On This Episode
Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate for NASA
NASA Chief Scientist
Associate Administrator for Technology, Policy, and Strategy at NASA
Director of Content & Engagement for The Planetary Society
Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society
Senior Communications Adviser and former Host of Planetary Radio for The Planetary Society
Additional guests include:
- Thomas Pesquet, ESA Astronaut
- Tim Dodd, Creator and Owner, The Everyday Astronaut
Come with us to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for our special coverage of the first attempt to launch the giant Space Launch System rocket toward the Moon. You’ll hear astronaut Thomas Pesquet, “Everyday Astronaut” Tim Dodd, NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen, and much more. Then take your best shot at winning the Artemis 1 prize package in this week’s space trivia contest.
- Artemis, NASA’s Moon landing program
- Artemis 1 launch guide: What to expect
- Why we have the SLS
- Planetary Radio Space Policy Edition: Mike Gold on Crafting the Artemis Accords
- ASU Thunderbird Initiative for Space Leadership, Policy and Business
- Everyday Astronaut
- Frank Drake on Planetary Radio in 2010 (Interview is at 10:00)
- The Downlink
- Subscribe to the monthly Planetary Radio newsletter
This Week’s Question:
What are the names of the dog and sheep that will fly in the Artemis 1 Orion capsule? (Hint: They’re not real animals.)
This Week’s Prize:
An Artemis 1 prize extravaganza, including a baseball cap, mission pin, a r-r-r-rubber Orion capsule, and Mat’s press pass lanyard.
To submit your answer:
Complete the contest entry form at https://www.planetary.org/radiocontest or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, September 14 at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.
Last week's question:
How many JPL directors have there been since the Voyagers launched? Include acting directors.
The winner will be revealed next week.
Question from the August 24, 2022 space trivia contest:
As currently planned, on the first four missions or flights of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, how many of the main or core stage engines have already flown?
Fourteen of the 16 RS-25 engines that will power the core SLS stage in Artemis missions 1-4 have already flown on Space Shuttle missions.
Mat Kaplan: Join us for the first attempt to launch Artemis 1, this week on Planetary Radio.
Speaker 2: We have NASA's Space Launch System and Orion Spacecraft out on historic Launch Pad 39B. The launch window opens in less than 24 hours, that's very exciting to say it's going to be human's first step in going back to the Moon.
Mat Kaplan: Welcome. I'm Mat Kaplan of The Planetary Society, with more of the human adventure across our solar system and beyond. Another very special show this week, as we travel to Florida's Space Coast for the first attempt to launch the giant Space Launch System rocket. We have lots of special coverage, including conversations with NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Chief Scientist Kate Calvin, European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, Everyday Astronaut Tim Dodd, and many others. In fact, we talk with too many people to include in one show. You'll hear our conversations with the leaders of the European Space Agency, ESA, the German Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency next week. They, and at least 100,000 others, including 800 members of the media, had come to the Kennedy Space Center for what we hoped would be the first launch of the SLS. As you know, it was not to be. Both the August 29th and September 3rd attempts were scrubbed.
Mat Kaplan: As we published this week's show, NASA has not yet announced when it will try again, engineers still need to fix the serious liquid hydrogen leak that ended the second launch attempt. So, no actual launch to bring you, but it was still a wonderful trip. Just a little bit of other space news before we get started and it begins with a sad announcement. Astronomy, science, and all of humanity have lost one of the greats, Frank Drake has died. The pioneer in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence was 92. I was so honored to have Frank as my guest several times. We've got a link to the first of those shows on this week's episode page at planetary.org/radio. Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye, also recorded this brief tribute.
Bill Nye: I was at Cornell when Frank Drake and Carl Sagan were at Cornell and they talked a lot about what it would take to find life on another planet. Frank Drake came up with the famous equation, the Drake equation, which has influenced astrobiologists all over this planet. So, thank you, Frank, you changed the world.
Mat Kaplan: There's more space news in the Downlink, our free weekly newsletter, including the announcement of four papers based on data returned by the Perseverance rover from Jezero Crater on Mars, you'll find it at planetary.org/downlink. It's 6:51 in the morning, I'm standing in a field on the edge of a body of water here at the Kennedy Space Center, watching a nearly impossibly beautiful sunrise out in front of me, as the huge digital clock that right now says there is an hour, 11 minutes, and 43 seconds left in the countdown to the launch of Artemis 1. But will it happen this morning? Engineers are still dealing with a lot of difficulties as we wait to see if this is going to happen during this first launch window on Monday, August 29th, 2022, we will share with you some of the other great stuff that we've been catching, interviews we've done here at the Cape as NASA and its partners prepare for this first launch of the giant Space Launch System.
Mat Kaplan: Let's back up a day. It's Sunday, August 28th. NASA has brought a room full of global all-stars to what is usually a dining room at the Kennedy Space Center. The gigantic Vehicle Assembly Building is a short walk away. I first sat down with NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen, the highly respected Associate Administrator of the Agency's Science Mission Directorate. I just told Thomas about my visit to JPL for the 45th anniversary of the Voyager Mission. You may have heard my coverage of that celebration in our August 31st show.
Thomas Zurbuchen: Nicky Fox, of course, she went there as the Heliophysics Director, rightly so, and I sent her my regards. I was really sad I couldn't be there at Stone, both as a Voyager leader, a JPL leader, but also, the principal investigator of ACE, for which I ran two instruments and I built one, was just one of my mentors for many, many years, just incredible, man.
Mat Kaplan: Nicky shared her regrets that you weren't able to be with us at JPL for that great party. It really was a wonderful celebration. They even had cake.
Thomas Zurbuchen: That's amazing. That's good. They should, you don't get to 45-year anniversaries all that often.
Mat Kaplan: We're here for something else altogether, of course. We just mentioned to you that we came from the Sunday press briefing, less than 24 hours to go before launch, everything is looking good.
Thomas Zurbuchen: Yes, it's wonderful. Florida is always, at this time of year, a little bit more turbulent, in terms of weather, so it's great that that's working. I also know that on the technical side, the team has been really clean. I've been in all of the reviews from the beginning of the week and I followed the team along, so it's just really great to see how the team is really like clockwork moving towards it.
Mat Kaplan: Let's talk about the science in this mission, but also, the overall science potential of the Artemis program, which I know you have been a big part of making sure that science is kept top of mind in all of this. Obviously, that's a concern for many others. You saw the Planetary Science Decadal Survey, which also expressed some concerns and made recommendations. What is the current status, what is the place of science within Artemis?
Thomas Zurbuchen: So, I think what's really different about Artemis, as compared to other initiatives that were seeking to focus on the Moon, is a deep integration of science from the work goal. I need to say, you do Artemis 1, 2, 3, you try to do these technological demonstrations, which are really, really hard. The most important objective, when it comes to human exploration, is that the astronaut comes back safely and that is that core objective. It would not be rational to think any differently. However, as we go, even during these flights, but as we go beyond, it's really important to start changing the narrative and get to opportunistic science, which is at the beginning of what we're doing to science-driven, which is what the Decadal has outlined as some of the objectives of future Artemis missions, so I think we have the right dialogue.
