Broadcast 1664 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Dr. Roger Launius. Topics: National Air & Space Museum at the Smithsonian, Mars in our culture, Russian & U.S. Mars missions. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at We welcomed back Dr. Roger Launius to the program. His blog which we talked about during the interview can be seen at We started our discussion with the mention of his recent blog post, "The Lure of the Red Planet: Early Flyby Missions to Mars." Dr. Launius went through a short history of Soviet/Russian attempts to go to Mars as well as those of the U.S. in recent years. His blog article contains a more comprehensive listing of these missions and is a good resource for this information. We talked about private enterprise doing Mars missions and our guest said the business case would have to close for that to happen and that we were not there yet. I asked about cultural drivers concerning our interest in Mars. I also inquired about the symphony by Gustav Holtz, "The Planets" and his "Mars, Bringer of War." Dr. Launius talked about Mars in our culture going back to H.G. Wells, others in the early 1900's, science fiction literature, as well as early astronomy. Another of his blog posts we explored was his comparison of Sputnik to 9/11 as there were parallels and similarities. Don't miss this interesting discussion. In our second segment, we talked about the Smithsonian getting the Discovery Space Shuttle, its eventual display, and the disposition of Enterprise which is currently at the Smithsonian. Dr. Launius explained how they will display Discovery to preserve it as close to a real time flying shuttle as possible for historical purposes. We learned that visitors will not be able to walk through it. He does explain the display plans in full, plus he talks about getting the shuttle from KSC to the museum near Dulles Airport and then getting Enterprise to New York as it is to be displayed at the Intrepid Museum. Roger received listener questions about the display of the Enola Gay B-29 which is at the Smithsonian as well as SpaceShipOne. Listeners also asked for his thoughts on Phobos-Grunt and its loss. Our guest pointed out it was the 5th loss of a Russian mission in a year, pointing to some definite problems in the Russian space industry. Some of the problems he described regarding the Russian space industry sounded similar to what is happening with our own space workforce. Commercial space and the private sector came up for discussion with Roger saying that a big difference is that private enterprise will operate their vehicles, not the government. Dr. Launius was asked about space tourism and if it was possible to evaluate any type of market based on visits and comments to the SpaceShipOne exhibit. We talked about STEM educational issues, protecting the Apollo lunar landing sites as historical sites, Pluto in the Smithsonian & the New Horizons Mission. As our program ended, we talked about Plutonium 238 and RTGs for space missions., And a listener wanted to know about the plausibility of one way manned Mars missions. Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above.



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02 Dec 2011 Dr. Roger Launius
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