Broadcast 421 (Special Edition)

04 Dec 2005 Dr. Kevin Grazier
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Dr. Kevin Grazier joined The Space Show guest family today to discuss Saturn, the Cassini Mission, planetary science, science advising for television and lots more. The interview began with an update on new information coming from Cassini and then Dr. Grazier responded to a series of listener questions regarding the importance of Iapetus and the findings to date for the moon. We discussed the setting of priorities for Cassini, how these priorities and sequences get changed or can be changed, and the possibility to elevate the priority of Iapetus science by modifying the original sequences to get there more often and faster. Dr. Grazier suggested interested people should Google "Cassini Tour Atlas" for further details on the 41 sequences for the original Cassini mission. After discussing the questions around this issue, Kevin went into quite some detail to talk about how missions are planned, what interests need to be supported, the competition among different science groups and even democratic science and input from the general public (my series of questions). This was a very interesting discussion and for those of us unfamiliar with planetary mission planning, it was a very good explanation of the JPL process. We talked about other aspects of the Cassini mission and the science being discovered and observed, including the Fountains of Enceladus. To see great pictures on the Fountains, check out the JPL site, http://ciclops.org. In response to questions, Dr. Grazier talked about other planets and upcoming missions to Jupiter, Mars, even Neptune and Venus. We discussed the fait of Pluto and if it will remain a planet. We discussed the RTM and on to Mars vision and mission and got some great insights from the planetary side of the NASA/JPL program. More information about Cassini can also be found at the JPL website for the project, http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm. In response to a listener question about how we are able to navigate our way to Saturn, Titan, and the other moons, Kevin explained the basics of orbital mechanics and the scientific method. Toward the end of the program, we discussed the Griffith Observatory rebuilding program going on at this time in Los Angeles and what this famous institution will be like when the work is completed late spring 2006. We also discussed Kevin's work as a science advisor for television with the PBS animated series, The Zula Patrol (www.zula.com). and the SciFi Channel series Battlestar Galactica (http://www.scifi.com/battlestar/). For those interested in the technical aspects of Galactica, check out Kevin's Galactica TECH blog on www.hollywoodnorthreport.com. Questions and comments for Dr. Kevin Grazier can be sent to me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will promptly forward them to him.

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