March 9, 2018 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

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Embedded below the fold in two parts. I especially like John Batchelor’s titles for each part: 1.Will the Trump administration shut down SLS? 2. Jupiter is completely different than anything else.



  • Localfluff

    While Cassini has shown that Saturn has got a polar hexagon, Juno has shown that Jupiter has an octagon at one pole and a pentagon at the other. On Jupiter the patterns aren’t continuous but connect circular storms. Remarkable. Reminds me of Kepler’s Mysterium Cosmographicum where he tries to fit the six Platonic symmetric polyhedrons to the then known properties of the planets.

  • Richard M

    You’re almost certainly right, Bob: SLS does not seem to be in immediate danger of being killed off. Still too much political support for it; Trump has too many more urgent needs to deploy his limited political capital on. But SLS defenders are clearly worried. I can’t recall any surge on this scale of SLS defenses pieces like we have seen in recent months.

    One political dynamic that does worry me a little, however, is one identified by Eric Berger at Ars Technica some months ago. Old Space firms do seem to have picked up on the unpopularity of key New Space titans like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos on the populist (i.e., Trumpian) Right, and they’ve seemingly been fanning these flames in recent months. They perceive them as having lefty politics (which is true to some degree, especially of Bezos) and globalist sympathies – if you have any doubt, simply look at the combox under any Musk- or Bezos related story at Breitbart. (Never mind that LockMart and Boeing execs and managers are hardly staunch populists, either.) The idea of empowering them further with government contracts, even of the fixed cost variety, immediately pushes certain buttons. Given the influence such cohorts have in Washington now, it’s cause for concern that it could help extend the life of SLS beyond what it might otherwise obtain.

    All of which is why Trump’s remarks are valuable. He has a credibility with these cohorts that no one else does to date. It’s not going to eliminate anti-Musk/Bezos antipathies on the Right, but it may take some of the edge off.

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