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We welcomed John Jossy to the show for a two segment two hour discussion on a wide range of space and space related topics. During the first segment of our program, John talked about some key areas of his background including ordering a telescope kit form Edmund Scientific, grinding his own mirrors and making two reflector amateur telescopes. The subject of grinding mirrors for a telescope caught on and was discussed later in the program with some of our callers. Also in the early part of the first segment, we talked about the research sources John constantly visits and uses to not only stay on top of a fast moving space matters, especially commercial space industry topics as well in helping to keep others up to date with timely and interesting emailings of excellent news articles. If you are interested in knowing some sources for excellent space news and information, pay attention to what John had to say in this discussion. In fact, one listener sent in a note asking John to create a more formal mailing list to share his research with more than just a handful of interested parties and friends. In his rely, John said he might be interested in starting a blog in the future so we will stay tuned and watch for that to happen.
I asked John for his primary space focus. He said it was free space colony development. In addition, he claimed being an early supporter of the O'Neill colonies per "The High Frontier" by Dr. Gerard O'Neill. He also said he had just finished reading the new book by Al Globus regarding a commercial, real estate oriented LEO space station in a low radiation equatorial orbit. John supported that idea and the economics behind it. I asked him how these projects or good ideas from others would be implemented, a question I ask many Space Show guests. John thought some of the space billionaires might make investments and jump start this branch of industry. We then had a short discussion about this but we would like to know your thoughts on how to implement good ideas for commercial and private space development. Share your ideas with us on our blog for this show.
Kim called from Mexico for an extensive discussion with John. We talked about Pluto regaining its lost planet status, dwarf planets in general, plus John summarized the history of just how Pluto lost its status as the 9th planet. John was then asked about grinding the mirrors for his homemade telescopes. He said he spent about 40 hours doing it and shared the process with us. He also talked about good dark sky viewing areas in the SF Bay Area as John resides in the East Bay part of the Bay Area. In response to a question, he said he could see the Milky Way, Andromeda and the Orion Nebula through his telescopes though Orion was very dim. Don't miss his discussion on telescope viewing. Kim and John then talked about the essay contest regarding the First Woman on the Moon Contest by the International Lunar Observatory. The winner goes to China for an award and to attend a key space conference. You can find out more about the organization and contest here, even enter the contest if you want: http://iloa.org and www.iloa.org/1stWomenontheMoon.pdf.
We started the second segment with a call from Marshall. He wanted to talk about manually grinding mirrors saying that he had worked on early computerized equipment that could do this accurately and quickly. He wanted to know if manually grinding a mirror or lens was a lost art. John and Marshall had an interesting discussion about manually grinding lenses and mirrors as compared to automation. John said the larger telescopes do use computer created mirrors and such. They both then discussed larger amateur telescopes ranging up to 40" and 50". John pointed out that for these larger telescopes the mount was critical plus they were not always easy to handle.
Later, John talked about his involvement in Project Astro which was a program of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific fostering collaboration between amateur astronomers and primary school teachers for bring space lessons into the classroom. John told us about some of his experiences with this program. I then asked our guest if he has a keen interest in space policy, law, DOD space and some of the other topics we talk about on The Space Show. He said he was paying more attention to these subjects because he was realizing the connection and the need for progress in these areas to have progress in space settlement, commercial space and human spaceflight. He mentioned planetary protection issues for example as well as issues arising from the Outer Space Treaty.
Later in this segment, I asked John about his interest in advanced propulsion projects and he got a listener email asking if he was still connected to the Cal space and observatory projects and centers since he was a former Cal student. As part of his response, he talked about Kepler and exoplanets, the Drake Equation and searching for life in the universe. I then asked John about Viking and Dr. Gil Levin's LR experiments. We were of a similar mindset in that we believed there was much there to consider though the LR seems to be dismissed more often than not.
As we neared the end of the program, Connie in Seattle sent in a note asking for John's opinion on the creation of a separate military branch for the Space Force. This prompted John Hunt from Ft. Worth to call and both had an excellent discussion on the pros and cons of a separate space force. From time to time I joined in their discussion as well. The Space Show will be having various guests on over the next few months supporting the pro and the con side of this important issue. Be sure to listen to these programs and guests as I expect them to be very informative on all sides of the issue.
John offered us closing comments and our program ended at about two hours. Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach John Jossy through me or our blog.