Broadcast 1411 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Dr. Pete Worden. Topics: Space policy, NASA Ames, space biology, small sats, inspiration. We welcomed back Dr. Pete Worden, Director of NASA Ames for this special one hour program. We started our discussion with a focus on US space policy and our future in space. Dr. Worden supported the presidential plan and since Congress does not yet have a final, approved policy, we did not address the congressional ideas to date. Dr. Worden explained in detail why the presidential plan was good for our space policy. In providing us with this perspective, we talked about the history and the future of human spaceflight and what it means to us all. This is a must listen to discussion. We did talk about the potential of going to CR (continuing resolution) but as you will hear, nobody supports uncertainty. Our discussion took on the heavy lift issue and its importance to leaving Earth. We also talked about the comments made by former NASA Administrator Dr. Mike Griffin at the recent Mars Society Meeting regarding the Delta V needed to go to a nearby asteroid versus Mars or Phobos. Pete had much to say about this, has crunched the numbers and as you will hear, disagrees with Mike's comment made at the Mars Society Conference. In addition to talking about the Delta V to go to an asteroid, we talked in general about doing a flyby and landing on a NEO as well as Mars. We switched topics and talked next about suborbital research flights and the NASA CRuSR program which is now managed out of the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. The NewSpace part of the space industry came up for discussion and you will hear Pete say that he is an enthusiastic supporter of NewSpace. I then asked Pete if he had changed his position on SSP. The answer was no but it was very positive toward researching, developing and using beamed energy. This again is a must listen to discussion including business plan and economic analysis of terrestrial energy capabilities versus space solar power systems. I brought up the new research by Dr. Fitts et al showing muscle atrophy and deterioration on long duration space flight even with exercise and Dr. Worden commented on the role of Ames in this and similar research and how important it was and is to our future in space. This took us into an area of listener questions about variable gravity LEO research stations, mammal gravity research on the ISS and more. We then talked about other AMES projects including biofuel research for green aviation, growing algae for fuel and more. Toward the end of the discussion, we talked about solar sail technology and the AMES participation with Marshall in the NANOSAIL-D project. Here, we went over launch availability for small satellites, cubesats, and the issues surrounding this common problem. Pete expressed a great interest in small satellites and cubesats with an increasing role to play in our future, even for individuals. In our final minutes, we talked about NASA AMES and Google Sat with Android cell phones and sounding rockets, STEM education, inspiration for our youth and future trends. Finally, Dr. Worden was asked to comment on recent comments made by Dr. Stephen Hawking about leaving Earth as an imperative and possibly meeting up with and communicating with ET. If you have questions or comments for Dr. Pete Worden, he can be reached through the NASA AMES website ( or you can send it to me at and I will forward it to his office.



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18 Aug 2010 Dr. S. Pete Worden
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