Broadcast 907 (Special Edition)

11 Mar 2008 Dr. Roger Launius
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Dr. Roger Launius returned as the guest to The Space Show for this important, interesting, and fun program. We started our discussion asking if NASA itself might find that it is an artifact worthy of being collected by the Air and Space Museum. While this was a tongue-in-cheek question, it took us right to the point about the future for the VSE, NASA programming, its budget, and its programming. Don't miss his response! Listeners asked Dr. Launius several questions about the Smithsonian, their collection, tours, even tours to the undisplayed items. One listener asked about space art in the museum, such as by Alan Bean and other well-known space artists. Again, don't miss this discussion as Dr. Launius explained to us a bit of the inner workings at the Air and Space Museum as to what items are deemed collectable, how an item is chosen to represent history, and more. This is a fascinating look behind the scenes at the Smithsonian. Next, we discussed the VSE and manned vs. human space exploration. Dr. Launius referenced his new book along with co-author Dr. Howard McCurdy and published earlier this year, "Robots in Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel." One listener asked if robots could do what human can do on the Moon or on Mars, or even inspire and motivate others. Don't miss what he had to say about this important issue! As part of this discussion, Dr. Launius mentioned the need for new activities for humans to do in space that justified the high dollar cost and the risk. He said that we definitely needed to lower the cost of space access in order to make human spaceflight more valuable. When asked about the possibility of a commercial silver bullet as the driver for human spaceflight, he admitted that he did not know what it was. We did talk about space tourism and, like many of us, Roger wants to go to space too. We also talked about the human work on the shuttle and the ISS. This is an important discussion that you will not want to miss. Later in the show, a listener from Austin asked about the development of a space cadet wax museum. This was a first for both Roger and me, but I immediately received much email in support of the idea. As we tossed the idea around for a few minutes, we liked it. Let us know what you think of such an idea after you hear this discussion. Also in the last segment of the show a listener asked what the Smithsonian was doing for outreach to Generation Y, a group we have been talking about often in recent shows. You will want to hear what he has to say about outreach. Dr. Launius was also asked how he thought NASA would fare in the next administration. One thing he did say was he suspected there would be an increase in NASA activities for Earth science. However, he was not sure if new funding would be given NASA or if the existing NASA budget is simply divided up differently. If you have questions or comments for Dr. Launius, you can send them to him at launiusr@si.edu.

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