Thomas Zurbuchen: We've really moved, from even the last 10 years in terms of integration, I think we're all of one mind. Many people tell me sometimes science, the science community was quite critical. It's like, "Well, we can do all the science we want with robots," and I always ask them, it's like, "Look, there's very dangerous places on Earth, volcanoes to Antarctic, you're not sending robots there, because you know that the human in the loop adds so much to exploration."
Mat Kaplan: That, of course, is another good point to bring up in terms of not just lunar exploration, but Mars exploration, that partnership that most people see is going to be essential between the human side and the robotic side. We just had Richard Cook on the program talking about Mars Sample Return, that Holy Grail that you're all looking forward to, we are all looking forward to so much. Do you see that continuing into this era with humans back on the Moon and humans going to Mars?
Thomas Zurbuchen: Absolutely. I think what we're really trying to do with the Artemis program is, of course, go to the Moon first, really establish that presence. The only reason do have sustainable presence on the Moon is science. Exploration, exploitation, especially exploitation is a secondary objective that, over time, we'll also talk to sustainability, but science is why we're doing it, and it's that spirit that will bring us forward, too. That's also why we've invested right away in the Gateway, which is that outpost that really helps us learn to live in a spacecraft that's much more similar to how we will go to Mars. So, it absolutely will, and has to, move forward in that integrated fashion.
Mat Kaplan: So, Artemis 1, not without science, I'm thinking, in particular, to those secondary payloads, which maybe we can talk a little bit more about in a moment, but also, within the capsule. I don't know if SMD has had something to do with... We know that there are these human figures in the capsule to help us understand better the radiation environment, the human factors side. Is that something you're also involved with?
Thomas Zurbuchen: Here, in SMD, we're not putting our own money in it, but I'm deeply aware of it, of course. What we have done and what we're doing is we're interested in exploring the radiation that humans will face as they leave the low-Earth orbit, which is a radiation environment that's much more benign because of the magnetic field, the big Earth underneath you, and the atmosphere and so forth. So, going on the outside of that, with space storms and so forth, both exploring that radiation, but also understanding how it affects humans. The question is also whether less of the type that are being flown on these dummies can shield humans from some of the most damaging radiation is very much in our interest. Frankly, our Heliophysics Division, Dr. Fox, Nicky Fox, who's running that, is, in a very primary way, focused on space weather and technology, not just of the Earth, but of explorers beyond the Earth orbit.
Mat Kaplan: Those secondary payloads, those little cube sets, which, if all goes well, are going to be carried up there by the Space Launch System, as well. Now, of course, we're The Planetary Society, we're partial to NEA Scout, the Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, but there's some other fascinating spacecraft.
Thomas Zurbuchen: Oh yeah. So, there's a number of them that if you want, they fall in a bunch of categories. You already talked about the Solar Sail mission there, which, first job I ever had was with solar sail, so I'm a big fan. There's other technologies, including the Japanese crasher onto the Moon and see whether it can survive.
Mat Kaplan: What do they call it, a semi-soft landing or something?
Thomas Zurbuchen: That doesn't feel that soft to me when I look at the plan, but I think it's really interesting to see whether we can do that. Of course, there's other technology spaces where we are doing that violent impacts, but keep staying alive, so doing that. I'm really interested in some of the lunar observation, the LunaH-Map, the IR mission that's there, so one in epithermal neutrons, the other one in IR looking at volatiles or specific traces. And then the other piece, of course, is the biological experiments that we're bringing. Four types of life, yeast, algae, seeds, and so forth, we're bringing those, and some of them genetically modified, to really look at radiation impacts in these DNA setups, which, of course, will help us, again, basically understand how radiation affects all life, and especially humans.
Mat Kaplan: So, pardon my ignorance, but I did not know that you had a background in solar sailing. First of all, what was that job, but also, what are your hopes for NEA Scout, an asteroid mission on a solar sail?
Thomas Zurbuchen: It's actually funny, if you do a search, one of the first papers I ever wrote, very low-level journal, was an asteroid mission with a solar sail. As grad school student in Switzerland, where I did it, I was consulted to a company that was called Contraves, which is now RUAG. They do the fairings of the Ariane rocket, including [inaudible 00:12:33], also the Vulcan rocket, so it's a company that does mechanical engineering. They were really interested in the ability of inflatables that could harden under the radiation of ultraviolet, so I built systems and mechanical models for solar sails that were designed that way. That's what I did for two years or so and eventually published some of this work, so that was my first job outside of my grad school.
Mat Kaplan: We're going to be talking with a number of your international colleagues in the other conversations that we have here today, who are here to enjoy the launch, but many of them also deeply involved with this launch, Artemis program. I'm thinking of the Artemis Accords, which are bilateral agreements between the US and other nations, but then there are the agencies like ESA. In general, I guess I'm asking about the importance of these international partnerships.
Thomas Zurbuchen: What we're really doing when it comes to big exploration, whether it's the James Webb Space Telescope, Mars Sample Return, whether it's Artemis, we're doing it as a world coming together. Many of these aspirations are bigger than one nation or bigger than one continent. I really believe in that important ability of big space exploration to unite and to bring together the best that's around. The Artemis Accords are really important, I believe, in this context, because what they allow is really a framework in which to go forward, especially as more commercial partners are coming out there. We're excited about the 22 that have signed, we're excited about seeing more sign, and really bring forward that next level of common understanding of norms of behaviors.
Thomas Zurbuchen: What we don't want to do is take conflicts that may or may not be on Earth and bring those conflicts into space, especially into the exploration realm. For us, whether it's the responsible exploration of other worlds, whether it's Mars and so forth, whether it's how we use the resources like the Artemis, of course. It's important to have these discussions now, and that's what we're for. So, yes, international collaborations are absolutely central as we go forward, especially with big exploration.
Mat Kaplan: Thank you, Dr. Zurbuchen. Go Artemis.
Thomas Zurbuchen: Go Artemis, absolutely.
Mat Kaplan: Kate Calvin is the still relatively new NASA Chief Scientist. She follows friends of Planetary Radio, John Grunsfeld, Jim Garvin, Ellen Stofan, and Jim Green. As you'll hear, Kate brings a great background in Earth Science to the job. My colleague, Planetary Society Editorial Director Rae Paoletta, got the conversation going.
Rae Paoletta: How are you feeling so far?
Kate Calvin: I am very excited and very happy to be here.
Rae Paoletta: As somebody who studies climate science intensively, are you worried at all about what's going to happen to this particular strip of land that we're all on, just because of global climate change?
Kate Calvin: Well, climate is changing on Earth and there are impacts everywhere, and so there is coastal erosion, sea level rise, changes in hurricane intensity, that come along with warming temperatures, and it is something we pay attention to at NASA. So, we look agency-wide at how climate affects not just providing science to the external public, but also, thinking about how it affects our facilities and working and planning that in.
Rae Paoletta: One thing that we get a lot of at The Planetary Society are questions about why do we go to space when there's so much for us to deal with here on Earth?
