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Dr. Catharine Conley, Monday, 10-8-12 October 9, 2012

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Dr. Catharine Conley, Monday, 10-8-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1868-BWB-2012-10-08.mp3

Guest: Dr. Catharine Conley. Topics: NASA & international planetary protection policy, methodology, & applications. 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. We welcomed Dr. Catharine Conley, NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer to the show for a comprehensive discussion on the subject of planetary protection. Planetary Protection is concerned with preventing the transfer of life between planetary bodies. For more information, visit the NASA Planetary Protection website at http://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov. Dr. Conley started our discussion with the definition of planetary protection, followed by a brief history dating back to the Apollo missions & planetary quarantine. Dr. Conley talked extensively about microbes & their survival. One of the points she made in response to a question was just how friendly the very cold temperatures of space could be for microbes.  On the other hand, radiation & the UV light are the enemies of microbial survival. We talked about a Mars sample return mission, what safety precautions would be taken, & then our guest was asked about using the ISS or the Moon as a quarantine lab to protect Earth. You will hear why this is not a good idea & later when asked about using a Bigelow habitat as a planetary protection lab since it would not be a government lab, our guest applied the same reasoning. Dr. Conley talked about the Viking missions as the most stringent ever for planetary protection. In terms of the methodology, we talked about how a mission is prepared for planetary protection, the probability of contamination, & I asked about cost-benefit analysis & the value of added costs & more time for planetary protection if the probability of contamination was so low. As you will hear, building in planetary protection starting with the concept stage is not a significant contributor to costs as its usually less than 1% of mission costs. We also talked about protocols for a NEO mission, the New Horizons mission on the way to Pluto, & missions to other planets & flyby missions. Next, our guest addressed issues with Mars Science Lab & Curiosity. Near the end of the first segment, we talked about international protocols, Article 9 of the OST, & the international COSPAR Planetary Protection Policy. Dr. Conley talked about international space agency adherence to the policy, country by country. Viruses & extra-terrestrial life possibilities brought us to the close of this segment.

In our second segment, Dr. Conley talked about the need for public awareness & educational outreach regarding planetary protection. Listeners asked about human flights to Mars, even one way flights.  Don’t miss this discussion. Did you know that it is very likely that humans will be restricted as to where they can go on Mars based on planetary protection policy? Or, by the time we send humans to Mars, we will have learned enough about Mars so that the human part regarding planetary protection will not prove to be much of a threat or risk. We talked about terreforming, what to do with a crew member death on Mars & being able to bury the body, then we talked about planetary protection policy among the NASA centers. Near the end, our guest was asked about the Phobos-Grunt mission & the Russian adherence to planetary protection policies. We inquired about Mars meteorites here on Earth & future missions being worked on with the planetary protection office including two Mars missions & the concept of a Europa mission.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. If you want to contact Dr. Conley, send your note to me & I will forward it to her.

Marsha Freeman, Monday, 7-23-12 July 24, 2012

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Marsha Freeman, Monday, 7-23-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1820-BWB-2012-07-23.mp3

Guest:  Marsha Freeman.  Topics:  GLEX 2012 Conference, Russian Federal Space Agency Interviews, China, space policy, Euro & U.S. economic issues.  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 back Marsha Freeman to discuss the GLEX 2012 Conference, her interviews with the head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Vladimir Popovkin, plus other space news, the Chinese program, or domestic & European economic crisis, and more.  We started our first segment with a discussion about the Russian space program, their lunar plans, their thoughts on our commercial space efforts, lunar probes, tourism, and more.  Marsha talked about budget priorities and how best to fit in or prioritize space programs & efforts.  She talked about the impact on Russia regarding the U.S. led European Ballistic Missile Defense System plus the Russian concept for their Strategic Defense of Earth proposal.  Marsha informed us about other talks at GLEX, Mike Griffin, AIAA, and leadership. She also commented on the fact that many at GLEX & in other venues, in talking about the commercial/private space efforts, while supporting these efforts make the distinction that great countries do great things, especially in space.  She stressed great things as being the responsibility of the nation.  Don’t miss her comments on this topic.

