Broadcast 3142 Dr. Anita Sengupta, Special time: 9AM PDT

29 Jun 2018 Dr. Anita Sengupta
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Guest:  Dr. Anita Sengupta; Topics:  NASA's Cold Atom Lab Experiment and the hyperloop technology and development status.

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We welcomed back to the show Dr. Anita Sengupta for a one segment 60 minute discussion regarding the NASA Cold Atom Lab experiment now on the ISS plus hyperloop technology and development.  For the first part of our discussion, Dr. Sengupta talked about the Cold Atom Lab project and experiment.  This experiment makes use of a laser-cooling quantum physics facility on the ISS which will create the coldest spot in the universe.  You can learn more about the Cold Atom Lab here:  https://coldatomlab.jpl.nasa.gov.  Anita talked about and explained the Bose-Einstein Condensates (BEC) and the physics of super-fluid Fermi gases. Laser cooling was discussed as well.

Listeners asked our guest several questions including questions about this being a tech demo so what was planned to come next.  BJohn asked an electric propulsion question regarding electric engines being better served by a solar or a nuclear power source.  Helen wanted to know about power supply limitations and issues on the ISS which might adversely impact the experiment.  Our guest talked about ISS power as well as vibration.  Don't miss what she said about these important topics.  Listener John wanted to know about special crew training to run the experiment.  As you will hear, most of the experiment is autonomous.  Before we went to the second part of the show, Bob wanted to know about just how Anita and others figure out how to do all of these experiments and build and develop the various space missions and hardware.  Our guest had much to say in response to Bob, especially about teams.  Note that she said it did not matter what school the person had gone to but she did tell us what does matter.  Don't miss all of what she said in her answer to Bob.

For the balance of our program we turned our attention to hyperloop. Anita said it was a decades old concept with roots in science fiction.  She said she remembered seeing versions of it as a kid watching the Jetsons.  Anita described the technology including the vacuum tubes, the pumps needed, resistance, taking power from the grid, payload capacity and more.  We talked about speeds and the g acceleration force.  Also discussed were travel times between destinations. 

Some concerns brought up in the discussion included the potential regulatory plus environmental concerns with municipalities.  Much was said on this topic.  I asked about project ownership.  Would the hyperloop company own and operate the service or would a government entity do it.  Anita suggested the most plausible and perhaps the best path would be for public private partnerships to be created for hyperloop operations. 

Later in the segment, Paul wanted to know if grid power was sufficient given the fact that we are constantly being told we have to fix and modernize our grid.  Anita talked about power requirements, the grid, and possible alternative power sources.  Another topic was about the location of the tubes.  As you will hear, they can be on the surface, underground, underwater or elevated.   This led to a discussion of building a hyperloop on the lunar surface or on Mars.  Don't miss what our guest had to say about this. 

Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Sengupta on our blog. You can reach our guest through me or her website, www.anitasengupta.com

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