Planetary Radio • Aug 21, 2019

NASA’s Red Planet Rick and Putting Humans on Mars

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Rick Davis

Assistant Director for Science and Exploration for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate

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Bruce Betts

Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society

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Mat Kaplan

Senior Communications Adviser and former Host of Planetary Radio for The Planetary Society

Rick Davis is the perfect person to co-lead NASA’s Mars Human Landing Sites Study. No one is more devoted to putting human bootprints on the Red Planet.  He returns to Planetary Radio for this inspiring and informative conversation about our progress. Bruce Betts leads off What’s Up with another brief LightSail 2 update.  The Planetary Society’s solar sailing CubeSat continues to raise its orbit.

Humans exploring Mars (Artist concept)
Humans exploring Mars (Artist concept) After driving a short distance from their landing site, two explorers stop to inspect a robotic lander and its small rover in this artist's concept of a future Mars mission.Image: NASA/Pat Rawlings, SAIC
Rick Davis
Rick Davis

This week's prizes:

A priceless Planetary Society KickAsteroid rubber asteroid, a 200-point astronomy account, and a signed copy of Bruce Betts’ new book, Super Cool Space Facts: A Fun, Fact-filled Space Book for Kids

This week's question:

What was the first spacecraft to take a picture of Earth from the vicinity of the Moon?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, August 28th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

What was Edwin Hubble’s middle name?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the August 7 space trivia contest:

After the Soviet Luna 24 lander in 1976, what was the next soft lander on the Moon?


After Luna 24 in 1976, the next successful soft landing on the Moon didn’t happen till Chang’e 3’s arrival in 2013.

A Sonnet by Planetary Radio Listener Curtis Franks
How braved we quite so many hushed years more:
(gone, frantic, sweating effort into night!)
that - so soon after Luna Twenty-Four -
No spear nor eagle, flaming, took that flight?
What grim, disaster triumph covert lees:
Complacence, such success does ill bekin.
As't e'en tastes of human victories,
a poisoned chalice to which souls weaken!
But lo! In middle kingdom, time's at hand,
that our advent'rous spirit may not fade,
to soft 'pon familiar and foreign land:
Down, sweet Chang'e Three and her Rabbit Jade!   (Chang'e 3 and YuTu)


NOTE: This automated transcript is currently being edited by a human. Check back soon.

[00:00:00] NASA's red planet Rick this week on planetary radio.

welcome . I'm at Kaplan of the planetary Society with more of the Human Adventure across our solar system and beyond Rick Davis is back. I don't know anyone who has invested more time and Sweat Equity in getting humans to Mars. He is the assistant director for Science and exploration in NASA's science mission directorate.

But that only begins to tell you about what he has done for the agency over many years. He spent three of those years working at Star city in Russia. To get American astronauts into and back from space in soyuz capsules and he was one of the very few International Space Station capcom's or capsule communicators at the Johnson Space Center who was not an astronaut.

He worked with scores of astronauts during his time there and now among other things he [00:01:00] co-leads NASA's Mars human Landing sites study later. Bruce vets will join me for this week's what's up and a brief light Sail. Date I had just finished showing Rick Davis Around planetary Society headquarters, including our area devoted to the light sail project when we sat down for this great conversation Rick, welcome back to planetary radio and Welcome to our headquarters here in Pasadena.

Matt is wonderful to be here and enormous congratulations to you guys on the successful Mission and and and doing some of the Innovative stuff that y'all been doing including crowdsourcing . It's really cool and you all should be incredibly proud of it. Thank you, sir. Yeah coming from a pro. Like you ain't even more than oh, it's really its innovative and you know, it's really speaks to the massive capabilities that we all collectively are building in space that I think I think sometimes maybe we don't appreciate how massive those are in terms of what they're enabling us to do.

That's a good teas for the rest of this kind of thing. I [00:02:00] mean, we'll talk about some of the difficulties as well. But. There are so much that's good that's going on. Yeah, I think you would agree. Yeah, I want to say first of all, I love your Twitter handle. Thank you that red planet Greg appropriate.

Yeah on and we'll put a bunch of this stuff up. We'll put links up to your Twitter and we'll put stuff up to The Landing site study group and things like that. If I might one thing it's really exciting to me about like that red planet wreck. For example, or any of these mechanisms are not or like coming and doing wonderful podcast with.

Is that NASA loan is not going to do Mars NASA with International partners and I can it's going to be a lot of non-traditional players coming in here that we really don't even know how to do yet and we need ideas and so it's a two-way conversation. That's really crucial. So like for example in the Twitter thing, we are really seeing some great ideas coming in from that.

Really. Yeah, and you know, I just think collectively we'll figure out how to do some really [00:03:00] cool things at Mars speaking of crowdsourcing . Yeah. Yeah. It's been three years since you were last on planetary radio. I don't know if you realize that I think it was on a. Panel, yeah, I was moderating it the humans to Mars Summit which I saw you at again just a couple of months ago.

Are we three years closer to putting boots on Mars? I don't know if it's three years closer, but we are definitely closer. We are learning. You know, when we first did the initial architectures out to Mars, you know, they were trying to put like all the pieces I would say. Actually the hard part about Mars is actually two parts as hard about Mars.

Number one. It's not the technology technology challenging, but we know how to do that number one is a belief issue. It's too hard and and the real problem with that is that if you have that belief, you don't go to the next step which is what really amazingly talented people do which is actually start breaking the problem down.

So we have to do that and the next piece about Mars. It's actually challenging is that. You don't go to an in-state you no real exploration ever says I'm [00:04:00] going to go from never being on Antarctica at all of a sudden having a city at McMurdo and then having a base at South Pole that was not even Envision a ball.

If you will, you know, when amundsen actually did the first push down to South Pole you need to systematically start doing what you can do and start making it possible in the region. And so then you phase in these other things and its really the phasing in that's the. Challenging part in figuring out how you do that?

And that's where you need a lot of creative ideas there that will really allow us to go do this sooner than later. Yeah. It's just in recent weeks as we've all been talking Apollo again and getting to talk to some of the historians in my colleague Casey dryer and folks like that where it just becomes.

More and more apparent the JFK when he set us on course to the moon was either badly misinformed or crazy because it's kind of addresses what you're talking about. Nobody knew how to do they'll one us and yet they did it. That's right, [00:05:00] you know when Lewis and Clark set out to go to the Pacific.

They did not know all the steps. They knew what they had to do to be self-sufficient and they were also remarkably versatile people, but they just got going and then they start piecing some and there's a piece of that which is maybe a little unsettling, you know, if you sure but the dangerous it's dangerous.

