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Dr. Sara Seager, Friday, 1-24-14 January 25, 2014

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Dr. Sara Seager, Friday, 1-24-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2172-BWB-2014-01-24.mp3

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Guest:  Professor Sara Seager.  Topics:  Exoplanets, searching techniques, ET life & much 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 Professor Sara Seager of MIT to the program to discuss exoplanets and the science behind finding them along with the search for life and Earth-like planets.  For more information, visit her website, http://seagerexoplanets.mit.edu.  In addition, Professor Seager has a free ebook available for download on her website, “Is There Life Out There.”  You can download this ebook at http://seagerexoplanets.mit.edu/ProfSeagerEbook.pdf.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 27 minute discussion, Professor Seager started with a working definition for exoplanets and the techniques used to find exoplanets.  We also talked about planet habitability, the habitable zone, Kepler planets, ground based telescopes, direct imaging, the Gemini Planet Imager, and the potential involvement of amateurs & their telescopes in the search for exoplanets.  Many listener questions came in by email. One focused on SETI which led to an interesting discussion with our guest.  Professor Seager provided us with comparison statistics for various planets and their size and characteristics, and we talked more about the best exoplanet finding methods.  Our guest told us about “ExoplanetSat,” a 3U CubeSat capable of high precision pointing with a goal of detecting small transiting exoplanets orbiting bright, sun-like stars.  We then discussed CubeSat photography & cameras and more about the need for precision pointing.  Professor Seager received several questions about budget and NASA issues, then Doug called in with excellent questions about exoplanets that you do not want to miss.

In the second segment, we talked about Professor Seager’s ebook on her website, “Is There Life Out There,” plus our guest responded to an email question from Nathan about the “Rare Earth” hypothesis.  We then talked about the KST problems and the new mission for the space telescope referred to as K2.  John form Ft. Worth called to ask about conceptual and technological advancement & breakthroughs in the field.  I asked our guest what she thought the field might look like in ten years plus I asked her why rocky planets were important for finding exoplanets.  Charles Pooley called to ask about photometry, LEO, & related issues.  As our program was ending, I asked Professor Seager to share with us some of her media experience and thoughts about the quality of science reporting.

Please post comments/questions on TSS blog.  I will be happy to pass on your emails to her if you send them to me.

 

 

Dr. Pascal Lee, Tuesday, 9-24-13 September 25, 2013

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Dr. Pascal Lee, Tuesday, 9-24-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2092-BWB-2013-09-24.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Pascal Lee.  Topics:  Dr. Lee discussed HSF for Mars, pending Mars mission, Mars science, Earth analogs & his new book, “Mission 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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed Dr. Pascal Lee back to the program to discuss HSF to Mars, pending Mars programs, his new children’s book, “Mission Mars” (www.scholastic.com/missionmars).  During the first segment of this 1 hour 58 minute program, Dr. Lee talked about our operating Mars rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity.  He talked about Curiosity looking for organics and the confusion over not finding methane.  I then asked our guest about the two potential HSF missions to Mars, Mars One and Inspiration Mars.  As you will hear, Dr. Lee was highly skeptical regarding Mars One and suggested it might not be good for the “cause.”  He was supportive of Inspiration Mars and had much to say about that mission and the likelihood of survival for the astronaut couple on board.  I asked him what he thought the impact on HSF and especially humans to Mars mission would be if the Inspiration Mars crew died.  He offered an interesting perspective on this depending where along the mission the crew died.  We also talked about possible NASA involvement in Inspiration Mars plus the challenges in the reentry given the capsule’s high speed coming back from Mars and entering our atmosphere.  I also asked if Inspiration Mars put a damper on many of the Phobos-Deimos mission plans.  Pascal was asked about the Mars One business plan modeled on the Olympics and virtual reality TV shows.  Pascal was not optimistic that such a plan could drive a Mars mission but did think there might be a place in a human Mars mission for a TV show.  Pascal then described the hostility of the Mars environment for human life. This is an interesting factual analysis of what the Martian environment is like & what it would mean for human survival.  Near the end of the first segment, we talked about Pascal’s first book, “Mission Mars” which is aimed for the 9-12 year old market.  Make sure you visit the book’s interactive website, www.scholastic.com/missionmars.  The book is officially released in November but teachers & others can order it now from the Scholastic site.  I also asked how he explained the potential for alien and microbial life to young kids, along with the risks to humans going to Mars.

In our second segment, we started off discussing the Drake Equation. Dr. Lee explained in detail why he believes that N in the equation is a very small number.  In summary, even if there are other intelligent worlds out there, they may be so few in number and so far away that for all practical purposes we are alone in the universe so we better be good stewards of what we have with Earth.  Pascal mentioned the dinosaurs in terms of the evolution of life on Earth and he noted how long it took for something like modern day humans to evolve (around 4.5 billion years).  Some listeners asked him if we were not so different from the dinosaurs given the violence and killing humans do to one another.  Next, we talked about the Humvee expedition as a Mars analog across the North West passage.  Known as the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition, this was an amazing trip.  A documentary was made and will be available next year. I will let listeners know when it is available.  From fuel to cold to polar bears to almost losing the Humvee by falling through the sea-ice, this was quite the expedition over a three year period.  Note what Dr. Lee said about the expedition challenges in comparison to what it would be like to living on Mars.  Briefly, as hard and challenging as the North West Passage Expedition was, it would be nothing compared to living on Mars!

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show Blog per the above URL.  You can email Dr. Pascal Lee at pascal.lee@marsinstitute.net.

