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Dr. Robert Zubrin, Tuesday, 6-2-15 June 3, 2015

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Dr. Robert Zubrin, Tuesday, 6-2-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2485-BWB-2015-06-02.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Robert (Bob) Zubrin.  Topics:  Mars Society Convention 2015, Convention debate topics, HSF to Mars issues & concerns.  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. Robert (Bob) Zubrin to discuss the upcoming Mars Society Convention in Washington, DC from August 13-16, 2015 (see www.marssociety.org/a/marssociety.org/www/conventions/18th-annual-international-mars-society-convention). During our 1 hour 45 minute program without a break, Dr. Zubrin not only told us about the upcoming Mars Society Convention for 2015, but talked about Human Spaceflight (HSF) to Mars by addressing many specific issues, concerns, and topics.  Starting off with the Convention, it is August 13-16, 2015 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.  Special hotel prices are available at the Phoenix Park Hotel (see www.marssociety.org/conventions/18th-annual-international-mars-society-convention/hotel-and-transportation for reservation details).  Bob told us about the keynote speakers but also the special format this year for debates. Several topics will be debated including Moon vs. Mars, Mars One feasibility with the MIT team and Bas from Mars One, how best to achieve commercial space plus other topics.  Bob then started getting questions from listeners & myself on a wide variety of Mars HSF mission topics.  To start with, I asked Bob to comment on what several recent Space Show guests have said about our not being ready for HSF to Mars for a variety of reasons including radiation, other human factors, the costs, and the trip risk which would turn it into a survival mission and nothing more.  Before Bob responded to my specific question, he commented on the recent radiation paper, “How a trip to Mars would mess with your brain.”  Bob was very critical of this paper and spent time going through it and showing where he believed it to be bogus.  You can read Bob’s critique at www.marssociety.org/home/press/announcements/invalidclaimsmadeforwhathappenstoyourbrainonthewaytomarspublication.  Bob spent a good amount of time debunking the original article so don’t miss his comments.  Before moving on, I again asked Bob to respond specifically to what my guests had said as none of them mentioned the paper in question.  We had an interesting discussion on risk taking and the role of government as part of our discussion.  John in Florida called to ask about the concept of a nuclear explosion on Mars per Space Show guest Dr. John Brandenberg.  This led to questions about shortages of PU238, space policy & political leadership. Doug had questions about an Earth Return Mission and later he eventually called in to get a more precise answer to what he was asking.  We talked about one way missions, how best to explore Mars, and the responsible way to tackle the eventual settlement on Mars.  Emmet from NY called in to ask about Elon Musk Mars and NASA plans and why they seem to ignore going for artificial gravity.  Again, Bob had much to say about this issue which he said was different for Musk and NASA.  He felt Musk would address it as the challenge became more real for him.  As far as NASA goes, he said it was criminal to have avoided the issue for decades.  Don’t miss his comments.  Jackie emailed in a question about character in the book “The Martian,” wanting to know if crew were stranded on Mars could they actually do some of the things the character in the book did to survive.  You might be surprised by Bob’s answer.  Matt in Germany asked a question about Mars via the Moon, BJohn asked about the use of a cycler for Mars transportation & Kirk called to talk about an article he had read about fossil ice at Valles Marineris.  Kirk will post a comment about this on the blog after the show is archived.  Next up was the subject of terraforming Mars. Bob had much to say about this plus he offered a possible terraforming timeline. Doug then wanted to know if Bob was referring to paraterraforming when he mentioned the use of Domes on the Martian surface but Bob said no.  Tim called to talk about the radiation paper discussed earlier and mentioned a second experiment saying that antioxidants negated the radiation effects. Bob was not familiar with the second study but summarized his comments about the paper.

