Broadcast 3152 Julian Nott

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Guest:  Julian Nott; Topics: Modern high altitude balloons, balloons for Venus & Titan, balloons on Mars, life detection, unrecognizable intelligent life, Titan settlement & much more.

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We welcomed Julian Nott to the program for a wide ranging two segment one hour 46 minute discussion covering modern high altitude balloons, balloons for Venus and Titan, balloon on Mars and the challenges there, humans on Titan, settlement on Titan, Titan's cold temperatures, the possibility of finding unrecognizable life on Titan and elsewhere, space transportation issues, nuclear propulsion, solar sails, eSails and a whole lot more!  Please visit Mr. Nott's website,, to download and read his humans on Titan paper available on his home page, plus you should read the About page on the website along with the Consultant page, both of which are available in the upper menu bar on his home page.

We started our discussion talking about high altitude modern balloons and the Red Bull jump as he was a balloon consultant to that project.  This was a good and at times refreshing and new discussion regarding Red Bull so don't miss it and the stories Julian shared with us, especially regarding Alan Eustace and the balloon and anti-spin technology Alan used.  Don't miss his perspective on redundancy, a perspective we later extrapolated to suborbital spaceflight plans to fly space tourist participants in a short sleeve environment.  A significant part of our first segment focused on balloons on Earth but also on Venus and Titan.

We next started talking about Venus and possible balloon missions to the planet.  Don't miss what Julian said about Venus, the seismology, the atmosphere and the possibilities for humans and balloons, including cloud cities.  Let us know what you think about balloons and upper atmospheric human and balloon missions to Venus.

Titan was our next discussion topic.  Make sure you have read his paper referenced at the start of this summary as that paper formed the basis for our Titan discussion.  We talked about the dense Titan atmosphere, temperatures and what might be needed for humans on Titans.  He suggested that due to the atmospheric pressure being at 1.5 times that of Earth, heavy warm clothes and a scuba like breathing system would be needed but not spacesuits.  Listen to all his comments on this.  We talked radiation and microgravity though microgravity was not the major part of the discussion.  By the way, the gravity on Titan is about 1/7th that of Earth according to our guest.  In talking about balloons as well as settlement on Titan, our guest said the transportation problem, i.e. getting to Titan, was the biggest issue.  He did say that chemical rockets would not be sufficient for humans to Titan and we needed advanced propulsion. Here he talked about eSail and described it, plus nuclear propulsion. 

Marshall called to talk about the use of weather balloons on Venus, Titan, ad Mars.  Julian said all was possible but Mars had surface features that would prove challenging for weather balloons.  Both Marshall and Julian talked about balloons changing altitude as a possibility, also other challenges such as Martian dust storms.  Julian was asked how the balloon would be deployed on Titan or Venus.  Linda wanted to know if balloons would be useful for titan settlement.  Also discussed before the end of the segment were possible private missions to Venus and maybe Titan.

In the second segment, we talked about life detection for Titan.  One of the issues raised was our ability to recognize life were it on Titan but very different or weird from life as we know it.  We had quite the discussion on this with Julian suggesting a few books for us that have dealt with this type of topic in the science fiction world.  The life detection discussion went on for most of the second segment.  Listeners continued with questions and we had an interesting phone call from noted space artist Don Davis regarding the use of cameras for Venus and Titan and how important the camera and images would be for these projects.  You do not want to miss the Don Davis call so listen well to that discussion.

James asked about timelines for Titan.  Julian said he had an idea and then mentioned the eSail technology which might prove useful for Titan. What do you think about eSail?  Let us know with your blog posts.  Also talked about regarding Titan were the communications and images (Don Davis phone call) that would be needed to get data back to Earth from Titan.  Nuclear propulsion came up as did ion propulsion.  Another listener asked Julian about the Delta V needed to get to Titan.  Julian thought a straight in approach would work based on what he recalled form the Cassini Huygens probe landing on Titan.  This part of the discussion was driven by a call from Ft. Worth John raising questions about the needed Delta V for Titan.

Before the program ended, Europa came up as did the possibility of finding life on Europa.  The same for Enceladus.  Don't miss the closing comments and the quote offered up by Julian re the future per futurist Paul Saffo.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Julian Nott through me or his website,




Titan, balloons, space, and so much more!

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15 Jul 2018 Julian Nott
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