Broadcast 981 (Special Edition)

14 Jul 2008 Robert Zimmerman
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Guest: Robert Zimmerman returned for this Space Show program. In addition to our discussion, we talked about Bob's new book about Hubble, "The Universe in a Mirror," and his terrific older book, "Leaving Earth." We started the interview by discussing a recent Washington Post article in which the author suggested the ISS be used as a spaceship for going someplace interesting rather than just hanging out in LEO. Mr. Zimmerman wrote about this idea years ago in his famous book, "Leaving Earth," so we talked about the feasibility of actually doing something like this with the station. You will want to hear our discussion and learn more about the different aspects in the Washington Post article which can be found at : www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/11/AR2008071102394.... This part of our discussion includes engineering, human factors, and environmental considerations should one attempt to use the ISS as a spaceship. We also talked about the Hubble Space Telescope and the planned repair mission. This proved to be a comprehensive discussion as we talked about how spacewalks and how repairs are planned and carried out, using Hubble as an example. Other issues about on orbit construction and satellite repair were mentioned as well. As a result of a listener question, we got into the subject of robots and humans. The Phoenix Lander on Mars was part of this discussion and there were even some robotic references to Pixar and Wall-E. This prompted Bob to update us on Phoenix, its search for water, ice, and even possible life on Mars which in turn led us to a discussion about news, science and journalism in general. As you will hear, Bob was motivated to share some of his political ideology with us during this segment. In the robots versus humans in space discussion, we also talked about the cosmonaut space repair mission regarding the explosive bolts on the Soyuz. One listener called in and asked about end runs to the rocket equation for a better, more cost effective way of leaving Earth. You will want to hear this discussion with Bob and some of my comments. Check Bob Zimmerman's work at his website, http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze3cxxp/zimbib.htm. If you want to send him questions or comments or inquire about his book, use zimmerman@nasw.org.

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