BJohn emailed in about rocket advances from the Saturn V for a Mars mission, we talked about what it would mean to use a Falcon Heavy for Mars missions, then Marshall called to inquire about sources of power on Mars, particularly nuclear and getting a large enough nuclear reactor to Mars.  Marshall and Bob talked about a Topaz like reactor.  Another question came up about using the Martian moons for the early human missions rather than Mars.  Bob explained why in his mind this was not a good idea.  He then compared the radiation dosage of long term ISS usage for ISS astronauts to the transit time and radiation dosage for a Martian crew.  Don’t miss what Bob had to say about this.  In Bob’s concluding comments, we focused on the upcoming convention but also on the importance NASA and a HSF mission to Mars in the context of the world today.  This is an important part of our program so don’t miss it.  In concluding, Bob said “It is time again for NASA to astound the world to show what free men can do.”  You will likely hear me use Bob’s closing statement on many future Space Show programs.

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

Darren Charrier, Tuesday, 5-5-15 May 6, 2015

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Darren Charrier, Tuesday, 5-5-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2468-BWB-2015-05-05.mp3

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Guest:  Darren Charrier.  Topics:  Darren’s SEDS projects for a 3D printed engine, lunar lander, 6U cubesat communications unit, HE3 lunar mining & 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 UCSD freshman aerospace engineering student Darren Charrier to the show to discuss his UCSD SEDS projects including building a 3D rocket motor and a 6U cubesat communications center for their lunar lander. Make sure you see the video of his TED talk, www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9umkenQDoY.  In the first segment of our 1 hour 27 minute program, Darren started off explaining his interest in space, the Moon, and mining lunar HE3 to solve energy problems around the world.  He also explained why he decided to attend UCSD over other aerospace engineering schools.  We then got into the specifics of the three SEDs projects being worked on at UCSD by Darren’s team, the 3D printed rocket motor which was an existing program before Darren came to UCSD, plus the lunar lander and the 6U cubesat lunar orbiting communications satellite needed for their lunar lander.  The group intends to ride share to the Moon but it was too early to announce anything specific about that.  The timeline is by Darren’s graduation from UCSD in approximately four years.  We also learned that the 3D rocket motor will enter the competition later this summer in Green River, UT (we usually do a Space Show program on this event once the winners are known), plus their 6U cubesat bird will be entered in a NASA competition.  Darren was asked about his team and the UCSD administrative support for their projects, plus he was asked for specifics regarding the 3D printed rocket motor including its performance specs.  Darren talked about fuels that will likely be used by the 3D motor plus they may use a version of it to propel the lunar lander which they want to make a soft landing on the lunar surface.  Abut the lander, I inquired what it would do on the surface.  He said they would be pleased if it accomplished the soft landing plus survived a lunar day.  They want it to call home and take photos.  Our guest received several questions about the UCSD SEDS chapter as well as SEDS on a national level.  One listener asked him if they had ITAR issues, especially with foreign students.  Don’t miss his response to this question.  Bill called from Chicago to talk about Darren given he knows hm.  We learned much about this young, inspired student and future industry leader.

In the second segment, I asked Darren if he wanted to carry out his lunar plans as a private company or with government. He wants to be a private company with the government as a customer.  We also talked about Darren’s larger set of plans for the Moon including his starting a lunar landing business, servicing lunar tourism, additional mining over and above HE3 and more.   When asked about going to Mars, he said the path to Mars was through the Moon.  He supported asteroid mining but thinks it is far from being ready now and the path again goes through the Moon.  Doug called to ask more questions about the 3D motor and mining HE3 on the Moon. This latter subject was a major part of the Part 2 discussion with listeners as there were many questions about mining HE3, fusion development, HE3 on Earth, and even seriously using thorium rather than trying to develop lunar HE3 resources.  John from Ft. Worth called in on this and suggested using lunar HE3 for advanced spacecraft propulsion from the Moon rather than bringing it back to Earth.  There was plenty of listener interest in the fusion-HE3 discussion.  Returning to asteroid mining, Darren said one of his goals was to mine asteroids but that it was still a very long ways off.  He said “mine the moon first!”.  As the show was ending, we talked some more about thorium here on Earth, appropriate conferences for Darren to attend and he gave a shout out to his team members.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog  You can reach Darren through me.