But that's actually what real exploration is and and I would say that I'm to get back to your original question. We are learning all these pieces now and really coming up I believe was some really great ideas about how you can sequence it in a way that gets us going and also where the risks are not too great and you don't needlessly put human lives on at risk, but there's going to be risk and we just have to start doing it.

And and if I might for me personally working Mars all the time, there's actually like to be. It's a risk that I worry about. There are the risks that we know about and we try to mitigate them down as much as we can. [00:06:00] This is the Known Unknown. That's right there. It's right then there's the risks.

We don't know about because we actually never go right and that set of risk can kill people to coming up with maybe less ambitious initial mission. Is a way to start really understanding those risks and we know this in Spades because when we did the first expeditions to ISS those crew members knew that they were flushing out that second bucket of risks and the in really informing how we do that and by getting going and it was clunky at first.

No, but we learned how to do that and then really a paid for an amazing program. That's their marsland same thing. And if I had if I had a crystal ball is very murky, but if. Make a bet orbital missions are probably what we will end up doing first because that's really next slightly. Next generation is s if you take care of the logistics supply chain and sending human beings 220 Million Miles [00:07:00] Away and actually having them successfully come back.

It may be remotely operating stuff on the surface of the planet and doing science in a region of space that you and beings have never been in will be so culture altering. It's hard to even imagine it. It since you're talk the Apollo anniversary. It's every bit of like what they did. They actually did around the Moon before they tried to land.

Yeah, they obviously get if Apollo and Apollo's Ryan exactly everybody. The question did everybody always asks the Apollo 10 astronaut was didn't he kill you? Not to go that last Mile and I'm sure they were thinking that this was a part in the in the path to making that all pasta. That's what they said.

Yeah, and that is really key. And and we just have to really kind of maybe step it down a little bit in terms of the initial. But if we do that and then we will be surprised in the short run will go a little slower medium and long term. It will go so much faster because we actually understood that second bucket of risks and then we can manage them in a much better safer way.

I would even say to enable [00:08:00] significant exploration of our second planet, you're addressing so many of the things that I wanted to ask you about. I'm going to take some stuff out of the order because you talked about the ISS and how it was clunky at first. I think that's the word you used. What have we learned on the International Space Station that's going to help us get humans to Mars and perhaps to the Moon first.

We'll talk about that too later. Yeah. Absolutely. I think sometimes uman exploration maybe in Space underestimates the value of the space station the space station, you know is occupied 24/7 365 days a year. We are literally for the last 20 years. Yeah. Yeah. I just thought I'd try it. We've learned so much about keeping people.

Live and productive and I'm really hostile environment. And actually there is a wonderful statistic that I think is really important because a lot of times if you were sitting in the Houston flight control, which I did for years, you know, there was a mantra it would be in space is dangerous on the surfaces say.

Be [00:09:00] careful about those mantras or those paradigms, right? Because really what they're saying is on the surface of a planet that we evolved over millions of years the a planet that is by definition designed. It seemed like designed to create and sustain life that in ways is just miraculous. I'm actually surprised that there were people who take that Paradigm.

Yeah, move it to Mars and say in space is dangerous on the surface of safe and they they it's like they forget that we're talking an alien planet that in some. Until we learn to master it or really, you know, really learn to live there. Yeah and use it as it is not as we want it to be that it is a it is trying to kill us if I find it amazing that we have.

I think we last calculated 60,000 human days in space zero, of course on the surface of Mars the space station to get to your point is is actually taught us. How to live in zero gravity in ways that 30 40 years ago seemed incredible, but now it's almost commonplace. And [00:10:00] so the part where you go out to Mars and come back we actually know that before I'm a lot of what space station is taught us and is teaching us to this day, you know, whether it.

How you exercise to keep bones and muscles from Ed atrophying how you keep Crews happy and productive and an extremely hostile environment to actually how you aggregate pieces in space. We used to be we always try to fit everything into one Fairing and we've learned in space. You can hook the stuff up and actually have a lot of flexibility in the vehicle and that flexibility actually helps when you have say a fire like we did on the Mir space station, we worked right because we had modules that were compartmentalize.

You could actually keep running even despite the fact that you lost one. And so we're learning how to work in that environment in the space station is completely enabling for us. There's a probably even more that we can do with it. But as we get closer to actually sending people to Mars, it is a Workhorse for actually enabling that what [00:11:00] about even the simplest mechanical stuff that presents a huge challenge in space.

So I'm thinking of like. Big bearings like the bearings that the big solar panels for the ISS or mounted on have we gotten better at building stuff like that so that it'll run and and keep its ability to reposition those things for years at a time. So the good news is that it's a it's a little bit like sending science satellites other once you get them off this planet and you get them through the asset face, they actually are pretty tough.

The environment is not that harsh. It's a for space station we. To think it was like a nightmare. We had all of these spacewalks. We thought we were going to have to be doing I bet we haven't done a fifth of them really because we've just it once you get it up there maintenance never maintenance that kind of thing.

I don't know. I don't know the exact number but it is a much much smaller number than what we ever thought. It was going to be and that it just speaks to the fact that it's not that bad of an environment [00:12:00] once you get in there. In really know how to do that. And so yeah, you run into some problems but you and beings are reading really good about building equipment that works in a zero gravity environment where you have real fast temperature swings and that kind of thing.

We've learned that we're look come way past that learning curve. This is exactly what I was getting. Yeah. That's very reassuring to hear I . I'm also fascinated by the role that you play at Nasa and you've spent so much of your life facilitating communication. I mean at one time as the Capcom the person who was responsible for talking to people on the International Space Station.

And it just seems like keeping people talking is such a big part of your job. Now. I mean you're in the science Mission directorate you have hands reaching out to every part of NASA and and Beyond because of I assume the coordination that it's going to take to get us to Mars. It's a family that does Mars.

Our team is part of that family and really I would say a couple [00:13:00] things. If you go back to my original premise that Mars is not that hard technically but it's really a belief issue. So it's really important to be actually getting ideas out and it may even be half-baked idea sometimes but that's part of the creative process right now.

Yeah, you know, you got to get them out there and then you really want to vet them. And so you need people you need a two-way conversation. So for me communication is really about trying to find the family. Build It Up. Find the ideas and actually really start converging on a plan that works for Mars as Mars is given all the challenges it represents and that's going to take ideas from all across this planet to really go figure out how we start to live on our second planet to and so communication is really key.

I have to tell you though because I was actually talking to seventh and eighth graders like literally two days ago. It is also totally cool when you talk with the kids because they want and they live and breathe that challenge and [00:14:00] frankly I get more out of seeing their enthusiasm for the future.