For our second segment, we certainly ventured into some controversial policy and opinion areas with our guest going all out & not holding anything back.  We started with questions about the Chinese space program. Here, Marsha had much to say that included comments on the U.S. policy toward China.  She was asked about the plans to use a Soyuz to do lunar tourism.  We talked some more about ISS and our guest was asked about the proposed NASA center closure plan being discussed.  Marsha expressed strong opinions on the base closure idea so don’t miss her comments.  We then started talking policy & asked for her thoughts on various NASA administrators that she had spoken with over the years.  She told us stories about Charlie Bolden, James Webb, Tom Paine and Mike Griffin.  Marsha next spoke about vision & shared her thoughts with us on several outspoken space visionary leaders. I asked her if she had ever met with the President Obama or his science advisor.  She said no and then had much to say about presidential science advisors in general & specifically she had much to say regarding the current science advisor.  She was also asked about the problem space enthusiasts seem to have in connecting with the general public to have better space policy & funding. Marsha disagreed with my question, pointing instead to economic issues that need resolution before space can resume its rightful place of leadership in our national policy.  Many of you may find her comments a bit controversial but remember, on The Space Show we air all sides of the issues.  Don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts on the many issues Marsha talked about by posting them on the blog.  Marsha linked the Eurozone economic crisis to what happens in the U.S., our space program & more.  She repeatedly called for government restructuring, recommending a specific path that she believes will be most beneficial for the nation.  Do you agree?  In conclusion, she did say that out of crisis can come wide & beneficial changes.  She also said we needed to start our space program with an incremental & common sense approach to lunar development.

Please post your comments/questions on our blog. If you want to email our guest, send your note to me & I will forward it.

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

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

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1717-BWB-2012-02-20.mp3

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.

Dr. Jeff Bell, Friday, 12-9-11 December 9, 2011

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Dr. Jeff Bell, Friday, 12-9-11

(Note: This interview aired live on 11/30/11)

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1669-BWB-2011-12-09.mp3

GuestSearch:  Dr. Jeff Bell.  Topics:  Phobos Grunt mission, space policy, commercial crew, rocket reusability & more.  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 . Please note that this program was recorded live on Nov. 30, 2011 and is being archived today, Dec. 9, 2011.  We welcomed Dr. Jeff Bell back to the show for a wide ranging discussion on multiple topics starting with the troubled Russian Phobos Grunt Mission.  This Space Show  program is vintage Jeff Bell with something to say about most everything, hard hitting, critical, take no prisoners, and of course, thought provoking. Dr. Bell started our discussion talking about the Phobos-Grunt Mission.  To put it in context with Russian lunar & planetary missions, he gave us a brief history of the Russian exploration program starting in 1958.  This is an interesting history lesson you do not want to miss. In bringing the history current to Phobos Grunt, the problems faced by the Russian program seem a bit clearer.  We then talked about some of the many space blog comments with suggestions for rescuing or saving the mission and he totally debunked them.  Jeff mentioned shuttle rescues, X-37B rescues, even Virgin suborbital rescues.  He also mentioned some of the conspiracy theories out there (he spent more time on them later in our discussion),  finger pointing the blame for the mission problems.  Next, Dr. Bell addressed the recent SpaceShipTwo drop test that was a problem and he wasted no time in stating what is wrong with the SS2 design as well as what he said was a problematic track record for the project.  He also had much to say about the use of composites and fundamental design flaws.  Space debris issues came up and Dr. Bell referenced USA 193.  Terry called in to ask about the hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) or nitric acid on board Phobos Grunt. When we started the second segment, Dr. Bell again went over the conspiracy theories re Phobos Grunt that appeared in some news articles.  One he mentioned was the HARP theory which he debunked as well as the biological warfare theory.  We then talked about commercial crew and Dr. Bell said Congress does not want it to be successful and he explained why.  Near the end of this discussion, Trent called in from Australia.  He wanted to know at what point Jeff thought commercial crew was changing from maybe working out to going down for the count.  What was the turning point for our guest?  During their exchange, Jeff said that space travel was not politically important anymore, instead political pork was the priority.  Trent mentioned his blog, QuantumG, http://quantumg.blogspot.com.  Check it out for his comments on Space X, Commercial Crew and more.  Jeff read his Space X comments and then started discussing the Space X reusability plan.  As the program ended, we talked about the JWST and I asked Dr. Bell what part of the space program he liked, if any.  He did have something he liked, the science and robotic missions.  If you have a comment/question for Dr. Bell, please post it on the blog URL and I will make sure he sees it.

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

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

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1664-BWB-2011-12-02.mp3

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.