 

Dr. Tony Milligan, Monday, 3-30-15 March 31, 2015

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Dr. Tony Milligan, Monday, 3-30-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2444-BWB-2015-03-30.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Tony Milligan.  Topics:  Dr. Milligan’s new book, “Nobody Owns the Moon: The Ethics of Space Exploitation” plus commercial space development ethical issues.  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 Dr. Tony Milligan to the show to discuss his new book, “Nobody Owns the Moon:  The Ethics of Space Exploitation.”  Note that at approximately 1 hour 47 minutes into the program we lost our guest.  I took a short break and was able to get him back with us for the final ten minutes of our 1 hour 58 minute discussion.  In the first segment of the show, Dr. Milligan introduced us to the book and the topic from a moral and ethical perspective.  He said that he was in the middle range from not wanting any space development activity for ethical reasons to uncontrolled commercial development as in free market activity.  He said we had an obligation to do it right but defining what right meant was challenging.  I asked him about enforcement and that turned out to be a significant discussion topic for most of our program.  I took an early call from Kris in Wyoming who challenged our guest on all levels given his wanting to put a thorium reactor on the Moon, dispose of thorium waste inside a crater, and fuel a lunar settlement.  Kris and Tony went back and forth on the issues, approvals that should be required, trivial versus non-trivial, who decides or makes the decisions.  Tony cited the Sphinx and Pyramids to make a point which Kris and others rejected during their give and take and the show.  One of the issues that kept coming up was that the celestial item in discussion had cultural significance which Tony worked to define.  Many emails were received and discussed regarding cultural significance issues, the comparisons to terrestrial monuments and a celestial body, plus the point that the development on the Moon or Mars would not be visible from Earth so why should it matter.  See if you agree with Dr. Milligan on the visibility issue.  We talked about Ch. 7 in his book on mining off world.  Trivial and non-trivial pursuits came up again as our guest would not be inclined to approve a trivial pursuit but if it was significant, it would probably be approved.  Of course who decides if a project is trivial or not and then attempts to enforce all of this remains an issue.  Michael Listner called in and largely supported our guest saying this discussion was highly relevant.  We also talked about the NASA ARM mission , lunar protection, and more.

In the second segment, Tim from Huntsville was our first caller. He misread the bio for our guest but wanted to talk about vandalism and other issues but they were descriptive used for another book written by Dr. Milligan.  More emails came in including from Doug wanting to know who or by what process the Moon was assigned value and are there other countries where one could go to do commercial activities in space without regard to the issues our guest was speaking about.  Don’t miss Tony’s response to both of Doug’s questions.  Kirk wanted to know if Tony thought there was a difference in speaking about these issues in Europe as compared to the U.S. , then Doug called to talk with Tony about striking a balance and getting Tony to say what he would and would not be willing to approve.  In this discussion the cultural value of the Moon came up as Doug asked if he would approve this or that project.  Of course this means that Tony, someone else or some organization would have the approval or disapproval power based on certain criteria that may or may not be objective or to the liking of the entrepreneur for reasons totally contrary to the project’s goals.  Doug talked about the rational man standard but even that can be subjective as everyone always believes they are being rational.  I used as an example the current nuclear talks with Iran.  From the Iranian perspective, their demands are rational and in keeping with their “rational man” standards but not ours.  Michael Listner emailed in about the Apollo landing sites NASA guidelines.  Other emails came in including one four part note from Ken.  Tony responded to Ken with one consolidated answer for all his four questions.  Perhaps Ken will post his questions on the blog though I read the email on air.  Tim called back about the time we lost Tony on the call. Tim wanted to talk about Common Heritage of Mankind and benefit sharing plus the UN but Tony was already off the call.  I paused the discussion to get Tony back on the line for the last ten minutes of our show.  When Tony came back on we talked about the differences in the Moon and Mars regarding ethical issues, settlement as being trivial or non-trivial, and that only non-trivial pursuits should be permitted.  In the end, our guest said his book was meant to open these discussions and that all sides should be represented and have a voice, even those poorer nations that cannot access or do anything with space though he did not say they should have an equal voice to the space fairing nations.  As the program was ending, I asked Dr. Milligan about his upcoming book which will be an edited volume on these issues featuring both sides to the argument.  For sure we will invited Dr. Milligan back when that book is available.

