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Dr. Linda Spilker, Monday, 11-30-15 December 1, 2015

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Dr. Linda Spilker, Monday, 11-30-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2595-BWB-2015-11-30.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Linda Spilker;  Topic: NASA’s CASSINI mission to Saturn and its planned ending.  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. Linda Spilker to the program to discuss the NASA Cassini mission to Saturn, Cassini Saturn discoveries, and more.  Note that our program was 66 minutes in length in one segment.  We started our discussion with Dr. Spilker doing a quick overview of the Cassini mission.  It took seven years to get to Saturn and has been flying around the Saturn system for11 years since July 1, 2004.  Cassini will run out of fuel with a spectacular final mission in September 2017 which we discussed later in the show.  Dr. Spilker talked about the design and budget compromises made with Cassini, the mission plan or the Cassini “tours,” the protests against Cassini due to the NTG aboard the spacecraft, plus the path it took to get to the Saturn system.  I asked Dr. Spilker for the highlights so far regarding Cassini discoveries so don’t miss what she had to say about this given there have been so many great findings and discoveries.  We also talked orbital dynamics for Saturn orbiting the sun (1 orbit=30 Earth years) and Cassini orbiting Saturn or touring the rings or the moons.  Highlights included the polar geysers discovered on the moon Enceladus, the mysterious red streaks on a smaller moon, Tethys, plus countless discoveries about Saturn’s ring system.  Linda had much to say about Titan and the Huygens Probe and its camera limitation due to a question by Dr. Doug.  We also talked about finding organics in the Saturn system, the possibility of life, &  comparisons to Mars and Europa.  Ben asked if the huge gravity field of somewhat nearby Jupiter had an impact on Saturn.  Sherry wanted to know if NASA, JPL, or members of the Cassini team ever heard from the NTG protestors with apologies given the great success of Cassini.  I bet you can guess what Dr. Spilker said in reply to Ben.  Our guest was also asked if a future mission could be done using solar rather than an NTG.  While Linda was not certain of it, she did say that great advances have been made in solar panel effectiveness, storage, etc. NASA is looking into the possibility of doing a Cassini like mission using solar power.  Karen wanted to know how long it took Cassini to orbit Saturn.  The answer required knowing the specific tour Cassini was undertaking at the time but anywhere from 6-7 days to a few months depending on the tour.  I asked Linda how JPL planned these tours so don’t miss how this is done and how a mission is planned for a spacecraft such as Cassini.  Doug emailed in another question about possible ion propulsion usage and Burton in Montreal wanted to know if a Saturn probe mission might be part of the new NASA New Frontier Mission group being planned.  Many times during the show Linda referenced building on the shoulders of the Voyager spacecraft and its Saturn system information.  Todd talked about the end of Cassini which prompted Linda to describe the final mission plan for this terrific spacecraft. You can read about this final mission at http://news.discovery.com/space/cassini-grand-finale-nasas-saturn-missions-daring-end-140707.htm.  John in Philadelphia was the last to ask a question as he wanted to know the size and shape of Cassini, what it looked like.  Linda did a great job explaining the size and shape, and schematic for Cassini.

 

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  Linda can be reached through JPL or The Space Show.

Dr. Don Lincoln, Sunday, 9-28-14 September 29, 2014

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Dr. Don Lincoln, Sunday, 9-28-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2326-BWB-2014-09-28.mp3

