Broadcast 1233 (Special Edition)

02 Oct 2009 Dr. Erik Seedhouse
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Guest: Dr. Erik Seedhouse. Topics: risk aversion, lunar development, leadership, space with a vision, bio ethical issues. Dr. Erik Seedhouse was our guest today to discuss his book, "Lunar Outpost: The Challenges of Establishing a Human Settlement on the Moon." As we started the program, we asked Dr. Seedhouse about Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger's parachute jump from the edge of space given that Dr. Seedhouse was with the legendary 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, the world's most elite airborne regiment. Erik explained the major risks and problems in jumping when there is no atmosphere to push off of and use to control your jump. He discussed the problem of the flat spin and why it’s fatal, the differences with HALO jumpers, and the use of a drogue chute. He predicted that Captain Kittinger's record would be broken next year, so don't miss this discussion. After talking about skydiving from the edge of space, we turned our attention to lunar outposts and development. One thing Dr. Seedhouse mentioned that would be helpful was more international collaboration on the part of NASA, specifically he referenced the ESA Aurora Program as a possibility for collaboration. We talked about the Ares-1 rocket and the thrust oscillation problem and then turned our attention to safety and the NASA safety record. Here Dr. Seedhouse had some very interesting observations so don't miss this discussion. We started the second segment with a continuation of the safety subject and then the need for education about space, science, and engineering. We talked about some of the major issues to be resolved for having a lunar outpost including lunar radiation and lunar dust. He received a question about lunar lava tubes for an outpost. You will certainly want to hear what he had to say about the lava tubes. We talked about inspiration, heroes, raising the human spirit and what he said was the core value of NASA, exploration. Ticker tape parades were mentioned as one of the ways we used to honor and reward our risk-taking pioneer astronauts. The subject of water on the Moon came up and he thought it might be overblown in terms of being a driving force for settlement at this time. In needing one ton of regolith to extract about two pints of water, much has to be done to improve the extraction process or find more water for it to be useful for a settlement. We also talked about astronaut training in a commercial environment versus what NASA does. Don't miss this discussion. The Chinese space program was brought up via listener questions and Dr. Seedhouse had much to say about China, potential ISS participation, and a future space race with the U.S. Another listener brought up the Augustine Commission report and Dr. Seedhouse suggested we might be back to the Moon around 2023 rather than 2020. Toward the end of this segment, we spoke about different types of propulsion including the nuclear rocket and plasma propulsion, specifically VASIMR. In our human factors discussion, medical standards for commercial astronauts were compared to NASA astronauts and we talked about many of the important bio ethical issues. Erik also brought up the idea of pre-emptive surgery for long duration space flight. As we moved into the third segment, Erik spent more time with us on the bio ethical issues such as what to do with a dead body, life support for a terminally ill crew member, should there be a straight jacket on board, should crew members under go pre-emptive surgery for gall bladders and the appendix, should their be genetic screening, and more. He said issues like this for long duration spaceflight were only now starting to be discussed. In the fourth segment, we spent some additional time discussing both physical and mental issues. Dr. Seedhouse told us about some of other space books and the two new space books about to be on the market. The balance of this segment was spent talking about the analog model for long duration, very remote, hard missions, the Antarctica missions, especially under the leadership of Ernest Shackleton. We talked about the importance of vision and leadership, the strong structure of leadership and many times Erik referred to Shackleton and his expedition. I asked Erik if this type of leadership model was studied by NASA or any of the other national space agencies. You might be able to guess the answer, but I urge you to listen to what Erik had to say in response to that question. He did say that the military was the best organization to train leaders and those with the rank of Lt. Col. and above or the equivalent had likely been to many leadership training classes and programs. He said the key to being able carry out and survive a long term spaceflight mission such as going to Mars on a three year trip and returning was leadership. This is a very important discussion, don't miss it. As we brought the program to an end, Dr. Seedhouse said that going around and around in LEO does not inspire or make us want to do more. He said we need high risk ventures and projects. Don't miss his concluding remarks. If you have questions or comments for Dr. Erik Seedhouse, you can send them to him at Erik.Seedhouse@drdc-rddc.gc.ca .

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