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Dr. Chris Impey, Monday, 12-14-15 December 15, 2015

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Dr. Chris Impey, Monday, 12-14-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2604-BWB-2015-12-14.mp3

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Guest: Dr. Chris Impey. Topics: We talked about Dr. Impey’s latest books on planetary missions & commercial + HSF in addition to astronomy & cosmology. 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. Chris Impey for a one hour one segment discussion about his two recent books, “Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration,” and his newer book “Beyond: Our Future in Space.” We started our discussion with Dr. Impey describing “Dreams of Other Worlds” which describes 11 unmanned space missions that have made a difference in our understanding of distant worlds. We focused on a few of the 11 missions including Viking, Cassini, Voyager, & the WMAP mission. I asked Dr. Impey what would have been included had the book been written later. The Dawn Mission would have made it, so would the Kepler Space Telescope, New Horizons, Curiosity, and probably others. We then switched to the use of ground based telescopes and here Dr. Impey talked about how many of the telescopes are being repurposed for a new life doing different types of observation astronomy. Dr. Impey was asked about his favorite missions. He mentioned Viking and the WMAP microwave telescope mission and this led to his talking about The Big Bang, dark matter, and dark energy. I asked Chris about the recent article in The Economist about the two Chicago area scientists proposing a new theory on dark matter. Chris had read the article and had some interesting commentary on it and the proposed theory. Robert sent in an email asking our guest why there have been no life detection experiments on the NASA and other planetary missions. This sparked a good conversation on the subject which you do not want to miss. Chris proposed a very plausible reason why no suck experiments have been carried out but let us know what you think by posting on the blog. Another topic discussed was planetary protection. Linda from Austin asked our guest about the UofA astronomy and cosmology programs and students, then Bill asked our guest if he had read “The Martian” or seen the movie. Chris had both read the book and seen the movie which we discussed for several minutes. Don’t miss this discussion as Dr. Impey made some interesting points about both the book and the movie and the plausibility of the story line including the initial dust storm which caused the problems for The Martian. Before the end of the program, Chris fielded some questions about future missions. We addressed the Europa Clipper mission but he said many may be disappointed for what was not being included on the mission so again listen to what he had to say. He suggested a Titan mission would be interesting. In his book “Beyond” Our Future In Space,” Dr. Impey addressed the new commercial missions & human spaceflight. Chris guided us through all sorts of possibilities for future human spaceflight. Nuclear propulsion came up with Dr. Impey having much to say about how beneficial it would be if we had it though it was still futuristic. We spoke of advanced technology & the Decadal Survey and its impact on the type of science projects that get undertaken due to funding. Will sent in a note asking about the recent article about Elon Musk wanting to get to Mars in 10-15 years given the various risks Earth faced, including extremism. Dr. Impey also said it was probably unrealistic to think that one could have a $500k ticket price for Mars, another part of the Elon Musk article. Dr. Impey offered us good summary comments so don’t miss them. The last question dealt with a possible science backlash and referenced the following Huffington Post article: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/solar-farm-suck-up-the-sun_566e9aeee4b0e292150e5d66.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Dr. Impey through me or his University of Arizona faculty page.

Open Lines, Sunday, 11-29-15 November 30, 2015

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Open Lines, Sunday, 11-29-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2594-BWB-2015-11-29.mp3

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Our annual campaign drive is now underway.  This fundraising campaign is critical to The Space Show’s operations for the coming year so please support us.  You can read our campaign letter at:

https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/oglf-2015-annual-fund-raising-campaign

Guest Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston.  Topics: Dark Matter, advanced propulsion, nuclear, Vasimir, CO2 emissions, lunar habitats.  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 program.  In the first segment of our 1 hour 56 minute discussion, I mentioned the Dark Matter article from The Economist as my friend sent me the actual article.  You can download or read it here:  www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21678126-powerful-gamma-rays-centre-milky-way-look-signs-elusive.  John from Fremont called and mentioned the article, then he talked about advanced propulsion, nuclear propulsion, and Vasimir. He wondered if NASA was serious about nuclear propulsion despite a slight increase in the R&D budget for it. He also wanted Dr. Judy Curry to return to the show in light of the Paris Global Warming Conf. going on this week.  I brought up our recent show on NASA’s OCO-2 satellite with guest Dr. David Crisp.  John from Ft. Worth called to talk advanced propulsion and much about Vasimir.  He also brought up global warming and unfortunately I let that topic take up way too much time on the show today.  We also talked about Dr. Jim Dewar coming back to the show on Sunday, Dec. 6 to talk about nuclear propulsion and his book giveaway which I will announce on the show next week.

