Broadcast 2679 Dr. John Rummel

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Guest:  Dr. John Rummel; Topics: Planetary protection, humans to Mars, Mars safety and contamination concerns.  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

We welcomed Dr. John Rummel to the program to continue or discussion on planetary protection, specifically humans to Mars.  During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Dr. Rummel introduced us to the problems existing at this time regarding humans to Mars.  He said HSF to Mars at this time would probably be prohibited by planetary protection rules but that would change as we learned much more about Mars.  He talked about humans going to Mars and being able to do something useful on the surface, not just sit in the hab for the most part.  To be able to do something useful means we need much more information about Mars.  He said we travel with molecules, then he cited some examples of the unknowns regarding contamination with our molecules both as to what may be on Mars and to the safety of the Martian crew.  He also talked about using the Moon as a training ground to help us be better prepared for eventually going to Mars with a crew. 

BJohn sent in an email saying life on Mars could not be disproven so what are we waiting with respect to planetary protection issues?  Don't miss how our guest responded to BJohn's question.  Our guest suggested we not be impatient about getting humans to Mars and again he stressed that we have no EVA systems for Mars, no clear EDL system, and that for now we cannot do useful things on the surface of Mars.  Make sure you hear all that he has to say on this subject for the full context of his comments.

Dr. Doug sent in an email about cross contamination issues concluding that "we should just accept that there has been bilateral biological exposure between the planets for eons and so at some point we have to just accept that and go ahead and send people to live on Mars."  Don't miss John's reply. 

In the second segment, Paul asked about Mars One and SpaceX timelines for humans to Mars.  Our guest said that the rules would not prevent private parties from going to Mars and be productive.  He also brought up some of the criticisms of contamination issues as expressed by Dr. Zubrin.

Since our guest had been a consultant to Mars One, I asked him about their plan to go in the early 2020s.  John had much to say during the show and in response to this question about Mars One.  At one time he even suggested we consider supporting their effort and why. 

Thomas called in from Singapore to talk about a hard landing accident on Mars and contamination from that type of accidental landing.  John had much to say about risk taking, testing of equipment and the ultimate no risk position of never landing an anything on Mars.  Listen to the entire discussion so you don't take anything out of context.  It was a very interesting given and take.  It is worth pointing out that Johnt again talked about the need to be productive on the surface of Mars and for that we need lots more information about Mars. 

Sample return missions came up. Our guest suggested this would be a good project for a private company wanting to go to Mars as an essential step in getting more Martian information.  As we moved toward the end of the show, our guest talked about the Outer Space Treat, then we got a final email from Thomas in Singapore saying "it would be easier to build a Stanford torus 10,000 people (assessed at $200m in 1975 by Stanford university) than a 10,000-people city on Mars. What do you and the guest think about that ?"  Dr. Rummel had much to say about this idea, then he offered us his concluding comments for today's program.

Please post your comments/questions in the comments section when this program is archived on TSS website.  You can reach Dr. Rummel through me.




Planetary Protection, the UN and more

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05 Apr 2016 Dr. John Rummel
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