Kate Calvin: We learn a lot from going to space, about science, about technologies that we can use on Earth, we inspire new scientists and engineers, and so there's a lot of reasons to go to space. I'll just give a couple of examples of things we've learned. So, we've learned a lot about Earth from Venus. So, some of the studies of Venus on the greenhouse effect and ozone on Venus have informed our understanding of the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion on Earth, so we learn when we go there. In terms of technologies, some of the sensors we develop for some of our space crop can actually help us observe Earth. The James Webb Space Telescope sensors, they're looking at infrared and it can look at atmospheres of exoplanets. That technology informed one of our satellites that looks at the atmosphere of Earth and measures the carbon dioxide in that atmosphere. Thinking about particularly long duration space flight, you have to take everything with you, and that forces a thought on sustainability and what we develop for that we can use here on Earth to address sustainability issues here.
Rae Paoletta: I'm very excited for the upcoming NASA missions to Venus, partially for that reason, what can we learn about it and how do we not end up like Venus?
Kate Calvin: The CO2 concentration on Venus is very, very high and it's very hot on the surface. What we learn from that and studying those planets can help us on Earth, because physics are physics and chemistry are chemistry. What's different is what the surface looks like, what the atmosphere is composed of, and how far it is from the sun, but we can use that and inform Earth.
Rae Paoletta: Well, it does feel like Venus a little bit here today, in the middle of August in Florida, but hopefully, it doesn't get much worse than that. And then, obviously, just to switch gears here for a second, Artemis 1 is an uncrewed mission, but thinking about the future and thinking about subsequent Artemis missions, that will be crewed, how can NASA plan to address the threats of radiation on future lunar astronauts' health?
Kate Calvin: So, Artemis 1, it's a test of SLS and Orion in preparation for crewed missions. On board Artemis 1 are a lot of science experiments about radiation. So, we have some dosimeters in the Orion spacecraft, we have mannequins that are measuring radiation. We have a bioexperiment that's going to look at how radiation affects seeds, yeast, fungi, and algae, and so we'll better understand that environment. Then, we also have a cube set that's going to look at radiation. So, it's got yeast on it and it's going to give us more information about that. So, we're learning about radiation, which is we know is higher as you get outside a low Earth orbit, and then we have a whole team in the Human Research Program that looks at that and tries to understand the impacts on human health and what we can do to be better prepared.
Mat Kaplan: Of course, we know Artemis, the target is not just the Moon, it's getting those first humans to Mars, as well. The human challenges on a mission like that are so tremendous, and not just the radiation environment, but dirt on the Moon and dirt on the Mars, they both want to kill you. Do you see us making progress?
Kate Calvin: So, we have a research team that really looks at this and some of the things that we look at, factors that might impact human health when you get into space, are radiation, as we've been talking about, isolation, gravity, so gravity is different and our bodies are adapted to gravity on Earth, when you get off of Earth, it's different there, and then also the environment. So, the conditions in the spacecraft, what the air is like. We look into all of those and try to understand both the effects on humans, but also, what we can do about that.
Mat Kaplan: Are we making the progress that you think needs to be made for humans to play the role that we all, many of us, hope they will?
Kate Calvin: We are continuing to learn every day and working very hard on it. Crew safety is our number one priority. Part of the way the Artemis is working is it's a series of increasingly complex missions, so we learn from each to better prepare ourselves for the next. So, in Artemis 1, we're going to learn a lot about the radiation environment and that'll get us better prepared for subsequent missions.
Mat Kaplan: I'm going to go back to your extensive background in studying climate that you talked with Rae about and the significance of your choice as Chief Scientist, not just because of your other qualifications, following in long line of terrific Chief Scientists at NASA, but it must have been very much in people's minds that you brought this side of NASA's work to this, as well.
Kate Calvin: So, NASA has been doing research on the Earth for decades. A lot of what we understand about how our planet has changed has come from NASA observations and models and research done at NASA, along with research done elsewhere. Part of what I'm trying to do is to really highlight that and help people understand how our planet has changed, how it might change in the future, and what we can help inform people with what we know at NASA.
Mat Kaplan: Thank you, Kate. Where are you going to be tomorrow?
Kate Calvin: I'm going to be at Banana Creek, watching on-site.
Mat Kaplan: We'll be watching along with you. Thanks so much.
Kate Calvin: Thank you so much. Have a great day. Go Artemis.
Mat Kaplan: Go Artemis. I followed Rae Paoletta to another table, where we joined ESA astronaut and two-time resident of the International Space Station, Tom Pesquet. Here's their delightful conversation.
Thomas Pesquet: I think it's pretty awesome. I can't wait for the launch and I'm so happy that we, we meaning Europe, get to play a role in it. I think it's going to be great.
Rae Paoletta: As someone who's been to space, what's it like watching the groundwork be laid for humans to return to the Moon?
Thomas Pesquet: Amazing. It's very humbling. So, everybody's focusing on their part of the work, almost no one can grasp the complexity of the entire system, least of all the astronauts, so we focus on what we have to do and then someday, you get to the rocket. But then sometimes, you slow down and you take a moment and you look at everything it took, all the individual work it took and the coordination to get here for such a massive rocket to take to space, so sometimes it really feels good. You think about all the people who did their best and so it puts some extra pressure on you, as well. You don't want to mess it up, because so many people have invested so much, but that's part of their job, that's what we do.
Rae Paoletta: Failure's not really much of an option, at this point.
Thomas Pesquet: Yeah, absolutely. So, the attitude is always the same, somebody told me that at the beginning of my astronaut career, "It won't fail because of me," that's the attitude. You have a scope, there's some things that are under your responsibility, so you make sure that this goes well, but you cannot control everything. Some other things are going to be under someone else's control and you cannot be worried about it, because otherwise, you completely stop sleeping at some point. So, the only thing you can do is make sure that what's under your control works and it won't fail because of you, and that's the attitude we try to bring to the table.
Rae Paoletta: I think that's a good attitude to have towards most things, professionally, is-
Thomas Pesquet: Probably, yeah, absolutely. There are so many things that can go wrong, obviously, those are no one's favorite topics, but the complexity. It takes a series of miracles to go to space, that's what it feels like, so you do what you can and you trust other people. There's a huge amount of trust. You look at all the smiles, everybody's trusting one another. NASA is trusting is ESA, ESA, European Space Agency, is trusting NASA, the astronauts are trust the engineers and the engineers trust the astronauts to do the right thing. So, that's all it is, there's a whole big team spirit.
Rae Paoletta: Artemis 1 is obviously uncrewed, but if all goes according to plan, humans could have a sustained presence on the Moon. How does someone psychologically and emotionally prepare for something like that?
Thomas Pesquet: I think what we've been doing on the ISS is actually proving grounds for those missions, including psychologically. We've been isolated. The typical mission is on the average of six months, but some of our colleagues have been staying for up to a year, so that long-term isolation, the physical effects, and the psychological effects have been studied by teams of scientists at NASA and in different labs across the country. So, I think actually going to space once is a good preparation, it's the best preparation to go to space a second time, is my answer.
Rae Paoletta: Everyone's experience is different and subjective, but based on your own, how does space change someone?
Thomas Pesquet: I think it's what happens, and it's slowly and it's gradual, but it's a change of perspective. We have tools like mathematics and reasoning and logic, but we are very sentimental animals. We understand well what we can feel or we can relate to and that's just how it is, that's just how our brain functions. So, we gave ourselves some other tools to grasp the world, but really, what's speaking to us, what resonates is what we can feel, grasp, see, experience with our senses. So, all those phenomenon that happen at the global scale, the size of the Earth, global warming, the continents, it's something that you experienced firsthand when you go to space and suddenly, it became much more real than that theory that you've had in your head.
