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Dr. William Farrand, Tuesday, 4-16-13 April 17, 2013

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Dr. William Farrand, Tuesday, 4-16-13


Guest:  Dr. William Farrand.  Topics:  Mars orbiters and rovers, multispectral & hyperspectral remote sensing data.  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 Dr. William (Bill) Farrand to the program to discuss Martian multispectral & hyperspectral remote sensing data, the same for the Earth and throughout our solar system.  To find out more about Dr. Farrand and his work, please visit his website at http://farrviewconsulting.com.  In the first segment of our 90 minute discussion, we talked about the Mars solar conjunction, what the rover Opportunity is doing during the conjunction, Opportunity’s longevity, and why Spirit quit working.  We also talked about Curiosity, then I asked our guest about both multispectral and hyperspectral remote sensing data for Mars.  Dr. Farrand explained the imaging and the instruments in addition what we learn about Mars and other solar system objects through the remote sensing instruments providing us with this data.  In fact, in response to a listener email, our guest talked about remote sensing data from the Messenger, Cassini, Dawn, and other missions.  I asked our guest about minerals on Mars and throughout the solar system and how they might differ from the same mineral here on Earth.  Doug sent in a question about trades with the science missions as compared to doing a human spaceflight mission.  Our guest expanded the discussion to include very expensive science missions as opposed to more missions but lower in cost.  Dr. Farrand talked about the proposed commercial space missions to the Moon, Mars, and for resource utilization.  He also talked about the prize system as being a good way to further commercial exploration and development.  A listener asked about getting timely data released to the public.  Our guest directed us to the Planetary Data System which houses all the mission data, usually about six months after it was first obtained. 

In our second segment, Doug asked that if Curiosity comes up empty, might that seriously put life on Mars into doubt?  Don’t miss the response, it might surprise you.  We then discussed Curiosity and what it was up to at this time plus more on Opportunity.  As for future Mars missions, we talked about Maven and then our guest was asked if the current Mars science and robotic missions were designed to pave the way for an eventual human spaceflight mission to Mars.  He said they were not so tightly linked but it’s a discussion you will want to hear.  Our questions then changed to NASA economics and sequestration as our guest was asked for his thoughts on cutbacks, sequestration, moral, etc.  I asked about Earth remote sensing and we talked about Landsat satellites and Landsat 8.  Also the commercial World View 2 and the coming World View 3.  We talked about buying commercial data as opposed to using government sourced data, plus AI, real time data acquisition and more.  Near the end, Karen asked about the role the scientist plays in designing & developing the satellites & tools on board it. 

Please post your comments and questions on The Space Show blog above.  You can email our guest through his website or me using drspace@thespaceshow.com.


Brent Sherwood, Tuesday, 7-24-12 July 25, 2012

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Brent Sherwood, Tuesday, 7-24-12


Guest:  Brent Sherwood.  Topics: Human spaceflight to Mars: Is it on the path or a distraction?  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 Brent Sherwood back to the show to discuss his GLEX paper and ideas regarding human spaceflight (HSF), Mars, and alternative NASA goals/missions regarding HSF.  His GLEX paper, “Mars-On the Path or in the Way” is posted on The Space Show blog following this program summary.  Please read & review his paper as it contains far more detail regarding his proposal, analysis and his conclusion than what we were able to discuss during our program.  In our first segment, Mr. Sherwood provided us with the background and context for his having written this paper and for his conclusion that HSF to Mars is not the right path. He then outlined alternative paths for HSF missions that he believes can better “regain the cultural centrality of human space flight and grow by attracting private capital.” Our guest talked about the value proposition of a HSF mission to Mars, plus the value proposition of the alternatives he describes in his paper & on this program.  The value proposition is understood to refer to the value received by sending humans to Mars (or the alternative HSF missions) as compared to the value of the mission costs, the opportunity costs, risks, etc.  Mr. Sherwood assesses the value proposition for all of his alternative HSF proposals which include the Explore Mars mission, lunar settlement, space passenger travel, and SSP.  For most of this initial segment, Brent outlined his ideas and explained why he has concluded that HSF to Mars does not measure up as a value promise & why SSP is his first choice.  We began taking listener email questions and phone calls after he summarized his position  & as you can imagine, most all the listener questions/comments were of the challenging nature to his conclusion that HSF to Mars was not in the best interest of our space program.  I urge you read his paper and to pay attention to the technical, cost, time line, and historical information shared with us by our guest.

In the second segment of this nearly two hour program, Brent took questions and expanded more as to why he supports other options than HSF to Mars.  He also explained why he is calling for a debate on this issue within the space community.  At the start of this segment, I asked him if he thought discovering life on Mars would change his opinion and the value proposition.  He said no but did say it would expedite the Martian sample return mission, but would not alter the variables & unknowns involved in the magnitude of technology challenges needing resolution before sending humans safely to and from Mars.  Toward the end of our discussion, I asked how he might move forward to implement the industry debate he has called for on this show & in his paper.  Suggestions on how to do this are wanted so if you have any, post them on the blog.

Brent would like your feedback so after listening to this program and reading his paper, please post comments/questions on the blog.  You can email Brent Sherwood by sending your note to me & I will forward it to him.

Brent Sherwood’s GLEX Paper:

Mars-On the Path or In the Way?