Yeah, and for what's we're actually all collectively or some beginning to make possible and then anything and I sit in those classes with the kids and I will tell you I every time I'm in there. I'm going one of these kids if not several. I'm could actually be walking on Mars. When you got here, I was talking with an intern who's a JPL.

He just graduated from University of Iowa. Got to go to Iowa State now wants to be an astronaut. He had that enthusiasm. I knew that you'd be a good person for him to talk to what I tell you. So we actually talked with we've been talking with interns at literally all the NASA centers that are involved with that are or will be involved with human space like Mars, and I'm always astounded because you go into those things.

Like we just went to Goddard for the first time goddard's a wonderful Center gives a brand new that we were doing this thing. I was hoping for maybe five ten people to be their man. I have to tell you there were over a hundred fifty [00:15:00] amazingly bright and talented kids there. You know, it's great that were there and they were asking they were sitting on the floor there in the doorway.

And they were drilling us with questions and and it's not a one-way transmission. They were asking questions that really were very thought-provoking. So I'll give you an example of one. I am so used to doing shuttle missions and ISS missions. Yeah, so we worry about a doc on this thing. And so one of the questions was well, what about a psychiatrist?

Yeah, because your tree you know mental health is is the same thing as physical health and the Really questions probing is on a Mars mission is you will know three years long. We the body can degrade and then the mind can degrade, right? Yeah and and having the skill sets on the crew that goes that can handle that is totally go and I love the question because I personally and maybe not waited it enough in my own head in terms of that the skill sets.

And so the these kids are really probably another one asked. Totally love and hopefully I'm not going to long note. Okay, the another one they asked [00:16:00] title is well, how does sending humans to Mars rate relative to taking care of the planet, which I've heard you talk about it and you have a really good answer for ya because if we're going to.

Live effectively on Mars. We're going to have to do a lot of things that we need to do back here. You're amazing what you remember so so it's actually two parts and I would like if you don't mind I'd like to amplify on. Yeah, go ahead. So the first part is that you know, I was trained as an engineer have a lot of exposure on the science side, but really everyone who's in this kind of business is, you know, there's a lot of engineering and science people and if there is like one rule that you always you're taught in school, it's like you do not make.

To Asians on one data point we manage this realizing we have to manage this amazing life-giving planet that is really a miracle with one data point. Yeah what we know on this planet, the only other data point we can get in our solar system where we can put Youmans on the surface and studied them extensively [00:17:00] is Mars and it's incredible that billions of years ago Mars probably looked a lot like Earth with ocean.

Glaciers and sea maybe you are now maybe even had blue skies, whatever and it slowly lost its atmosphere slowly cool down, and eventually it became essentially a frozen planet. We really need to understand those mechanisms so that we can really take care of this plant. That means you. A climatologist, it means you put geologist so you can understand the historic worker.

It means you put astrobiologist on there eventually so you can really did it get in there and understand it. That's part one part two is it is an extremely unforgiving environment. Could we build homes that are completely recycling or close to being completely recycling on this planet? Absolutely.

But sometimes the human being in the creative process needs a sort of kick in the pants you and I just talk about Frontiers do not allow for complacency. They kill you if you become complacent and so on a frontier you do not have the [00:18:00] luxury of saying well, maybe we'll do this with solar rays or maybe we'll do this in terms of recycling our food container our urine or whatever right on Mars you have to do it and so by Learning To Be Live or responsibly.

Environment it will have massive ramifications for how we do it. It's not just on the planets actually on the vehicle that goes out when the marsh transfer vehicle we call it but it's really the mothership right? You know that thing is you really going to be trying to recycle if trash becomes a resource in these environments and you really we know that on this planet, but you know , it's kind of easy to forget sometimes sure.

Yeah, you know, I have many times where I toss a thing a bottle of plastic when really it's I shouldn't be doing that right but. Mars you don't have that luxury. You don't have to do it. And I just I just think of the example that. Astronauts on Mars and on the way to Mars will set in that way because they have to reuse everything that every every possible resource ER [00:19:00] and and maybe grow some of their own food as they're doing.

Oh, you're totally right. In fact, we had a talk yesterday where we had a woman who's actually studying farming on, you know, eventually from Mars. I see that is a critical L. It's a critical element on this planet. Yeah sure. It's just that when you live in cities and it shows up in here. You know a grocery store, you know, you kind of forget that right, but it is going to be critical there.

And actually it's not just for the mass and the man how much it cost to get it there. But, you know, frankly human beings grew up with plants, you know went on the space station. It always amazes me when we I would be there for like when the progress Supply ships would come up and Russians do a really good job of putting.

Fruit right on top of the hatch that when you open the hatch you get you smell fresh fruits like getting a fruit basket in the mail. They talked about all the time. It's like it's exactly it's a perfect analogy for it and they totally love it and it's gonna be the same in space, you know where you don't have those things and you're going to want that as well.

[00:20:00] How to go back to your the question you got from that sharp young person about sending a psychiatrist or psychologist long as part of the crew and before I do that the intern that I mentioned here because I know he's a regular listener. I have to say his name is Zach Lupin . Okay. Great. So hello is great to meet him too.

You could guy is another one that I don't have on my cheat sheet, but you made me think of this. I've met a lot of astronauts and very fortunate. You've met many many more than I have I have. Seeing this evolution in astronauts from the first guys cuz they were all guys. Who had the right stuff is still have it to the astronauts have today who are still these utterly brilliant capable people but there's a difference in attitude and they just seem to be people.

I'll put it this way. They are the nicest people I've ever met. And it's not that the first guys weren't but these people are just so [00:21:00] easy to get along with ya conscious decision by NASA as they choose these people because they have to live together in the ISS or maybe on the way to Mars for two years.

I love that question. And so a couple things I would say is that when we originally were doing the initial. Missions, you know or space missions whether it be Gemini Apollo or whatever, right? Those were very short duration missions. And really the challenging part was a saint entry and really Pilots were like perfect for that.

So yeah, you know and you didn't and because they lasted so long you did not really worried about crew compositions. Yeah, you know, and so when we started sending people up to the Mir space station, and then ultimately to the eye. To ask the International Space Station. He was kind of funny because you know, NASA had a very proud Heritage Russians had very proud Heritage Russians can be totally snarky with us sometimes because they had actually been doing long-duration missions more than we had and so there was a lot of things that they taught us and that we taught them a lot of things to you know, it was a two-way street but really one of the things that we [00:22:00] really began learn is that the Dynamics For Crews that are actually in a can for six months, you know, you really need to think about that particularly where there may be more.