In the second segment, I described Dr. Dewar’s book which will be the subject of the fundraiser for OGLF.  Dr. Doug from S. California called in to tell us he was considering a Kickstarter project to build a large inflatable simulated lunar hab, probably in Arizona.  Doug described his project, his lunar hab simulation model, his expectations, his cough estimates, plus he wanted Space Show listener feedback on the idea.  Post your feedback on the blog or send it directly to his email address which he gave out on air, or better yet, do both as listeners would like to know the feedback given Doug on this project.  Don’t miss his call and the opportunity to learn about this potential crowdfunding project.  Rick then emailed us to remind us that PISCES in Hawaii was a lunar simulation program.  Before the show ended, Doug emailed in about advanced propulsion, suggesting we start on programs using existing rockets and of course the Falcon Heavy.  I read his note on air, seems to me he is making sense though to really have an efficient and growing space program I believe we need to implement some form of nuclear propulsion, hopefully sooner rather than later.  Adrian emailed us about Vasimir, CO2 atmospheric emissions, and the use of solar power to offset high electrical costs in places such as California.  John from Freemont had the last word with a shout out for Blue Origin and an article on the www.theverge.com with Charles Miller explaining the differences in what Blue Origin did as compared to SpaceX recovering the first stage of the Falcon 9.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show Blog.

Sarah Scoles, Tuesday, 11-24-15 November 25, 2015

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Sarah Scoles, Tuesday, 11-24-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2592-BWB-2015-11-24.mp3

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Guest:  Sarah Scoles.  Topics: Science and space writing, space news stories, NewSpace, Mojave, commercial space, space science missions & 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 Sarah Scoles to the show.  Check out her website, www.sarahscoles.com.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 54 minute discussion, I first asked Sarah why and how she transitioned from astronomy work to being a science and fiction writer.  She took us through her path which I found to be very interesting.  Next, I asked her about her interest and reporting on various segments of the space industry, starting with NewSpace.  In asking her this, I referenced a recent Popular Science article she wrote (www.popsci.com/what-happens-when-space-industry-collides-with-tiny-town) and the comment made by Mr. Witt  about Interorbital Space Systems “engines that burn up so they can use themselves as fuel.”  We had an interesting discussion about this plus her visit to Mojave which included visits to Virgin Galactic, Stratolauncher, then down the road to Palmdale to see and learn about the NASA SOFIA project.  Sarah shared her interesting experience getting to fly in the SOFIA modified 747.  Don’t miss her telling us about this experience and being in the modified 747 with the SOFIA telescope plus other changes to the jumbo jet.  Sarah also told us about flying in experimental aircraft with test pilots at Mojave.  Sounds like great fun to me!  Later, I asked our guest for her top 2015 stories.  Mojave was a favorite as was the SOFIA reporting and her article re Brian Shiro and Astronauts4Hire. Later, she also mentioned a hard science stories re B-modes.  The scientific work on this project later turned out to be wrong so the paper on it had to be withdrawn.  We talked about the possibility of some kind of life on Mars now or in the past, the same for the possibility of life perhaps elsewhere in our solar system.  Sarah also liked the Dawn Mission which we discussed.  Jack emailed her about one way to Mars trips and Mars One.  We learned that Sarah would consider going to Mars on a one way trip though she did not have much to say about Mars One.

 

In the second segment, we talked about the potential for at least microbial life elsewhere in the universe.  This led us to talking about exoplanets and I mentioned the previous day’s interview with Dr. Crisp regarding climate change on Venus and Mars.  I told Sarah and the listeners that according to Dr. Crisp, even with an advanced scientific and technical population on those planets, they would have been unable to stop or mitigate the processes that allowed both planets to become what they are today.  Sarah spoke about one of her articles in aeon magazine, “Does Earth have a shadow biosphere?”  or “Earth’s aliens.”  You can read this article at https://aeon.co/essays/does-earth-have-a-shadow-biosphere.  Later in this segment, Rhonda asked Sarah if she received pushback on being a science writer from family and friends.  You might be surprised by her reply.  Our guest received several questions asking how to get published in science magazines such as Sky and Telescope among others.  I asked Sarah if she was familiar several science and technology space projects such as the work by Jim Woodward on Mach Thrusters.  Near the end of the program, Doug emailed her and then called in wanting to know if public support for space was essential.  If so, what percentage of the population was needed for this essential support.  10% was suggested and then I suggested it would have be an activist 10% because there would be a strong need for citizen lobbying for the projects.  Just saying that 10% of the population likes space and would support a larger NASA budget is not enough in my opinion.  I believe such a goal would need to be aggressively pursued so if 10% of the population was what was needed, it better be an active and capable 10%.  Another listener asked her for her favorite destination.  She said it was Mars.  Next, Doug called to mention that at the last Mars Society Conference, he computed that only 18% of those present were women.  He asked Sarah how to get more women involved in space.  The two of them had interesting things to say on this topic.  Sarah offered us a good closing with excellent Pearls of Wisdom thoughts.  Be sure you hear them.

