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Matthew (Matt) Wallace, Tuesday, 12-2-14 December 3, 2014

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Matthew (Matt) Wallace, Tuesday, 12-2-14


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Guest:  Matthew (Matt) Wallace.  Topics:  Mars science missions, Mars 2020, searching for lie on 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 http://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 Matt Wallace from our Hotel Mars program to his first appearance on The Space Show.  During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Matt talked about his early mission assignments when he first came to JPL, then his shift to the Mars program.  We also talked about how the science missions and rovers are designed, managed, and eventually flown.  I asked our guest several questions about the science missions such as how a Deimos mission might differ from a mission to the surface of Mars.  Later, a listener asked our guest about a Europa mission and how that would differ. While there are clearly differences in the missions to different destinations, the trade process, planning, team organization and such all work pretty much the same.  We did spend some time talking about a Europa mission as that mission is a favorite for many of us, our guest included Most of the Europa mission discussion was in the second segment.  Matt talked about the new science instruments that will be on board Mars 2020, plus the extensive use of heritage hardware. He also said about 70% of the original MSL & Curiosity team would be working on Mars 2020, an important fact in managing the mission, costs and assuring mission success.  Matt was asked why it was so hard to confirm microbial life on Mars now or in the past & if there was one instrument that could do that.  This proved to be a fascinating and detailed discussion so don’t miss it.  Many listener emails addressed the rover control process.  There is no real time communication with the rover so Matt explained how they send commands to the rover, how the rover processes those commands and the safeguards built into it to protect the rover from accidents, etc.  He also talked about communication windows with Earth, when antennas are pointed toward Mars, and the busy DSN.  Listener Alex asked him about the book “The Martian” and wanted to know that were an astronaut stuck on Mars or needing some sort of emergency gear or something, could a defunct Mars rover be cannibalized for parts and made to work for the purpose needed by the person on Mars.  Matt’s answer might surprise you.  Several listeners wanted to know about a human Mars mission being more efficient for finding life signs than a rover.  Matt explained the trades involved. Doug emailed in a similar question during the second segment.  Matt said its not either or.  Instead, the rovers and a human mission are synergistic with one another.  As the segment ended, our guest was asked if NASA/JPL would consider partnering with a private human mission such as Mars One to use Mars One crew members for science missions.

In the second segment, we talked about other Mars rovers and mission including Maven and Insight.  Next, the question came in about Europa that was mentioned in the earlier segment.  Doug not only asked his robotic vs. human question but he sent in another question regarding the sample return mission and what methods might be used for collecting multiple samples.  He suggested a few different collection methods.  Matt said they discuss these types of options but in the end the trades opt for simpler missions for a variety of reasons.  See what you think of his answer & post your comment on the blog.  John, a high school student, sent in a note about colleges and the best path to be able to work in the space industry.  Barbara sent in a note asking if the EDL would be Seven Minutes of Terror Part 2 since they were using the same system as used for Curiosity or would it be less stressful.  Matt said they would still be nail biting all the way down.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Matt Wallace through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

John Batchelor Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 9-10-14 September 11, 2014

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John Batchelor Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 9-10-14


Featuring Matt Wallace, Mars 2020 Deputy Program Manager

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Guests: John Batchelor, Matt Wallace, Dr. David Livingston. Topics: Mars 2020 Rover program.   You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written 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 do not permit the commercial use of any Space Show program or part thereof, nor do we permit Space Show programs to be edited, placed on YouTube, or other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted in news articles, papers, academic & research work but must be cited or referenced in the proper citation format. Contact Dr. Livingston for questions about our copyright and trademark policies which we do enforce. This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com.  Remember, your Amazon Purchases Can Help Support The Space Show/OGLF (www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm).  For those of you listening to archives on live365.com & rating the programs, please email me the reasons for your rating. This will definitely help improve Space Show programming. Thank you.


We welcomed Matthew (Matt) Wallace, the Deputy Project Manager for Mars 2020, to discuss the Mars 2020 Rover Project and future Mars rover missions. We talked about similarities and improvements from the Curiosity rover including wheel changes.  The landing site selection process was talked about as the team now has over 50 possible landing sites to consider.  Mars 2020 will carry with it tools to search for organics and signs of past life and more.  The Mars Sample Return Mission was talked about, including a short brief on how Mars 2020 will capture and save possible sample return items.  Our guest also described in brief detail the rover’s capabilities to look for organics & signs of life with the use of a laser tool


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