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Rusty Schweickart, Tuesday, 5-1-12 May 2, 2012

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Rusty Schweickart, Tuesday, 5-1-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1766-BWB-2012-05-01.mp3

Guest:  Rusty Schweickart.   Topics:  Planetary Defense, NEO deflection.  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 Rusty Schweickart to update us on the latest with planetary defense and NEO risk assessment.  Rusty started our discussion with an examining of the asteroid 2011 AG5 which if it goes through the keyhole in 2023, would be likely to hit Earth in 2040.  During much of this first segment, our guest explained asteroid orbital issues, the keyhole and why it is so important to understand it, Earth’s gravity impact on NEOs, and the different deflection techniques.  He talked about the need for a dual mission which would include an observer satellite plus the kinetic impact deflector.  The observer satellite would be needed to confirm the hit and if the deflection was sufficient to miss the keyhole.  He estimated the cost for such a mission from $500 million to a billion or more!  We also learned that the keyhole for AG5 is about 300 KM wide and that is a much easier deflection than trying to do it once AG5 goes through the keyhole. Then we would be looking at a deflection roughly equal to the Earth’s diameter of 20,000 km which is a much harder deflection to accomplish requiring significantly more energy and costs.  Other issues talked about in this segment included the state of our existing technology to accomplish a deflection, the risks associated with AG5, the issue of who pays for the cost of such a mission, the role of a heavy lift launcher in deflection, and asteroid finding space telescopes.

In our second segment, we talked about different scenarios for deflection and the cost of deflection compared to the cost of an evacuation of people from the impact zone.  Rusty talked about knowing the impact zone and why we can evaluate this much further in advance of impact than when working with space debris.  A listener asked about using a nuclear bomb in space for mitigation. Rusty took us through the nuclear analysis and when as a last resort, a nuke might be needed.  In this analysis, he again went over the kinetic impact and then talked about the gravity tractor concept which he said was slow but very precise.  In his analysis, he used an interesting analogy to baseball, pitching the fastball, & the point at which the batter must act given the speed of the ball.  Don’t miss it.  We talked more on telescopes and he mentioned the University of Hawaii ATLAS project (www.fallingstar.com). Another important point discussed in this segment was the fact that NASA has no official responsibility to protect us from a hit.  We talked about the consequences of this policy, changing the policy to officially give NASA this responsibility, and funding it through the budget process.  During our discussion, Rust outlined several steps that listeners could take if interested in this issue.  Rusty offered specific recommendations all of us could do that would be beneficial to planetary defense.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  If you want to send Rusty a note, please do so through me.

John Batchelor “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 3-7-12 March 8, 2012

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John Batchelor “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 3-7-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1729-BWB-2012-03-07.mp3

John Batchelor, Rusty Schweickart, DrSpace

Guests:  John Batchelor, Rusty Schweickart, DrSpace.  Topics: Planetary Defense, asteroid impact, Asteroid 2011AG5.  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.  This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com. The topics in this 11 minute plus segment focused on the asteroid 2011AG5, asteroid impacts, the means to intervene to deflect an incoming asteroid threat as well as understanding the force of impact for an asteroid the size of 2011AG5.  During the discussion, we discussed the odds of the asteroid hitting theUS.  Rusty explained the Keyhole and its significance for an asteroid that may be approaching Earth.  Rusty also gave us critical dates to watch as more refined observational information becomes available for 2011AG5.  Finally, we talked about technologies that are available now to deal with an incoming asteroid such as a gravity tractor.  Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. If you want to contact either John or Rusty, send your note to me and I will forward it to you.