On The Space Show Monday March 19 7 pm PDT

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Several recent stories regarding Trump’s space policy has prompted David Livingston to quickly schedule a Bob Zimmerman appearance on The Space Show for Monday, March 19, 7 pm (Pacific). The show will last at least ninety minutes. David especially wanted my analysis of Trump’s comments about the Falcon Heavy and SpaceX and how those comments have the big space contractors Boeing and Lockheed Martin quaking in their boots. Their fear and terror is further compounded by the present lack of a NASA administrator, which is made even worse by the announcement that the acting interim administrator is retiring at the end of March.

You can listen to the show live at the Space Show link. We are hoping that a number of my readers will call in with questions as well as their thoughts. The Space Show toll free number is 1 (866) 687-7223. David does not screen calls, though he expects those who call to have good questions or thoughts that will further the conversation in an entertaining way. And I don’t bite!



  • Localfluff

    When I looked for the 49th Lunar and Planetary Conference will begin today, I stumbled upon <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/nasalunar/videos"SSERVI workshops" from January this year. The theme is what kind of science should be done by landed missions on the Lunar surface. One hour into this day long series of 15 minutes talks, is one about pits (potentially leading to lava tubes) on the Moon, that might interest a cave man :-) It is suggested to land a small spacecraft directly on the bottom of such a pit, which to me doesn’t sound more difficult than precision landing on the rim and hang some instruments on a tether down the pit.

  • Tom Billings

    “It is suggested to land a small spacecraft directly on the bottom of such a pit, which to me doesn’t sound more difficult than precision landing on the rim and hang some instruments on a tether down the pit.”

    You are quite correct. However, the cavers in the planetary science community have found such an idea abhorrent for years. Even at the first lunar and planetary caving workshop, which I presented at, there were objections to flying *over* a lava tube entrance in search of a close landing spot.

    The problem is the quest for purity of sampling, and the belief that there will be only one of a few opportunities per decade to have a lander. “You *must*not*contaminate* our only sample for this decade, of a lunar lava tube cave, because it may take decades to get another mission to one!” This was what I was told in one way and another, repeatedly throughout the workshop.

    I had wanted to fly our proposed “MoonBat” flyer *into* a lunar lava tube cave to map and measure its interior forms, with a flyer that has as a rocket exhaust something as innocuous as the Nitrogen and Oxygen from Nitrous Oxide propellant. The suggestion did not cause a riot, …barely. The current academic belief that space science missions will *always* be expensive, and *always* be funded only by governments, may start to break down once people realize how cheap the lift from a BFR will be, but academic institutions have their own cut of each mission to worry about. Supporting 20 privately funded missions to lunar lava tubes in the 2020s that cost only $10 million each, and have maybe $1 million set aside for academics to analyze the data, is not going to be anywhere *near* as popular with them as a single $500 million mission which has $150 million set aside for doing science, and paying professors and grad students.

    Change is coming, but it will be uncomfortable for *many* present participants, as costs drop.

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