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Dr. Paul Davies, Monday, 9-16-13 September 16, 2013

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Dr. Paul Davies, Monday, 9-16-13


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Guest:  Dr. Paul Davies.  Topics:  Interstellar travel, microbiology, cosmology, Mars, and 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 Dr. Paul Davies to this 65 minute discussion about his contribution to the excellent book, “Starship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon.” Other topics included interstellar travel, microbiology, human spaceflight, Mars, ET and much more.  We started our discussion with his Afterword in the “Starship Century” book and I asked him about his comments regarding microbes.  One quickly learns from reading his Afterword that it is not the propulsion and engineering that presents the greatest challenge to interstellar travel but what happens to essential microbes needed for life in microgravity and the space environment.  We learned that even in LEO such microbes can transform and become toxic to life.  This is a fascinating microbiology discussion regarding deep space missions to Mars, the Moon, and long interstellar travel. Don’t miss what Dr. Davies said about microbes as it opens up an entirely new study in human factors for human spaceflight.  Other issues we talked about included planetary contamination, microbial ecosystems, figuring out the minimal needed for sustainability regarding the good microbial environment.  Also, what microbes are crucial and those that might be irrelevant for the spaceflight passengers as well as for animals and plants needed for sustaining the mission.  Dr. Davies was asked that given microbiology being a bigger challenge than propulsion and engineering, were we close to having propulsion and engineering for interstellar travel.  You will appreciate his very “witty” answer to this listener’s question.  Faster than light travel came up and so did the work being done around the Alcubierre Drive.  Dr. Davies had much to say about faster than light travel, the speed of light, physics, and related disciplines.  In this discussion, we also talked about both black holes and worm holes.  Later, we talked about the possibility of life in the solar system other than on Earth.  You might be surprised by some of what Dr. Davies said, including the probabilities that Earth might have been visited over 100 million years ago.  Don’t jump to conclusions, listen to the discussion first.  Helen of Atlanta asked why bother with interstellar travel when we can’t even return to the Moon. Again, another terrific response by our guest.  More came up on the Fermi Paradox, the need to stay grounded in fundamental science but to have a vision and healthy skepticism.  Viking and Gil Levin came up regarding the possibility of life on Mars and the reluctance of NASA to do biological experiments regarding the possibility of life on Mars.  A listener asked our guest about ET conspiracy theories and government cover-ups.  In closing, Dr. Davies reminded us to have and conduct healthy speculation which means always staying in tune with fundamental science.  That is what separates speculation from fantasy, Kool Aid, and La La thinking.  As the program was ending, we talked some about his work in cancer research. Make sure you visit his website, http://cosmos.asu.edu.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can reach Dr. Davies through his website or me.

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

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


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.