One language. So this idea of pairing people and it's not just pairing because these are Multicultural environments because you know, when you talk in ISS that's many nations doing it and they all get to have a say and doing it Mars missions will be the exact same. I think those are all pieces than we've gotten really good about slots selecting people that actually.

Work well in that environment that have it now makes it in and it's a different bar. But we had to learn what those compositions were. Now I'm going to tell you that we got really good for space station as a six-month Mission and and we should not underestimate that when when you look out the window and there's a wonderful cupola on Space Station where you can look down on the earth people have coffee there right?

We should not underestimate the fact that you when you're in the cupola having coffee. You are looking over this amazing planet that we [00:23:00] all call home. And that is home and we need to be mindful of the fact that that is a different mindset than when we go to Mars and let me give you an example and when you're go out of that 220 million miles out to Mars there is going to be a point where the Earth is a tiny blue dot and that you have to look for in the sky one might say a pale blue dial down our second planet which will be a tiny red dot that you have to look for in the sky and the mission length is 3 years.

It's not six months. When you're in a multicultural crew probably I think that what we need in terms of those people is going to be different than what we need in terms of people on the space station, and we're going to have to learn how to do that. The number of people we have may also have to be different than what we think so three person cruise we have seen that there will be.

Either language or culture or like Dynamic issues when we jumped a six-person Cruz as a Capcom little is literally almost all went away. [00:24:00] It's just that was enough human beings there that is someone was a little quirky, right, you know, you could find others, you know to you know, and it just was enough to enhance.

I'm not sure we even really know them number for Mars where you're in the vast sea of space and you you can't even call home, you know in space station you can. Up the phone you can do internet you can do all those things and you even if you're having an issue with somebody on there, you can call someone you really love and care about on this planet and vet met.

Ya on Mars. That's not going to happen. Initially. You're talking, you know , if you say hi. How's it going like on a chat their response? I had a sucky day on this because the kids were sick and blah blah blah , right that two-way exchange can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 44 minutes to complete.

So how many. Even that you need the can't what what skills what in terms of interpersonal skills. They need that's going to be a whole area. We're going to need to really think about yeah. We've done this [00:25:00] stuff before it's not in space. But when Lewis and Clark went out that was roughly about a three-year, you know Expedition when the guys went down to South Pole initially and successfully that was about three years by the time, you know, they did a lot of things.

I mean we've done this range of expedition. They weren't really Multicultural but we really haven't experienced base and there, you know to really start piecing those pieces to God it would certainly help if we were going to Mars if we had. Marvelous gigantic spaceship that we all saw in the movie The Martian, right?

You know with that big Vaz Amir. Yeah propellant rocket engine at the rear end and artificial gravity and just an amazing amount of wasted space. That isn't going to be what it's looked. So it looks like but it's not going to be the extremely scaled-down thing that you see in some of some I'm not going to have to go to Mars just in the Orion capsule.

Right? Right because the truth is. We're in between and then that beautiful [00:26:00] ship you saw in the marsh which I love that movie right that beautiful ship. That was like they'd already into the process it probably built it up over time, right? We have to figure out that sweet spot where you get going sooner than later.

We've hopefully you. Everything we learned at ISS and the in our lunar goals to and put all that to work sooner than later so we can buy that second bucket of risks down because I really spent a lot of time worrying about the aggregate risk, and if we don't ever get going with simpler than later, you know, and there's some really amazing Technologies you.

So for example Inflatables are emerging. So there are ways relatively in excite weight inexpensive ways of giving umin beings the space or probably going to need but we you know, we kids in school today. We need a lot of ideas from everybody really on how you do that in a way that actually gets the job done sooner than later.

What do you think of the architecture that's currently being looked at to get us to the Moon? I heard just yesterday. I don't even know [00:27:00] if this was an official announcement the vet the contractor for the habitation module on. What is We Now call the Gateway may have been chosen this whole architecture which at least at the moment is focused on the moon and then more broadly the question you had to know what was coming Moon versus Mars so I don't is it versus?

No, they're not versus to give you some examples. We know from Mars missions. We need to be able to aggregate the Mars transfer or the mothership in space. And we're not afraid of it because we've done aggregation and space with the space station. We know how to do this thing. And you really are going to get one something up in high Earth orbit or in cislunar space.

And so the Gateway is a logical place there. So that is a key piece or starting to do the margin transfer vehicle it teaches us how to operate in those in and outside the Van Allen belts, which is extremely important to it. Also teaches us a number of other things. So for example suit designs, you know our.

Suits that we use today are zero gravity suits they weigh about 350 [00:28:00] pound and in zero gravity doesn't matter right but they do matter because when you there's something you call inertia, right? So yeah. Yeah actually start rotating its 350 pounds of you know, wait , it's hard to stop it. Master doesn't go away intestine go away.

Then you talk a suit on the surface there. You have gravity Fields, you know moons 16 Mars is one-third of the Earth, but you do not want to be trying to walk around 350 pounds. And so. We need the Moon is a great place to start beating that out and actually really understanding how you do it on Mars probably need to be getting the weight of the suits down by a factor of seven, you know, you know, you know down is a 70 80 pounds.

It's not that hard to do it. They also need to be robust. So for example when Apollo 17 you the lunar soil is like basically like glass shards. Yeah and on Apollo 17, they went out at if they'd gone out for one more moonwalk notice. I didn't say spacewalk that. The moon one that really fundamental differences on a moonwalk.

They actually probably would have had a [00:29:00] leak in the suit no kidding because the glass shards were slicing into the suit. I had heard that they there was noticeable where and that they couldn't have spent much more time on the moon, but not that they were that they were close. And so so the Moon is a more extreme case, I guess because of Mars had weathering which actually softens the thing.

Yeah. Thank goodness. Yeah, but Mars is somewhere between Earth and Moon and so if we can make suits work on the moon we probably are well along the way of making them work on Mars rovers the same way habitats are similar, you know, so if we do it, right, I think the trick and the balance is figuring out how much you do on the moon as you try to do things like explore resources versus when you actually start.

The what I would call The Horizon destination that we've been setting for 50 years, you know, and I think if you do it, right, they actually can be very very complimentary but you have to really be looking and balancing those interests. Another thing they did well with the Martian the suits that they were on the surface, which looked pretty light.

Yeah look like it was, you know, you're going [00:30:00] to be able to get around on them. But then when it came time for the Martian to get picked up by the mothership he put on that big bulky. Yeah. There's a nice they did a great job and we actually work really closely with both. Ryder and the people producing them together and so they were few dramatic things like the dust or whenever be like that right or like launching with all that stuff.

