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Planetary Society Hangout: Jan 31, 2013: Sarah Noble on Working on the Moon from Washington

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We welcomed guest Sarah Noble to our weekly Google+ Hangout. Sarah is a lunar geologist and a civil servant working in the Research & Analysis program at NASA Headquarters. We'll talk about squiggly lines on the Moon, about working at NASA HQ, and the lunar mission launching later this year, LADEE, for which Sarah has recently been named Program Scientist.

Unfortunately Sarah's webcam didn't work, but her audio was just fine!


Andrew Planet: 02/02/2013 05:32 CST

We need people like Sarah to filter out what the best science available is because that will render more for the same time period when applied. Some science not based on factual evidence must seem to a trained mind like Sarah's children's ramblings on matters they've played out. I myself have not had much of a formal education but I do dabble in complex books because the simple key of a good dictionary, encyclopaedia or manual will unlock any unknown. Nonetheless, I am quite new in Astronomy and Planetary Society circles having had some contact with the Space Program through facebook, namelt SETI. I had just started using Twitter regularly and not remembering how, I got totally involved with what Emily was tweeting on Curiosity from just before it was going to land, then the whole way through right to data being sent back, now on a monthly basis. Now, its live on Google+ and I've extended my astronomical contacts further, also rejoining SETI whom I'd had contact through facebook. In the light of my lack of knowledge I ask the following I don't know if Cassini has inflatable balloons on it or not but if it did and inflated them so the spacecraft could float in Saturn's atmosphere, could the craft's descent be prolonged or even stopped at some point, after forcing a slow down? We could learn so much more of the atmosphere if the craft could stay in it much longer and still transmit back. I wonder if there are any future missions of the type I've just suggested planned and would they need reinforced balloons? It seems a waste to let Cassini just plunge and be lost in one quick dip. Great Hang Out all. Thanks

Andrew Planet: 02/02/2013 06:06 CST

Oh yeah, the reason for my interest in Curiosity. I'd made an attempt to register on the Mars Science Laboratory participation in sending your name to Mars etched on a chip. I don't know if my online registration was successful but the close American friend on Facebook who had advertised the registration sent me a copy of his certificate. I emailed NASA and they emailed back to say they'll look into it. It would be great to be physically registered on Mars with my legally bona fide surname of Planet, perhaps the first one. As an afterthought, could Cassini have been economically built to separate into two vehicles, one plunging and the other still functioning in orbit and still accomplish the same mission?

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