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Guest:   Dr. Don Lincoln.  Topics:  We discussed Dr. Lincoln’s new book, “Alien Universe: Extraterrestrial Life in Our Minds and in the Cosmos,” plus the possibility of extraterrestrial life in our solar system.  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 Dr. Don Lincoln back to the show to discuss his new book “Alien Universe: Extraterrestrial Life in Our Minds and in the Cosmo.”  During the first segment of our 1 hour 29 minute program, Dr. Lincoln discussed why he wrote this book, especially given his position as a senior scientist at the Fermilab plus his work in Cern at the Large Hadron Collider. After the introduction, he took us through major events, both physical and cultural that have fueled alien interest including the Betty and Barney Hill case, Roswell, and more.  He took us through these events with an actual historical timeline which put the events in a somewhat different perspective than we are used to hearing.  We also talked about the Drake & Fermi equations and the seven parameters of the Drake Equation, many of which have been upgraded due to new scientific information coming to light in recent years from the Kepler mission and other tools/events.  SETI was a topic of discussion as was the use of radio waves and light for ET detection.  The subject of alien abduction came up and Don pointed us to the 1835 media buzz known at the moon hoax appearing in the first tabloid style newspaper.  This was an interesting history lesson that was new to me and probably to many listeners as well.  Marshall called in to talk about Drake radio waves, the signal to noise ration, and a planet being either too close to the center of the galaxy or too far from the center of the galaxy which causes the planet to be a metal poor planet. Dr. Lincoln had much to on this subject.  Next, we talked about microbial life on Mars.  John from Ft. Worth called to talk about impractical physics given the need to cross interstellar space. Don agreed and talked about the possibility of using probes.;  The subject of technology & options such as a mother ship plus scout ships came up.  John and Don talked about the lack of objective studies and the difficulty in working with assumptions.  Don also talked about the high standards used in science which are hard to apply to the alien visitation theories.  Scientists are not usually inclined to lower their standards so true scientific studies on alien visitation are a challenge.

In the second segment, we talked about the Roswell event.  Our guest had much to say about this event so don’t miss this part of our discussion.  Some scientific studies were mentioned such as Project Blue Book. I asked about studies by other nations and scientists outside the U.S. We came back to microbial life off Earth which is an important study subject by scientists across many nations.  Near the end of the program, Dr. Lincoln talked about the idea of First Contact, Star Trek, and comments made by Professor Stephen Hawking.  In the concluding minutes of our discussion, I asked our guest about part of his subtitle, “Life in our Minds” & Don talked about how this subject has come to our minds.  He left us with a good summary and strongly urged us to separate sociology issues from astrobiology, the latter being a credible science in search of life off Earth.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Dr. Lincoln through me.

Dr. Pascal Lee, Tuesday, 9-24-13 September 25, 2013

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Dr. Pascal Lee, Tuesday, 9-24-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2092-BWB-2013-09-24.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Pascal Lee.  Topics:  Dr. Lee discussed HSF for Mars, pending Mars mission, Mars science, Earth analogs & his new book, “Mission 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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed Dr. Pascal Lee back to the program to discuss HSF to Mars, pending Mars programs, his new children’s book, “Mission Mars” (www.scholastic.com/missionmars).  During the first segment of this 1 hour 58 minute program, Dr. Lee talked about our operating Mars rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity.  He talked about Curiosity looking for organics and the confusion over not finding methane.  I then asked our guest about the two potential HSF missions to Mars, Mars One and Inspiration Mars.  As you will hear, Dr. Lee was highly skeptical regarding Mars One and suggested it might not be good for the “cause.”  He was supportive of Inspiration Mars and had much to say about that mission and the likelihood of survival for the astronaut couple on board.  I asked him what he thought the impact on HSF and especially humans to Mars mission would be if the Inspiration Mars crew died.  He offered an interesting perspective on this depending where along the mission the crew died.  We also talked about possible NASA involvement in Inspiration Mars plus the challenges in the reentry given the capsule’s high speed coming back from Mars and entering our atmosphere.  I also asked if Inspiration Mars put a damper on many of the Phobos-Deimos mission plans.  Pascal was asked about the Mars One business plan modeled on the Olympics and virtual reality TV shows.  Pascal was not optimistic that such a plan could drive a Mars mission but did think there might be a place in a human Mars mission for a TV show.  Pascal then described the hostility of the Mars environment for human life. This is an interesting factual analysis of what the Martian environment is like & what it would mean for human survival.  Near the end of the first segment, we talked about Pascal’s first book, “Mission Mars” which is aimed for the 9-12 year old market.  Make sure you visit the book’s interactive website, www.scholastic.com/missionmars.  The book is officially released in November but teachers & others can order it now from the Scholastic site.  I also asked how he explained the potential for alien and microbial life to young kids, along with the risks to humans going to Mars.

