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Broadcast 929 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on April 18th, 2008
Guest: Dr. Donald Rapp
Guest: Dr. Donald Rapp was the guest for this Friday Space Show program. Dr. Rapp authored two new books, both of which were discussed on this program. During the first three-quarters of the show, we discussed his book, "Human Missions To Mars," and what it will take for humans to go to Mars. For the remaining part of the program, we discussed his book, "Assessing Climate Change," and here we facilitated an important discussion about the science behind climate change and global warming. Some listeners may find this to be a controversial show regarding both topics, so please be advised. Also, Dr. Rapp will be back for a full show regarding his book "Assessing Climate Change" and, in addition, the subject of space solar power. Regarding Mars, Dr. Rapp took the wraps off the advocacy wishers (he refers to space advocates as "space enthusiasts") by explaining the hard reality of engineering, science, funding, needed power, gravitational issues, and the threat from radiation. While humans going to Mars will happen one day, he says we are not there yet. His book, which is the best I have ever read on this subject, supports his statements. So before you jump on what he says and disagree with him, check out his book and dig into it. His argument and information supporting it is all there, then go after what he says, if you can. Dr. Rapp is optimistic that someday we will get to Mars, however "when" is the question. Listeners had many questions for him. One listener asked him about the justification for going to Mars and spending billions given the status of our economy, the world, and all sorts of issues. Another listener asked him for his thoughts on the Zubrin Mars Direct plan. Don't miss his reply to either of these listeners. Regarding ISRU (in-situ resource utilization), he said that for Mars there would likely be a big payoff, but not so for the lunar ISRU. You will want to hear this discussion. Another listener asked if there were any real showstoppers to keep humans from Mars. He said no but there were real problems and we were not going to Mars or resolving the problems anytime soon. He also suggested providing lots more funding for research and the work that needs to be done on many of the problems for Mars, but that it was not getting done. As for comments about NASA, he said they plan vehicles wrong and should plan them for the mission. This is especially relevant for Mars. In response to other questions, he said we did not need to do the Moon before going on to Mars. This is another discussion you will certainly want to hear. While our humans to Mars discussion was the predominant topic for this show, the last 40 minutes we talked about his book "Assessing Climate Change" and global warming. He started this discussion by asking eight important questions which he clearly states and explains why these questions need to be asked and answered. To move to the punch line in this write-up, he shows how the science is far from conclusive and how the two sides in the discussion, the alarmists and the naysayers, are at each other's throats without simply saying they don't know and doing better with the data they have and obtaining more scientific data. You want to hear this very important discussion. During our discussion with Dr. Rapp, he mentioned a report he did on space solar power. He sent the report to me as a .pdf document. The short form appeared in Astropolitics. The larger study was funded by NASA. I will send these reports to anyone who asks for them. Dr. Rapp also mentioned his radiation paper, which has appeared in the Mars Journal. You can find this paper at If you have comments or questions for Dr. Rapp, you can send them to him at

About our guest...

Dr. Donald Rapp
Dr. Donald Rapp is author of two new books, “Human Missions To Mars” plus "Assessing Climate Change: Temperatures, Solar Radiation, and Heat Balance." Dr. Donald Rapp has 48 years of post-doctoral experience. He is a true generalist. I am 50% scientist and 50% engineer. He has worked on an extremely wide variety of technical problems over the years and has wide knowledge of things technical. Dr. Rapp has a solid grounding in chemistry and physics and did fundamental work in these sciences for many years. In the second half of his career he worked on more applied problems, particularly in space technology and space mission design. He is an expert in requirements, architectures and transportation systems for space missions, with particular emphasis on impact of in situ resource utilization, and water resources. He has surveyed the wide field of global climate change and is familiar with the entire literature of climatology. Dr. Rapp is known far and wide in the NASA community as for my abilities to plan, organize and lead studies of broad technical systems. My services have been often sought in writing and reviewing major proposals for space ventures. His education includes B.S. Chemical Engineering, Cooper Union, 1955, M.S. Chemical Engineering, Princeton, 1956, Graduate study, California Institute of Technology, 1957, Ph.D. Chemical Physics, University of California (Berkeley) - January, 1960. From 2005-2008, Dr. Rapp has been at JPL as a Consultant through Skillstorm, Inc.

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