Broadcast 304 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

01 Feb 2005 Rusty Schweickart
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Rusty Schweickart was the guest for this Space Show program. We began the discussion looking back at history and talking to Rusty about his astronaut and NASA experiences. In response to a question, he related to us that his EVA was the most memorable of his time spent in space. We talked at length about his EVA experience and what it was like to be outside the vehicle orbiting Earth. Rusty was also asked about ordinary people going to space as tourists given the rigors of his physical and mental astronaut training. He saw no problems for people doing this, especially if the trip was up to a few weeks in length. He also discussed how astronauts get to space today, using a vehicle such as the shuttle rather than on top of a rocket which is what he did. We also discussed the new space vision program put forth by President Bush and he expressed reservations about the return to the Moon portion. From this discussion, we spoke about resource utilization from nearby asteroids having potentially more commercial value than doing something on the Moon. He also talked about the need for humanity to go to Mars and beyond, not so much the noon. He mentioned that he would like to see the ISS turned into a useful microgravity research lab rather than to see about $80 billion spent on it to finish it for its original purpose. As for Hubble, he wants to see a shuttle mission to repair it, says the astronauts would certainly be willing to fly the mission and that flying one more mission to Hubble would be significantly safer than some thirty plus missions to complete the ISS. He also mentioned that given the retrofits for the shuttle once it resumes flight, a Hubble mission would be safer than those that preceded it. We then turned our discussion to protecting Earth from incoming asteroids or near Earth objects and the role of the B612 Foundation. Rusty told us that since NASA is working on Prometheus and other advanced technologies, that B612 wants to see proof of concept with these technologies to push a threatening asteroid away from Earth into a different orbit. He compared this process to other options such as attempting to blow up or destroy an asteroid. You will find his discussion of this most interesting and thorough. Rusty also mentioned that while NASA is the proper agency to do proof of concept for this technology, there are hesitations as to who will have the ultimate responsibility for operating such a program. NASA is reluctant because they do not want to be the operating agency for this type of program for the world. As part of this discussion, we talked about the need for nuclear powered vehicles and Rusty did a superb job in explaining the safety behind this type of nuclear power and its usage in space. Rusty Schweickart has provided Space Show listeners with superb information that you will want to take in and act upon, especially with the B612 Foundation mission. You can find out more about B612 Foundation by visiting their comprehensive website which will soon be even more comprehensive on its mission at www.B612foundation.org. Don't miss this program. Also, if you can help B612 with a contribution, do so. You can find their Pay Pal link at http://www.b612foundation.org/contacts/contact.html.

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