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Dr. Jens Biele, Friday, 8-28-15 August 29, 2015

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Dr. Jens Biele, Friday, 8-28-15


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Guest: Dr. Jens Biele. Topics: The Philae Lander & Rosetta Mission, DLR & ESA 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 to the show Dr. Jens Biele of the DLR to discuss the Philae Lander as part of the Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P. During the first segment of our 1 hour 27 minute discussion, Dr. Biele summarized the Rosetta mission going back to its planning and development days, the flight to Comet 67PM and the Philae Lander’s anchor landing failure which he talked about at length. He also talked about communications from the lander to the orbiter and the narrow window for successful communications. We talked about solar and battery power, the type of data it can still transmit and related issues. Later, he was asked about other forms of propulsion including ion thrusters and advanced propulsion, plus he was asked if it would have been better to power the spacecraft by an RTG. He summarized some of the trades involved in making these types of decisions so don’t miss the discussion. BJohn asked about other DLR missions so MASCOT was discussed and later he discussed AIDA and AIM. As part of this discussion flyby missions were detailed and trojan asteroids were discussed. The subject of searching for life came up along with the discovery of organic molecules. Near the end of the segment, Roger from Rutgers asked if they considered Philae a success. Don’t miss his answer to this one. Other topics in this segment including drill samples, mission operating cost considerations, launcher choices and the shape of 67P which was a puzzle yet to be explained.

In the second segment, I asked our guest about the extremely long mission planning and design times coupled with the very long flight time and how that impacted people wanting to work space projects. As you will hear, it is not much different in Europe than here in the States with the same issues with NASA missions here. BJohn asked additional questions about future DLR missions and robotic exploration. This is the discussion that talked about both the AIDA and AIM European missions. Listener Helen asked about general European public support of ESA and space. You might be surprised by what our guest had to say in response to Helen so don’t miss it. In this context, Dr. Biele talked about ESA PR and its limitations and constraints. Toward the end of our program, he talked about human spaceflight, referenced Mars and going to Phobos as an initial part of human Mars exploration. When I asked our guest for closing comments, he said “If you dare you win. Take Some risks.” His final comments were ” Landers are cool!”

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Dr. Biele through me or his DLR website.


Dr. Catharine Conley, Monday, 10-8-12 October 9, 2012

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Dr. Catharine Conley, Monday, 10-8-12


Guest: Dr. Catharine Conley. Topics: NASA & international planetary protection policy, methodology, & applications. 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. We welcomed Dr. Catharine Conley, NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer to the show for a comprehensive discussion on the subject of planetary protection. Planetary Protection is concerned with preventing the transfer of life between planetary bodies. For more information, visit the NASA Planetary Protection website at http://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov. Dr. Conley started our discussion with the definition of planetary protection, followed by a brief history dating back to the Apollo missions & planetary quarantine. Dr. Conley talked extensively about microbes & their survival. One of the points she made in response to a question was just how friendly the very cold temperatures of space could be for microbes.  On the other hand, radiation & the UV light are the enemies of microbial survival. We talked about a Mars sample return mission, what safety precautions would be taken, & then our guest was asked about using the ISS or the Moon as a quarantine lab to protect Earth. You will hear why this is not a good idea & later when asked about using a Bigelow habitat as a planetary protection lab since it would not be a government lab, our guest applied the same reasoning. Dr. Conley talked about the Viking missions as the most stringent ever for planetary protection. In terms of the methodology, we talked about how a mission is prepared for planetary protection, the probability of contamination, & I asked about cost-benefit analysis & the value of added costs & more time for planetary protection if the probability of contamination was so low. As you will hear, building in planetary protection starting with the concept stage is not a significant contributor to costs as its usually less than 1% of mission costs. We also talked about protocols for a NEO mission, the New Horizons mission on the way to Pluto, & missions to other planets & flyby missions. Next, our guest addressed issues with Mars Science Lab & Curiosity. Near the end of the first segment, we talked about international protocols, Article 9 of the OST, & the international COSPAR Planetary Protection Policy. Dr. Conley talked about international space agency adherence to the policy, country by country. Viruses & extra-terrestrial life possibilities brought us to the close of this segment.

In our second segment, Dr. Conley talked about the need for public awareness & educational outreach regarding planetary protection. Listeners asked about human flights to Mars, even one way flights.  Don’t miss this discussion. Did you know that it is very likely that humans will be restricted as to where they can go on Mars based on planetary protection policy? Or, by the time we send humans to Mars, we will have learned enough about Mars so that the human part regarding planetary protection will not prove to be much of a threat or risk. We talked about terreforming, what to do with a crew member death on Mars & being able to bury the body, then we talked about planetary protection policy among the NASA centers. Near the end, our guest was asked about the Phobos-Grunt mission & the Russian adherence to planetary protection policies. We inquired about Mars meteorites here on Earth & future missions being worked on with the planetary protection office including two Mars missions & the concept of a Europa mission.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. If you want to contact Dr. Conley, send your note to me & I will forward it to her.