Broadcast 1547 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Dr Thomas (Tom) Jones. Topics: Space Shuttle, space policy, planetary protection. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. We welcomed Dr. Tom Jones back to the program to discuss the retirement of the shuttle, planetary protection, space policy, and the possibilities for human spaceflight and why. We started off talking about the upcoming Endeavor launch scheduled for Friday, April 29. We then discussed human rating rockets and the need for abort and escape systems. In our first segment, we also addressed the space workforce issues arising out of our current space policy. Dr. Jones had much to say about this issue. We discussed how best to talk to our elected representatives regarding space policy matters and then a listener asked our guest about a space policy without time lines and destinations as part of the policy. Don't miss what Tom had to say about why time lines and destinations were important components of a good policy. As we started our second segment, we talked about what lies ahead with beyond LEO. We discussed the Moon and going to an asteroid. Tom outlined the budget problem in way that was easy to understand and suggested that by adding $2 billion a year or 10% over a decade, NASA could afford to go someplace. We also talked about destinations as part of an international consortium. Tom pointed out some of the risks with the transition to commercial providers, including the liability problem. Later on, space tourism was brought up. Again, you will want to hear what Tom had to say about this developing industry. In our third segment, Dr. Jones discussed planetary protection. He told us about Asteroid 2005 YU55 and November 8, 2011, a story you can read about at You do not want to miss what he said about this 400 meter diameter hazard to Earth. We talked about sky surveys, the need for better telescopes, and the risks facing Earth by not being able to identify more of the dangerous items that have the potential to impact Earth. This is a very important discussion so don't miss it. As you will hear, it is a global problem but it appears that the U.S. is in the drivers seat and doing the brunt of the research plus footing the bill for it even though we are only spending about $4.2 million a year which is woefully short of what is needed. To learn more about this problem, check out and As we closed the program, we discussed the fact that Houston JSC did not get a Space Shuttle for museum display. In the context of this discussion, Dr. Jones talked about the very strong human spaceflight history at JSC, oversight, and the recent Wayne Hale article on why JSC did not get a shuttle. He also directed us to read the last chapter of his book, "Sky Walking" which he said was right on target with this discussion. His book will be available on the OGLF Amazon partners page, and if you buy it there, Amazon makes a contribution to The Space Show. Visit for more information about Dr. Tom Jones. Post your comments & questions on The Space Show blog URL above. You can also contact Dr. Jones through his website or using



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25 Apr 2011 Dr. Thomas D. Jones
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