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Les Johnson, Sunday, 2-15-15 February 16, 2015

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Les Johnson, Sunday, 2-15-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2415-BWB-2015-02-15.mp3

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Guest:  Les Johnson.  Topics:  Solar sails, advanced propulsion, HSF, science fiction books & movies, and more.  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 Les Johnson back to the show to discuss his latest books on popular science & science fiction, solar sails, and much more. In the first segment of our 1 hour 45 minute show, Les began talking about solar sails and their use to go to go around our solar system and eventually to the stars.  There was much interest in the solar sail subject so Les gave us a terrific somewhat technical lesson on solar sails.  We fielded many listener questions and we all learned much about solar sails, their potential, today’s capabilities, materials used, and more.  This was  an exceptional discussion so don’t miss it as solar sails are a very exciting technology for robotic spacecraft.

In the second segment, Les mentioned the Lunar Flashlight and Scout missions.  I asked our guest about the track record for solar sail missions.  If the mission launch was a success, the solar sail mission has been pretty good but there have been issues with the launches on some of the past solar sail missions.  I also inquired about solar sail work, research, and interest around the world and with other space agencies.  A listener emailed wondering if the use of a solar sail made a satellite or a mission more vulnerable to an ASAT type weapon.  We switched gears to talk about the science fiction work Les has done with Ben Bova  regarding mars with his book “Rescue Mode.”  Les talked about his parameters when writing science fiction plus I asked him about the feedback he gets as an author from both his popular science books as compared to his sci-fi books.  You might be surprised by his answer.  Nuclear propulsion came up for discussion and a few listeners wanted to know the human spaceflight awareness level of people when he gives lectures on the topic.  Interstellar flight was discussed as was the movie “Interstellar.”  As we were moving toward closing the program, Less said he believes HSF is going through a golden age and he explained why.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can email Les at the address he gave out, through his website at http://www.lesjohnsonauthor.com, or me.

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Dr. Anita Sengupta, Friday, 11-1-13 November 2, 2013

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Dr. Anita Sengupta, Friday, 11-1-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2113-BWB-2013-11-01.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Anita Sengupta.  Topics:  Cold Atom Lab (CAL) project, human spaceflight EDL & more.  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 back Dr. Anita Sengupta to discuss the Cold Atom Lab (CAL) project for which Dr. Sengupta is the project manager.  CAL is to launch to the ISS in early 2016, probably aboard the SpaceX Dragon though that has yet to be confirmed but the project needs a ride on a pressurized spacecraft.  For more information on the CAL project and mission, check out these websites: http://coldatomlab.jpl.nasa.gov; http://coldatomlab.jpl.nasa.gov/news/FunPhysicsResearch. During this 64 minute discussion, Dr. Sengupta explained the CAL project to us, ultra cool quantum gasses in absolute zero and in zero gravity to establish a Force Free Environment which means no gravity pull.  We talked about laser cooling and the series of experiments likely to be done on the ISS with CAL based on the NASA Research Announcement which has a submittal date of Nov. 5, 2013.  We talked about atomic physics and many related topics, including the mechanics of the project, the need to place CAL in a rack as close to the center of gravity on the ISS as possible for the closest point to zero gravity. Listeners asked lots of questions about CAL, but they also had questions for Anita  regarding her expertise in entry, descent, and landing (EDL) from her recent work with Curiosity and the super sonic parachute.  In talking about human spaceflight, at one point Anita remarked that CAL was a hybrid project as it is definitely a robotic science mission but they interface with the ISS astronauts so CAL and the team have feet in both worlds.  In talking about the CAL hardware, we learned it was designed as an ORU, an orbital replacement unit.  Doug called in regarding EDL on Mars from Phobos and the use of strategically placed propellant depots in orbit around Mars and how that might simply a Martian EDL.  Anita provided much technical information on this subject and we learned that the actual EDL is driven by the entry mass and the need to dissipate energy. She talked about the difference in  a human EDL protocol and a robotic mission EDL protocol and said the human EDL has not yet been devised or worked out.  Near the end of the program, Anita explained more about laser cooling, including photons pushing atoms which slows them down and makes them cooler.  This enables more accurate laser tuning for the research. Susan asked her if she learned about the engineering for her project from grad school or from OJT.  As you will hear, the basics from grad school and the specifics OTJ.  Near the end of our program, we talked about the role of a project manager and auditing Anita’s USC class which might be possible when she teaches an upcoming graduate class online. We also talked about career choices and would one rather work on a humans to Mars flight or robotic missions.

Please post comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  Dr. Sengupta provided her contact information on air at the end of the program or you can email her through me if you prefer.

Dr. Henry Hertzfeld, Tuesday, 3-5-13 March 6, 2013

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Dr. Henry Hertzfeld, Tuesday, 3-5-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1964-BWB-2013-03-05.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Henry Hertzfeld.  Topics:  Commercial space, Mars, human spaceflight, regulations & economics.  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.

We welcomed Dr. Henry Hertzfeld back to the show for a fascinating 90 minute discussion regarding commercial space, human spaceflight (HSF), recently announced HSF Mars missions, increasing the launch rate, and more.  During our initial segment, Dr. Hertzfeld addressed my question about lowering launch prices to increase the launch rate.  Dr. Hertzfeld did a classic economic study on this subject several years ago and I asked him if today’s current market and commercial space progress had altered his earlier conclusions.  He said no. Later, I asked if space solar power (SSP) could drive launch rates down.  The short answer was no but don’t miss what he had to say about SSP economics, launches, and debris issues.  Jerry emailed in a question about SpaceX being a commercial company given its receipt of government money.  Henry had much to say about what makes a company commercial or not and if it is even an important issue.  Another listener wanted to know about the deep space commercial ventures announced in 2012 and in 2013.  The listener wanted to know if these were really commercial ventures, if regulations could stop them, and what would happen re the ventures needing property rights or the equivalent.  One of the things our guest reiterated several times during our discussion was the need for stability and predictability for the commercial industry.  Questions came in about benefit sharing and he mentioned the likelihood that some sort of international system would develop on these issues. I asked what constituted an acceptable ROI and the example of controlled ROIs as in the utility industry came up.  Doug wanted to know about rocket reusability and its impact on launch costs.  We also talked about both Mars One and the new Inspiration Mars mission.  As part of this discussion, astronaut rescue and the rescue treaty were discussed.  In the second segment, Doug called to discuss property rights for a NEO as opposed to the Moon, wondering if the Moon might be more valuable.  Doug & Henry talked about our having returned lunar rockets as a model for commercially returning lunar products but Henry suggested there might be a difference in returning something for science as compared to commercial exploitation.  Later, we addressed human spaceflight and its challenges.  The Chinese space program was brought up as was the risk of a space war.  Dr. Hertzfeld was asked about putting 10,000 people on Mars, space migration, species survival, space settlement, and the need to explore as possible drivers for HSF.  My final question pertained to our evolving to a business friendly environment in space.  Simply put, we are not there yet.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  You can email Dr. Hertzfeld through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.