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Guest: Dr. Greg Autry; Topics: NASA potential science budget cuts, commercial space focus, the successful OSIRIS REx sample return mission and the impact of the space program from India, China and Russia on the U.S. program.
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We welcomed Dr. Greg Autry back to the program for an important and interesting 75-minute discussion. We started out talking about the successful sample return mission for OSIRIS REx with brough back samples from asteroid Bennu. Our guest talked about the science of learning about the composition of Bennu. Our guest related this mission and other science missions to the importance of not cutting the NASA science budget, a topic we discussed later in the program. Regarding the sample return, our guest received a few questions on just how the samples get distributed to scientists. A bit later in the program a listener sent us a note explaining that a good portion of the samples are shared with Japan by agreement.
Our sample return mission conversation took us to the potential NASA budget cut for the science portion of the NASA budget. Greg spent considerable time explaining why it would be a bad idea to reduce the science budget as well as being close to meaningless in terms of saving money. Part of this discussion took a look at the Starship HLS and possible added delays due to the FAA and SpaceX getting a launch license to prove out Starship in additional testing in Boca Chica. This could cause additional delays for the Artemis mission. Listener and frequent guest Mark Whittington called to talk about China and a few national security issues that might arise were China to economically collapse in the coming years, something that several China watchers have predicted. Mark's question was about the US going forward with Artemis, the Moon and Mars if China no longer was a threat or serious competitor. Listen to how Greg addressed this concern. He brought significant progress with the Indian space program current capabilities with Russia. Global threats such as Taiwan, Ukraine, Iran and N. Korea were also discussed in this part of our program.
Much was said about the commercial importance and value of cislunar development, especially in the sense that we need rules of the road and order to successfully commercially develop cislunar. Don't miss what our guest had to say about this. Let us know your thoughts by posting them on our blog for this show. Marshall called to talk about inspiration and competition. He cited WW2 recovery in some of his analysis which he pointed toward Artemis.
During our conversation with Greg, listener Adrian sent in multiple emails with various comments and facts on many of our topics. I read all of them on air so do pay attention to his contribution and what he had to say. Let us know your thoughts on his comments by posting on our blog. Regarding commercial space, military interests played a big role. We talked about bad economic policy and the consequences of it plus other related subtopics. Near the end of the program Ajay called in to talk about nuclear power and the need for the thorium molten salt reactor.
Please post your comments/questions on our blog for this Greg Autry program. You can reach Greg through his Thunderbird faculty page, his papers and through The Space Show.