But yeah, yeah and yeah, I think he'd be the first admitted but the point is is that it's an incredibly accurate depiction if you will of what the initial base. The Mars will be like in some of the things we will have there. It is really effective. Every time I go in and talk with kids. I asked them how many of you see the Martian and every one of them have their hands full.

Pet peeve that I did never mentioned before and it's not really relevant to what we're talking about. The thing that bothered me most always about the movie 2001 which I've always loved sot when I first came out. Yeah. We're the [00:31:00] space suits. Yeah, because they had this weird tube or pipe running from I think the backpack to the guy's helmet and I'm thinking that's ridiculous.

Not only is it going to get caught on? But computers that go nuts are going to rip it off your helmet and kill you. Yeah, I think oh say it anyway enough of that back to the Mars architecture or the moon architect the Artemis architecture. What do you think of the other components of it and how it's coming together?

I mean, we're talking SLS or Ryan you've already mentioned the Gateway. And then there's this question of building a Lander. I mean I told I told you somebody I don't know if it was Jim Bryden Stein when he was on the show. Yeah your boss is yeah. I said what we should just go get the old lunar module out of the air and space museum and you know renovated I'm send that down but that's a huge step the trick in the art.

You have to grow into this right and you're going to make mistakes too, but that's part of exploration, right? You know, the [00:32:00] trick is actually figuring out keeping an. On what you need for Mars and making sure that informs what we do along the way and not just at this. It's a Gateway or on the surface of the Moon but actually at ISS and and even in analogs so that we really are clicking these things down faster sooner and sooner than later.

There are enormous opportunities here in these efforts to really make this sort of unimaginable thing of humans actually becoming a multiplanetary species. Is you know, I will tell you having worked human spaceflight for years and years and having work robotics in the Mars exploration program. I am personally convinced we are just we were ready to really start going after this thing.

We need to use everything trick in the we try we can do to actually make sure these other efforts are accelerating. You're pretty comfortable then. Going to the Moon first and that there's value in that I'm absolutely comfortable. Is it a requirement for Mars? I am not sure that I would say that it's a requirement but I think that there are other reasons you [00:33:00] go and I think those are equally important reasons and that in aggregate.

I am absolutely comfortable in saying that we if we do it right we can leverage that experience in a massive way that is extremely enabling and making it possible to get to Mars soon. Jin bridenstine the. Her said on this show in a said many times make no mistake. We are going to Mars and he was addressing this concern that the moon would become a distraction.

Right? Does that concern you it can be a distraction. But if you have a strategic approach to it, they can be very extremely synergistic problem is that the stuff is really complicated. And so you if you get so tunneled into say looking at ISS or looking at the moon or looking at Mars, it goes it both ways, right you miss you can miss those synergies and.

Need to basically be mindful of how we can do that and and we have to learn how to do that. Yeah. Alright eyes on the prize. I like to say to people space is hard Landing is harder. [00:34:00] We have a lot left to learn. I just saw something that came out of something. You did not too long ago talking about even the last few meters as humans to send to Mars is a huge Challenge and possibly a real danger and it's not that this is something for us to focus on a lot in this conversation, but just as an example of the challenges we have to overcome getting down there and throwing up a lot of Rock.

The two that I personally worry about the Mars has enough atmosphere that you have to deal with it is otherwise, you can burn up. Yeah, that's bad bad day, right yet. It's not enough that you actually really helps you slow down a lot right these Landers that were talking about for human missions.

So Curiosities about a metric tons , basically an SUV. And I've heard people say it's about as big a thing as we can send to Mars with the technology that has are getting stuff tomorrow. That's right. And there's pretty strong consensus that that's the case. So a [00:35:00] human class Lander is at least 20 times.

The size of curiosity is basically 20 SUVs rope together. And so we know that shoots don't work for that. We know that skycrane ideas, which is totally radical right? Whenver curiosity they're not going to work and so really where the community is right now. Is that when we come. We will break into the Martian system and others will go into orbit.

And there are a lot of reasons why we do that and we can choose our day of landing and we'll choose it so that the atmosphere is pretty thick so we can make it slow us down just in case maybe a you had right planet-wide dust storm started exactly exactly because this year last year. We were caught surprised by a dust storm that lasted seven eight months and really made it a very difficult.

You wouldn't not probably want to land in that so we can pick our day or when we actually do the entry but then when you come in your still going really. Bass you're probably going I'm making up numbers, but they're not far off. You're probably going Mach 16 Mach 17 and you are dipping down right along the surface of the planet.

So imagine [00:36:00] looking out your window going Mach 17 right across the surface of the planet for a long period of time, you know one little, you know, degree are you're talking smacking into the you're going to make a real nice impact crater, right? And we will learn how to do that. I mean it but it is an incredibly challenging thing.

To do and so there's a wonderful guy at JPL Rob Manning and he's always true. He's Jeff. Yeah on my family this amazing and he's really been thinking and a lot of the people to know about how to do this and I think I am absolutely confident. We'll figure that out, but it is a pretty Yahoo ride, and it will be.

You know, we're going to learn to really Master extreme speeds close to the surface and have a navigation and guidance control that are just spot-on for doing it. That's number times. Number one Challenge number two. Is it got you said which is the what we call the terminal phase where you actually touched down and the real problem is this is that when we take off on rockets on this.

It's good. Look at the pictures are just astounding there is Flames. I mean [00:37:00] massive forces and heating that are going there and we build concrete pads. I was just on pad 30. That's right. Yeah for that 39 is massive amount of concrete and there are flowin tons of water because the acoustical energy is so bad.

We don't have any of that infrastructure on the surface of Mars. And and so if when you get down to the just on landing and they have since the worst because you got this big honkin vehicle and it's got to build up speed. And so those jets are just pouring energy out of them all over the place and that energy is going places.

And we know that that rocks can be thrown at three times the speed of a bullet. So if you have a you know, multibillion-dollar habitation module or a laboratory or you've got your drills near by pulling up water out of the Martian ice or whatever there then take many of those rocks before your their toast.

And so learning to manage that is going to be a really fascinating probably and what's really cool is that we noticed we were every human beings. You need. Everything's every human being zoo. And I love the fact that civil [00:38:00] engineering is now. Coming a major thing that we're probably going to eat on our second planet.

We should have all known that but now you see the community rapidly beginning. Oh wow. Oh, yeah. Oh, maybe we need to do that and we know we do roads or two. So maybe we need to read this. I'm not being critical because this is actually just part of that exploration process where you start to realize you need these things like the psychiatrist probably it's just a shining to think that we're at the stage where you have it's are considering that's right.