Thomas Pesquet: So, it's really just taking that step back, taking that perspective that actually brings global things to the scale of what you can perceive with your senses, and that changes everything. And then suddenly, it's not just concepts, it's not just theory, it's what you've seen, it's what has been experienced by you firsthand, so that's why people come back a little bit changed from a trip to space.
Rae Paoletta: Obviously, you're a fan of memes. You have a great Twitter account, probably the best astronaut Twitter account, don't tell anyone I said that. Are you planning on memeing the Artemis 1 mission, and do you have any ideas brewing?
Thomas Pesquet: I don't, so far, but you know what? We have an entire afternoon left to figure it out. That's also what I like, it's also very spontaneous. You don't need to spend three weeks thinking about it, sometimes there's some planning that goes into it. But I'm a huge fan of relating to people, people use memes and emojis all the time, so we shouldn't be stuck communication being all corporate. That's a part of it, it's fine, but then we also have to be able to relate to the people, so that's a good idea. I don't have the definite Artemis meme yet, but I will be working on it, guaranteed. Stay tuned.
Rae Paoletta: My cat's name is Artemis, so it was nice that NASA and ESA made a whole mission about my cat.
Thomas Pesquet: I know. You're welcome, by the way, you're welcome. The internet loves cats, so if you want to make a space mission interesting, put a cat on it. How did we not think about this before? How did we not, with all the scientists and the brain power? Thank you, thank you for that. I think the French actually sent a cat into space at the very beginning. So, congratulations French, we've had catstronauts before, something to be proud of.
Rae Paoletta: Did you bring your own camera to space or do they just have a stash of cameras on the ISS for astronauts to use?
Thomas Pesquet: They do have a stash of cameras on the ISS. It's professional-grade cameras with all kinds of lenses and equipment. But sometimes, you wish you could take just your phone, because now the very modern smartphones, they're amazing to take pictures. They do HDR, they take high contrast, and they give you a good picture, they have wide angles. We had a Russian frame crew come up at the time and those guys had their phones, for some reason, I didn't ask questions. But just a snapshot from a modern smartphone from the Cupola, it looked amazing. It took so much work for us to get it with a professional camera, those guys were just snapping with their phones. We were a bit jealous, I admit.
Rae Paoletta: Were you always a photographer or did you basically learn to prepare for your time in space?
Thomas Pesquet: No, I never was a photographer. We are exposed to photography at a basic level during training, because you need to be able, sometimes, to send a snapshot of what you're working on for the mission control to be able to help you out, and then you get some basic training. But it's not really part of the mission, taking pictures of the Earth, the mission is more about the science that we do inside, the pictures are a bonus that you do in your free time. So, if you're interested, then they'll be more than happy to answer all of your questions, but you can't take 250 hours of camera training, unfortunately, I would've loved to. So, I started with a basic level, I copied what other people have done before.
Thomas Pesquet: Don Pettit is unbelievable, he basically invented space photography, so I asked him a ton of questions, I asked our trainers a ton of questions. I was really bad at the beginning of my first mission, but then practice, practice, practice, practice. I used a lot of my free time and then I got to acceptable at the end of my first mission and I didn't regress too much as I started my second. So, I need a couple more missions to get to a real good level, or maybe I'll come, who knows?
Rae Paoletta: Artemis 1 is uncrewed, but do you have any advice for future Artemis astronauts who might wind up on the Moon?
Thomas Pesquet: I think if you had told me back in the day, I would not have believed that I would be sitting here today, honestly. I don't know if lots of people say that, but it's so true. Just because it was so distant, it was so huge. Coming from a small town in a countryside, I had nothing that related to space. But then it's really, what I want to say is it's not just one giant leap from being a countryside kid to flying to the Moon. That's not how it happens, there's tons of steps in between. That's how you get to that point when you're in a position to go to space, so take all those steps.
Thomas Pesquet: Don't get daunted by the final goal, because there will be a million of small steps that are all achievable, one by one. Study hard, get your degree, do some physical activity, go abroad, learn a foreign language, all those things are easy-ish to do, they're doable. But then when you put them all together, after 10 years you look back, you're like, "Wow, I might be in a position to apply to a national selection," then that's just what happened to me. So, don't be shy, take those steps one at a time, and it's going to work out, that's what happened to me.
Rae Paoletta: One of those steps is what's going to happen, hopefully, tomorrow, which is sending mannequins to the Moon. Do you have any last words for them?
Thomas Pesquet: Last words. Enjoy the ride, I think is my best advice, but I'm sure they will.
Rae Paoletta: I think so, too. Thank you so much.
Thomas Pesquet: Thank you.
Mat Kaplan: Most of our interviews on the 28th were prescheduled, but something caught my eye in that dining room. I asked the guy carrying it if we could talk.
Jordan Houri: So, my name is Jordan Houri. I'm the Lead Scientist for Space Exploration at StemRad, which is the company that created this vest.
Mat Kaplan: It is beautiful, first of all, and it has been getting a tremendous amount of attention as part of the Artemis 1 mission, because it's on board, right?
Jordan Houri: Yeah. So, this vest is part of the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment, which is an international collaboration between our company, StemRad, Lockheed Martin, DLR, the German Aerospace Agency, ISA, the Israel Space Agency, and NASA. During this experiment, there will be two mannequins onboard the Orion capsule during Artemis 1. They're called phantoms, they're basically human body models. They're only torsos, actually, but they're made of a tissue equivalent material, so the density of the materials are exactly the same as the human body. So, for example, we have bone equivalent material, lung equivalent, breast equivalent, et cetera.
Mat Kaplan: I saw a diagram of this where it actually showed how different portions of the phantom, the mannequin, have different densities, different materials.
Jordan Houri: Yeah. So, that will allow us to accurately measure how radiation interacts with the human body, because when the radiation out in space passes through the phantoms, it'll interact with it in almost exactly the same way that it will interact with an astronaut's body. These phantoms, they have thousands of radiation detectors embedded throughout the body, so basically, one every three centimeters. There's a grid of 3 by 3 by 3 centimeters and each point in that grid has one radiation detector.
Mat Kaplan: You saw my reaction. I knew that there were detectors, but thousands of them? Are these just passive detectors that have to be looked at later or is there telemetry?
Jordan Houri: So, there's no telemetry, these are mostly passive detectors. 5,600 passive detectors will get the cumulative radiation dose from the mission at the end. There are also active detectors, so there's a few of those inside critical organs, some inside the lungs, for example. There's some outside the vest and some inside the vest, as well. Those will be able to tell us how the radiation evolves over the course of the mission, I think it's something like once every five minutes we'll get a reading.
Mat Kaplan: Would that be equivalent to wearing a radiation badge, except there are 5,600 of them?
Jordan Houri: Yeah, exactly.
Mat Kaplan: What is it made of?
