  Luis emailed in about Falcon 9 prices of $5-7 million per a January 2014 Parabolic Arc article.  Note that this was clarified early in the next segment.

In segment two, Dr. Charles Lurio called to explain more about the SpaceX launch cost referenced by Luis in the previous segment.  Charles also talked about the Orbital effort to replace the Antares  rocket motor with another Russian motor, the RD 181.  Joe emailed in a note about the compact fusion plans for Lockheed.  Bob used the opportunity to criticize the large companies, their projects, pork, you name it.  Doug emailed in about some Boeing YouTube videos which Bob completely dismissed as having zero relevancy on anything.  Bob also took some slams at Orion and the recent test flight.  Next, we talked about the new announcement about Curiosity finding methane on Mars.  Bob added more to the story and said it was a wait and see situation but ultimately we would have to there to really answer questions about it.  SLS John called and said the program of record was going forward and made the point that for private enterprise to do something in space as Bob kept talking about, there needed to be a profit motive and he doubted that existed other than for some orbital and comsat missions.  Bob disagreed leaving the door open for a private company to pursue something not previously considered, again saying he trusted in the ingenuity of the private sector.  John reported that he had modeled the Falcon Heavy and could show it would take 53 metric tons to LEO.   Bob then talked about Falcon Heavy being cheaper than SLS (planned that is) so there really was no need for SLS.  Henry emailed a question about a possible Europa mission & Bob suggested if they would kill SLS, money could be directed to the planetary science department for things like a Europa mission plus they could still reduce the NASA budget.  In his concluding comments, Bob said he was skeptical about the suborbital industry and that its time had come and gone given the emerging orbital capsules and flight plans.  He concluded saying he was looking forward to the upcoming SpaceX launch abort tests.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Bob through his website http://www.behindtheblack.com or me.

Matthew (Matt) Wallace, Tuesday, 12-2-14 December 3, 2014

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Matthew (Matt) Wallace, Tuesday, 12-2-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2367-BWB-2014-12-02.mp3

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Guest:  Matthew (Matt) Wallace.  Topics:  Mars science missions, Mars 2020, searching for lie on Mars.  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 Matt Wallace from our Hotel Mars program to his first appearance on The Space Show.  During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Matt talked about his early mission assignments when he first came to JPL, then his shift to the Mars program.  We also talked about how the science missions and rovers are designed, managed, and eventually flown.  I asked our guest several questions about the science missions such as how a Deimos mission might differ from a mission to the surface of Mars.  Later, a listener asked our guest about a Europa mission and how that would differ. While there are clearly differences in the missions to different destinations, the trade process, planning, team organization and such all work pretty much the same.  We did spend some time talking about a Europa mission as that mission is a favorite for many of us, our guest included Most of the Europa mission discussion was in the second segment.  Matt talked about the new science instruments that will be on board Mars 2020, plus the extensive use of heritage hardware. He also said about 70% of the original MSL & Curiosity team would be working on Mars 2020, an important fact in managing the mission, costs and assuring mission success.  Matt was asked why it was so hard to confirm microbial life on Mars now or in the past & if there was one instrument that could do that.  This proved to be a fascinating and detailed discussion so don’t miss it.  Many listener emails addressed the rover control process.  There is no real time communication with the rover so Matt explained how they send commands to the rover, how the rover processes those commands and the safeguards built into it to protect the rover from accidents, etc.  He also talked about communication windows with Earth, when antennas are pointed toward Mars, and the busy DSN.  Listener Alex asked him about the book “The Martian” and wanted to know that were an astronaut stuck on Mars or needing some sort of emergency gear or something, could a defunct Mars rover be cannibalized for parts and made to work for the purpose needed by the person on Mars.  Matt’s answer might surprise you.  Several listeners wanted to know about a human Mars mission being more efficient for finding life signs than a rover.  Matt explained the trades involved. Doug emailed in a similar question during the second segment.  Matt said its not either or.  Instead, the rovers and a human mission are synergistic with one another.  As the segment ended, our guest was asked if NASA/JPL would consider partnering with a private human mission such as Mars One to use Mars One crew members for science missions.

In the second segment, we talked about other Mars rovers and mission including Maven and Insight.  Next, the question came in about Europa that was mentioned in the earlier segment.  Doug not only asked his robotic vs. human question but he sent in another question regarding the sample return mission and what methods might be used for collecting multiple samples.  He suggested a few different collection methods.  Matt said they discuss these types of options but in the end the trades opt for simpler missions for a variety of reasons.  See what you think of his answer & post your comment on the blog.  John, a high school student, sent in a note about colleges and the best path to be able to work in the space industry.  Barbara sent in a note asking if the EDL would be Seven Minutes of Terror Part 2 since they were using the same system as used for Curiosity or would it be less stressful.  Matt said they would still be nail biting all the way down.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Matt Wallace through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

Rob Manning, Friday, 11-7-14 November 8, 2014

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Rob Manning, Friday, 11-7-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2351-BWB-2014-11-07.mp3

