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Dr. William (Bill) Farrand, Tuesday, 1-21-14 January 22, 2014

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Dr. William (Bill) Farrand, Tuesday, 1-21-14


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Guest:  Dr. William (Bill) Farrand.  Opportunity’s tenth anniversary, Mars rovers and science.  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. Farrand back to the show to talk about Opportunity’s 10th anniversary on the surface of Mars, Mars rovers in general and Martian science.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 37 minute discussion, Dr. Farrand was asked about 10 years for Opportunity effective Jan. 24 and to why he thought Opportunity was still going strong after ten years.  He gave credit to the JPL engineers that designed and built the rover and those that keep the systems going.  We talked about the loss of a few of Opportunity’s instruments over the past ten years plus the current science being done by the rover.  We also talked about its path to Endeavour Crater.  In response to one of my questions, Opportunity has traveled about 38 KM since it first landed on Mars ten years ago.  He also said the science was as exciting today as it was when Opportunity first started.  Listen to how he described the rover’s evolution with science and its work over the past decade.  From time to time, other Mars rover science questions and comments came up, especially related to comparing Curiosity to Opportunity.  Our guest was asked about Earth analog sites for Mars, then water on Mars.  Cathy asked how they kept the solar panels clear of dust for maximum solar power to the rover.  He said they rely on Martian winds to dust off the panels.  We also talked about bandwidth communications and the use of the Deep Space Network (DSN).

In the second segment, we talked about our guest’s, www.farrviewconsulting.com plus the pictures posted on the site. We also talked about the special rover exhibit now underway at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.  You can see some photos from the exhibit along with a picture of our guest on the website.  As you will hear, some of the photos in the exhibit were taken by Spirit before it suffered its untimely demise.  Bill was asked several questions about technology advancement from rover to rover and Mars in general.  Later, we talked about humans on Mars, the use of Phobos, and then Doug called in to ask if it was worth the cost to put humans on Mars given how many more rovers we could put on Mars for the cost of just one human mission.  As the program was ending, Dr. Farrand summarized his thoughts on ‘Oppy” and ten years, again giving a shootout to JPL engineers.  He said the outcome of Oppy was paradigm shifting!  The final question was from Sally asking about Martian fossils.  Don’t miss Bill’s final comments regarding this question.

Post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  Dr. Farrand can be reached through his website or me.