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Dr. John S. Lewis, Wednesday, 2-20-13 February 24, 2013

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Dr. John S. Lewis, Wednesday, 2-20-13


Guest:  Dr. John S. Lewis.  Topics:  The Chelyabinsk meteorite, Asteroid 2012 DA14, the Chinese program 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.

We welcomed back Dr. John Lewis to discuss recent meteorite impacts, NEO flybys, asteroid minding, the Chinese space program and more.  In the first segment of our 90 minute program, Dr. Lewis talked briefly about accepting the position of Chief Scientist for the new company, Deep Space Industries.  He also spoke in general terms about this emerging industry.  Our initial caller asked Dr. Lewis about his writing science fiction so you will hear about that as well.  We then turned our attention to the Chelyabinsk meteorite and the flyby of Asteroid 2012 DA14.  Visit www.johnslewis.com for detailed information on these events plus much more.  The Russian meteorite  was estimated to be about 10,000 tons or the mass of a U.S. Navy cruiser.  Dr. Lewis explained why it was not detected before hitting the atmosphere.  We then speculated on what would have happened had it come in over a large city such as London.  Dr. Lurio called in to talk about his joining Deep Space Industries as the Chief Scientist.  Charles also wanted to know about the previous announcements that he would be an advisor for Planetary Resources.  Dr. Lewis explained this and corrected misunderstandings regarding the issues addressed by the question.  Jack sent in an email seeking mining comparisons here on Earth to those in space given his being in mining country in Virginia.  Another listener asked about the potential dollar value of the Chelyabinsk meteorite.  In his response, John suggested the best value for using asteroids in space re ISRU.  Another question came up about hollowing out an asteroid and using it for HSF travel.  Dr. Lewis talked about this idea dating back to 1918 and Robert Goddard.  Kelly asked about moving an asteroid to a low lunar orbit and if a human mission to a NEO was a good stepping stone for a human flight to Mars. John had much to say to us on both of Kelly’s questions.

In the second segment, we opened with my asking John about the Chinese space program and their high launch rate.  Don’t miss John’s comprehensive answer about both the Chinese military space program and their quasi-civil space program.  It was most informative.  Next, John told us about an incident when he was 13 years old living in a Boston suburb with what was probably a meteorite coming in overhead that disturbed his entire neighborhood.  It’s a fascinating story that illustrates events like we just saw in Russia are fairly common throughout history.  Don’t miss this story!  Another topic in this segment was the low quality science and news reporting in this country. Dr. Lewis expressed concern about this with some explanations to help us understand the reality of today’s news reporting services.  Listener Bruce sent in an email asking about nuclear explosions to deflect a larger asteroid and doing such tests in space.  Again, Dr. Lewis had much to say and offer us on this issue.  This led to a discussion on detecting Earth-bound NEOs, what sizes we can and cannot detect today, the amount of warning time we might have and more.  Near the end of our discussion, Emma in NYC sent in a note asking John what the Chelyabinsk meteorite  would have looked like had it come in over a Martian settlement.  John’s response was fascinating and very descriptive.  Pooley sent in an email with the classic NASA NEO website, http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/ca.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can reach Dr. Lewis through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com or his own blog per above.