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Emily Lakdawalla, Tuesday, 3-10-15 March 11, 2015

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 Emily Lakdawalla, Tuesday, 3-10-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2431-BWB-2015-03-10.mp3

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Guest:  Emily Lakdawalla.  Topics:  We discussed planetary science missions, the outer and inner planets, Ceres, icy moons, 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 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 Emily Lakdawalla for a far ranging planetary science and mission discussion.  During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Emily was asked questions about the Planetary Society’s solar sail mission, LightSail.  Look forward to a special Space Show program about this project in the near future.  I asked her about her Cassini Icy Moons article on her Planetary Society blog which can be found at http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla.  We talked about the photo mosaics and Emily told us about the software and how any of could easily do similar mosaics.  As you will hear, we talked about icy moons throughout our program.  The Dawn mission with its approach to Ceres was an important discussion topic as was New Horizons on the way to Pluto.  As all of you have heard before, this is the year of the Dwarf Planet!  Dan called with questions about Mars 2020 and the sample return mission.  We touched on human spaceflight and addressed the NASA planetary budget.  Roy called to ask about the Thursday press conference about Ganymede, then before the break we got a question about the Rosetta mission and the Ceres bright spot.

In the second segment, Emily had more to say about New Horizons, how photos and data would be sent back to Earth, and the upcoming cliff hanging moments with New Horizons and why they are considered cliff hanging.  Don’t miss our New Horizons discussion.  Callers and questions came in about Europa, the overall cost of planetary missions for the American taxpayer, the Dawn orbit around Ceres and limitations due to hydrazine.  One listener even asked if there would be public events around New Horizons arriving at Pluto.  Near the end of the segment, Doug sent in several emails asking about Uranus and Neptune and here Emily had much to say in support of such missions.  I asked our guest about her preference between inner and outer planets.  We also talked about returning to the Moon.  Near the end of the program, Carl wanted to know what was going to happen with planetary science after New Horizons.  A series of lunar questions came in with one asking about a lunar sample return.  I asked Emily if a lunar sample return was needed given the quantity of Moon Rocks that we have from the Apollo era.  Don’t miss her most interesting reply with a focus on possible contamination from the lunar Imbrium event.  As our program was ending, Barry wanted to know why we were using radio communications from the outer planets rather than light.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. Emily Lakdawalla can be reached through her blog or me.

Dr. Gil Levin, Friday, 1-23-15 January 24, 2015

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Dr. Gil Levin, Friday, 1-23-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2399-BWB-2015-01-23.mp3

Guest: Dr. Gil Levin. Topics: Searching for life on Mars, 1976 Viking Labeled Release Experiments 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 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 Dr. Gil Levin to discuss searching for and finding microbial life on Mars. During the first segment of our 86 minute program, Dr. Levin first responded to an email question about the type of science equipment needed to find life on Mars & why was it missing from Curiosity. He also wanted to know if it could be added to the Mars 2020 mission. As Dr. Levin pointed out, MSL and Curiosity were not equipped with any life detection instrumentation. As for Mars 2020, it will collect samples and store them for a future sample return mission to Earth. Dr. Levin had much to say about a sample return mission as part of this discussion. Dr. Levin then went over his Label Release Experiments (LRE) from the 1976 Viking Landers and said many times during the show that not only was it suitable for detecting life, it did detect life. Gil then spent the better part of the first segment talking about life detection on Mars, the need to convene an expert panel to look at all the data available today to come to scientific conclusions about microbial life on Mars and more. Listeners emailed many questions to Dr. Levin asking about bacteria that could survive in the Mars environment, perchlorates, & XE-129. Doug from S. California phoned in and wanted to know if NASA had made a choice not to detect life on Mars as he thought they were avoiding doing so. Doug had several additional questions for Dr. Levin.