Jordan Houri: The material is made out of high-density polyethylene, which is basically a plastic, but it's very high in hydrogen, very similar to water. It's very good for shielding against charged particle radiation, which is what we see in space. The core, inside of the vest, is actually made of these hexagons, which are able to slide past each other and provide flexibility to the vest, but at the same time, they're solid, so it maximizes the shielding from the radiation.
Mat Kaplan: If this works, won't you be helping to provide a solution to one of the greatest challenges that exists to humans traveling beyond Earth orbit?
Jordan Houri: Yeah, we're very excited. This mission will help us test the vest because one of the phantoms, Helga, will not be wearing the vest and the other one, Zohar, will be wearing the vest. So, we'll be able to compare the data between the radiation detectors between the two phantoms and see exactly how effective the vest is, and we'll be able to make any necessary improvements to the vest. Hopefully, we'll be able to provide protection to future astronauts who are traveling to deep space. Zohar, it's an Israeli name, it means radiance, so it's a pun.
Mat Kaplan: That's perfect, isn't it? Fascinating, best of luck with this. I hope we see it not only launch tomorrow, but come back so that you can all see how well it did.
Jordan Houri: Yeah. Thank you so much.
Mat Kaplan: Later in that pre-launch day, Rae and I were joined across town by Planetary Society Chief Advocate Casey Dreier for a very special event. Arizona State University's Thunderbird school of Global Management includes the Thunderbird Initiative for Space Leadership, Policy, and Business. It brought together a space policy dream team to consider what it called The Road to Artemis. Joining former NASA Administrators Charlie Bolton and Jim Bridenstine were, among others, NASA Associate Administrator Bhavya Lal, who has been our guest on Planetary Radio and the Space Policy Edition. Also, former Associate Administrator Mike Gold, who is Casey's guest on the August 2nd Space Policy Edition. Casey got in this great question during the closing Q&A. You'll hear responses from moderator Greg Autry, former NASA Chief of Staff Gabe Sherman, Bhavya Lal, Jim Bridenstine, and a closing comment from Scott Pace, the former Executive Secretary of the National Space Council.
Casey Dreier: Casey Dreier from The Planetary Society. Scott, in some of the other discussion about the budget growth over the last few years, really got me thinking, inflation adjusted, NASA's budget bottomed out in 2013, but since then, there's been this quiet growth every single year. It's actually, historically, the longest period of steady growth of NASA's budget, which has crossed three administrations now, multiple Congresses, multiple partisan control of Congress. Did something fundamental change about how we communicate or how you were communicating to policy makers to help drive that? What about the message started to resonate in the early 2010s that reversed 15, 20 years of steady declines?
Gabe Sherman: Part of it, just answering your question directly, I think it was getting more intentional. I'll tell you that was, for us, man, there's so much to say here, goodness, we created what we like to refer to as the juggernaut at NASA. We wanted an opportunity where we were creating so much positive activity and momentum and having so many conversations about the vision of Artemis and where we are headed at NASA, that it created this momentum that was going to cross administrations. That was our objective, was to make sure we created a program that crossed the administration, because, like Dr. Pace said earlier, we haven't been successful in the past. And so, whenever it comes to a budget and it comes to the people that control the budget, looking at Congress specifically, we knew that we had to get a bipartisan group of members of Congress that could see themselves inside of what it was that we were trying to do, inside of Artemis. How did it benefit them? How did it benefit their constituents?
Gabe Sherman: How was this going to be a win for not only the current workforce maybe in their state or in their district, but also in the workforce to come? What we did is we hit the road, we built an Artemis road show. We went to I don't know how many different districts and states across the country in a matter of two years, where we looked at every opportunity to engage academia, to engage the political interests, both local and federal, on those visits, to engage industry, and to bring people together to understand why this was so important. And then what you ended up having is you had members of Congress go back to Congress and say, "I need to fund this. I need to fund STMD. I need to fund SMD. I need to fund NASA." This whole effort here that is science, technology, and human exploration working together to put Artemis front and center, we built champions across the country.
Gabe Sherman: That all started in a small conference room at the Westin and Pentagon City when we sat down and Jim said, "Look, I think I want a juggernaut of activity. That's going to be the only way that we get Artemis to sustain from one administration to the next, is if we build such a broad coalition of support that there's no choice but to keep going forward," and so that translates into budgets. Now, I can't speak to the great work that Administrator Bolden and some of the others did previous to us, because you mentioned back to 2010, but how did we keep the momentum going, that was one of the key things for us.
Bhavya Lal: What I would like to add is I think chance favors the prepared mind and I think you had a prepared mind, but I think there is a lot of serendipity. There were a lot of things that got started that were just coming to fruition like clockwork. There is Perseverance landing, Ingenuity helicopter. Again, I know you're talking about 2010 and the earlier days, but just taking examples from the last couple years, that's one lesson I want to take away from all this, that we need to keep a rapid clip of exciting space activities to keep that momentum. So, what is next, whether it's Mars Sample Return or one of the Venus missions or NEO Surveyor, DART. There's so many exciting things that are coming up, we just need to make sure that, to what Gabe said, that we keep that active momentum so we don't slow down.
Gabe Sherman: Bhavya, to build on that, it's important that we don't let these tremendous opportunities go to waste. I think there are so many things that are being achieved and accomplished that when we actually get out there, and this goes all the way back to Administrator Bolden's point, when we get out there and we celebrate those achievements and accomplishments in a way that people get to experience, in new ways across the country and globally, you really create an opportunity to build momentum and to capitalize on each one of those opportunities.
Gabe Sherman: I loved the Perseverance launch, whenever Dr. Z found the right guy, a younger kid in Virginia named Perseverance, brought him in. I remember sitting with him around the Perseverance launch and talking with him, and then that story just grew, and that story led to the naming of Ingenuity. We started taking all of these opportunities and finding ways to bring people into each of them and not miss an opportunity that's out there. NASA's doing so many incredible things, we have to tell the right stories. It creates the momentum that then turns around and helps members of Congress pull the lever for NASA and sign the bills for NASA in ways that promote us to go on and do great things.
Bhavya Lal: The international piece is really important here, as well, I think Scott mentioned that, that when we are connected with other countries, it's just harder to track back. For all sorts of reasons, we have to keep moving forward. So, I'm just taking a lot of these lessons to make sure that that momentum continues.
Jim Bridenstine: I would also add, Casey. It was the hard work of The Planetary Society over those-
Scott Pace: First of all, credit to Jim and Gabe and his team for really putting themselves out there and beating the bushes and getting the votes and connecting with people. It's hard retail political work that was incredibly important, it would not have happened without Jim's leadership on it. I want to point to those of us who didn't bother leaving the campus on White House has said, "How did we get OMB to go along with that?" Of course, people knew that Vice President Pence was supportive of space and going in this direction, so, of course, we were going to put some funding into it. But sometimes that's done enthusiastically, sometimes it's done reluctantly and those kind of directions. I have to say a key difference, to get to Casey's question, is that we had a different point of view. We had a strategic direction with commercial and international partners, which you started to see frankly, in the Obama administration, but we really put a focus on that with commercial and international direction, so the new strategic concept for why we were going out into space once again, and it was not Apollo.