Post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Dr. Milligan through me or his University of Hertfordshire website.  If you buy his book, please do so through the OGLF Amazon portal so that Amazon will contribute to The Space Show. Instructions are on all website archived summaries as well as the blog archive summaries.

 

Dr. Pamela “Rai” Menges, Friday, 3-27-15 March 28, 2015

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Dr. Pamela “Rai” Menges, Friday, 3-27-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2442-BWB-2015-03-27.mp3

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Guest: Dr. Pamela “Rai” Menges. Topics: Space innovation, privately funded research, The Space Power Lab, nuclear power & weapons, commercial space & 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 Dr. Pamela “Rai” Menges to the show. I suggest you visit her websites and follow along as applicable with our discussion. Visit http://arsispace.com/spacetechnology.htm and http://starsailorenergy.com. During the first segment of our 1 hour 47 minute show, Dr. Menges introduced us to Aerospace Research Systems, Inc. (ARSI) and talked about the company history dating back to its founding in 1993. We talked about research technologies, private R&D, government funding for research, and specific projects referenced by our guest including the Space Power Laboratory. At one point Dr. Menges discussed the pros and cons of taking government research money and why she elected not to do so. Also, the use of public relations (PR) and the role it plays with those accepting government money. After a brief mention and discussion of the possible space policy positions presented by Ohio Senator Rob Portman, we turned our attention toward power storage and the work our guest has been doing in this area for non-electrolytic power storage. Don’t miss this discussion. Another topic was the use of AC and DC power transmission, the Carrington Event in the 1800’s, and our electrical grid. Jack emailed about the spaceplane shown on the ARSI website, the Ramstar Model. Our guest had much to say about this experimental spaceplane concept and design. I

n the second segment, Ben in Boston asked about telemedicine commercial astronaut healthcare per the descriptive on the ARSI website. Pamela went into detail about this topic, their work with JSC and more. We then spoke to the issue of commercial astronaut safety in general with our guest expressing her thoughts of the safety issues within the industry and the regulatory environment. Later in the segment, the concept of ground effect vehicles came up along with advanced hypersonic technology and even SSTO possibilities. I asked our guest about nuclear propulsion and then several listeners asked her about it as well. Carol’s email took us on a different path as she asked about the need for lots of centrifuges for a peaceful nuclear energy program. This opened the door for our guest to speak about nuclear weapons, the current talks with Iran, and the treaty organizations that safeguard against proliferation. Pamela had much to say about this subject, our government, the Iranians, enrichment, centrifuges, trust but verify and more. Do not miss this discussion. Ft. Worth John called to ask about the use of centrifuges as opposed to other technologies such as gaseous diffusion. Near the end of the program, Luis emailed us about Reaction Engines and the Skylon project space plane. He too sent in a question about winged ground effect vehicles. Kristopher emailed us to check out “Caspian sea monster” on YouTube for an example of these vehicles. Dr. Menges talked about her new book that will be out in the near future and for Pearls of Wisdom suggested “doing what you want to do to pursue your dreams.”

Please post comments/questions on The Space Show blog above. You can email Dr. Menges through her websites or me.