 

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. Sarah can be reached through her website.

 

Dr. Paul Sutter, Friday, 10-23-15 October 24, 2015

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Dr. Paul Sutter, Friday, 10-23-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2571-BWB-2015-10-23.mp3

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Guest: Dr. Paul Sutter. Topics:  Science, The Big Bang Theory, Dark Matter, Dark Energy and astrophysics.  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.

During the first segment of our 97 minute program, Dr. Sutter opened up with a detailed discussion of the big bang theory and the physics and science to go along with it and support it with scientific evidence.  Almost the entire first segment was devoted to this comprehensive discussion.  We talked about proof, theories, truth, alternative ideas and scientific evidence including the cosmological microwave background light which is the oldest light in the universe.  Paul described this in detail, explained that it was really microwave radiation and how it supported an expanding universe.  Rather than summarizing this segment in detail, I urge you to listen to this show because it is one of the best ever Space Show science shows and discussions.  In my opinion, Dr. Sutter is gifted in his ability to explain complex scientific theories and concepts in ways that those of us who are not scientists can grasp and understand facts, scientific evidence, and theories.  In addition to the science, several listener questions came up along with mine about the meaning of certain words in use by the general public as compared to a scientist.  This was a very illuminating discussion and I think you will agree when you hear how theory, fact, truth, plus other words are used in science and what they mean to a scientist  as compared to how we use the same words in our daily vocabulary and word use.  BJohn asked questions about star formation and John from Ft. Worth called and added to our scientific discussion given his physics expertise and knowledge.  I personally want to thank him for his two calls which advanced the quality of our discussion, especially about an open and closed universe.  Then our guest added a third possibility, a flat universe.  Don’t miss this part of our program.

In our second segment, we talked in more detail about Dark Matter.  This too was an example of the clarity given the topics by our guest so listen carefully and enjoy and appreciate how something so complex can be made so easy for us to grasp and understand.  Later in the segment, a listener asked about the impact a TV show like The Big Bang Theory might have on people given the way it portrays “scientists.”  As this was one of my favorite TV shows, I entered the conversation and had a different set of thoughts about its impact than did our guest.  Listen to hear what we both had to say about it.  As I said on the show, in the 2,571 programs I have done to date, plus with all the scientists and engineers that I have met in person at conferences and elsewhere, I have yet to meet a real scientist or engineer that even comes close to being in real life the way the four Big Bang TV Show guys are with their personalities and science.  They are extreme over the top whacky characters that I really enjoy.  We also talked about famous scientists coming on the show for cameo appearances and always playing a role supporting the four nerds.  Paul and I had a great discussion about the show and its impact so don’t miss it, especially if you watch this TV show.  Near the end of our program, we talked about real life science labs as compared to those seen in big hit movies and TV shows with lots of CGI and design added to them.  Dr. Sutter talked about science outreach, his target audience for his outreach, and why he chose his targeted audience.  Just before the show ended, Ft. Worth John called back to reference dark matter with gravity.  An excellent way to conclude our program.

Please post your comments and questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Dr. Sutter through his website or me.  His websites are https://physics.osu.edu/people/sutter.84 and www.pmsutter.com/#intro.

 

Eric Lerner, Sunday, 12-15-13 December 16, 2013

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Eric Lerner, Sunday, 12-15-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2143-BWB-2013-12-15.mp3

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Gust:  Eric Lerner.  Topics:  Alternative fusion ideas, Focus Fusion. cosmology, the Big Bang & alternative theories to an expanding universe.  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.

