Broadcast 1453 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

04 Nov 2010 Robert Zimmerman
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Guest: Robert Zimmerman. Topics: Election impact on space. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. We welcomed Robert (Bob) Zimmerman back to the show to discuss the impact of the recent congressional elections on space policy and programs. This was a difficult topic to address because nobody really has a clear idea of what will happen with the new congress let alone the Lame Duck congress that resumes work on Nov. 15 of this year. In addition, while we do our best on The Space Show to steer clear of regular politics, this time around, everything was mixed together because the economic issues faced by the US and how they are dealt with by the American people and Congress will likely impact NASA and space, along with the private capital markets. Its virtually impossible to carve out a segment for space devoid of everything else going on in the country and just look at space as if its not part of the entire US economy. Bob did his best, I probably mixed it up and merged issues more than Bob, so during the first segment of this two hour discussion, Bob talked about "The Great Disconnect" and we both brought up recent polls that continue to show that cutting NASA is top priority of the American people, this despite NASA and space being liked by the general population. Several listeners asked about the likelihood of some of the new members of Congress wanting to bring back Constellation. We don't think it will happen but as Bob said several times, this remains an unknown though it would be hard to justify if their focus is really going to be on reducing government spending. During this segment, we talked about the political uncertainties and the lack of clarity which will only be cleared up over time. We also talked about business issues, the need to expand commercial markets and the adverse impact on business caused by uncertainty, rising taxes and expenses, and how this plays out with NewSpace and other related commercial businesses. In our second segment, we discussed the final Discovery shuttle flight and its delays, and Bob was asked about other space nations and their spending on space given lots of other countries have economic problems too. How does Russia, Europe, India, Japan, and China address space and technology spending given they have economic problems to one degree or the other. Don't miss this discussion. Bob then talked about the Deep Impact mission and the photos of Hartley 2 which you can see on his website as well as other sites on the net. Bob got a question about the old Viking landers on Mars and new research showing that they might have detected life. Caller Tim in Huntsville took us back to the budget issues with his question and Bob suggested much depends on the "squealing" threshold of the American people. Listen to hear what he meant by this. Bob fielded questions about our technology lead or the loss of it, then near the end of the show, we talked about the resignation letter by Dr. Hal Lewis from the API regarding the failure of science to maintain integrity, truth, etc. citing the Climategate issue as an example. You can read the letter from Dr. Lewis at www.thegwpf.org/ipcc-news/1670-hal-lewis-my-resignation-from-the-america.... The APS replied at www.aps.org/about/pressreleases/haroldlewis.cfm. Visit Bob's website at www.behindtheblack.com. Post your comments on The Space Show blog URL above, send them to Bob at zimmerman at asw dot org or you can send them through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

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