Scott Pace: The second thing was innovation. The basic deal was we could see increases in the NASA top line happen, but not unless there was going to be innovation going with it. So, this is why you see the Human Landing System as being a public-private partnership. This is why you see so much stress on new and innovative technologies, that it could not just be the old way of doing things. But innovation, new strategic direction, and in response to a changed world from the 1960s is what made the difference. I'm old enough to remember a lot of other past events, Viking landing on Mars, for example, and Voyagers and so forth, that generated tremendous enthusiasm, but they didn't translate into the NASA budget. So, we've had these great events, but what's different this time is we now have a direction that's clearer in mind, we have a larger coalition that's clearer in mind, and we have an emphasis on innovation, as a break from the past, that also is helping people come to our side in support of the program.
Mat Kaplan: Did you catch that unsolicited endorsement by former Administrator Bridenstine? That wasn't the end of our long day before the launch attempt, as you'll hear when Bruce Betts arrives for What's Up. We finished the evening at a wonderful gathering of Planetary Society members in town, like us, for the launch. We'll pause here before going into launch day, August 29th, 2022. Stay with us.
Bill Nye: Greetings, Bill Nye here, CEO of The Planetary Society. We need your help as we launch a new and exciting project. It's a new subscription-style program for kids. We call it the Planetary Academy and it's getting underway with a Kickstarter campaign. The Planetary Academy is a special learning and membership opportunity for kids ages five to nine. Young explorers will receive four adventure packs each year that have been developed by our experts. We're creating the first adventure packs right now. Academy members will learn all about our solar system through out of this world activities and surprises, preparing them to blast off to exciting destinations. After this first successful year, we'll expand the academy to a full three-year program that explorers and their families can renew annually. Will you help us kickstart the Planetary Academy by backing our project? Visit planetary.org/academy today to learn more and get behind this exciting new opportunity. That's planetary.org/academy. Thanks.
Mat Kaplan: After less than an hour of fitful sleep at our hotels, Rae and I returned to the Kennedy Space Center at 2:30 AM on Sunday the 29th. Casey had never left. He caught a few winks in his rental car before we rejoined him at the KSC Press Site. It was a gorgeous morning, but not one that would see the first launch of the SLS.
Speaker 13: The countdown clock is slated to hold at T-minus 40 minutes and counting. Again, the clock is going to hold at T-minus 40 minutes. So, just 60 seconds from now, you'll see that clock stop. At that time, the hydrogen team is going to discuss their plan with the launch director. They're still working on it. They're asking for 10 minutes and then they will brief the launch director, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson.
Mat Kaplan: The hold would eventually become a scrub, but we didn't know that yet. I wandered across the Press Site past the two-story building where Walter Cronkite had once watched Saturn V liftoffs, toward an orange canvas canopy that provided a small amount of shade for Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut. Don't know him? His YouTube channel has 1.3 million subscribers and his private tour of the SpaceX Starbase was conducted by Elon Musk. It has been watched nearly 6 million times. Tim and my former colleague, MaryLiz Bender, were a coanchoring live stream coverage of the Artemis 1 launch attempt. When they took a break, I asked him if we could talk for a few minutes. Tim, space is hard, liquid hydrogen is harder.
Tim Dodd: That's the perfect way to put it, honestly. We don't see a ton of liquid hydrogen vehicles these days and it is a friendly reminder that they can be finicky. Hydrogen's a very teeny, tiny, little molecule, so making it behave properly on launch day can be a bit of a frustration, I think, for all those watching and involved, for sure.
Mat Kaplan: Are you sticking around for the... Well, of course we don't even know if there will be another attempt on Friday the 2nd.
Tim Dodd: Right. We're pre any official updates on from knowing whether or not they're going to have the attempt on September 2nd or if the next attempt is the 5th or if this whole window... We don't know, we're in a big question mark. So, our crew with our production here, we're actually debating whether or not to totally pack up. Are we putting everything in a place to be able to move the van and get it back on the road, we've got to get it out to California by September 8th, or what do we do? That's the decision right now, so we're waiting to hear a little bit more on how big of a scrub is this.
Mat Kaplan: You had mentioned to us before I started recording why you have to be in California. Can you talk about that?
Tim Dodd: Oh yeah. I'm really excited to say that we are the official livestream provider for Firefly, the aerospace company Firefly, and their second attempt of their Alpha rocket. It is a small launch vehicle, but it's actually quite a large small launch vehicle, it's on the upper end of small launch capable vehicles. Really, really cool rocket. We're going to be driving our... We just built a 4K production van out of an old 2011 microwave truck, that used to be an NBC Studios truck, and we decked it out with 4K streaming hardware. This is our first real run at streaming in 4K, which is honestly a lot harder than I had ever imagined. Way harder, way harder.
Mat Kaplan: But it is a beautiful... I'm speaking to someone who used to do a lot of remote stuff like this, even though I'm a radio and podcast guy, that is just a gorgeous job that you guys have done.
Tim Dodd: On the inside. On the inside, it's getting there, but the outside's still a little bit ugly. But I appreciate that because it's been four months, literally, four months now we've been almost nonstop working on it. Because we knew this is the start of a really big new era in space flight. This is the biggest rocket of my lifetime, most powerful rocket of my lifetime, I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to stream it and provide the best coverage I possibly could. So, every penny that I have right now, and all my blood, sweat, and tears since rollout is in that van.
Mat Kaplan: We tuned in. Impressive work, as always, and quite an operation. I took a couple of stills, in fact, when you and MaryLiz, my former colleague, MaryLiz Bender, were doing your anchoring jobs there, you have quite a team.
Tim Dodd: I'm really lucky. There's a lot of people. I'm trying to figure out how everyone gets involved and at what capacity and I'm taking everything I can get. We're lucky enough to have NASA allow us access to being able to accredit six people on our team, the Cosmic Perspective crew got three people accredited, so together we had nine people on set, which really makes this possible. I can't imagine if we had half that, I don't think we could have done it. It's a lot of moving parts.
Mat Kaplan: I am not a bit surprised that NASA made this opportunity available to you, they would've been pretty crazy not to. I think it's remarkable what you've been able to achieve. Now, most of that, I would say, is probably because of what you bring, the approach you bring to the kind of reporting that you do. Obviously, it's struck a chord, is that the right phrase? But I'm also curious about your thoughts about what this represents, the fact that an operation like yours could be so, I'll use the word again, remarkably popular online, the streaming that you do, all the videos. Does this say something about how people are able to appreciate what you and I love?
Tim Dodd: Well, thank you, first, for saying that, that's extremely, extremely kind. For me, when I got into this stuff, 2014 was my first time at the Press Site, watching CRS-3 was my first mission. Frankly, I expected more of a hoorah, I expected more of a social gathering, I expected more young enthusiasm, people excited about this new commercial program and the Falcon 9 and all the new things coming, and it wasn't here. I'm not saying at all that I ushered it in, but that was what I was longing for. That was at the top of my mind, is like, "I want to get people excited about this in the same way that people are excited about sports and about music and concerts and stuff." It seemed like space flight was a uniting opportunity that can be universally appreciated by anyone around the world. It just seemed like a no-brainer of let's make this as fun and accessible as possible and it just started there. For me, that's what I was craving, so I just tried to produce the best version of that as I could.