We welcomed back Eric Lerner for updates on his Focus Fusion work and then later, his work in cosmology as he challenges the Big Bang & expanding universe theories.  In the first segment of this 1 hour 40 minute show, we focused on fusion.  For more information, visit http://focusfusion.org.  Since much of this discussion involves physics, technical explanations, and more, referring to the website will be helpful.  Eric started out with an overview of focus fusion (Aneutronic Fusion).  He made clear their goal was to demonstrate the scientific feasibility of focus fusion.  Eric then described the challenges, possible solutions and progress being made in reaching their goal.  I suggest you review these website pages to help you understand what he talked about:  http://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/category/C36; http://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/category/C63; http://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/category/C70.  During this segment, Eric explained in detail the process, the physics, the science and more of what they do, have done, and still need to do.  We talked about pulse power, time sequences, the amount of power needed, and what has to happen to get more energy out than what they put into their reactor.  Marshall called to ask about computer power needed and simulations compared to actual experiments.  Eric also talked fuel options and then he talked about their financial needs.  He said they would soon be doing both a short movie and a Kickstarter program.  In fact, he made a call for volunteers so if you are interested, email him at eric@lphysics.com.  Questions came up about the safety of their work, then listeners asked how they contain such high temperatures, even if for a fraction of a second.  He talked about the need for using tungsten & we talked some about tungsten supplies and pricing.  Charles called in with several questions and comments about fuels and then about instead of using tungsten electrodes why not use boron or beryllium as the low atomic weight would contaminate the plasma less.  Charles & Eric has a very interesting discussion about these matters.  We then did a theoretical comparison of the potential cost of fusion energy with coal, natural gas & other conventional fuels.  Near the end of the segment, Eric was pressed for timelines to commercial breakeven if he had adequate funding.  Direct Energy Conversion was our last session topic.

In the second segment, Tim called to ask about fusion for space propulsion.  Next, Eric talked about cosmology as he said there was a debate about the Concordance Model which supports an expansive universe and The Big Bang Theory.  Eric challenges this and in this segment, provided support for his challenge to the Concordance Model of the Universe.  He also pointed out that his book on the topic is still in print so if you are interested, use the OGLF Amazon portal to buy “The Big Bang Never Happened.” OGLF portal instructions are in all program summary statements and blog archives.  You can also email me for help at drspace@thespaceshow.com.  Eric’s discussion of The Big Bang Theory and why he says it is likely incorrect was most interesting and I urge you to carefully listen to what he had to say about this & cosmology in general.  He also talked about how difficult it is to be published if you have a contrary theory and how peer review science flows to the status quo.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can contact Eric at his email address listed in this summary.

The John Batchelor Show “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 6-20-12 June 21, 2012

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The John Batchelor Show “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 6-20-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1801-BWB-2012-06-20.mp3

Guests:  John Batchelor, Dr. Seth Shostak, Dr. David Livingston.  Topics:  SETIcon II Conference, science fiction & space science.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. 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. 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. During our 11.5 minute discussion, Dr. Shostak talked to us about the upcoming SETIcon II Conference sponsored by the SETI Organization.  For details about the conference, visit www.seticon.org.  The three of us talked about the programming, many of the guests and panels, but John also asked about the Kepler Space Telescope and finding exoplanets, the habitat zone, and life elsewhere off Earth.  Dark matter, dark energy came up, along with the question which is addressed by this conference concerning if Earth is a miracle or if Earth is more common with life in other places even if not yet discovered by us here on Earth.  In looking over the program agenda, you will recognize many of the speakers and panel members as Space Show guests and actual scientists and academics.  You will hear me talk about why this is a special type of sci-fi conference.  For those of you in the Bay Area or able to attend it this coming weekend, I strongly recommend you do so. It is affordable, it will be fun and above all, SETIConII will be information packed and educational.

If you have comments or questions about this program, please post them on The Space Show blog. If you want to email either John or Seth, send your note to me and I will forward it for you.

Dr. Chris Impey, Sunday, 4-15-12 April 15, 2012

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Dr. Chris Impey, Sunday, 4-15-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1752-BWB-2012-04-15.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Chris Impey.  Topics:  We discuss Dr. Impey’s new book, “How It Began: A time-Traveler’s Guide To The Universe” along with astronomy, physics, and cosmology topics. We also discussed space policy and the future of human spaceflight plus science missions. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. 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 welcomed Dr. Chris Impey back to the program to discuss his new book.  Remember, if you buy the book from Amazon using the following URL, Amazon makes a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF:  www.amazon.com/How-It-Began-Time-Travelers-Universe/dp/0393080021/ref=onegiantlea20.  For the Kindle version, use www.amazon.com/How-It-Began-Time-Travelers-ebook/dp/B005LW5J30/ref=onegiantlea20.  During the first half of the program, Dr. Impey talked about the book’s structure which is a bit different from other books addressing similar topics.  For example, the further outward in the universe you go via reading the book, the more backward in time you go which is why the book is a time-traveler’s guidebook to the universe.  Dr. Impey explains this to us and the going back in time is with us for the entire Space Show discussion.  Our first stop was our Moon and our guest had much to say about it, including its origins, why and how it orbits Earth at about 240,000 miles, and more.  We also learned what Earth would probably be like without the Moon.  As we went into deeper space after leaving the Moon, we talked about the Kepler Space Telescope (KST) and finding exoplanets plus searching for exomoons.  A listener asked about the delay encountered with supernova 1987A and our guest explained this to us.  I also asked our guest about his statement on page 19 at the bottom about time and Apollo becoming a “distant cultural memory.”  This turned into a lively discussion you don’t want to miss.  We then talked about human spaceflight (HSF) with Dr. Impey suggesting that due to the high cost of HSF and the constant improvements with robotics, we might very well see advanced robotic missions over the coming years rather than human missions which may prove unaffordable.  Don’t miss this conversation, it may very well be an accurate forecast for the future for HSF and robotic missions.

