Broadcast 1442 (Special Edition)

11 Oct 2010 Dr. Wendell Mendell
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Guest: Dr. Wendell Mendell. Topics: Planetary science, lunar development and habitats, NASA, Constellation, space politics, science fiction. We welcomed Dr. Wendell Mendell back to the show. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, http://thespaceshowoutsidethebox.blogspot.com. In our first segment, Dr. Mendell gave us an insiders view of the Constellation project given his being part of the project at NASA JSC. He provided us with interesting program and personnel insights. When I asked him a question about the possibility of returning to the Moon, he broke my question down into parts and had much to say on the issue, essentially saying that our return to the Moon never was and will not be off the table and that planning already exists for a return to the lunar surface. Don't miss this important discussion and analysis. One of the most important points made was that no matter what else happens, we must keep technology development going! Dr. Mendell then referenced several programs and the people involved in lunar mission planning and development. When asked if he thought we would keep the technology development going, he said it required leadership, financing, and focus. In the absence of these qualities, there is reason to have a genuine concern about the future of technology development. Wendell got a question about heavy lift and if he thought NASA could do it. Wendell had much to say about the subject of heavy lift but he did say that technically NASA could do it. That said, it would require perhaps a decade of consistent policy and funding and that is where the risks are in such a long term project. In addition, he said by the very nature of NASA doing it, it would be complex and costly. This is yet another important discussion you do not want to miss. In our second segment, our first listener question dealt with the impact of science fiction on planetary and space scientists. This took us into an entirely different space related discussion that you will find interesting. Wendell and I both observed similar characteristics with space enthusiasts and that is that there is in existence or story or event that transformed the person's interest to include space. In this segment, we talked about religion, spirituality, space politics, and motivation. Later in the segment, a listener asked Wendell to balance the need for aerospace workers for national security and other reasons against a NASA jobs program. Don't miss what Dr. Mendell had to say about this issue. We talked some more about the space budget process, flying the extra shuttle mission, and the support NASA provided in the rescue of the trapped Chilean miners. In his concluding comments, he said he was hopeful and looked to the efforts of both the NewSpace and international space community to do interesting things in space in the future. If you have comments or questions for Dr. Wendell Mendell, please post them on the blog and I will forward them to Dr. Mendell.

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