Dr. James Dewar, Dr. John Jurist, Monday, 3-2-15 March 3, 2015

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Dr. James Dewar, Dr. John Jurist, Monday, 3-2-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2426-BWB-2015-03-02.mp3

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Guests: Dr. James Dewar, Dr. John Jurist. Topics: Nuclear propulsion, nuclear policy, technology 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 Dr. James Dewar and Dr. John Jurist back to the show to discuss nuclear propulsion and rocket. During the first segment of our 1 hour 40 minute discussion, Both Dr. Dewar and Dr. Jurist talked about the nuclear rocket technology, fuel, cores, past experiences, and how best to modernize the nuclear rocket and move forward with new development. Most of the callers talked technology so this first segment is very technology heavy. Space attorney Michael Listner sent in emails suggesting it would never happen due to the regulatory side of things plus he provided us with the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space policy on using nuclear power in space (www.unoosa.org/oosa/SpaceLaw/nps.html). Listener Kristopher spoke to our guests about core options and fuels. Check out this site that he sent us: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist.php#ntrvapor. Toward the end of the first segment, I said that after the break the second segment would focus on what to do to make the nuclear rocket policy and to start the program and develop this form of advanced propulsion. Both Dr. Dewar and Dr. Jurist agreed.

In the second segment, we did focus on the need for leadership and organizational structure for developing the nuclear rocket and starting with nuclear propulsion. We had several callers and emails addressing how to sell a nuclear rocket program. Dr. Dewar talked about the economic benefits, jobs, opening up more of space to economic growth and access. I asked about chokepoints and both our guests suggested the biggest chokepoint was the absence of young, passionate, and competent leadership. Related issues that came included how best to get the support of congress as well as the American people, plus why a nuclear rocket was important and should be developed.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog per the above URL. You can reach either guest through me.

 

Dennis Wingo, Tuesday, 2-3-15 February 4, 2015

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Dennis Wingo, Tuesday, 2-3-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2407-BWB-2015-02-03.mp3

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Guest:  Dennis Wingo; Topics: Apollo space program, government space programs, national prestige, economic solar system development.  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 Dennis Wingo back to the show to discuss his outstanding article, “The Quagmire of The Apollo Space Program” (see https://denniswingo.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/the-quagmire-of-the-apollo-space-program).  During the first segment of our 1 hour 58 minute discussion, Dennis started out by telling us about his interest in the subject and why he decided to research and write the article in question.  He methodically took us through many of his resources and research methods, highlighting a few resources along the way that were instrumental in his analysis and coming to his conclusions.  One resource he discussed was Ralph Cordiner, the former General Electric CEO.  He also cited many examples in support of his conclusions so I strongly urge you to read his article in association with listening to this program.  He also cited the references indicating that entrepreneurial activity was not what they wanted to happen as an outgrowth of Apollo as it was meant to be a national prestige program.  Given the dysfunction with government, Doug emailed in asking about public/private partnerships.  Dennis offered qualified support for them but listen to what he had to say on this hybrid model.  Dennis then talked about R&D tax credits but for start-ups, the Zero G Zero Tax program was better.  Much of our ongoing discussion in both segments focused on aspects of the Zero G Zero Tax concept.  Doug sent in several emails asking about Zero G Zero Tax before the segment ended.

In the second segment, Charles Lurio called and wanted to know if Pro Space or any organization would be pushing for Zero G Zero Tax this year.  Dennis did not think so but it might happen.  In response to other questions, Dennis explained how Zero G Zero Tax might work because it would only be applicable for new businesses, not existing businesses.  Don’t miss this explanation.  Later, Doug asked if we were running out of resources on Earth that might cause a need for space resource development.  Dennis had much to say on this, especially regarding rare earth elements.  This prompted a call from Kristophr about thorium as a reason the US does not develop its huge rare earth element resources while China does develop theirs plus they stockpile the thorium for future use.  Dennis and Kristophr had a very interesting conversation about this topic and I assure you, you do not want to miss it.  As the segment advanced, Dennis spoke to the commercial opportunities arising from the ISS which he said were very important.  SLS came up and he said it was a done deal but that the key was to focus on what was good and could be built by private enterprise to economically develop the solar system which should be the goal.  To this end, we talked about the need for a transportation system, cislunar development, the asteroids, etc.  In his summary comments, Dennis said that for the bottom line, there were lots of positive things going on at this time.  He spoke to free people and private enterprise leading the way to the economic development of the solar system.  I believe his closing comments spoke to the interests of almost all of us listening to The Space Show.

