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Broadcast 453 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on January 31st, 2006
Guest: Dr. Paul Hardersen
Dr. Paul Hardersen what the guest for this special Friday morning Space Show program. We began our discussion by inquiring about the observatory that is at the University of North Dakota, the plans for remodeling it, what it will be able to do and the opportunities it will afford students, and the fund raising campaigns designed to support the program. We then switched topics to asteroids, one of the areas of special interest and expertise for Dr. Hardersen. Our discussion was wide ranging from robotic exploitation of the asteroids to the space transportation needed to get to and from an asteroid. We talked about nickel and metal as well as platinum metals, mining, transmission delays even to the Moon and how such delays can adversely impact even lunar robotics. We also discussed the architecture being used for RTM and the VSE, the politics of the VSE, and the need for a manned program versus just a robotic program. Dr. Hardersen also discussed the politics of federal budget allocations for scientific research projects and how projects get prioritized. In response to a listener question, Dr. Hardersen even talked about the publish or perish mentality at universities throughout the country. Both Dr. Hardersen and I spoke about the UND Department of Space Studies, how to apply to the program, the fields of study within the program, and the general admission requirements. You can send Dr. Hardersen follow up questions or comments at or you can do so through me at

About our guest...

Dr. Paul Hardersen
Dr. Paul Hardersen is an Associate Professor in the Space Studies Department at the University of North Dakota. Dr. Hardersen is also the manager of the UND Observatory, although this is not a formally defined position at UND. Dr. Hardersen is responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, and operation of the observatory’s astronomical equipment, which includes four Internet controllable‐telescopes – three optical (one 10‐ and two 16‐inch aperture) and one radio (2.1‐meter‐diameter). The optical telescopes can conduct astrometric, photometric, and visible‐wavelength spectroscopic research; the radio telescope conducts H I (i.e., neutral hydrogen) observations. All of the UND telescopes are a part of the Space Grant Internet Telescope Network (SGITN), which is a nascent national network of small, Internet‐controllable observatories that are available for research and education for college students. Please visit these web sites for more information:, Renovation and construction at the UND Observatory has been underway since 2005with the investment of ~$200,000 from university departmental, college, alumnus, and private donations. Dr. Hardersen has almost single‐handedly built this facility, located~10 miles west of Grand Forks on university property, from a non‐functioning site to a site that is now offering a multi‐wavelength, multi‐telescope research capability that can support faculty and student research projects from anywhere in the world via their remote operation. The UND Observatory boasts a capability available at few universities – most notably among those that do not have an astronomy department (like UND) or a long record of research in the astronomical sciences. It should also be noted that this entire effort is beyond Dr. Hardersen’s required job description of teaching, research, and service. The UND Observatory will be fully operational by August 2010. Since 2005, the UND Observatory has been used by students enrolled in SpSt 425: Observational Astronomy. The facilities have also been used to partially support one M.S. thesis research project and three M.S. independent study research projects. Hardersen, P.S., 2008. North Dakota Space Grant Consortium: The latest and greatest in 2008. Western Regional Space Grant meeting, Jackson, Wyoming, September 25‐27, 2008. Hardersen, P.S., 2008. Annual meeting of the North Dakota NASA EPSCoR Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Fargo, North Dakota, September 5, 2008. Hardersen, P.S., 2007. Annual meeting of the North Dakota NASA EPSCoR Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Fargo, North Dakota, August 23, 2008.

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