You're worse were collectively understanding the phasing which is that next. Step in terms of making this possible. Well, we could send robots and they can do Institue resources and make a big concrete pad. That's right. Well and says , oh there's some really cool ideas. Here's an idea that you understand the dirt or regolith as we call and then you scoop it up and use 3D printing to actually make makes structures, you know, or you know, maybe the first cruise that go to Mars will be in orbit and they will actually be remote operating Rovers on the ground to clear launch pad.

[00:39:00] With like essentially a dozer Blade with no delay. There's a little delay between them and these robots doing the work. This is the kind of stuff that you love to talk about obviously, but you also get to talk about as part of this group that you co-lead the Mars human Landing sites study. And you do these periodic telecoms that are a joy.

I loved a great look such fun to listen to and and learn from. And this is really what that study is all about right to consider these challenges. I do Coley that I'm Jim green ran Planters. I said who's now he's the chief scientist for a real Visionary and I was clueless when he asked me to go do this, but he understood I later came to realize was that.

By understanding what you need in terms of the base out 220 million miles from here it backward drives our understanding of everything else you need. I was really clueless about it, but I will tell you when we did the workshop. We had 400 people support that's where they literally from or from [00:40:00] all over this planet and the energy and the idea is that that's why I use the term family because they are.

I feel like family and the commitment to the Future and you just start seeing these ideas starting to emerge about how you really go do this and I personally feel like I was really lucky to actually, you know be involved with this but this goes back to your job, right because your job in large part is to bring people from all these different divisions and and disciplines together was many of ours but yes it is that is how it's going to happen by getting all everyone.

Thinking about how you actually start pieces. So for example civil engineering has become a thing. You know how you manage these plumes all these things we're learning and piecing all those pieces together have these discussions that you've had as part of this Landing site survey which has been involved in deciding where we're going to send people as well as it added to your concern your intimidation or has it made you more hopeful and [00:41:00] excited about getting there.

Oh, it's absolutely convinced. That's doable. Yeah, that's kind of what I expected to hear. So it's but let me let me Matt this amplify that sure so when I first started maybe I didn't really even have that understanding. Hmm But I will tell you that that belief is she right, you know, once you actually start getting past the is too hard, then you start piecing it and that's actually what's happening now and also with so many people are actually starting to piece it together when you see that occur and having watched this occur in the early days of shuttle and the watch it in the Curt early days of station early days of these other programs or whether it be Ryan or you know are SLS, you know and even having a somewhere in this of what it was done when we were first starting seeing astronauts.

Are program right Mir station? Yeah, that's a that tells you that actually that's when it starts to really happen. And I'm seeing that personally on for Mars and I'm Michelle and I were talking about this the official who's sitting your way to Mars your thanks, you know, it's [00:42:00] an exciting thing. You start seeing this start to happen.

It's messy. Yeah, but you know what cool things off in our mess. Interesting thing that happened at the breakout session smaller group at the last humans to Mars Summit that you were also out of course and it was looking at Mars habitations and I if I remember correctly there was one little unit that was like the hydroponic unit where people were growing their own food and there happened to be a botanist in the audience who said hey, you really need to bring somebody like me in on this because you know what you're doing right there.

That's not going to work. You need to do it this way. Right? And the people said, yes. Right, you should you or people like you ought to be part of this? So I love that question. So it's that phasing thing right? I'm absolutely convinced agriculture is going to be there you're going to need botanist, you know people who can actually understand there's a guy at JPL.

I love his name's Bergerac. He has this wonderful price Rich goes used Mars as it is not as you want it to be. Yeah, and I love that expression [00:43:00] because you're going to need people who have all the experience of this planet in this certain disciplinary. Who can then have the creativity to actually adapt them to Mars as it is?

Not as we want it to be and then make it so that we're successful there. And so you're going to need botanist at some point. I love thinking about what the composition of those initial crews are going to be. For space station missions when we send someone up there you can pre-screen somebody forever six-month Mission you to make sure they didn't probably not going to have an appendicitis, right?

But on a three-year Mission even a healthy human being can have two generations in their body that actually send them into an acute problem whether it could even just be a tooth problem exactly. Right? I had a woman on the show. I know who has written a paper about this and has studied. How are we going to handle somebody who gets a cavity?

That's right. That's a big deal, you know and. The range of just in one area of medical things that you really have to worry about particular the time delays of communicating back with her or is going to be much [00:44:00] higher and so you're going to want a doctor on that crew and you're probably you may want to or you're going to have someone else who's trying to can actually do that fill in and do that thing because that doctor could get sick rice.

You've seen the movie a great movie. Yeah Master and Commander. Yeah where the character in the film The start your shot and it has to remove the bullet from his own. Right. So I mean you start to get a sense. So you're going to want people who actually for fun on the weekends go work on their cars, you know, because those are the people that actually fix things when it's really bad.

Yeah, and it can figure they like machines that much you had better send an astrobiologist Mars because the first one we go should be when we sent Jack Schmitt on Apollo 7 use the for the only geologist that went if you're going that far to look for life. You had better send us an expert in that thing.

And but those are only three issue of the people that are there. And so what are those other compositions? That's a totally cool problem that we are going to eat a lot of smart people helping us figure it out. Yeah. Well, you know the Martian was a botanist. That's right, but he [00:45:00] doesn't think it's talk about the commercial side.

Mmm and the role that it's going to play. And maybe even a central role if Elon Musk is to be believed. What would it mean if they really could pull this off and that remains to be seen if SpaceX could get humans to Mars. Perhaps before anybody else initial response is more power to them. This is not about NASA going or just the United States going.

This is about humans going and so if they can figure out a radically Innovative way to do that more part of and they've certainly come up with some significant Innovations, and it's not just Space X because blue origin. Virgin Galactic is all of these commercial entities that are really doing Innovative new stuff, which is really significantly increasing our breadth of capabilities in space in general.

And actually I would say as a martian enabling human exploration of Mars [00:46:00] and ways, maybe some of us don't even. But I think the reality is going to be more nuanced. I think there will be partnering that gets done betweens agent space agencies and acid being right in the Forefront and these commercial entities and maybe even academic entities right?

I personally believe the Mars is not going to be done like Apollo which was very top down. Yeah. I actually think it's more a distributed more like ISS, maybe even more desert where you've got all these other players that we're trying to go out there and they're working together collaboratively.

And they have real responsibilities that are enabling this Lang and so you can sort of Envision the commercials doing really significant things out there. Once they get their footings if you will in terms of being comfortable there and we should welcome that and really make because of the magic of what we can do collectively.