Please post your comments on TSS blog above. You can reach Dennis Wingo through me or his blog.

Keith Henson, Sunday, 12-2-12 December 3, 2012

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Keith Henson, Sunday, 12-2-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1905-BWB-2012-12-02.mp3

Guest:  Keith Henson.   Topics SSP using laser rockets to lower the cost of space access.  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 Keith Henson to the program to discuss the use of laser powered rockets for launching space powered satellites to help eliminate the use of fossil fuels as well as lower the cost of space access.  To assist in your following our discussion, check out this laser rocket graphic at http://bit.ly/Uj9Vw9.  Also, Keith has several related published articles on the OilDrum blog.  You can download and read his articles at www.theoildrum.com/search/apachesolr_search/keith%20henson. Finally, our guest has permitted me to upload his recent PPT conference presentation to The Space Show blog, “Laser Propulsion and Space Based Solar Power.”  Please be sure to check out this presentation by visiting our blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. During our first segment, Mr. Henson talked about the need for low cost energy and said that by using laser rockets and his SSP ideas, the cost for electrical power generation could be as low as 2 cents/Kwh to GEO.  We spent a good portion of our discussion debating Keith’s assumptions behind the 2 cents/Kwh.  I referenced my costs per my PG&E invoice and other listeners emailed and called in regarding their electrical costs per their utility bills.  Keith has asked for people disagreeing to let him know where he may be going wrong so please post your comments on our blog and Keith will respond. He said several times that he wanted your critique and comments.  Many listeners as well as myself pushed him on his assumptions, wanting more factual information on how arrived at his conclusions.  He has this information pending publication with the British Interplanetary Society so for the moment, its under pre-publication boycott but as soon as Keith clears it, I will post his material on the blog and announce it on air. Later in our initial segment, we talked about the laser rocket being a weapon. This discussion sparked lots of listener participation. We also talked about SSP for insitu use rather than power beaming back to Earth.  Keith brought up the new developments with Reaction Engines out of the UK. Here is there recent press release in case you missed it: www.reactionengines.co.uk/news_updates.html. Listeners did call in to tell Keith that SSP did not make sense for a variety of reasons, including not closing a business case, with or without laser rockets.  Jerry offered such comments as did Charles. Also, without consent, AT&T installed call waiting on the toll free line. I finally figured this out & edited out several of the comments & my complaint.  The matter should be resolved for all toll free calls moving forward but about 1hr 30 minutes into the program, you will hear a rough edit where I removed the call waiting rants.
     In the second segment, we continued debating Keith’s costs plus his ROI assumptions. Fusion came up for discussion as well as already existent successful powered sat beamed energy back to Earth.  Toward the end of our program, Keith talked about his target of reducing dollars per gasoline by using laser rockets and SSP.
      Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above. Keith can be emailed at hkeithhensonATgmailDOTcom.
Laser Rockets & SSP

Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, Jake Dodd, Monday, 11-26-12 November 27, 2012

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Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, Jake Dodd, Monday, 11-26-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1901-BWB-2012-11-26.mp3

