Broadcast 932 (Special Edition)

22 Apr 2008 Dr. Roger Launius, Dr. Howard McCurdy
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Guests: Dr. Roger Launius and Dr. Howard McCurdy were the guests for this Space Show program to discuss their new book, "Robots In Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel." This was a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion about our present and future role in space, both with robotics and humans, then with some type of yet-to-be determined combination. One of the issues discussed was how to create a space program that could electrify the public as was the case with the early days of the Apollo program. Later in the show, our guests said there were five reasons to go to space, but only one required humans. These five reasons were: commerce, defense, science, national prestige, and the survival of our species. They also said that the last one, survival of the species, was the least interesting so far, even within NASA and members of Congress. In response to various listener comments and questions, our guests expressed a need to have a balance with robotics and the human space program. At one point later in the show, Dr. McCurdy, in responding to a bottom line question about the VSE, suggested we might be better off if some of the VSE money was put towards advanced propulsion development programs in order to crack the barrier of new propulsion which is the key to getting off Earth into space cost effectively. As you listen to this program, you will hear a very good exchange with listeners and both our guests on the issues facing humans in space, when, how and why, political and economic realities and policy making, and more. Toward the end of the program, we included a comprehensive discussion of transhumanism and both our guests started asking the question what space explorers would look like in the future, especially as we reached out beyond Mars. Do not miss this discussion. If you have additional questions or comments for our guests, please email Dr. McCurdy at mccurdy@american.edu and Dr. Launius at LauniusR@si.edu.

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