Broadcast 1388 (Special Edition)

04 Jul 2010 Dr. Clive Neal
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Guest: Dr. Clive Neal. Topics: Lunar exploration, space vision and space policy. We welcomed Dr. Clive Neal who is the chair of NASAs Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) to the show. Please visit their website at www.lpi.usra.edu/leag. In our fist segment, we started out talking about water on the Moon, how much and where. This discussion evolved into the vision for returning to the Moon and the need for a lunar exit strategy so we don't get bogged down and not go anyplace else in the solar system. Dr. Neal then spoke of the roadmap for solar system exploration, our new National Space Policy, and leadership issues, goals, and clarity. When asked why the Moon, he said it was important due to its proximity to Earth, it was a hostile environment, that we needed to learn to live off world, and that we could see it. We talked about the need to learn to do insitu resource utilization and if we did not do it, other nations probably would. A listener asked him a question about the Thatcher ban of human spaceflight in the UK, a ban that was only recently lifted. Another listener asked about the Apollo era lunar seismographs left on the Moon and Dr. Neal had much to say about this project and what learned about moonquakes and the Moon. We talked about lunar caves and the Moon as a source of inspiration for students and others. Toward the end of the segment, Dr. Neal said he wanted to dispel the myth that was also cited by President Obama when announcing his policy regarding the Moon that we had been there and done that. In the second segment, I asked our guest to explain why we needed to go to the Moon as if he were fighting for the program in front of members of Congress. Dr. Neal spoke about the payback for returning to the Moon and space exploration. He also talked about the Moon being a jobs creating program. Listen carefully to what he had to say about this. We also talked about options of going to a NEO or Mars and of using the Moon for SSP beamed back to Earth. Dr. Neal focused on building synergies rather than competing and handling problems. A listener asked him for the next step in lunar exploration and he said there would soon be a mission plan on the LEAG website. Listener Trent asked about comparing robots on the Moon to humans and this sparked a good discussion. Listener Jim inquired into the behind the scenes meaning for the statement made by President Obama about been there done that. This also promoted a good exchange with our guest. In our third and final segment, we talked about the cancellation of Constellation and what this meant for going anyplace beyond LEO. Dr. Neal focused on the need for heavy lift. I then discussed the arguments used by many who are not supportive of heavy lift. Dr. Neal was asked if he thought the private sector would go to the Moon, not the government. He said not without a commercial reason and ultimate payback. We then talked about the need for a long term vision transcending many different administrations, perhaps a 40 year vision. As he explained, there is very little payoff for a President or member of Congress to be supportive of such a long term goal but that such long term funding and visionary leadership was essential since space was costly and cannot be done overnight. Project M came up regarding HD cameras on the Moon. I then summarized some of the questions asked by Evon regarding the philosophical differences between scientists and explorer/developers. As you will hear, Dr. Neal again stressed synergy, not the differences. Dr. Neal left us with important closing comments which really were Pearls of Wisdom. Don't miss them. If you have a question for Dr. Clive Neal, please email him at neal.1@nd.edu.

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