Guests:  Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, Jake Dodd.  Topics: This program discusses Jake’s concept of placing a nuclear fuel plant in space in support of nuclear propulsion/space needs.  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 back Dr. Madhu Thangalevu and his student Jake Dodd to discuss the concept of SNAP-X: The Space Nuclear Activation Plant.  I have uploaded his AIAA paper by the same title and his Power Point slide presentation to The Space Show blog which should provide you with more specific information about Jake’s concept.  Essentially, the plan calls for putting a breeder reactor in space to supply nuclear fuel for space needs safely rather than launching from Earth all the time.  During our first segment, both Professor Thangavelu and Mr. Dodd explained the concept in detail.  We talked about weapons proliferation in the process, the breeder reactor and why that was the chosen technology, the safety in place for this technology, and the use of it in the EML1 location and why.  Part of our conversation focused in on projected time lines and development costs as I tried to get an idea of what would be involved in bringing this project to at least an Earth-based demo status.  Listeners emailed and called in about the problems given the amount of fear within the public and parts of the government every time the word nuclear is mentioned, then saying that the use of a breeder reactor heightens that societal fear level.  We discussed ways of dealing with this during our discussion.  In addition, listeners questioned the safety of a breeder reactor and the use of Thorium as a non-weapon nuclear fuel.

In our second segment, we talked more about tight budgets, private and public partnerships, and international cooperation to bring this project to at least demo status.  Charles called in to challenge our guests on their Thorium comments regarding conversion to U-233 which he said was an effective fuel for weapons as was U-235.  I believe you will find this exchange most useful in understanding many of the issues regarding this project.  Our guests brought up the nuclear rocket history and the NERVA project, plus we asked Jake for his plan of attack in getting his project going.  As our program was ending, Madhu talked about his next Design Studio Class which culminates with new student projects on Dec. 18th.

I look forward to talking about many of these projects on The Space Show in 2013.  Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  If you want to email either of our guests, please do so through me.

Here are the two documents we talked about during the show regarding Jake’s concept.

Dodd AIAASpace2012

Jake_Dodd_SNAP-X_AIAA_Paper

Dr. James Dewar, Sunday, 2-12-12 February 12, 2012

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Dr. James Dewar, Sunday, 2-12-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1711-BWB-2012-02-12.mp3

NUCLEAR THERMAL ROCKETS

Guest:  Dr. James (Jim) A. Dewar.  Topics:  Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR), changing paradigms to use the NTR from Earth launch, nuclear economics.  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. Dewar back to The Space Show to further discuss the Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) and his paradigm changing approach to use the NTR to launch from Earth rather than using it only in space.  During this nearly 2.5 hour discussion, Dr. Dewar makes the case for the NTR based on probable economics, the previous history associated with NERVA, and the assumed benefits flowing to private companies engaged in public private partnerships along the lines Dr. Dewar described.  In the first segment, Dr. Dewar started out describing the existing barriers to using the NTR to LEO rather than only in space, plus he referred us to his 29 page introductory paper which is available on The Space Show blog for your download and review.  During this segment, we fielded many listener emails and calls wanting to discuss the NTR ISP, possible fuels, testing, and legal issues impacting the use of the nuclear rocket. Michael called and talked about the discussions for a new treaty, the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) and how that would adversely impact using the NTR.  Dr. Dewar talked about treaty issues over the years and suggested that treaties are not that easy to establish in this era while suggesting that they could also be modified.  Near the end of the first segment, questions about thorium came up as did questions about additional commercial uses for the nuclear engine here on Earth. 

In the second longer segment, we talked about winning over the public and the media.  Charles Pooley called in with a set of questions and we talked about reentry vehicles, highly enriched uranium, and more.  Jim described a Titan missile accident in Arkansas as an example of the safety controls even in a very large explosion.  Another listener asked about cooling and Jim told us about pulse cooling.  Dr. Dewar’s air launch idea was brought up again by another caller andMarshall sent in an email inquiring about the nuclear engine replacing coal in our terrestrial power plants to make electricity.  I asked Dr. Dewar about risk assessment for the nuclear rocket and reprocessing given terrorism, etc.  He said the reprocessed material would be carefully guarded but also weighed against the environmental risks associated with burying waste, burning it, or even dumping waste in the ocean.  Dr. Dewar was asked about using the nuclear rocket only in space rather than attempting to use it to launch from Earth.  He compared using it only in space to the Pony Express. Don’t miss his full response in replying to this question.  Later in this segment, I asked Jim for his first step in advancing the NTR.  He said the first step was to get people talking about the subject.  Tom called in and also wondered how to get people to rally to the cause.  Near the end of the program, Jim talked some more about potential economic benefits along with secondary commercial products such as heat pipes.  As our program was ending ion engines came up as did Vasimr.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  If you want to contact Dr. Dewar, send your note to me for forwarding.

