Broadcast 860 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

26 Dec 2007 Dr. Robert W. Farquhar
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Guest: Dr. Robert Farquhar. Dr. Robert Farquhar was the guest for this Space Show program. Our interview jumped right into the frying pan as we asked Dr. Farquhar for his thoughts on the current VSE. As we discovered, Dr. Farquhar would prefer to visit a NEO in preparation for going to Mars, rather than return to the already-explored Moon. As part of preparing for a manned NEO visit, there would need to be lunar orbital missions and extensive use of the Sun-Earth L2 libration point as the primary hub for future human space activities. Our ensuing discussion with Bob goes into some detail on this perspective and how such a space program would serve us better than the current VSE. When asked specifically what he believed the chances were for a new presidential administration to approve a manned NEO visit rather than continuing on with plans for a lunar outpost, he said he was 100% confident that a NEO mission would prevail in a revised VSE. You will want to hear his comments and analysis on this subject. We also talked about deep space missions to the Centaurs and Kuiper Belt Objects, important future robotic lunar missions, and the possible impact of other national space programs going to the Moon, such as those from China, India, ESA, and Russia. I asked Bob if he believed China and India would announce a manned NEO mission if the U.S. changed the VSE to visit NEOs rather than the Moon. Due to the increased challenges and difficulties involved in putting humans on a NEO, Bob felt other national space program could probably handle getting to the Moon but not much more than that. This is a very interesting discussion you will want to hear. Other listeners asked Bob what one would do on a NEO, why go to one, and what about going directly to Mars without first including a manned NEO mission. Again, you need to hear this discussion. In addition to talking about the L2 libration point, a listener asked him about the other LaGrange points, L1, L3, L4, and L5. Bob also told us about a paper he has written regarding going to Mars suggesting three steps forward and then a stumbling block. In this case, the stumbling block is the Moon . On this program, Bob continually voiced concerns about the misplaced focus spent on returning to the Moon rather than doing what he feels and believes is much more interestingpriv such as going to NEOs and Mars. You can send your comments or questions to Dr. Robert Farquhar to me at and I will be happy to forward them to him.



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