Broadcast 1197 (Special Edition)

27 Jul 2009 Dr. Paul D. Spudis
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Guest: Dr. Paul Spudis. Topics: Return to the Moon, VSE Mission Statement, lunar science, NASA, Mars, U.S. public and space exploration. Dr. Paul Spudis returned for this special two hour program to discuss why we should return to the Moon. In Segment 1, Dr. Spudis talked about the Moon as a transitioning resource and our training ground for how we can learn to live and settle in space. He said that the way the VSE has evolved, its gotten away from the true mission of our return to the Moon. This is a discussion that you must hear and its repeated throughout this two hour show. He said NASA does not actually have a Mission Statement for returning to the Moon. Briefly, his mission statement said that we would be going to the Moon to learn the skills and technology to live and work on another world. His full mission statement is near the end of this initial program segment. When asked about going to a NEO or Mars and bypassing the Moon, he talked about our need to learn to do ISRU and that going to Mars now would be end to end, no ISRU. A NEO would also be no ISRU. He said that he thought NASA might be reluctant to find out how to live and work on another world. Again, this is a very interesting discussion and Dr. Spudis raised some questions that not only deserve our consideration but also answers. Toward the end of this segment, a question came in regarding how much of the general population needed to be onboard in supporting returning to the Moon. He referenced polls taken when he was part of the Aldrich Commission that show about 50% of the population mildly supports space and about 50% slightly disapproves of it. Thus, the public is indifferent. With an indifferent public, creating missions to inspire are not relevant. Doing missions that inspire are relevant. This is another discussion you do not want to miss. In Segment 2, Dr. Spudis clarified and summarized the poll referred to at the end of the first segment. He also talked about making space routine, not making it stand out as something special. I asked Dr. Spudis to tell us what lunar science could be done on the Moon and what type of scientific projects the lunar scientists would like were they totally funded and their wish lists could be honored. Dr. Spudis mentioned several scientific projects but he pointed us toward Lunar Exploration Analysis Group website which is www.lpi.usra.edu/leag/. Here you will find the scientific projects to be undertaken that Dr. Spudis mentioned. Another question that I asked on behalf of a listener was why our Moon did not have a name such as the moons of other planets. As we learned, our Moon does have a name, Luna. That said, we prefer to use the Germanic translation Moon in English but in other languages the Moon is referred to by its name, Luna. Dr. Spudis also talked about supporting the lunar mission that he described in the first segment and he explained how support for that mission ultimately supports carrying out lunar science. In Segment 3, we started out discussing the two radar experiments Dr. Spudis has going on around the Moon at this time. The first is on the Indian Chandra One satellite orbiting and photographing the Moon. This radar experiment is looking for water ice and can look down into deep, dark places for quality imaging. I asked him if he had ITAR issues with this project and you need to hear what he said about the ITAR compliance effort. It took a year, was extremely costly and ultimately Dr. Griffin had to go to India to speak with his counter part at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to get the job done. The second radar is on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and is a more advanced radar imaging system. He talked about doing bistatic imaging for finding ice because ice has a bistatic image. He explained how the orbits of Chandra and LRO come close at intersecting points, they figure those points out and they are then able to do the bistatic imaging with radars from both satellites. As this segment progressed, we talked about the Apollo history and even the Moon hoaxers. Dr. Spudis raised some good points in that why should we know all the moonwalking astronauts. This is another conversation you will want to hear. Paul was asked if the NASA budget were doubled or even tripled could we get to Mars much faster than the decades out goal of humans to Mars that exists now. He said we would simply have more and more viewgraphs! You need to hear this discussion and his full range of comments on it. In summary, more money does not shorten the learning curve for going to Mars! In Segment 4, our final segment, we started out by talking about the levels of risk at NASA and in our society and mission risk assessment. In response to the question about how to reduce the risk aversion, he indicated it was very hard to do and not sure it could be done in our culture of today. He cited some of the conclusions and comments surrounding lunar dust problems as an example. Given his earlier statements that it just might be that NASA does not really want to return to the Moon, he was asked if the Ares 1 was a deliberate problematic rocket designed to never enable the lunar return mission. He said no but you will want to hear his full answer to this question. We talked about SSP on the Moon and he thought it possible with many caveats and the need for much technology advancement. He outlined an incremental development plan that would make projects like lunar SSP doable along with fulfilling the mission statement he talked about in the first segment of today's program. Toward the end of the program, he was asked what he thought we should do with the shuttle and the ISS. As for the shuttle, he favored its retirement for safety reasons. As for ISS, he wanted to fully use it get the real value of the station. He talked about using ISS as a staging area for developing bigger systems and more technology. He directed us to a paper he recently wrote with Dennis Wingo and Gordon Woodcock, "Going Beyond The Status Quo In Space." You can find this paper at www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1334. To learn more about Dr. Paul Spudis, please visit his website at www.spudislunarresources.com. You can read his blog at http://blogs.airspacemag.com/moon/. If you have a question or comment for Dr. Paul Spudis, please email him at spudis@lpi.usra.edu. In addition, the Power Point presentation referenced during the show, "The Moon and The Vision For Space Exploration by Dr. Spudis can be found at www.spudislunarresources.com/Opinion_Editorial/SpudisNewSpace2009.pdf.

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