To download and read Dr. Dewar’s paper, see below:

A Technical and Economic Introduction to Nuclear Rockets

A Technical Note on Nuclear Rockets-1

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Dr. Steve Howe, Tuesday, 1-24-12 January 25, 2012

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Dr. Steve Howe, Tuesday, 1-24-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1697-BWB-2012-01-24.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Steven Howe.  Topics:  space nuclear power for power & propulsion systems, & radioisotope power generators. 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.  You will want to follow the websites along with our guest:  http://csnr.usra.edu/index.html &  www.usra.edu.  If you are interested in the CSNR 2012 Summer Fellowship Program, you can learn more & apply no later than March 9, 2012  from CSNR at  http://csnr.usra.edu/2012_summer_app2.html.  We welcomed Dr. Howe to the program to discuss space nuclear power.  We started out with an overview of both the Center for Space Nuclear Research & the Universities Space Research Association.  Dr. Howe then told us that they were working on nuclear rockets with the Aerojet Corporation, focusing on a new fuel form away from based on tungsten.  During our discussion, he had much to say about this fuel, its advantages, & its testing.  He also talked about ISP & thrust to weight ratios.  He was asked about testing & we learned they plan on doing ground tests at the Nevada Test Site.  Listen to why their tests will be different from earlier nuclear rocket engine tests & how they are expelling the exhaust into the ground.  You will hear There is no radiation, only hydrogen which bleeds into the rock strata.  We also talked about public concern for nuclear power in space, then we shifted our focus to a nuclear rocket mission to Mars.  Dr. Howe told us about the three year Mars mission but also said with a nuclear rocket a one year mission would be possible.  We also talked about the costs for developing the nuclear rocket as well as the possibility of other countries doing it before the U.S.  Next, we talked about the use of uranium & even the possibility of thorium, including why thorium is not useful for weapons. One listener question asked about the Mars Direct method & insitu resource utilization.  Dr. Howe supported the use of insitu but suggested it for later trips as it might be too risky for the initial trips.  He then described their Mars Hopper project which will certainly interest us all.  As this segment ended, we talked about using the nuclear rocket for going to the Moon & for a lunar & even Martian habitat. 

As we started our second segment, Dr. Howe was asked if QuickLaunch could be useful.  Dr. Dewar sent in a clarification note about U-233 as a byproduct of  thorium & why its a problem for weapons.  In talking about a lunar habitat, Dr. Howe told us about the NASA Fission Surface Power Program (FSP).  We also talked about using the new tungsten fuel for habitats.  He told us about the Nuclear Thermal Mars Sample Mission Study that compared the nuclear rocket to Delta IV launches.  Listeners asked about Vasimr & our guest was asked to clarify for us the differences between nuclear electric propulsion & nuclear thermal propulsion & why the latter is preferable.  Dr. Dewar sent in another note to talk about Y-12.  Later, much was said about plutonium & its pending shortage.  Make sure you hear what Dr. Howe had to say about this looming shortage. Near the end, Dr. Howe mentioned his efforts with Hbar Technologies, LLC, suggesting that possibly using these nuclear advancements for medicine, specifically cancer, might be a driver for space applications. As we concluded, Dr. Howe told us about his books on Kindle & the consolidated all in one book, “Earth Rise.”  Here is the Amazon URL & remember, if you buy it using this URL, Amazon contributes to The Space Show: www.amazon.com/Earth-Rise-ebook/dp/B005LD3LYS/ref=onegialeafou-20

Post your comments/questions on the blog URL above.

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