Yeah. It's going to be much higher than any one entity trying to do it by itself. So the ability of companies like blue origin like SpaceX , With their new [00:47:00] vehicles that are coming online. Yes to be able to support the work that NASA is doing and you know Elon always gives credit to an asset for enabling them to accomplish what they have accomplished.

You definitely see a role for that. Yeah, and I think you're seeing it in ISS and what we're seeing beginning to see in the lunar activities where NASA kind of function at least four us industry is functioning as an anchor tenant. Yeah, and then they get their sea legs or space legs if you. And then they go on start doing other things is they Leverage The and I personally see that moving right on out to Mars.

I think it's that belief issue a little bit the idea of an American corporation or corporations plural. Hopefully operating all the way out at Mars separately seems a little weird. But you know, what going on now? Yeah, we're not going to Mars is not, you know, once you get past that belief thing that's just part of the human realm, you know, we're not a planetary species that we're solar system species.

I'm so proud to have come up with this line on the spur of the moment. [00:48:00] And I don't know if you were in the room. We were onstage last session of the humans to Mars Summit. I apologize listeners you've heard this before but people like to talk about putting boots on Mars, and I said, I don't just want boots on Mars.

I want to Shoe Store. Do you see humans living and thriving on Mars some day not just. Visiting and spending some period of time doing research. Absolutely. So the Apollo program was amazing, but we went to six different sites and we've never really set up infrastructure and which is probably one of the reasons why I didn't continue ISS is taught us a different model, right?

You basically have a base. That's what is s is. And you Aggregates of you and really there's a reason why you do it that way because it's like what we did in Antarctica, you know, they pushed to McMurdo first and then they built up supplies of fuel if you live and die by Fuel. Antarctica, right because that's heat and keeps all the machines running they built supplies for our parts all that kind of stuff.

And so by having a base location you actually [00:49:00] buy yourself and the people who are dependent or words lives are dependent on it and the program right you buy options when the bad days happen, you know, I personally started working at the Johnson Space Center two weeks before Challenger. I was in I was as a newbie instructor very excited to go to the astronaut floor.

And so. Actually the first day I wanted to ask her if Laura was the day that my senior instructor goes won't come on. Let's watch the launch from here. I will tell you everyone has their story but I will tell you my story is hearing the screams of the people who were the support staff for that crew who they were like family with because everyone on that floor knew what had happened from almost day one.

I was ingrained in my head that bad days happen. So when I think about Martian exploration, I think about having a base there that isn't a really cool spot for science that we will then once we get set up and operating there and hopefully it's not just the United States. It's a lot of countries working together so that you can make it [00:50:00] sustainable that we can then really start to understand this our second planet well, And really do it properly in a way that will lead to generations of knowledge that we can't even begin to imagine right now that all timidly teach us more about what we're doing here on this amazing planet and I just think that that's really where you want to go and picking that base is really key.

I love going to Jamestown in Virginia, which is where I'm from. Because he basically was a crappy site location right now. It's right on the river. You know, if you go there today, I hopefully your viewers have had a chance together because it's basically an archaeological dig because it probably flooded like anything right it took them up on probably seven or eight years before Rosa who brings up a little higher maybe a together.

Yeah, Williamsburg still. Yeah, you know and so picking a spot where you're going to do that initial exploration and that you're going to Branch out from on Mars is really key. But really you're going to go to that far and go to all the effort of building those relationships [00:51:00] with other countries and in commercial entities, you're crazy not to make it a permanent thing.

The trick is to do it economically and then to step our way in a way that is sustainable and not absurdly expensive. You've been around long enough to see. So much happened some bad. Most of it very very good. Is it an ongoing source of inspiration for you? Oh, absolutely. I mean, yeah, I go back to the 7th and 8th graders that you know, I was talking with this week their eyes light up because these are these are these challenges don't have answers yet, you know how you keep people productive and happy when they are so far from the people that love, you know, a hundred and fifty million miles away at you know outbound to Mars and you know, and how you know, what kind of science do we do when we're in a region of space humans have never been.

It's just a tiny sampling of the questions, but that jazz is kids. [00:52:00] I mean, that's really what gives me extreme optimism about our capacity. You would really go nail these things and and and do that and you know, there will be problems along the way but I have extreme confidence based off of seeing these kids come along and leveraging everything we've learned today.

We've been in space for over 50 years. We've been we've actually been going to Mars for over 50 years. Yeah. We're that robotic missions. Absolutely right when you go into Atlanta Hartsfield, you know nowadays. I am always astounded by the technology that's represented by pulling all those plans.

We think of it as routine or Burrell and Wilbur Wright did not even have a clue as to what that and we in really this time spans are not dissimilar. No, you know so when you start taking all this knowledge all this energy of students that are out there today and all these incredible capabilities.

For example, you know what you all just did you actually have to be careful because you can get stuck in the past in terms of what you think is [00:53:00] possible and I would argue that maybe Mars isn't a little more achievable than maybe sometimes we think it might be keep looking forward. I'm going to go back to that slogan that you've you mentioned Frontiers shatter complacency.

Yeah, it's important it is and I absolutely believe that every human being has a massive capacity. That is uniquely theirs and sometimes we all forget that that our uniqueness is actually what if we can figure out what it is that gives us those gifts we can do that in Frontiers. Basically do not allow you to become complacent about our potential and.

Teachers that were interdependent the learning when you can't be complacent and is a self-learning is amazing. And so I just am really excited that the human species is now we are literally on the step of becoming multiplanetary species. I think we have no clue as to what that really means in terms of our potential for self [00:54:00] growth.

I hope that both of us are around. Yeah. Amen. It didn't happen right? I'm actually pretty optimistic. We will be because I think I think there's starting to see some amazing things happening great talking to you. Thank you. Thank you very much. I'll see you on Mars. Okay, cool. It's time for what's up on planetary radio here is the chief scientist of the planetary Society.

Also the program manager for a light sail to still circling over our heads Bruce Betts. Welcome back. Thank you. Good to be back man. Look at Jupiter last night. I bet you're going to mention it in a moment here at look great still, but but how is light sail to doing? I have not seen that it's harder to see than Jupiter doing pretty well had.

Communications issues the last few days which were partly due to ground stations. We have a few ground stations, but we had broken parts at two main ones Purdue in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, [00:55:00] but they've now replacing the parts and we had a really good Communications evening last night. So we're back in business.

Meanwhile, it's been solar sailing and raising its apogee its higher point in the orbit more and more. So we've added about more than six and a half kilometers to the high point in the. From solar Sail. That is excellent. That's a pretty substantial. I bet people miss having RadioShack around probably Jupiter and what else Saturn and Antares so I mentioned him before but they're just making quite the lovely scene low soon after sunset.

