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Dr. James (Jim) Hansen, Tuesday, 10-1-13 October 2, 2013

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Dr. James (Jim) Hansen, Tuesday, 10-1-13


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Guest:  Dr. James Hansen.  Topics: Retired astronaut John Young, space history, returning tothe Moon, astronaut safety & 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.

We welcomed Dr. James (Jim) Hansen back to the program to discuss the biography of retired astronaut John Young which Dr. Hansen helped in writing.  The book, “Forever Young A Life Of Adventure in Air and Space,” is readily available at bookstores and Amazon. Remember, if you go through The Space Show/OGLF Amazon portal (instructions are on the blog, our website & the OGLF website), Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show.  The first segment of our nearly two hour program, Dr. Hansen and I started out with an early aviation history overview as I asked our guest about the idea that in space we are as advanced today as was the DC-3 to where aviation is today.  This proved to be an interesting discussion, focusing not just on the DC-3 but NACA, the role of government in helping to develop advanced technologies and much more.  We then turned our attention John Young.  As you will hear, the book we are discussing was a biography written in first person and Jim was asked to help make it so.  We talked about Young’s focus on both astronaut safety and the NEO threat to Earth.  We talked about John Young both on Apollo and his shuttle flights.  The subject of space and aviation history came up again and we talked about the Enola Gay and what it took to display it at the Smithsonian as there was lots of opposition to doing so.  Dr. Hansen then returned to the John Young book, he told us about his suggestions to turn Young’s manuscript into a book & he described working with John and his wife on the project.  Space history was also a topic in this segment as we talked about historians and authors often having their work amended by later versions of the history.  Dr. Hansen cited some very famous examples when I said I wanted to rewrite my dissertation and correct my errors.

In the second segment, Jim was asked about John Young and Mars.  Jim said that John’s preference was returning to the Moon, plus his focus on his concern for NEOs hitting Earth.  But he did support being a multi-planet species.  We asked Jim about his preference or comparison of Apollo & the Saturn 5 to the shuttle.  Jim told us that John loved the shuttle and was fortunate to fly two shuttle missions.  Doug called in and wanted to know Jim’s perspective as a historian on the space frontier model common among space enthusiasts.  The frontier metaphor sparked quite the conversation with the three of us.  Dr. Hansen returned to talking about John Young’s interest in returning to the Moon and why.  Much was said in both segments about how shuttle should not have been cancelled nor should Constellation have been cancelled.  Ben emailed us about astronauts and role models and do they have a responsibility to us in being role models.  This also sparked an extensive conversation about astronauts, their role in society, what we make them into. Toward the end, Jim and I digressed into other areas of space, aviation, and political history.  We talked about the Cuban Missile Crisis, I cited memories of B 52’s at the ready at the Tulsa Municipal Airport, the remaining Moon Walker Astronauts, private sector lunar astronauts as a possibility before government astronauts return to the Moon, and digressions about Alabama, Oklahoma, and Jim’s next book about Robert Trent Jones and golf. Also in both segments, Dr. Hansen often referred to Neil Armstrong and his book about Neil which we discussed the last time Jim was our guest.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  Dr. Hansen can be reached through me or his Auburn University faculty website page.

Dr. Roger Launius, Friday, 12-2-11 December 3, 2011

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Dr. Roger Launius, Friday, 12-2-11


Guest:  Dr. Roger Launius.  Topics:  National Air & Space Museum at the Smithsonian, Mars in our culture, Russian & U.S. Mars 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.  The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/space-show-2011-fundraising-campaign.  We welcomed back Dr. Roger Launius to the program.  His blog which we talked about during the interview can be seen at http://launiusr.wordpress.com.  We started our discussion with the mention of his recent blog post, “The Lure of the Red Planet: Early Flyby Missions to Mars.”  Dr. Launius went through a short history of Soviet/Russian attempts to go to Mars as well as those of the U.S. in recent years.  His blog article contains a more comprehensive listing of these missions and is a good resource for this information.  We talked about private enterprise doing Mars missions and our guest said the business case would have to close for that to happen and that we were not there yet.  I asked about cultural drivers concerning our interest in Mars. I also inquired about the symphony by Gustav Holtz, “The Planets” and his “Mars, Bringer of War.”  Dr. Launius talked about Mars in our culture going back to H.G. Wells, others in the early 1900’s, science fiction literature, as well as early astronomy.  Another of his blog posts we explored was his comparison of Sputnik to 9/11 as there were parallels and similarities.  Don’t miss this interesting discussion.  In our second segment, we talked about the Smithsonian getting the Discovery Space Shuttle, its eventual display, and the disposition of Enterprise which is currently at the Smithsonian.  Dr. Launius explained how they will display Discovery to preserve it as close to a real time flying shuttle as possible for historical purposes. We learned that visitors will not be able to walk through it.  He does explain the display plans in full, plus he talks about getting the shuttle from KSC to the museum near Dulles Airport and then getting Enterprise to New York as it is to be displayed at the Intrepid Museum.  Roger received listener questions about the display of the Enola Gay B-29 which is at the Smithsonian as well as SpaceShipOne.  Listeners also asked for his thoughts on Phobos-Grunt and its loss.  Our guest pointed out it was the 5th loss of a Russian mission in a year, pointing to some definite problems in the Russian space industry.  Some of the problems he described regarding the Russian space industry sounded similar to what is happening with our own space workforce.  Commercial space and the private sector came up for discussion with Roger saying that a big difference is that private enterprise will operate their vehicles, not the government.  Dr. Launius was asked about space tourism and if it was possible to evaluate any type of market based on visits and comments to the SpaceShipOne exhibit. We talked about STEM educational issues, protecting the Apollo lunar landing sites as historical sites, Pluto in the Smithsonian & the New Horizons Mission.  As our program ended, we talked about Plutonium 238 and RTGs for space missions.,  And a listener wanted to know about the plausibility of one way manned Mars missions.  Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above.