Broadcast 2985 Open Lines for Monday

25 Sep 2017 Dr. David Livingston
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Guest:  Dr. David Livingston, Host;  Topics:  We had a diverse set of callers talking about the Musk Mars rocket plans, financing going to Mars, orbital tourism, launch rates, Falcon 9 cost components, supervolcanos & much more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,  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

Welcome to our Open Lines show for Monday evening.  We covered many diverse topics with our callers during our one segment 101 minute discussion.  Calls came in right away so I later in the show I made some topic suggestions and as promised, will put the URLs for the articles mentioned in this summary.  Our first caller was Tom from Virginia who wanted to talk about Musk talking about how he might finance his big Mars rocket at his upcoming Australian presentation at the end of Oct.  Tom suggested a huge increase in the flight rate was needed so his idea to accomplish this was orbital tourism.  I did not share his enthusiasm for his solution but we threw it around as an option for a nice discussion.  We talked about other ideas as well.  Tom thought the flight rate would have to go up to several thousand launches a year to even come close to financing the Mars rocket and program.  What do you think about what Tom said and do you think orbital tourism can make a substantial difference?  Please post your comments and thoughts on our blog regarding Tom’s ideas and how one might finance the Mars mission and rocket.

Our next caller was Kim from Mexico. We talked about earthquakes given the last OL show we did and the blog post by Mr. Fincannon in response to my Idaho earthquake swarm comments from that show.  Check out Jim’s comment on the blog for that OL show from Sept. 10.  In fact, Jim’s comments on that show led us to a blog discussion about supervolcanos, a topic that came up on this show with Kim.  In addition to discussing earthquakes and supervolcanos, Kim talked about JPL and their research on the subject, the bigger likelihood of a supervolcano exploding over getting hit by an asteroid, and the Yellowstone Caldera.  Joe from Boston sent a note to Kim asking her to define supervolcano.  If you want more, just Google for Supervolcano and you will find a variety of quality definitions.  Kim then talked about the NASA research on the subject with Brian Wilcox of JPL.  The paper Kim referenced can be found here:  Kim then updated us with some of her Moonwards work ( , we talked about skyhook technology, F9 rocket cost components and more.

John from Ft. Worth was the next caller.  He said he was having a hard time agreeing with the cost component ration given for the Falcon 9 first and second stages.  He said that he thought intuitively that it ratio percentages being stated, including those given out when Gwynne was last on The Space Show, were not right.  Of course John had no numbers to back up his being skeptical but again, he said the numbers used just don’t feel right.  Later in his call, he talked about one way to drive up the launch rate was to put propellant in space assuming the cryo transfer and issues could be resolved.  I took issue with his idea because there needed to be demand for the increased launches and the use of the propellant in space and I did not see that demand at this time.  I suggested such a demand might exist down the road sometime in the future but it was not there now. Without demand, there would be no multiple launches of propellant to orbiting depots  because nobody would be using the propellant. John talked about the Moon and other uses as potential examples.  Potential was the right word here.  Maybe down the road in the future but it is hard to plan for and build an economic case.  It is a Field of Dream concept, that is build it and they will come.  It would be terrific to see demand pick up for going to space, especially on the commercial side.  Before the segment ended, John commented on a comment made by Dr. Mike Wall, the journalist who was recently on the show.  Mike was a trained herpetologist and I asked him about his field and poisons snakes in both Australia and the US.  John brought that up with a comment and as before with the UFO subject but this time with the snake subject, John and I digressed for several minutes.  So be prepared for another Ft. Worth John digression, this time into the world of deadly snakes.  Ft. Worth John must have my diversion number because off I went in the subject.  And for those of you interested in a steak dinner at the Longhorn Steak House in Virginia, you may want to think twice about that (see 

Luis sent in a blog comment regarding Tom’s initial call regarding the Musk Mars rocket.  He too talked about purchasing propellant but my thoughts were the same with his note as with the others and that is you first need demand for the propellant. I am not seeing that demand develop at this time but I hope it changes sooner, not later.

I went on to the  suggested topics section for an OL show and I promised to give you the URLs to the articles I mentioned so here they are:

1. “Has NASA Become Mars-Obsessed?  Planetary exploration is stuck in a Martian rut”

2.  “Arecibo Observatory Remains Offline After Being Buffeted by Hurricane Maria”:

3.  “Scientists have discovered a potentially suicidal problem with going to Mars”:

4.  “NASA test the new Concorde: 2,179mph jet to fly from US to UK unveiled”

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach any of the callers or those emailing the show through me.




Open Lines For Monday: The topics you want to talk about

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