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Brent Sherwood, Tuesday, 7-24-12

25 Jul 2012, 15:22 UTC
Brent Sherwood, Tuesday, 7-24-12
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Guest: Brent Sherwood. Topics: Human spaceflight to Mars: Is it on the path or a distraction? You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Brent Sherwood back to the show to discuss his GLEX paper and ideas regarding human spaceflight (HSF), Mars, and alternative NASA goals/missions regarding HSF. His GLEX paper, "Mars-On the Path or in the Way" is posted on The Space Show blog following this program summary. Please read & review his paper as it contains far more detail regarding his proposal, analysis and his conclusion than what we were able to discuss during our program. In our first segment, Mr. Sherwood provided us with the background and context for his having written this paper and for his conclusion that HSF to Mars is not the right path. He then outlined alternative paths for HSF missions that he believes can better "regain the cultural centrality of human space flight and grow by attracting private capital." Our guest talked about the value proposition of a HSF mission to Mars, plus the value proposition of the alternatives he describes in his paper & on this program. The value proposition is understood to refer to the value received by sending humans to Mars (or the alternative HSF missions) as compared to the value of the mission costs, the opportunity costs, risks, etc. Mr. Sherwood assesses the value proposition for all of his alternative HSF proposals which include the Explore Mars mission, lunar settlement, space passenger travel, and SSP. For most of this initial segment, Brent outlined his ideas and explained why he has concluded that HSF to Mars does not measure up as a value promise & why SSP is his first choice. We began taking listener email questions and phone calls after he summarized his position & as you can imagine, most all the listener questions/comments were of the challenging nature to his conclusion that HSF to Mars was not in the best interest of our space program. I urge you read his paper and to pay attention to the technical, cost, time line, and historical information shared with us by our guest. In the second segment of this nearly two hour program, Brent took questions and expanded more as to why he supports other options than HSF to Mars. He also explained why he is calling for a debate on this issue within the space community. At the start of this segment, I asked him if he thought discovering life on Mars would change his opinion and the value proposition. He said no but did say it would expedite the Martian sample return mission, but would not alter the variables & unknowns involved in the magnitude of technology challenges needing resolution before sending humans safely to and from Mars. Toward the end of our discussion, I asked how he might move forward to implement the industry debate he has called for on this show & in his paper. Suggestions on how to do this are wanted so if you have any, post them on the blog. Brent would like your feedback so after listening to this program and reading his paper, please post comments/questions on the blog. You can email Brent Sherwood by sending your note to me & I will forward it to him.

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