In the second half of our program, we moved out into the universe and talked about the Big Bang, First Light, and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).  We also talked about large Earth-based telescopes, Hubble, and looking back close to 13 billion years with JWST while the universe is about 13.7 billions years old.  We talked about why one cannot see the origins of the Big Bang with optical telescopes, but what we can “see” with microwaves.  A listener asked about the Cosmological Principle and another asked about human time travel.  This brought up the topic of black holes.  Questions came up about string theory and the Multiverse, and then John called in to discuss both dark energy and dark matter which turned out to be another fascinating discussion led by Dr. Impey.  Later, we went back to discussing HSF and we learned about the potential for nanobot probes for interstellar missions.  Fleets of such probes acting in a sort of relay fashion might just be real someday.  Near the end of the program, Dr. Impey discussed geopolitics as a driver for space exploration and said more about the early time after the Big Bang for the first 100 million years or so.

Please post your questions/comments on The Space Show blog URL above.

James (Jim) Bickford, Friday, 2-24-12 February 25, 2012

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James (Jim) Bickford, Friday, 2-24-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1720-BWB-2012-02-24.mp3

Guest:  James (Jim) Bickford. Topics:  Antimatter for space propulsion.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. 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 welcomed Jim Bickford to the program to discuss antimatter for space propulsion.  In our first segment, Mr. Bickford started our discussion with an introduction to antimatter basics.  While we referenced Star Trek in the discussion, Mr. Bickford was quick to point out that reality was quite different from the sci fi classic though he was a fan of Star Trek. Along with the Apollo program, both played a role in his having his interest in antimatter. In this introduction, I asked Mr. Bickford about antimatter as a weapon but he said it would not be practical.  One of the points stressed by Jim during the entire program was just how little antimatter material there is and how long term the R&D program would be..  He said there is very little in nature and the quantities made worldwide were extremely small, measuring in nanograms produced a year.  Our guest compared antimatter to chemical propulsion and nuclear thermal rockets (NTR).  While the NTR is substantially better than chemical propulsion, antimatter propulsion would be orders of magnitude better than the NTR.  We then talked about supplies of antimatter off Earth and he said the most promosing place was in the rings of Saturn.  He also mentioned solar flares from the sun in the positrons and back on Earth he talked about cosmic rays as well as some material in thunderstorms & ligtening.  Mr. Bickford also discussed what an antimatter spaceship would probably be like.  He discussed fuel tank requirements, containment, even plasma fileds around the spaceship using an electromagnetic field extending out around the spaceship as the containment device.  We talked about the research needed, the steps involved, and the funding.  Our guest repeated many times that antimatter research is high risk in the sense of obtaining success.  As the segment was ending, we talked about antimatter research in the medical field against cancer tumors. 

In our second segment, we talked more about tax payer funded antimatter research and Jim took us through a value stream analysis which was most interesting.  We talked about student interest in antimatter and both the direct and indirect benefits from technology research and development. We then talked about the specifics of antimatter for space development starting with defining the requirements and eventually being able to do a demo. A caller asked if the research had a billion dollars for many years would there be a breakthrough in the 20-30 year time period.  You might be surprised by his answer.  We also talked about a paper and a Power Point poster that he has used regarding his antimatter research.  Both the poster and the paper will be uploaded to The Space Show blog with Mr. Bickford’s permission.  We talked about antimatter and Jupiter based on the poster .  Another question came in about antimatter propulsion being useful for launch from Earth.  This prompted our guest to talk about the antimatter theoretical limit for both ISP and faster than light speed.  As we were talking about the antimatter development process, I asked about the role of luck or serendipity in discovering breakthroughs.  You might be surprised by this answer as well.  In ending our discussion, Jim repeated that antimatter was only at the fundamental research stage and very long term, perhaps even further out than a century but very promosing nonetheless.

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The two papers discussed on the show can be found below:

1.  Bickford_NIAC_Phase2Year1Report_Aug07_final2

2. COSPAR2008poster