Broadcast 1306 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

13 Feb 2010 Brent Sherwood
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Guest: Brent Sherwood. Topics: NASA Flexible Path based on the Augustine Commission Report. Brent Sherwood returned for this Space Show program to present a detailed discussion the potential NASA Flexible Path for our coming civil space policy. In our first segment, Mr. Sherwood explained the basis of the Short Study conducted by various NASA centers and participants during the Fall 2009. Brent was the Study Coordinator. This is an important discussion as Brent outlines the purpose of the study, who participated, why, and much more. As he said, the main issue involved how to define the ultimate space policy goal and separate the goal from a destination goal. Later he said there was a focus on three missions including the assembly of very large telescopes, going to a NEO, and visiting Phobos, the largest of the Martian moons. There are also three articles you should read on these issues as they leaked information from the study project. 1. Mars and Phobos: (2) Very large telescope construction in space (3) Visiting NEOs Brent outlined the characteristics of the flexible path so you definitely want to pay close attention to what he described. This is a very interesting, comprehensive, and important discussion. In Segment Two, our last and longest segment, we talked about why a visit to Phobos was easier and less costly than a trip to Mars. Brent also described why going to Phobos was more interesting that the smaller Martian moon, Deimos. Phobos is probably a captured asteroid and has many interesting qualities to it. Again, a very interesting discussion. During this segment, Bob Werb called in and asked if the flexible path was really different. This led to a lengthy discussion about the flexible path, how we did things in the past with Apollo and ISS, game changing technologies, and more. Bob asked if this was really a plan to return NASA to the "glory" days of NACA. Don't miss what Brent had to say about this. Brent fielded many additional listener questions about a NASA flexible path, mission costs, and NASA budgets. He talked about what makes a mission interesting and valuable. Toward the end of the program, Brent discussed the very large telescope idea in some detail, including placement at the various Le Grange points between the Earth and the Moon and Sun. He explained what such huge telescopes could accomplish and even "see." If you have a question or comment for Bent Sherwood, please send it to me at and I will forward it to him.



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