Broadcast 1461 (Special Edition)

16 Nov 2010 Dr. Harley Thronson
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Guest: Dr. Harley Thronson. Topics: Space habitation beyond LEO using existing launch vehicles & hab technologies; the ISS as a test bed for major future space science technologies. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. We welcomed Dr. Harley Thronson from NASA Goddard to the program. In our fist segment, Dr. Thronson introduced us to public outreach and extreme space weather issues as he was attending a workshop on these subjects. We talked about the need to educate the public and why this area was increasing in importance. We then started talking about the ISS and the variety of proposals submitted for scientific and commercial experiments onboard the station. Specifically, our guest talked about technology demonstration experiments for very large optical systems. A listener asked how large items would be getting to the ISS given the shuttle's retirement and this led to a discussion on modular construction and its impact on systems development. We also talked about competing for grants, the overall impact of being on CR on budgets and funding projects. Listener Jerry asked about the station's vibration and the fact that the station is a very luminous body. Bob asked about free fliers and where one might put a very large optical system on the station. Near the end of this segment, a question arose about the mix of science versus commercial experiments on the ISS. Don't miss this discussion. Our guest then told us about the ISS being declared a National Laboratory by congress and what this designation actually means. In the second segment, Harley talked about one of the challenges with the ISS which is to observe and access the sky. He told how there is compensation for some of the challenges and that gazing down on the Earth for Earth science is much less challenging. Listen to why this is so. We then discussed the James Webb Telescope and the development and lag times involved in large projects. Harley was asked about our educational system and if in his opinion, we were doing an OK job of preparing our students for the future. Dr. Thronson had much to say on this subject so don't miss it. As this segment ended, selling human space flight came up and we talked about the need to sell it on a face to face basis. In our third and final segment, we spoke about future space telescopes in the works and future habitat systems operating in free space. In this context, we talked about Bigelow Aerospace, other companies making habs, and foreign space programs. Toward the end of the program, the issue of the Moon as a future test bed for scientific missions came up and as you will hear, our guest suggested the Moon was coming into its own and would increasingly be a target for missions on its own right. We ended the program talking about space tourism and even daring to ask how much information and science is there still to be discovered. You might be surprised at how this conversation turned out! Post your comments and questions on the blog URL above, plus you can email Dr. Thronson at harley.a.thronson@nasa.gov.

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