Mat Kaplan: I think you've been a very significant contributor to the progress that has been made. I think it's also, it can be seen in other people's work, even in NASA's coverage.
Tim Dodd: Geez, that's... Again, thank you.
Mat Kaplan: Just the facts.
Tim Dodd: I appreciate it. It all comes down to me as a non-technical, I don't have a degree, I'm not an engineer by trade or anything like that at all. For me, I'm just a curious individual that loves to just nerd out on stuff and try to answer people's questions. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I think people are more enthusiastic and I think they enjoy something when they have an education on it or can get their questions answered. So many times, we just get a similar set of questions, so it's always in the back of my head of what is the disconnect with people, what is the thing that they're trying to figure out in their head to make this more appreciable, to make it more fun by answering those questions? It's just a direct correlation between the knowledge base and the enthusiasm just goes straight through the roof. Just by giving people the opportunity to learn, it gives them an opportunity to be excited.
Mat Kaplan: You have found the right formula to make the connection. Have a good trip out to California and a great time at Vanderberg.
Tim Dodd: Thank you so much. We'll see how much packing we need to do here before this next attempt and what the situation is. But no matter what, it's going to be lots of no sleep, so just a lack of sleep, there we go, that's the words I'm looking for, and a lot of coffee.
Mat Kaplan: We're living on that right now. Thanks, Tim.
Tim Dodd: My pleasure. Thank you so much.
Mat Kaplan: And then it happened, scrubbed. We were in no rush to leave KSC, what with 100,000 space fans crowding the roads. Veteran astronaut Stan Love arrived at the Press Site and conducted an impromptu standup press briefing with those of us who crowded around him.
Stan Love: We have not yet got to the point where we can operate spacecraft with airline-like reliability. Even the airlines, which have flown millions and millions of times, sometimes you get there and they decide not to go. So, we're still in the infancy of space technology compared with aviation, where there's thousands of aircraft in the air all the time. We launch tens of rockets per year. So, some days, we can rely on it, but right now, this is a test flight, this is a test vehicle. Everything we're doing today was a test and we got to a point where we felt like we couldn't take the test any further without endangering the hardware.
Mat Kaplan: The next official mission briefing wouldn't happen for hours, so we all returned to our hotels. That's where I caught these opening remarks from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, who had flown on the Space Shuttle during his time as a Florida Senator.
Bill Nelson: I am very proud of this launch team. They have solved several problems along the way and they got to one that needed time to be solved. I am very grateful to you all for your patience. This is a brand new rocket, it's not going to fly until it's ready. There are millions of components of this rocket and its systems and needless to say, the complexity is daunting when you bring it all into the focus of a countdown. You all, no doubt, have been up for some period of time. Our remarks are going to be short and we will open it up for your questions. I want to say that the Vice President was here, she was pumped the entire time. She is very bullish on our space program and on this particular program of going back to the Moon and going to Mars. We had her meet with assembled guests, we had her meet with members of Congress that were here. She toured the ONC building and saw the Artemis hardware there for the future.
Bill Nelson: Overall, she had a very productive visit and I would expect that you will see her at a future launch. I want to say that understand that scrubs are just a part of this program. On the space flight that I participated in, Hoot Gibson, the commander, 36-and-a-half years ago, we scrubbed four times on the pad. It was the better part of a month. Looking back, had we, after the fifth try, got off to a perfect mission, it would have not been a good day had we launched on any one of those four scrubs. So, when you're dealing in a high-risk business, and space flight is risky, that's what you do, you buy down that risk, you make it as safe as possible and, of course, that is the whole reason for this test flight, to stress it and to test it, to make sure it's as safe as possible when Artemis 2, when we put humans in the spacecraft.
Mat Kaplan: We had planned to stay through what we thought would be the second launch attempt on Friday, September 2nd. I was disappointed to hear that it would be pushed the following day, Saturday the 3rd. My flight home was already reserved for that afternoon. I might have stuck around if it had been set to start a few hours earlier, but unable to add another day to my stay, I caught an early flight home. That's where I was when we watched the Saturday window open with renewed hope, only to see another scrub, this time caused by a serious liquid hydrogen leak. As I produced this week's show, it seems likely that the next attempt won't happen until at least late September and possibly well into October. No regrets, there is nothing like the community that comes together for a big rocket launch and I had a great time, but I dearly hope to be back on that hot, humid coastline when another Space Launch System carries astronauts to the Moon. Ad Artemis.
Mat Kaplan: Time for What's Up on Planetary Radio, this special Artemis 1 edition of Planetary Radio, so we welcome the Chief Scientist of The Planetary Society, Bruce Betts. Bruce, Ben Owens in Australia has this question for you. Hi Mat, have you interviewed Bruce's dogs about taking over the helm of Planetary Radio?
Bruce Betts: Well, was that a question for me or for you?
Mat Kaplan: I guess you're right, I guess it's a question for me. But I don't know, which of them do you think would be better qualified, or should they team up?
Bruce Betts: I think they'd be a good team, because Gracie's got the enthusiasm and goofiness and Max can hold the line, as long as you feed him beforehand, otherwise he's just going to go, " [inaudible 00:57:51]."
Mat Kaplan: So, I don't want to identify which of those is me and which is you.
Bruce Betts: Three planets visible all month, spread across the sky. We've got in the evening, east, the yellowish Saturn up to as soon as the sun sets, we've got Jupiter coming up just a wee bit later in the east, looking super quite bright, super quite bright. And then we've got, in the middle of the night, Mars coming up, and it keeps getting brighter and it's always reddish, so check them out. You can also check out the Summer Triangle, the Northern Hemisphere Summer Triangle, high overhead, three really bright stars, Vega, Altair, and Deneb. It's going to be low on the horizon for Southern Hemisphere viewers, but it's a bright thing that's up in, they call the Summer Triangle, but it's really kind of fall when it's overhead, like now, in the early evening.
Bruce Betts: And then we have the Moon getting ready to move through the planets in the sky, not literally through them, but near them. It's near Saturn on the night of the 8th, near Jupiter, there we go. It's moving that way, near Jupiter when it's full on the night of the 10th and then near Mars on the 16th. Let's move on. It's an interesting weekend space history. First of all, every year, I like to point out, for your sake, 1966, Star Trek premiered.
Mat Kaplan: Yes. Hallowed be its name.
Bruce Betts: Speaking of hallowed, I think, it's the 25th anniversary this week of humanity having working orbiters continuously around Mars, a bunch of them now, but it was 1997 when Mars Global Surveyor went into orbit.
Mat Kaplan: That is so impressive. Good on us, good on all of us who've achieved that.
Bruce Betts: Yeah.
Mat Kaplan: Listen, time for a random space fact. But as you know, because you were the one who brought it to me as an idea from one of our members, we had a gathering of members the night before the first attempt to launch the Space Launch System, the Artemis 1 mission, at a bar in Cocoa, Florida, and we can go there right now.
Bruce Betts: Phew, save my voice. It was a fun group that did an excellent random space fact introduction, so thanks to all who attended our fun gathering. We move on to the trivia contest. I said, "As scheduled on the first four SLS missions, how many of the main engines have flown already as part of a rocket launch, albeit prior to adaptations made for SLS?" How'd we do Mat?
