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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: 2014 NASA Budget Update and Planetary Defense Conference Recap

Thursday, Apr 25, at noon PDT/1900h UTC

Posted by Casey Dreier

25-04-2013 12:44 CDT

Topics: podcasts and videos

Join me today as I discuss the latest 2014 Budget at NASA and what it does to Planetary Science (and what the Society is doing about it), plus other policy issues and the results of the Congressional hearings on NASA's Budget this week.

Planetary Radio host Mat Kaplan joins us to discuss the Society's Planetary Defense Conference in Flagstaff, AZ, which wrapped up last week.

And our Senior Editor, Emily Lakdawalla, comes in at the end to talk about her recent trip to New York City for the press conference announcement of Mars One, the group that wants to land humans on Mars (and never have them return).

As always, you can ask us questions about any of these things (or anything else!) via Twitter with #planetarylive  or by commenting on this page or the YouTube video stream.

Update: You can see the all of the Planetary Defense Conference talks at
See other posts from April 2013


Or read more blog entries about: podcasts and videos


John Jogerst: 04/25/2013 08:50 CDT

We need humans in space - off the surface of our planet/target. We don't necessarily need to land on a planet for other than exploration. Mars One's greatest value may be building the infrastructure and skills to travel beyond LEO. The resources of the system are in the asteroids, which are not stuck at the bottom of deep gravity wells (which makes it expensive to get up and down). It would change the incentives if we start going out and grabbing the NEOs for a profit rather than just having to duck or punt.

Stephen: 04/26/2013 08:57 CDT

Thanks for the very interesting hangout. I have one or two comments. 1) What was the bleeping sound which periodical blotted out words whenever Mat Kaplan spoke (eg at 19:49? 2) The JEO (during its 9-month Europa orbit phase) promised, amongst other things, laser altimetry, gravity mapping, radar sounding, and 10 m/pixel imaging covering about 80% of the Europan surface (plus 1 m/pixel for selected areas). In contrast, the Europa Clipper mission as outlined at: offers 32 flybys of Europa during its primary mission, ranging from 2700 km to 25 km, which (to be frank) would seem like a re-run (albeit lengthier) of the Galileo-Europa phase of the Galileo mission, with the addition of an ice penetrating radar, a more modern camera and computer system, and a functioning high-gain antenna. But no laser altimetry, and (presumably) limited if any gravity field or tidal data. While that may be better than nothing, would that truly be a satisfactory substitute for the JEO? Which raises the question of just how many of the goals of the JEO the EC will be able to accomplish? 3) @43:22 Casey: "…it has that ocean of salty water…" Is the existence of a sub-surface ocean, salty or otherwise, under Europa's ice as yet an established FACT or (much like the existence of dark matter) still only a well-founded but yet-to-be-confirmed suspicion? My understanding was that establishing that ocean's existence AS a fact through multiple lines of evidence (gravity, tidal effects,.radar sounding, etc) was one of the goals of a JEO. Am I mistaken? 4) @43:21 Casey: "ever since [the] Gaileo [mission] suggested there was liquid water on Europa." You youngsters need to brush up on your ancient space history! A liquid water ocean beneath Europa's ice has been suspected by some ever since the days of Voyager, never mind Galileo! Galileo simply provided the most clinching evidence thus far in its favour.

Stephen: 04/26/2013 10:49 CDT

A few additional comments: 5) @44:16 Casey: "And then you'll have another [MSR] mission come after that…" The MSR (at least as presented in the decadal report) would require THREE separate missions, not two. 6) @44:35 Casey: "One of the reasons we need this funding back now [is] to do this really important thing…" Actually, if you think about it. should the Mars One project actually go ahead then if it DOES succeed in landing people on Mars at some point in the 2020s (be that 2023 or later), then the MSR would immediately become obsolete. For why would NASA spend maybe $10 billion on three separate missions to bring back a few grams of pebbles and powdered rock back to Earth when all it has to do is land a couple of tons of laboratory equipment at the Mars One site and then ask/hire/plead with the Mars One team to do a little field geology and then analyze the results?. Granted Mars One may not necessarily land on the most geologically interesting Mars terrain, but right now obtaining an absolute date for a single rock from a known location and geolgical context anywhere on Mars would itself be a major milestone. 7) @50:36 Emily: ."…a reality TV show around…" That would seem to require a film crew to go to Mars as well as the actors. The alternative would be to have the actors do the filming etc themselves as well as the acting, which may or may not produce watchable results. 8) @53:11 Emily: "..which we haven't discovered yet…" Just how does one preserve a thing not yet been discovered, and therefore a thing we have no idea what it is like so that we can devise ways OF preserving it)? Or to turn the issue around just how soon will we know for certain that Mars life does NOT exist so that human beings can thereafter be allowed to visit the Red Planet? Human patience has its limits. :-)

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