Guest: Leonard David; topics: Mars Sample Return, SETI news & expectations, Artemis Accords, space as a global commons, China space program and lunar goals, US space policy, Space Force and more.
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We welcomed Leonard David back to the program for a two segment 1 hour 45 minute wide ranging space program discussion. We kicked the discussion off by talking about a Mars Sample Return mission, the book we all know, "The Andromeda Strain," and our gust suggesting we not bring Martian samples to Earth without first being sure they can't do damage on Earth. He cited the current Covid-19 Pandemic as an example of what can go wrong with a Mars sample not properly screened get back here and unleashes an even worse pandemic than our current Covid-19 pandemic. We spent a considerable amount of time on this subject. I also introduced different views, especially those from some listeners as well as Dr. Zubrin. We talked about the Musk and SpaceX humans to Mars plans, planetary protection and related topics. Leonard said multiple times that we need to find out about life or past life on Mars, why are there no life detection experiments for Mars and that we as humans need to continue pushing outward in this search other places in the solar system but he said we are stuck dealing with Mars without progress. Don't miss all he said on this topic. Post your comments on this subject on our blog for this show.
Leonard moved the topic to SETI and the large radio telescope in China, their new Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST nicknamed Tianyan in Pingtang County, Guizhou, southwest China. Leonard thought 2020 might be a breakthrough year for SETI and discovering some form of extraterrestrial life off Earth. He talked about SETI signals and the possibility we might be missing clues or even contact. What do you think?
Our first caller was Marshall from Renfrow, Oklahoma. Marshall interjected the Fermi Paradox into the discussion. Leonard and Marshall continued talking about our missing a clue or contact signal because we don't even know to look for it or how to look for it. You don't want to miss this part of the discussion.
Leonard talked about attending (listening only) the recent Space Council meeting. He thought VP Pence was very good at it and cared about the US and space. He also gave a thumbs up to NASA Administrator Bridenstine. He had much to say about SLS, Orion, SPACEX, the private sector and the upcoming Demo-2 flight to the ISS with the Crew Dragon and two astronauts on board. He talked about the impact of success or failure.
The Artemis Accords were discussed. He said it was wait and see as the actual Accords don't yet exist bought thought this might be an excellent way going forward. He commented on many involved in the project, especially Mike Gold, Atty. By the way, Mike has been a guest multiple times on The Space Show. This was followed by a call from Ft. Worth John who wanted to continue the discussion about the Fermi Paradox. After John's call, we heard from Dr. Charles Lurio of the Lurio Report. He said he was cautiously optimistic about the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 flight and had lots of confidence in the work SpaceX has been doing leading up to the flight. He commented that the components and rocket all of which had been tested. Leonard and Charles then had some fun talking about the fashion statements of the SpaceX spacesuits. See here for more spacesuit information: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYUKJ1fE9Dg.
For the second part of the program, Leonard continued talking about the Space Council meeting. I asked if anyone at the meeting talked about program costs or economics. Leonard said a person was there from the OMB who had important things to say. Leonard then spoke about the comments by the person from the DOE, especially about nuclear thermal propulsion and RTGs. Leonard was asked how China was handled in the meeting. He said lots was said about China "from people paid to be paranoid about China." Mars came up as did other national space agencies.
Leonard's wife Barbara took over for a few minutes to update us on space education outreach efforts. We will hear more from her on space education on future programs. Back to Leonard, I read an email from Eric about beamed propulsion. Leonard had much to say on the topic plus he talked about advances in rail guns.
The topic switched to attending virtual space conferences. Listen Bob asked Leonard for his opinion on such virtual conferences. Leonard had much to say so don't miss it. I bet some of his comments surprise you. Listener Sally from Seattle asked if Leonard would bet on our timelines for returning to the Moon or getting back to the Moon before China gets there. Leonard sort of dodged the question by talking about Blue Origin in the Seattle area and their Blue Moon Lander concept, plus the people engaged in working on it.
Toward the end of the program I asked if Leonard was following the 5G technical discussions and if he could talk about 5G with us. I also asked he had been in touch with former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin as Mr. Goldin was out there speaking out on 5G and the need to keep it as American technology. Leonard said he was not in touch with Dan Goldin at this time. Listeners, I would like to invite Mr. Goldin to the show so if anyone can help put me in contact with him, please do.
Please post your thoughts/comments/questions on our blog page for this program. You can reach Leonard David through me or his own website, www.leonarddavid.com.