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Dr. Stuart Robbins, Sunday, 9-27-15 September 28, 2015

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Dr. Stuart Robbins, Sunday, 9-27-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2561-BWB-2015-09-27.mp3

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Guest: Dr. Stuart Robbins. Topics: Craters throughout the solar system, Mars, lunar science, pseudo astronomy, education & public outreach. 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 Dr. Stuart Robbins to the show to discuss craters throughout the solar system, life experiments for Mars, thresholds for evidence, his PseudoAstronomy blog and podcasts, and education plus public outreach. In the first segment of our 1 hour 37 minute program, Dr. Robbins started out by sharing with us how he got interested in Mars as part of his thesis project. We then discussed his crater analysis work on Mars, Mercury, our Moon, and Saturn’s moons. This detailed crater discussion was most interesting so don’t miss it. Additional topics included why study craters, dating, Carbon14 and other radio metric ways to date objects & zones off Earth. You will learn about the significance of crater size per planetary body, determining age, impacts and more. We even compared impact craters on Earth to those elsewhere in the solar system. Also discussed were Canyon Diablo Meteorites regarding Meteor Crater in Arizona, and the use of craters as a poor man’s drill. Listeners asked about asteroid impacts and the impact on possible life or past life traces in an impact crater. Prior to the segment ending, he talked about the high bar needed for confirming evidence of life off Earth.

In the second segment, Dr. Doug called in to talk about a way to do an experiment, possibly no costlier than Curiosity, to search for life on Mars. This involved the use of a tethered rover which our caller explained. More than technology issues, our guest pointed out the policy and economic challenges that are today governing space policy & projects which made him skeptical about doing something like Doug suggested. Dr. Robbins was asked several times during our discussion if NASA wanted to discover and disclose life on Mars. When this discussion comes up on programs, planetary protection is brought up and with Dr. Robbins, this is also what happened. Note how Dr. Robbins described planetary protection during our discussion. I switched topics and asked him to talk about his blog and podcast, Exposing PseudoAstronomy. You can read his blog @ https://pseudoastro.wordpress.com. You can hear his podcasts @ http://podcast.sjrdesign.net. More questions came in applicable to life on Mars, the threshold necessary for convincing evidence of Martian life, then I asked him about some of the popular paranormal and UFO topics that often pass off as real science. We talked about what makes so many of these stories believable to so many people. I wondered if it was our collective poor science education but Stuart suggested other reasons which you will hear him discuss. Adrian sent in a great email question about the expectation to find DNA off Earth which Adrian pointed was a bogus expectation. I read his note in full, Dr. Robbins agreed completely with him as do I so again, don’t miss what Adrian had to say. Stuart also talked about some of the famous UFO cases, image faking, CGI, and more. Near the end of the show, I asked if we could expect new big announcements from our Mars studies or would it be a much slower evolving process. He said the big things had probably been studied so he expected a type of evolutionary process for new Mars information. On the other hand, because we know so little about Pluto, New Horizons was providing us with giant leaps forward with our Pluto knowledge. The last question came in from Randy who wanted to zero out costs and risks and then find out if humans produced better research or was it robots. The answer was humans but when you add in risk and costs, the answer goes to robots. Listen to how Stuart explained this. Don’t miss Stuart’s closing comments.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Dr. Robbins through his website, http://about.sjrdesign.net, or me.

Dr. David Lawrence, Friday, 12-28-12 December 29, 2012

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Dr. David Lawrence, Friday, 12-28-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1919-BWB-2012-12-28.mp3

Guest:  Dr. David Lawrence.  Topic:  The planet Mercury & the NASA Messenger Mission.  Please direct all comments & questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments & questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright & 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. David Lawrence to the program to discuss the planet Mercury & the NASA Messenger Mission’s latest finding.  For more information, visit the Messenger websites, http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/main/index.html & http://messenger.jhuapl.edu.  We started our discussion by describing the Mercury & the Messenger mission.  For example, it took over six years to get to Mercury because of the difficulty in slowing the spacecraft down given the close proximity to the sun.  Dr. Lawrence explained this process to us & the Venus, Mercury, & Earth flyby program used by the spacecraft to orbit around Mercury.  We talked about the spacecraft health, the instruments on board & the problem with the gamma ray spectrometer which worked for about 9,000 hours on an expected life of 8,000 hours.  However, data from this instrument is still being analyzed & will be for some time to come.  Other instruments on Messenger are fine & the spacecraft has a life expectancy to 2015.  Our guest explained mission nominal life & the process for mission extensions with additional NASA funding. We talked about funding issues for Messenger & other planetary missions in light of NASA budget issues & the overall U.S. economy.  Dr. Lawrence told us how the missions compete for extension & additional funding, plus the requirements they must meet to be extended.  Listeners wanted to know about the application of Messenger & Mercury science to Earth & other solar system missions, our Moon, a NEO, even Mars.  Other listeners wanted to know Mercury’s distances from the sun & Earth, as well as more about possible tectonic activity on Mercury.  We discussed basic chemical elements found on Mercury as well as volatile elements.

In our second segment, Dr. Lawrence was asked to identify the biggest surprise so far which he said had to do with the composition of the planet & volatile elements with high concentrations of sulfur & sodium, among others.  A listener asked about Mercury radiation levels & another listener wanted to know how Mercury crater’s got their names.  Dr. Lawrence then took us through the crater naming process which you can also read about on the Messenger websites.  We talked about Messenger’s discovery of Hollows (see, http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/24oct_sleepyhollows).  One listener asked our guest how one gets on a science team like Messenger. Dr. Lawrence explained the paths to joining these teams.  Mercury’s high density came up & our guest talked about most all of the iron on the planet being concentrated in its core.  We also talked about data analysis, archives, embargos, & availability.  Our guest directed us to the NASA Planetary Portal System for more information.  Near the end, we talked about the NASA Discovery Program & other successful Discovery missions including Dawn.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can email Dr. Lawrence through me or the APL Messenger website.

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