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Guest:  Rob Manning.  Topic:  Mars Science Lab Curiosity and Rob’s new book, “Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity’s Chief Engineer.”  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 Rob Manning back to the program to discuss Mars Science Lab and the Curiosity rover plus his new book,  “Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity’s Chief Engineer.”  Please remember to purchase this book through The Space Show/OGLF Amazon portal as Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show for each purchase.  Instructions can be found on every blog and website archived program or you can email me.  During the first segment of our 90 minute program, we started talking about landing on Mars given Rob was last on the show in November 2009 regarding his paper on the challenges in landing large payloads on Mars.  We discussed Martian EDL, the MSL landing approach, the sky crane, and more.  I asked Rob about engineering errors & what they do at JPL to not make them as opposed to car engineers where there are usually multiple car recalls from most all brands. Don’t miss what Rob said about this, it might surprise you.  Rob then mentioned several errors & mistakes that they made, including incorrectly estimating the Martian gravity at the bottom of Gale Crater which ended up impacting their landing & of course the Curiosity wheels.  I also asked Rob for his thoughts on private Mars missions being able to land a big  payload or crew on Mars.  Listen carefully, his response may again surprise you.  Later, a listener asked Rob why Mars and if we were Mars obsessed.  Rob talked about our Mars culture and the good scientific reasons for our focus on Mars.  We also talked about other solar system targets plus radiation issues for the outer planets that were not as severe for Mars.  We talked about doing more, Titan, Europa, & the NASA budget.

In the second segment, listener Claudia asked about the biggest challenges in designing Curiosity, launching it, getting it to Mars. and Martian operations.  Rob said their concerns were born out, he talked about EDL, the sky crane.  Ben wanted to know if his concerns expressed in his paper referenced earlier turned out to be valid when actually designing EDL for Curiosity. B John emailed in several questions pertaining to Earth-Mars telerobotics & a Mars sample return mission back to Earth.  Near the end of our discussion, we talked about the new Mars 2020 project and finding life on Mars.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Rob Manning through me.

 

Rod Pyle, Friday, 9-26-14 September 27, 2014

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Rod Pyle, Friday, 9-26-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2325-BWB-2014-09-26.mp3

Your Amazon Purchases Helps Support TSS/OGLF (see www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm)

If you rate shows on live365.com, email me your rating reasons to help improve the show

Guest:  Rod Pyle.  Topic:  We discussed Rod’s latest book, “Curiosity: An Inside Look at the Mars Rover Mission and the People Who Made It Happen.” 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 author Rod Pyle back to the show to discuss his current book, “Curiosity: An Inside Look at the Mars Rover Mission and the People Who Made It Happen.”  Find out more about Rod and his books at his websites, http://www.rodpylebooks.net and http://www.rodpylemedia.com.  During the first segment of this 1 hour 27 minute program, Rod explained his long time interest in Mars and why he decided to write this excellent book.  I asked if NASA & JPL were cooperative with him in writing it and he said yes.  I asked him what impressed him the most about the Curiosity project and he said the Sky Crane to which he has devoted a full chapter in his book.  Rod then told us about the NASA Curiosity Mission Review Panel headed by Clive Neal at Notre Dame which suggested that mission management had enabled problems including getting a poor science return for the money and its lack of scientific focus and detail.  You can read about this review panel by visiting http://astronomyaggregator.com/exploration/nasa-panel-curiosity-planning-lacks-scientific-focus or simply Google Notre Dame Curiosity Mission Review Panel for additional panel commentary on Curiosity.  Listeners asked Rod about HSF to Mars and if after researching the mission, did he think the money spent on the project was worth it.  Rod provided some interesting budgetary comparisons and did say that he thought it was a good investment & program. He talked about the Curiosity mission goals, sedimentary rocks and Martian geology.  Future missions based on Curiosity were brought up, especially Mars 2020.  Another listener asked about using humans for Martian exploration instead of rovers.  He cited compelling financial facts between rovers and HSF which supported the use of Rovers, at least for now.  Another listener asked if he thought Curiosity was the best ever Mars mission.  His response might surprise you.  Prior to the break, he addressed a question about missions to the Martian moons.

In the second segment, Paula asked about ongoing mission operating costs and wanted to know if they were roughly equal for all the robotic missions.  Later, I asked if JPL had reviewed his manuscript. He said he sent it to them for fact checking but not content editing.  He also mentioned JPL reviewed it from an ITAR compliance perspective but did not “muzzle” anything.  A listener asked about the life expectancy of a rover team at JPL before moving on to another project or even leaving JPL.  Questions came in about SpaceX and its Mars plans, the both the SLS and F1 engine project came up for discussion.  Later, Rod said based on website hits, Pathfinder was probably the most popular of the Mars rover missions.  Another listener asked Rod to compare rovers from other nations to those built by JPL and NASA. As we were ending, he was asked about the Indian MOM mission and Maven.  His book “Curiosity” is packed with information such as we discussed plus much more in 32 chapters.  Remember, if you buy the book on Amazon, use the OGLF Amazon Portal so that Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show. Instructions are on all website & blog archives plus both websites or just email me.

Please post questions/comments on The Space Show blog above.  You can reach Rod through his websites or me.

 

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