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Guest: Ben Pearson; Topics: Our guest introduced us to the Space Stack Exchange (www.space.stackexchange.com) and his site for tracking the Tesla, www.whereisroadster.com. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Ben Pearson, Space Stack Exchange (www.space.stackexchange.com) moderator, to the show. Ben also created the website set up for tracking the Tesla Roadster on its journey through space since its Falcon Heavy launch. Check it out at www.whereisroadster.com. During our two segment 1 hour 26 minute discussion, we covered top questions, trending questions and subjects, and the workings of the Space Stack Exchange website which is a high quality Q&A very informative and often instructional website. As you will hear, there are ways to assess the quality of the information in the reply to your question by seeing the rating given the person replying. Don't miss Ben's explanation of the rating system and how it works for a new member of the Space Stack Exchange. During the early part of our discussion, we learned how the website worked, trending questions, topics, and the top questions asked by users of the website. For example, we learned that a top question was can one leave Earth's gravity field by going a continual 1 mph speed. Early on, I asked Ben if certain types of questions were asked on the site, providing examples such as getting a lunar rover from the lunar surface, bringing it back and putting it on eBay. I was trying to find out if the plausibility of such an idea would be a question asked of Space Stack Exchange members. You might be surprised by Ben's response. Another question I asked in the way of an example was why the Mars InSight Mission was launching from Vandenberg rather than the Cape. As it turned out that was a question asked and answered on the website. At one point, Ben said that there were over 7,000 questions and answers on the website.
Listeners sent in several emails asking about this or that with Ben responding to each question and topic. As you will hear, the Stack Exchange does cover a wide variety of space topics. General subjects discussed including Mars payload sterilization, designing rockets, tracking the Tesla on its space journey, orbital dynamics, and Mars and Venus topics.
In the second segment, Ben told us about the Tesla video with the Starman which is on YouTube. You can see the video here: www.whereisroadster.com/views. Ben talked about tracking the Tesla, where it would be around 2045, the likelihood of it crashing into Mars, Venus or as he later suggested, it might be captured as it passes near Earth and ends up in a museum.
Kim was the first caller. She said she had used the Stack Exchange for much of what she has learned for doing Moonwards. She also said one of her favorite questions was the one about an Apollo 16 photo that showed the far side of the Moon. People wanted to know how that photo was made or was it a fake. Ben explained how the photo was taken so listen to his explanation. You can also see it on the website. Another popular question discussed by Kim and Ben focused on wanting to know the purpose of a countdown for launching a rocket. Don't miss what Ben said about the rocket countdown. Both our caller and guest talked about the 1 mph question I mentioned earlier plus I asked Ben about a constant 1mph acceleration. Ben had much to say about this which was different than the just going 1 mph. I mentioned this used to be a frequent Space Show discussion topics years ago but that it had died out in popularity. Ben pointed out we had no way to do such constant acceleration at this time. I mentioned that the topic had come up in older space elevator discussions and our guest mentioned EmDrive. Ben confirmed my experience in that even the EmDrive topic had died down in recent months as topics of interest. Kim then mentioned questions that were asking about the difference in a Blue Origin launch and a SpaceX launch. Ben and Kim had much to say about this so don't miss their comments.
Linda in Atlanta was interested in finding out if the Space Stack Exchange could give her reliable information on N. Korean ICBMs, more so than she felt she was getting on the news. Ben explained that they did not focus on military or defense space issues but there was some information on the website about ICBMs but not specifically N. Korean ICBMs.
Ben was asked about newsletters and membership for the Space Stack Exchange. He said people could join it, that the Stack Exchange had many different categories and subsets and that it was not all about space. He listed the social media presence for the Space Stack Exchange. I followed this short discussion by asking about economics and NewSpace investing on the Exchange. Ben said economic questions and discussions were not that strong on the site but listen to all of what he said on this topic. Alex then sent in an email asking if the website was used as a space industry news feed.
More questions came in regarding the tracking of the Tesla. Kim sent in an email asking what prep the Tesla went through for the launch. Don't miss what Ben said in response to Kim's question. Questions came in regarding Starman, how it was made, and the spacesuit it was wearing. That led to short discussions about space tourism, space hotels, spacesuits, suborbital flights, and more.
Before the program ended, Paul in New York wanted to know if the NewSpace industry was a focus of the website. Here, we talked about human spaceflight and planetary missions. For example, the New Horizons mission was the most popular of all the planetary missions talked about on the website. More so than Curiosity! Before the program ended, Randy wanted to both know and suggest that our guest get involved in educational outreach in the public schools. As the program was drawing to a close, Ben mentioned the 2047 date when the Tesla would be nearer to Earth and said that SpaceX or someone might make the effort to get it and put it in a museum as was mentioned earlier in the show.
Please post your comments/questions for the show on TSS blog. You can reach Ben Pearson through the websites discussed or me.