In our second segment, we started off discussing the Drake Equation. Dr. Lee explained in detail why he believes that N in the equation is a very small number.  In summary, even if there are other intelligent worlds out there, they may be so few in number and so far away that for all practical purposes we are alone in the universe so we better be good stewards of what we have with Earth.  Pascal mentioned the dinosaurs in terms of the evolution of life on Earth and he noted how long it took for something like modern day humans to evolve (around 4.5 billion years).  Some listeners asked him if we were not so different from the dinosaurs given the violence and killing humans do to one another.  Next, we talked about the Humvee expedition as a Mars analog across the North West passage.  Known as the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition, this was an amazing trip.  A documentary was made and will be available next year. I will let listeners know when it is available.  From fuel to cold to polar bears to almost losing the Humvee by falling through the sea-ice, this was quite the expedition over a three year period.  Note what Dr. Lee said about the expedition challenges in comparison to what it would be like to living on Mars.  Briefly, as hard and challenging as the North West Passage Expedition was, it would be nothing compared to living on Mars!

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show Blog per the above URL.  You can email Dr. Pascal Lee at pascal.lee@marsinstitute.net.

Open Lines, Tuesday, 9-4-12 September 5, 2012

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Open Lines, Tuesday, 9-4-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1848-BWB-2012-09-04.mp3

Guest:  Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston.  Topics:  Life outside the solar system, Philadelphia light pollution, ion propulsion, U.S. economy, NASA, space program funding.  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.  As Open Lines started, I put two discussion topics on the table.  These two topics focused on the Republican party platform & its space policy plus the reaction to it by various sectors of the space community, specifically NewSpace.  The second topic I mentioned was the state of the U.S. economy & how it impacts NASA & space funding.  My theory was & is that it does impact the state of NASA funding & what happens in the private sector but I asked others who have economic experience & knowledge to tell me why so many talk space policy without factoring in our domestic as well as economic condition.  When I opened up the phone line, the first caller was Wade Hobbs who talked about life having developed elsewhere in the solar system, mainly in the oceans of Europa.  He said his theory offered statistical proof of life in Jupiter’s moon Europa & he pointed us toward his Kindle book, “Question Answered.”  If you purchase his book using this URL, Amazon will donate to The Space Show/OGLF:  www.amazon.com/Question-Answered-ebook/dp/B008ZFZ05W/ref=onegiantlea20.  He explained his theory & invited comments & questions.  His email address is w_hobbs@mail.com.  Our second caller was Ed Murray who called our attention to a light pollution public art project scheduled soon for Philadelphia.  The project, Open Air” by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer of Canada & approved by the Art Association of Philadelphia is described here:  www.knightarts.org/community/philadelphia/preparing-for-open-air-in-philadelphia.  Many in the astronomy & Dark Skies fields are objecting to the project which will last nearly two months & probably blot out most of the Philadelphia night sky.  Ed & others are seeking ideas & help to minimize the project or cancel it.  They have sought help from the International Dark Skies organization & others.  If this project interests you, follow up on the suggestions offered on the blog by Ed & others which detail their concerns about the project.

In our second segment, John from Atlanta called in to discuss ion propulsion & fuel plus he wanted to address the economic issues I raised in the introduction to tonight’s program.  Regarding the economic issues, John suggested we were still not so bad where the economy would start to impact NASA funding but if thing worsen, it is likely that NASA & all space funding will be impacted.  John & I went back & forth for several minutes discussing the economic situation, the national debt, space & more, both from the U.S. domestic perspective as well as the global perspective. We talked about the total budget going to NASA being so small as a factor.  John & I talked about the Republican platform suggestion that despite the language, commercial crew to the ISS would continue.  John suggested an early down select to SpaceX but I advocated for at least another round of competition with Sierra Nevada & Boeing, possibly others too.  Our final call was from Tim who talked about ion propulsion & space nuclear propulsion.  He introduced the idea of carbon nano tubes for use in rocket materials & I suggested that was way out in the future.  Tim also suggested the private sector bypass NASA & do its “own thing.”

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  If you want to email any of the callers, send your note to me & I will forward it.