In the second segment, Kirk called to ask about the chiro experiment, LRE, and the use of fresh samples. Following up on what I asked our guest as the earlier segment ended, I asked Gil what was wrong with the step by step methodology NASA was using regarding Mars life research. Later he talked about the LRE being an effective tool for today, its use of Carbon 14, then he talked about putting a microscope on Mars and why that would be beneficial. I asked Gil if he had anticipated the controversy surrounding the LRE and he said no. Another listener asked about first going to one of the Martian moons. Gil explained why he thought that was a bad idea. He was also asked about Europa instead of Mars 2020. We talked about the high interest level in finding life on Mars and Gil said he believed that their was microbial life on Mars today. Another listener wanted to know if the results of the Viking experiments were only valid for the two Viking locations or most likely widespread on Mars. Gil explained why the findings were most likely applicable across Mars. We discussed Mars and our space policy & he was asked about both RNA and DNA. Don’t miss his final comment about Occam’s razor and Martian DNA.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can email Dr. Gil Levin through me.

Matthew (Matt) Wallace, Tuesday, 12-2-14 December 3, 2014

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Matthew (Matt) Wallace, Tuesday, 12-2-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2367-BWB-2014-12-02.mp3

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Guest:  Matthew (Matt) Wallace.  Topics:  Mars science missions, Mars 2020, searching for lie on Mars.  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 Matt Wallace from our Hotel Mars program to his first appearance on The Space Show.  During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Matt talked about his early mission assignments when he first came to JPL, then his shift to the Mars program.  We also talked about how the science missions and rovers are designed, managed, and eventually flown.  I asked our guest several questions about the science missions such as how a Deimos mission might differ from a mission to the surface of Mars.  Later, a listener asked our guest about a Europa mission and how that would differ. While there are clearly differences in the missions to different destinations, the trade process, planning, team organization and such all work pretty much the same.  We did spend some time talking about a Europa mission as that mission is a favorite for many of us, our guest included Most of the Europa mission discussion was in the second segment.  Matt talked about the new science instruments that will be on board Mars 2020, plus the extensive use of heritage hardware. He also said about 70% of the original MSL & Curiosity team would be working on Mars 2020, an important fact in managing the mission, costs and assuring mission success.  Matt was asked why it was so hard to confirm microbial life on Mars now or in the past & if there was one instrument that could do that.  This proved to be a fascinating and detailed discussion so don’t miss it.  Many listener emails addressed the rover control process.  There is no real time communication with the rover so Matt explained how they send commands to the rover, how the rover processes those commands and the safeguards built into it to protect the rover from accidents, etc.  He also talked about communication windows with Earth, when antennas are pointed toward Mars, and the busy DSN.  Listener Alex asked him about the book “The Martian” and wanted to know that were an astronaut stuck on Mars or needing some sort of emergency gear or something, could a defunct Mars rover be cannibalized for parts and made to work for the purpose needed by the person on Mars.  Matt’s answer might surprise you.  Several listeners wanted to know about a human Mars mission being more efficient for finding life signs than a rover.  Matt explained the trades involved. Doug emailed in a similar question during the second segment.  Matt said its not either or.  Instead, the rovers and a human mission are synergistic with one another.  As the segment ended, our guest was asked if NASA/JPL would consider partnering with a private human mission such as Mars One to use Mars One crew members for science missions.

In the second segment, we talked about other Mars rovers and mission including Maven and Insight.  Next, the question came in about Europa that was mentioned in the earlier segment.  Doug not only asked his robotic vs. human question but he sent in another question regarding the sample return mission and what methods might be used for collecting multiple samples.  He suggested a few different collection methods.  Matt said they discuss these types of options but in the end the trades opt for simpler missions for a variety of reasons.  See what you think of his answer & post your comment on the blog.  John, a high school student, sent in a note about colleges and the best path to be able to work in the space industry.  Barbara sent in a note asking if the EDL would be Seven Minutes of Terror Part 2 since they were using the same system as used for Curiosity or would it be less stressful.  Matt said they would still be nail biting all the way down.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Matt Wallace through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.