Broadcast 1307 (Special Edition)

14 Feb 2010 Dr. Richard Greenberg
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Guest: Dr. Richard Greenberg. Topics: Europa, the moon of Jupiter, the potential for life on Europa. Dr. Richard Greenberg was our guest to discuss his book, "Unmasking Europa: The Search For Life On Jupiter's Ocean Moon." This book is available on the One Giant Leap Foundation Amazon partners book page, www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/books. You can order the book using this URL, http://www.amazon.com/dp/0387479368?tag=onegialeafou-20. Remember, if you buy the book through the OGLF Amazon partners page, Amazon makes a contribution to OGLF/The Space Show. In our first segment, Dr. Greenberg talked about the water on Europa, the oceans, possible sea life due to the oxygen that interacts from the surface down. He talked about the ice and the estimated O2 path which might set up the mechanisms for complex life as there is plenty of O2 available for complex life. We talked about the next flagship Europa mission which is to take place in approximately twenty years. Dr. Greenberg stressed throughout the show the need for this mission to have a Europa lander. At one point during this segment, I asked about the approximate cost of a Europa mission and if scientists would be willing or able to buy the research results in a commercial contract. While he estimated the cost at about $3 billion, you will want to hear what he had to say about buying commercial research. Also in this segment, we talked about Europa being heated by tidal friction and the differences with Europa from the other moons of Jupiter. In our second segment, we got a call from listener Rick who asked about the spider complex at the Manannan crater. We spoke about radiation and the need to harden electronic equipment going to Europa. We also talked about the nature of science in that the missions to Europa are so far apart that new teams of scientists step in to conclude the experiment. We talked about this being the nature of science even if frustrating. As an example, he said that he started work on the Galileo Mission in late 1977 and the mission ended in 2003! The tidal issue was also discussed in this segment as was the orbit of Europa. Here we talked about orbital resonance and the ratios with Io, Europa, and Ganymede. In our third and final segment which was shortened, we talked about the color photographs in his book. He said they were artificial colors because the camera on board the Galileo spacecraft only had first generation CCD black and white cameras and did not contain all the filters necessary for rendering real color. He suggested that if we looked at Europa from the window of a spacecraft, we would probably see a smooth white surface object. This is a fascinating discussion about color photographs so don't miss it. He also said he used the black and white photos for his research, not the enhanced color photographs. Toward the end of this segment, Lake Vostok came up as a study model for Europa regarding the contamination issues. If you have a comment or question for Dr. Richard Greenberg, you can email him at greenberg@lpl.arizona.edu.

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