Open Lines, Tuesday, 9-4-12 September 5, 2012

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Open Lines, Tuesday, 9-4-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1848-BWB-2012-09-04.mp3

Guest:  Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston.  Topics:  Life outside the solar system, Philadelphia light pollution, ion propulsion, U.S. economy, NASA, space program funding.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, & discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, & any discussion must be relevant & 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.  As Open Lines started, I put two discussion topics on the table.  These two topics focused on the Republican party platform & its space policy plus the reaction to it by various sectors of the space community, specifically NewSpace.  The second topic I mentioned was the state of the U.S. economy & how it impacts NASA & space funding.  My theory was & is that it does impact the state of NASA funding & what happens in the private sector but I asked others who have economic experience & knowledge to tell me why so many talk space policy without factoring in our domestic as well as economic condition.  When I opened up the phone line, the first caller was Wade Hobbs who talked about life having developed elsewhere in the solar system, mainly in the oceans of Europa.  He said his theory offered statistical proof of life in Jupiter’s moon Europa & he pointed us toward his Kindle book, “Question Answered.”  If you purchase his book using this URL, Amazon will donate to The Space Show/OGLF:  www.amazon.com/Question-Answered-ebook/dp/B008ZFZ05W/ref=onegiantlea20.  He explained his theory & invited comments & questions.  His email address is w_hobbs@mail.com.  Our second caller was Ed Murray who called our attention to a light pollution public art project scheduled soon for Philadelphia.  The project, Open Air” by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer of Canada & approved by the Art Association of Philadelphia is described here:  www.knightarts.org/community/philadelphia/preparing-for-open-air-in-philadelphia.  Many in the astronomy & Dark Skies fields are objecting to the project which will last nearly two months & probably blot out most of the Philadelphia night sky.  Ed & others are seeking ideas & help to minimize the project or cancel it.  They have sought help from the International Dark Skies organization & others.  If this project interests you, follow up on the suggestions offered on the blog by Ed & others which detail their concerns about the project.

In our second segment, John from Atlanta called in to discuss ion propulsion & fuel plus he wanted to address the economic issues I raised in the introduction to tonight’s program.  Regarding the economic issues, John suggested we were still not so bad where the economy would start to impact NASA funding but if thing worsen, it is likely that NASA & all space funding will be impacted.  John & I went back & forth for several minutes discussing the economic situation, the national debt, space & more, both from the U.S. domestic perspective as well as the global perspective. We talked about the total budget going to NASA being so small as a factor.  John & I talked about the Republican platform suggestion that despite the language, commercial crew to the ISS would continue.  John suggested an early down select to SpaceX but I advocated for at least another round of competition with Sierra Nevada & Boeing, possibly others too.  Our final call was from Tim who talked about ion propulsion & space nuclear propulsion.  He introduced the idea of carbon nano tubes for use in rocket materials & I suggested that was way out in the future.  Tim also suggested the private sector bypass NASA & do its “own thing.”

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  If you want to email any of the callers, send your note to me & I will forward it.

Dr. Peter Shaver, Monday, 1-23-12 January 23, 2012

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Dr. Peter Shaver, Monday, 1-23-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1696-BWB-2012-01-23.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Peter Shaver.  Topics:  Dr. Shaver’s boo, “Cosmic Heritage,” the universe, cosmology, consciousness, cognition.  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. Peter Shaver to the show to discuss his new book, “Cosmic Heritage: Evolution from the Big Bang to Conscious Life.  Dr. Shaver started our discussion by telling us what motivated him to write this book as well as the search for answers to the Big Three questions:  (1) What are the origins of life; (2) What is the nature of life; (2) To understand consciousness.  We talked about the big bang, the microwave background and the early phases of the universe.  We also discussed cosmology & the inter-disciplinary nature of his book, including the fields of psychology, consciousness, and biology.  We talked about the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years.  Dr. Shaver then described the timeline by referencing the Sagan Calendar. I asked him about a section of his book, “Are There Questions That Science Can Never Address?” starting on page 238.  Dr. Shaver talked about taboos and the limits of science. Recurring events or experiences in the natural world can be subject to the scientific method.  A once-only event may not be due the inability to repeat the experiment.  Also, if something is outside the natural world, the paranormal for example, science would not likely be able to address that issue or question. Later, Dr. Shaver was asked what came before the Big Bang.  Here, he introduced us to multiverse theories.  He mentioned the work being done with the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the search for the Higgs-boson particle. Another project he mentioned was the European Space Agency Planck Satellite designed to observe the anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background.  A listener asked about the political nature of science, especially science funding.  Dr. Shaver had much to say in response to this question, including the use of peer review.  Other listener questions asked him about big science projects and their value compared to cost such as the James Webb Space Telescope.  Cognition and consciousness were discussed in the context of his book which addresses the field of neuroscience.  Terry called to ask we will see in telescopes as we get closer to the big bang. Will we still see stars, planets, or just matter in chaos?  Dr. Shaver then guided us through gazing through the dark sky at night and slowly removing from our view the sources of light until we reach the edge of the universe which he referred to as the Near Side of Dark Ages.  Another listener asked if we could actually see the big bang and he talked about the microwave background and fog that we cannot see through.  This brought up the Hubble Deep Field, then Andrew asked if we could use a telescope to see the first light from Earth when it was formed. As our discussion was drawing to a close, we talked about the rate of advancements in science, finding planets in the habitable zone and the future for those wanting to study science or have a science related profession.  Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above. You can order the book from Amazon using www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Heritage-Evolution-Bang-Conscious/dp/3642202608/ref=onegialeafou-20. Remember, when using this Amazon URL, Amazon contributes to The Space Show/OGLF.  Dr. Shaver can be reached at p4shaver@gmail.com.