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Space Policy Edition #5: The U.S. Senate takes on the politics of Mars

SpaceX's Interplanetary Transport System Approaching Mars

Air Date: 10/07/2016
Run Time: 1:03:18

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Topics: commercial spaceflight, Humans to Mars, Space Policy, human spaceflight, Planetary Radio, Mars

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We take a deep dive into new space legislation working its way through the US Senate. It embraces Mars and NASA's big rocket. But Elon Musk and SpaceX just announced an ambitious new plan to colonize Mars. Does this upset the political establishment? Or will they find a cold reception in the halls of Congress? What about the other Mars plans that are out there? Not to mention the implications for NASA's science programs and the looming Presidential transition.

SLS pierces the clouds


SLS pierces the clouds
The 70-metric-ton version of NASA's Space Launch System pierces the clouds in this artist's rendering.

A new episode of Space Policy Edition is posted on the first Friday of each month. Let us know what you think! Comment on this page or write to

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No trivia contest spoilers please!

LocalFluff: 10/08/2016 03:47 CDT

Another great and very informative show. Concerning the worry that a sample will not be returned from Mars until after the orbiters have ended service, I don't think it is so bad. If the 2020 rover has collected the samples, a lander/return spacecraft shouldn't need too much bandwidth. But it would be tragic if Mars is not continuously studied from orbit. I do think that any NASA gaps will be filled, however, thanks to international and maybe even private missions. There are 5 space agencies with plans to explore Mars. I think it will be visited at least once every conjunction from now on.

LocalFluff: 10/11/2016 06:13 CDT

It's official now that the Moon program was scrubbed just because Hussein Obama personally wanted to deny George W Bush the prestige of having initiated it. Augustine Committee members now publicly reveal that they were so instructed by Obama's administration. Could any US space program survive 4 more years of Obama?

Monica Barner: 10/19/2016 09:30 CDT

I'm listening to the policy edition & am baffled. There seems to be broad support w/in gov't for NASA, but strong resistance to scientific findings (climate change). Any thoughts or insights?

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