Low over in the southwest and South you've got Jupiter the brightest object brighter than any Star is Matt said it looks cool and to its lower right is in Terry's the dimmer, but reddish brightest red star in Scorpius and to the upper. Farther away is saturn looking yellowish. And those are still your Best Bets for [00:56:00] fun.

You can also use in Terry's to try to trace out Scorpius which kind of looks like a scorpion or at least you can imagine it right Antares is sometimes called the Beating Heart of the Scorpion. Your imagination is obviously better than mine. Well, that's definitely true. All right, we move on to this week in space history.

These six will come back to this in a little bit, but Luna 24 return the last samples from the moon to the earth this week in 1976. It was a big week for Voyager 2 1981 passed by Saturn and 30 years ago 1989 did the first and only visit to Neptune and Friends. Yeah, I've said it before recently got to get Ed Stone back on the show and he can update us on those amazing Interstellar spacecraft still going still working.

We'll come back to Voyager 2 and just a moment when we go to [00:57:00] randoms faith. So Voyager 2 when 30 years ago, it passed by Neptune at past about almost 5,000 kilometers or about 3,000 miles above Neptune's northcliffe North Pole. This was its closest approach to any Planet happened 12 years after it left Earth.

So about, you know, the distance across the continental United States away from the North Pole and Neptune before it headed off for Interstellar kind of space. Got to get out there again someday and Uranus to will send you Matt. I'm ready. I know you are we move on to the trivia contest. So I asked you after Luna 24 in 1976.

What was the next successful soft Lander on the moon? How do we do man? The shock here for many many listeners who have absolutely registered that surprise is that it took so long. It did indeed our winner [00:58:00] as chosen by random dot-org Arnold do drink. In Belgium, he said it was only in 2013 that the goddess of the moon Chang you three soft landed from China.

Of course. He says if you ask me the time gap between Luna 24 and Chang you three is way too big which is what we heard from everybody fortunately. There's there's more stuff there and going there so we don't have to wait thirty seven years for the next one Arnold. Congratulations. I believe he's a first-time winner.

He's been listening for. While he is going to get a Priceless planetary Society kick asteroid rubber asteroid a 200-point i telescope dotnet astronomy account and the book that we talked about a couple of weeks ago Oklahomans in space Chronicles of the amazing contributions of Oklahoma. In the Aerospace industry by Our Guest when we did our show at Science Museum, Oklahoma Bill [00:59:00] more one of our guests there.

It really is. It's a fascinating book. He did a great job putting it together a simple greeting from Darren Richie and Renton Washington Nihao you Lang which as far as I know means hello. Good Moon Perry Metzger in New York, New York. Although Landings on the moon were infrequent Landings on rubber asteroids are even rarer to my knowledge.

No robotic Mission has ever landed on one successfully now robotic Mission, but they have visited people's heads. I couldn't resist throwing that in just like people throw those rubber asteroids people's dad's we got this wonderful contribution from Curtis Frank's in. Hello be Ohio. It is a sonnet a sonnet dedicated to these spacecraft that visit the surface of our satellite.

[01:00:00] I'm sorry that I don't have time to read the entire sun and I'm just going to read the last two stanzas. But low in Middle Kingdom times it hand that are adventurous Spirit may not fade to soft pain familiar and foreign Land Down Sweet China, you three and her rabbit Jade. Wow. Yeah. Wait a minute.

Was that the last two.

Or was that just the last stanza but low - this up now, I think that got it right. Wait, there's one to yeah, that was just the last two. Okay. That was last you stances. Okay. Anyway, that would that's it. Maybe I'll post it separately. Now that's okay. Yeah, it's too long. Alright, we can we can go on from there.

And and with that we are ready to move on to a [01:01:00] brand new contest with a brand new prize. All right, we're going to stick with lunar exploration. What was the first spacecraft to take a picture of the Earth from the vicinity of the moon go to planetary dot org slash radio contest. Excellent, excellent question something that continues as we've seen from space craft like send Ryan.

No. Sorry. I don't want to say that. What would be the last one bereshit ? I guess. Well, it's 02 take a picture of Earth from the Moon. I don't know. Yeah because shouldn't I just got there but I can I haven't paid attention with it took a picture of Earth. I'm just going to skip that I'll just go right on.

All right, you have until the 28th of August at 8:00 a.m. Pacific time to get us the answer to this one and you'll win yourself [01:02:00] planetary Society or rubber asteroid a 200-point i telescope dotnet account worldwide nonprofit network of telescopes that you can operate remotely and take a look at things like the moon and.

And and this is pretty special a brand new book by a guy named Bruce Betts who called soup super cool space facts of fun fact filled space book for kids and I guess you've targeted for eight year olds with this. Yeah. It's targeting for 8 year olds, but you know what, let's be real. If you love random space facts, you might love this book whether you're for 28 or 40 to 80 or above.

I did I've gone through it even though it's not out. It's not going to be available either as an e-book or in paperback until September 3rd. So when we award this it will actually be available, but you can [01:03:00] read about it. It's it's own in all the usual places like Amazon. I got an early version because I know people and it's it's delightful.

It's lovely. It's well-designed just like your last one and it's great fun the joke. Our mmm awful which is perfect for the age range that you're shooting for it. Okay, I wrote most of the hose I could tell no it's really fun. I am looking forward to sharing it with my grandson. Who's maybe he's a year too young for your target age range, but I think very soon.

He's very smart. He's going to be ready for this. Hey, Matt, what do you get when you make a sandwich out of graham cracker marshmallow and plan? I don't know what smart arse from Mars they're brilliant. I was trying to make MoonPie work, but no. All right. So anyway, super cool space facts, you'll get a [01:04:00] copy.

If you are the winner of this latest contest and you can choose to have it signed or or not. Whichever light by you or by someone else. Oh, well, I can only control that. I would sign it if people actually wanted their book to file. So it's optional I would I'd go for it. Why not? Let's let's wrap this up.

All right, everybody go out there. Look up the night sky and think about what your favorite power tool to here all day in the background while you're working would be thank you and good night. Yeah, they're building a medical school. Right across the street from the planetary society and that might come in handy someday.

He's Bruce Pets the chief scientist of the planetary Society who joins us every week Here For What? Planetary radio is produced by the planetary Society in Pasadena, California and is made possible by its science factual members Mary. Liz Bender has been our associate [01:05:00] producer for the last couple of years.

She is moving on now to do some really really great things with her life and Associates and I wish her well, and I am eternally grateful sure look forward to other opportunities to work with her jaw. Coyle composed our theme which was arranged and performed by Peter Schlosser. I'm at Kaplan Ad Astra Mary, Liz.

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