Mat Kaplan: I didn't think this was that tricky, but we got a variety of answers. Across those four missions, 16 engines, since each one has four RS-25s.
Bruce Betts: Yes.
Mat Kaplan: But you wily Quizmaster, you, not all of those... They were all made for the Space Shuttle, but not all of them flew on Space Shuttle missions.
Bruce Betts: [inaudible 01:01:07]. That is a terrible Gollum.
Mat Kaplan: We got a lot of submissions that said it was all 16. We may have had a plurality that got the answer right, as did Gene Lewin in Washington, who submitted it as part of this poem. Experience on your CV can help you land that job and proving yourself all under fire may just get you the nod. Frugality, another plus, on Artemis, you'll hear them roar. Recycled from the STS, each core stage carries four. We're talking RS-25s, 14 in space once hover, though this time, they are single use and will not be recovered.
Bruce Betts: Nice, it comes complete with extra content.
Mat Kaplan: Hovered and recovered, nice. Good rhymes there. He's absolutely right, isn't he?
Bruce Betts: He is indeed. 16 Space Shuttle engines of the RS-25 that were adapted for this, but only 14 of the 16 flew, some of them multiple times. All of the ones on Artemis 1 have flown before.
Mat Kaplan: I don't think we've ever gotten a poem before from Roger Goen in New Hampshire. Here it is, with apologies to JRR Tolkien. Four for Artemis 1 lighting up the sky, five for the Congress and their halls of stone, three for the taxpayers asking why, two for NEO Surveyor cut to the bone. 14 flown engines doomed to die in the land of NASA where the rockets fly. One booster to bring them all, one booster to find them, one booster to fling them all, and in the darkness, blind them in the land of NASA where the rockets fly. Just spectacular, isn't it?
Bruce Betts: That's very nice.
Mat Kaplan: Those of you who have not read The Lord of the Rings or at least seen the movies, I don't know if it's in the movies, but that's the famous poem about the the rings of power, one ring to rule them all.
Bruce Betts: It permeates the movies.
Mat Kaplan: Yes, that's true. Chris Trunk, a first-time winner, longtime listener, I think, in Pennsylvania. Chris said, "14 of the 16 of those RS-25 core stage rocket boaters we were previously used." Congratulations, Chris, we're going to send you a copy of Totality!: An Eclipse Guide in Rhyme and Science by our good friend, Jeff Bennett, published by Big Kid Science. It's a very cool book and it's a wonderful tribute and a wonderful little educational tool if you want to know about total eclipses. We have another one coming up, it's just barely a year-and-a-half away, 2024, across North America.
Bruce Betts: Shall we go onto a new question?
Mat Kaplan: Yeah.
Bruce Betts: I think it won't be Trixie. Name a dog and a sheep flying on Artemis 1. You can't make up their names, you have to give me their names. No, there's not an actual dog or an actual sheep, it's representations. Go to planetary.org/radiocontest.
Mat Kaplan: I know the sheep, I hadn't heard about the dog. But you have until the 14th, that'd be September 14th, a Wednesday, at 8:00 AM Pacific Time. Why? Because that's where Bruce and I live. Guess what you're going to get, folks. We have a wonderful, I think, Artemis 1 prize package.
Bruce Betts: Ooh.
Mat Kaplan: There is a squeeze toy, it's a rubber Orion capsule.
Bruce Betts: Very nice.
Mat Kaplan: Provided by Lockheed Martin, they were handing those out. Here is, this is really cool, this actually was provided by our colleague, Sarah. It is a really nice Artemis pin, not just a regular Artemis pin, but a really nice, pearl white one. Here is the lanyard that held my press pass that I wore at the Kennedy Space Center. Yes, it was actually in contact with my body.
Bruce Betts: You should sign it, too. Although you already sweat in it, so I guess that's okay.
Mat Kaplan: That's what you do in central Florida. Look at that. I'm going to put it on for just a moment, it is an Artemis baseball cap.
Bruce Betts: It is touched his head, ladies and gentlemen, I've seen it myself.
Mat Kaplan: But wait, there's more.
Bruce Betts: No way.
Mat Kaplan: If you heard the show, you heard me talk to the guy who's basically the principal scientist for that radiation vest that is being tested on a mannequin, a phantom as they called it. That is the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment and he gave me this patch, so we're going to throw that patch in.
Bruce Betts: Oh, I thought we were giving away the vest. So, we're not giving away the radiation vest?
Mat Kaplan: No, no, I'm afraid not. I have something for you, too.
Bruce Betts: What? That's awesome.
Mat Kaplan: It's from Northrop Grumman. It's these stickers. I don't know if you can read it, I'll hold it up. It's the SLS.
Bruce Betts: Ooh, fun stickers.
Mat Kaplan: It's the SLS with a big smile on his face, looking toward the two solid rocket boosters, built by Northrop Grumman, of course, saying, "Can you give me a boost?"
Bruce Betts: I get it.
Mat Kaplan: It's cute. Although, I have to say, it reminds me a little bit of something that might be an ad for a certain well known type of contraceptive, but-
Bruce Betts: Thanks for thinking of me.
Mat Kaplan: ... burn that image in your head. I will say no more, except to thank you for what you gave me.
Bruce Betts: Yeah. That was a classy gift, man, although I love the stickers. But why don't you tell people what I gave you, Mat, and let me know if you and others tried them?
Mat Kaplan: Meteor Bites. First beagle on the Moon, 1969, it's because it has Snoopy on the cover. Meteor Bites are fruity cereal, white chocolate clusters, naturally and artificially flavored. Indeed, Bruce picked these up for me. Where did you get these, at the KSC?
Bruce Betts: Yep. Actually, at the visitor center. Oh, are you going to eat some while I'm watching?
Mat Kaplan: I ate one of these in my hotel in Florida. It looks like a rainbow meteor.
Bruce Betts: Yeah.
Mat Kaplan: They're really gross.
Bruce Betts: Yeah, I know, that's why I bought them for you. They have a nice description. He's eating it. Oh, thank you. I will eat some of the sticker that you gave.
Mat Kaplan: You can say good night, Bruce.
Bruce Betts: No, I'm enjoying watching this too much. You don't look sufficiently disgusted, maybe next time. All right, everybody. Go out there, look up at the night sky, and think about what Gandolph would yell to try to get Artemis 1 to launch. Thank you and goodnight.
Mat Kaplan: I will close with this. Pavel Kumesha in Belarus, a regular, after the episode last week I went outside, look up at the night sky, and wondered what Mat's Honda 175 would look like with one of the used RS-25 D engines installed on it.
Bruce Betts: I would love to see that, it's a nice vision.
Mat Kaplan: I wonder if I still have that arc welder in the car. Anyway, he's Bruce Betts, the Chief Scientist of The Planetary Society, who joins us every week here for What's Up, and sometimes at the Kennedy Space Center.Planetary Radio is produced by The Planetary Society in Pasadena, California, and is made possible by its Rocketeer members. Join us for the next launch at planetary.org/join. Mark Hilverda and Rae Paoletta are our associate producers, Josh Doyle composed our theme, which is arranged and performed by Pieter Schlosser. Ad astra.