Broadcast 1329 (Special Edition)

20 Mar 2010 Dr. Paul D. Spudis
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Guest: Dr. Paul Spudis. Topics: U.S Space Policy, space vision. Dr. Paul Spudis, Senior Staff Scientist with the Lunar and Planetary Institute, was our guest for this program to discuss the Administration's space policy proposals and the need for a vision for space development. In the first of two segments, we talked about space vision and goals which according to Dr. Spudis, must include a destination. Much of our discussion was focused on the need for a destination but he said several times that the problem with the VSE was that the focus was on getting to the destination (the Moon for example) but not what to do once we were at the destination. Dr. Spudis said that we must know not only where we are going but what we will do once we are there. If that is not known and cannot be explained to the people and Congress, and NASA itself, the vision will simply not work. In referencing the Augustine Commission report, he said the basic assumption that Constellation was not fixable was flawed. He also suggested that the Report over estimated the cost of options and did not look at stretching out the program to hold down up front costs though such a method increases overall project costs over time. Dr. Spudis put forth the reasons for returning to the Moon which he said were to learn to do things in space and use INSITU resources. A listener also made the point that the Moon was actually one place we could go to and work using chemical propulsion. When asked about the switch to commercial rockets, he said he was not wedded to a particular launch solution and supported using commercial rockets but his focus was on getting to the Moon for learning to live and work in space. He said we needed to learn and develop the new skills. This theme was repeated throughout the show today. Listener John called in form Atlanta regarding the Shuttle and even said the new policy was calculated to destroy human spaceflight. I asked both John and Dr. Spudis about this through the balance of the first segment so listen to this discussion. As you will hear, its hard for me to imagine any president or administration wanting to be the party that destroyed human spaceflight. As we started the second segment, Dr. Spudis repeated the argument that the Moon was useful and brought in the fact that water was present on the Moon. Another listener asked about VASIMIR but Dr. Spudis commented on the need for a 12 m/w nuclear reactor in space as a complicating factor. Dr. Spudis also mentioned "Happy Talk" from NASA. Listen to this discussion. Later in the segment, Dr. Spudis talked about three factions in NASA and how NASA operates. Don't miss this discussion. He urged interested parties to contact and talk with their elected representatives and to get involved in the process. For those of you interested, you can hear Dr. Spudis at the Asimov Panel on space destinations at www.amnh.org/news/2010/03/podcast-isaac-asimov-debate/. Dr. Spudis has a website at www.spudislunarresources.com. Paul's blog is http://blogs.airspacemag.com/moon/. The article we mentioned during the show, "The New Space Race," can be found at www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1376. If you have a comment or question for Dr. Paul Spudis, please email him at spudis@lpi.usra.edu.

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