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Guest: Casey Dreier; Topics: Europa, the search for life, water plumes, Mars, politics, and more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Casey Dreier of The Planetary Society to the show to discuss the recent NASA announcement pertaining to the confirmation of water plumes on Europa. During the first segment of our 96 minute discussion, Casey talked about the significance of the NASA Europa water plumes announcement and the history of wanting to do a Europa mission to search for simple biological life on Europa. Casey told us the history of finding water plumes, the use of two different techniques to confirm them, the role of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the need for further confirmation and predictability before the Europa Clipper Mission actually flies and gets to Europa.
Another topic discussed in this segment was the planned use of the heavy lift SLS rocket being built by NASA. We talked about both the benefits of using SLS for Europa and reasons not to use it, primarily focused on its high costs and low flight rate. This took us to a discussion regarding the political nature of these missions as often it turns that the political side of things is what gets the mission approved and eventually flown. Don't miss what our guest had to say about this process.
In the second segment, we went deeper into the Europa mission history, the players involved in it since the early 2000's, the role of the White House and OMB. Again, the political component of planning planetary missions is not to be overlooked. Post your thoughts and comments on this subject on the blog. Casey pointed out the ongoing NASA resistance to the mission until such time as Congressman John Culberson got involved and pushed hard for the Europa mission by adding funding to the project.
A listener asked Casey about the recent Elon Musk Mars talk from Mexico. We talked about space settlement and the fact that SpaceX could start with a blank state for the Mars mission while NASA has to work with legacy hardware and programs. In terms of SpaceX working together with NASA for Mars or NASA contracting for Mars with SpaceX, our guest pointed out the potential conflict of NASA's own hardware and rocket, SLS and Orion, and the SpaceX plan to build its own heavy lift giant rocket with a customized Dragon for the mission. Listeners pointed out that Musk understood the political part of missions given his willingness to consider partnering with NASA and having them do part of the mission. Again, don't miss what our guest had to say on this topic.
Toward the end of the program, Casey was asked about a possible human mission to Venus. We discussed such a mission but he said having a cloud city in the upper atmosphere of Venus would be resource absent so he did not see how such a proposed settlement could survive unless it was always dependent on Earth or some other independent space settlement. For his closing comments, our guest talked about Europa representing an excellent opportunity to see if life could have developed someplace else.
Please post your comments/questions in the comments section of this archived program on TSS website. You can contact Casey Dreier through The Planetary Society at www.planetary.org.