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Dr. Julie Robinson, Monday, 12-21-15 December 22, 2015

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Dr. Julie Robinson, Monday, 12-21-15


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Guest: Dr. Julie Robinson.  Topics:  The ISS and how it benefits humanity.  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 back to the program Dr. Julie Robinson, Chief Scientist for the ISS.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 25 minute program, I started the interview by asking our guest how research on the ISS benefits humanity.  Dr. Robinson told us about a special NASA website on this subject, www.nasa.gov/stationbenefits.com. You can freely download the NASA report on these benefits and contributions, “The International Space Station Benefits For Humanity, 2nd edition,” at https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/jsc_benefits_for_humanity_tagged_6-30-15.pdf.  This website has terrific station information on it so I urge you to become familiar with it.  Our guest said that since 2011, there have been significant R&D benefits.  Dr. Robinson listed a few examples including the development and refining of ultra sound, drug work, mitigation strategies for Duchesne Muscular Dystrophy, protein crystal growth, the new discoveries regarding latent virus shredding, plus having tested the new drug, Prolia, for bone strengthening.  Listener Jackie wanted to know more about expansion plans.  Our guest mentioned the BEAM inflatable module experiment for the ISS in 2016 as one way to expand the ISS.  Our guest was asked about the priority of experiments given ISS participants are international and governed by a multi-nation ISS agreement.  Don’t miss how projects are selected and financed.  Helen sent in a note wanting to know how the ISS contributed to cleaning up global water supplies.  Dr. Robinson replied by talking about the powerful ISS observational role and close coordination with UN agencies that do help to clean up water supplies. Environmental monitoring mentioned as well.   Julie was asked about the possibility of ISS post 2024, the planned shut down date for the station.  She said the station was designed to last 30 years with good safety margins built into the design.  The actual shut down of the station will be made on a political and budgetary basis along with the station partners.  I asked her about the possibility of privatizing the station as many Space Show guests and listeners have advocated or even said would happen down the road. Our guest said the station was not designed to operate cheaply. When it was designed and built, it was pushing the edge of technology, design, engineering, and life support.  She suggested a private company would do much better developing a new station built upon what we have learned from many disciplines since the station was designed and built.  Dr. Robinson had more to say on this subject so don’t miss it.  Todd asked her about the use of robots on the station taking over most of the duties now performed by astronauts.  In short, she said that technology was not there yet, it was being worked on but it may be ten years or so out from now.  Before the break, a listener asked her about an earlier comments about the station not supporting humans to Mars.  Dr. Robinson corrected this listener.  As a National Lab, it is chartered to devote half its resources and budget to supporting humanitarian issues, projects and causes, and half to space exploration which would include Mars missions.

In the second segment, we discussed in more detail Earth Sciences, technology, education, and cognition experiments. For all these categories, our guest provided examples showing how these missions benefit humanity and the role the ISS played in them.  Listener Paul asked if the station had downward looking radar on it, then BJohn asked another question wondering how our guest would design the next station for a $100 billion dollar budget.  Julie said the station would not cost $100 billion, then she said the next station would likely be private, citing some additional examples to support her statement. Don’t miss what she had to say on this subject.  Animal experiments were mentioned, especially using mice.  She was asked about using other animals but she explained why mice and other rodents were the research animal of choice on land as well as in space.  In elaborating about technologies, she also cited many examples including one present in all our laptops as well as one involved in alloy manufacturing.  Regarding educational outreach, the ISS has many programs on a global basis but one she talked about was the one using ham radio operators to provide a link to talk to the station at various schools.  Space tourism on the station was discussed, so was commercial business including NanoRacks, and Chinese space station possibilities.  Near the end of the program, Dr. Robinson answered questions about the ISS budget and how to lower it.  Our guest offered us excellent closing comments.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can reach Dr. Robinson through The Space Show as well as her NASA website.


Dr. Jeff Bell, Monday, 2-20-12 February 21, 2012

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Dr. Jeff Bell, Monday, 2-20-12


Guest:  Dr. Jeff Bell.  Topics:  Dr. Bell’s assessment of NASA, the science missions, human spaceflight, the Russian space problems, & Phobos-Grunt conspiracy theories.  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.  We welcomed Dr. Jeff Bell back to the program for his assessment of space today in theUnited States, along with the problems facing the Russian space industry and the Phobos-Grunt conspiracy theories as to why the mission failed.  Those familiar with Dr. Bell and his Space Show programs will not be disappointed as this two hour plus discussion is vintage Jeff Bell.  Dr. Bell started with an assessment of the problems over the last year and half or so with the Russian space industry and its management.  Jeff does a good job of summarizing their history of manufacturing, technology, and engineering problems going back to the time of Sergei Korolev.  He also shares with us his experiences working with the Russians on the Phobos 88 mission.  He said typical characteristics of Russian missions leading to problems include being too ambitious, costly for their budgets, and the labor allocated to the projects.  He suggested that we in theU.S. do the same thing and cited MSL and Curiosity as an example.  He had much to say about the early Soviet Venus probes and how their data was widely discounted outside of theSoviet Union. He then said Space X might be overextending and he cited several ongoing Space X projects which might distract from their primary mission at hand which is to get Falcon and Dragon operational.  Listeners asked about the Russian problems driving customers away from doing business withRussia in favor of ULA in theU.S. Here, Dr. Bell had much to say about ULA pricing, overhead costs without NASA sharing them, and more.  He also mentioned what was happening to Delta 2 given the GPS system needing larger rockets as an example of the impact of government policy/spending in space industries.  Dr. Bell turned to the latest Phobos-Grunt conspiracy theories for the mission failure.  At the end of this segment, Dr. Bell talked about the JWST & Curiosity in terms of overly complex and costly missions.

In the second segment, Jeff talked about the Newt space policy suggestions and the idea of the Moon as the 51st state.  He had much to say about the ridicule in the media and was not surprised by it.  He used this as an example to say reality “conflicts with the space cadet world view.”   In talking about Mars missions, he said people had been conned by the Mars theory of life stories and promoters.  He said that Mars and HSF were not worth it.  Several listeners called in to debate Jeff on these comments but Jeff took no prisoners.  He then talked about the ISS and its less than full utilization and that the entire idea of HSF had come and gone.  At one point in response to a listener question/comment, Dr. Bell said that all Zubrin offered was a 60’s program!  Jeff did have good things to say about the science and robotic missions, said our planet exploration would be with robots, not humans, and that we needed more missions like the Kepler Space Telescope.  He repeated throughout the discussion that nothing useful has come form HSF nor would it.  He offered that the basic technology was from the70’s and had not changed.  He said overall interest in space had declined since Apollo.  In his closing comments, he said he was still hopeful that NewSpace would decrease the launch costs as that would be a game changer.

If you have questions/comments for Dr. Jeff Bell, post them on The Space Show blog URL above.