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Guest: Rick Eyerdam; Topics: We discussed Rick's newest book, "Exobiologists, Rocketeers, and Engineers: Inside NASA'S Quest For Life In Space." Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Rick Eyerdam to the program to discuss NASA's search for life which was the focus of his new book, "Exobiologists, Rocketeers, and Engineers: Inside NASA'S Quest For Life In Space." During the first segment of our 1 hour 53 minute program, Rick started out with a brief NASA history on the search for life in space. We spent a considerable amount of time talking about Viking 1 and 2, the experiments by Dr. Gil Levin, the instruments used to detect possible life on Mars, the Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer GCMS), plus the history of this search for life from the beginning to current times. In presenting his information to us, we talked about the unique structure of the book, but also Rick said over and over again that all of this was new to NASA and that they were bumbling and stumbling around in this search because they did not know what to do. This was a general theme of the program so be sure to "get it" from Rick early on so you can put his comments in context throughout our discussion.
Other topics discussed in the first segment included methane on Mars, potential geological activity on mars, the Insight Mission, amino acids, organic compounds on Mars, and issues pertaining to Venus, SpaceX plans for Mars, and big rockets.
In the second segment, Rick spoke more about Viking and organic chemistry along with the work of Gil Levin. One thing he focused on in both segments was the structure of his book which tells the story of NASA's search for life in space by telling the stories of key people since the dawn of the space age, what they did, and how they did it. Other key stories from important people who have contributed to this search over the past decades were in the book and certainly helped explain how NASA has gone about searching for life in space. The book is a terrific history book with information and stories you won't likely easily find elsewhere.
Rick stressed the importance of finding water on the Moon, Mars and elsewhere in terms of searching for life in space. Many times during our discussion he said to follow the water. Listeners sent in many email questions. For example, Carl wanted to know the cultural impact on us here on Earth for finding life in space. Other listeners asked similar questions of our guest including one religious based question.
Rick told us stories from the major people involved with Viking 1 and 2 and Gil so don't miss these contributions to today's show. Before the show ended, in asking Rick what else he was working on, he mentioned The Tardigrade Project which is explained on his website at http://marsnow.info/tardigradeproject.html. What do you think of this project? Let us know on the blog.
Please post your comments/questions in the comments section for this archived show on The Space Show website. Visit Rick's website which is http://marsnow.info. You can contact Rick through me or his website.