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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.

Dr. Roger Launius, Friday, 12-2-11 December 3, 2011

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Dr. Roger Launius, Friday, 12-2-11


Guest:  Dr. Roger Launius.  Topics:  National Air & Space Museum at the Smithsonian, Mars in our culture, Russian & U.S. Mars missions.  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.  The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/space-show-2011-fundraising-campaign.  We welcomed back Dr. Roger Launius to the program.  His blog which we talked about during the interview can be seen at http://launiusr.wordpress.com.  We started our discussion with the mention of his recent blog post, “The Lure of the Red Planet: Early Flyby Missions to Mars.”  Dr. Launius went through a short history of Soviet/Russian attempts to go to Mars as well as those of the U.S. in recent years.  His blog article contains a more comprehensive listing of these missions and is a good resource for this information.  We talked about private enterprise doing Mars missions and our guest said the business case would have to close for that to happen and that we were not there yet.  I asked about cultural drivers concerning our interest in Mars. I also inquired about the symphony by Gustav Holtz, “The Planets” and his “Mars, Bringer of War.”  Dr. Launius talked about Mars in our culture going back to H.G. Wells, others in the early 1900’s, science fiction literature, as well as early astronomy.  Another of his blog posts we explored was his comparison of Sputnik to 9/11 as there were parallels and similarities.  Don’t miss this interesting discussion.  In our second segment, we talked about the Smithsonian getting the Discovery Space Shuttle, its eventual display, and the disposition of Enterprise which is currently at the Smithsonian.  Dr. Launius explained how they will display Discovery to preserve it as close to a real time flying shuttle as possible for historical purposes. We learned that visitors will not be able to walk through it.  He does explain the display plans in full, plus he talks about getting the shuttle from KSC to the museum near Dulles Airport and then getting Enterprise to New York as it is to be displayed at the Intrepid Museum.  Roger received listener questions about the display of the Enola Gay B-29 which is at the Smithsonian as well as SpaceShipOne.  Listeners also asked for his thoughts on Phobos-Grunt and its loss.  Our guest pointed out it was the 5th loss of a Russian mission in a year, pointing to some definite problems in the Russian space industry.  Some of the problems he described regarding the Russian space industry sounded similar to what is happening with our own space workforce.  Commercial space and the private sector came up for discussion with Roger saying that a big difference is that private enterprise will operate their vehicles, not the government.  Dr. Launius was asked about space tourism and if it was possible to evaluate any type of market based on visits and comments to the SpaceShipOne exhibit. We talked about STEM educational issues, protecting the Apollo lunar landing sites as historical sites, Pluto in the Smithsonian & the New Horizons Mission.  As our program ended, we talked about Plutonium 238 and RTGs for space missions.,  And a listener wanted to know about the plausibility of one way manned Mars missions.  Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above.