Broadcast 3382 Open Lines

29 Sep 2019 Dr. David Livingston
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Guest:  Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston;  Topics:  We addressed caller preferred topics including the Musk Saturday evening press conference plus the article I called out on spreading Early molecules throughout space including Mars. 

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Welcome to our Open Lines program. As we started the program, I suggested several topics for discussion , two of which took hold.  One topic dealt with a new Gizmodo article by recent Space Show guest George Dvorsky regarding an academic paper suggesting we spread Earthly molecules throughout space including Mars rather than adopt the planetary protection position which is just the opposite. The Gizmodo article can be found here: https://gizmodo.com/we-should-deliberately-contaminate-mars-with-our-microb-1838496474.  The actual academic paper by lead author Dr. Jose Lopez can be read here: https://academic.oup.com/femsec/article/95/10/fiz127/5553461.  Note that Dr. Lopez will be The Space Show guest for Monday, Oct. 21.  In addition, I sent the links and the article to our Friday Space Show guest Laura Montgomery who is an authority on the OST and Article 9 which spells out Planetary Protection needs and guidelines.  Ms. Montgomery will review this material and talk to us about this Friday, Oct. 4 when she returns to The Space Show.  The other big topic for this program was the Elon Musk 90 minute mainly a press conference at the Boca launch site in Texas regarding Starship.  You can watch the 90 minute program at www.spacex.com.  I strongly suggest you take the time to see it as Musk was not only entertaining, he was informative and there was much new information on Starship that was made available for the first time.

We started the program with a phone call from Marshall in Oklahoma. Marshall initially responded to a comment I made from an earlier show about the Oklahoma Arbuckle Mountains being the oldest mountains in the country.  Marshall confirmed that I was right but then qualified it because he said it depended on where one might be standing in the mountains.  Listen to his explanation.  Marshall then shifted the topic to say he supported the concept put forth by Dr. Lopez in his article.  He explained his position so listen to what he said about spreading Earthly molecules throughout space and on Mars plus planetary protection rules and policies.

Our next caller was John from Freemont, CA.  John also wanted to support the Lopez article , commented that rocket and payload sterilization for Mars and beyond was not 100% effective so already Earthly molecules were on Mars and elsewhere.  John then switched to talking about the Musk presentation from the night before.  He said he had seen about half of it before airtime and mentioned his talking to folks at the SSI Conference on Space Settlement suggesting that Musk taking humans to Mars would be a death sentence.  This statement got John in some hot water later during the show but then before we ended the program, John retracted his statement and modified it.  After John made his statement, I mentioned that Musk was asked about life support for going to Mars and talked about it being simple and straight forward and that it would need regenerative life support which they knew how to do using the ISS as an analog. As far as I recall, Musk did not reference closed loop, microgravity issues, or radiation shielding.  John and then others brought up the risk of GCRs going to Mars and questioned how Musk would deal with the risk as again, it was not mentioned during the event.  At least I don't recall GCRs being mentioned.

Dr. Doug called and wanted to talk to John.  Fortunately John had not yet gotten off the phone so Doug's call to speak with John was accomplished.  For the future, someone wanting to speak to the toll free line caller needs to email me to set that up. Not only did I almost not answer the phone thinking it might be a spam call, but John was in the processing ending his call.  Doug almost missed out on talking with John.  Doug took issue with much of what John was saying and was more or less backing Musk and his plans regarding life support and crew safety issues.  In many ways I agreed with Doug because I do think Musk is smart, he is not a fool and he is aware of the problems and challenges though he has not discussed them all publicly nor has he presented to the public his mitigation strategies for dealing with human factors issues to Mars.  Furthermore, while not specifically talked about, I am quite certain Musk knows the potential consequences for the loss of life on one of his Mars human mission flights. Doug actually used what in my opinion was a very offensive "interrogation" technique with John by bombarding him with already known facts requiring John to either agree with him or say he did not know, all of which was designed to make Doug the expert in the discussion.  I did not call Doug out for using this technique but it was very offensive to me.  The next time it shows up on a Space Show program, I will call it out regardless of topic or who the person is using the interrogation technique.  Let us know what you think about this type of questioning by posting your comments on the blog?  Were you offended as was I?  The Dr. Doug and John discussion lasted beyond the top of the hour.  It was thorough but somewhat redundant when I stepped in to cut it off.  Again, let us know your thoughts about life support and human factors which will be pursued by SpaceX when building, testing, and flying humans to Mars. Be sure to listen to the part of the Musk press conference where he addressed life support issues.  Before they ended their conversation, they talked about the ceramic tiles Musk mentioned regarding reentry.  Doug suggested that Starship would make all other programs/rockets including Artemis irrelevant given first stage reusability and propellant transfer in space.

As we moved to our next caller, John from Ft. Worth, the call focused on Starship though John not yet heard the Musk presentation.  He also had much to say about planetary protection and the Lopez article/concept regarding spreading Earthly molecules through space and especially to Mars.  Late in the program as we were coming to an end, John from Freemont called back to retract his statement made earlier about going to Mars with Musk would be a death sentence.  Make sure you hear all of what John said in this phone call.

As we were now near the end of a 90 minute program, while waiting for other callers or new emails, I went over the upcoming schedule for TSS for the next few weeks.  One program I highlighted was the Monday, Oct. 7th program with John Blincow of The Gateway Foundation (https://gatewayspaceport.com).  Mr. Blincow presented at the SSI Space Settlement conference which both John and Kim summarized for us last week.  For sure you will want to hear this special Space Show program.

Please post your comments/questions for this program on our blog for this show.  If you want to reach any of our callers, you can do so through me and I will forward your email to them.

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