Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pat Duggins, Sunday, 10-3-10

Pat Duggins Discusses "Trailblazing Mars: NASA's Next Giant Step," Sunday, 10-3-10

Guest:  Pat Duggins.  Topics:  Mars, "Trailblazing Mars," space policy.  We welcomed Pat Duggins, the news director for Alabama Public Radio to the show to discuss his new book, "Trailblazing Mars: NASA's Next Giant Leap."  Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog,  His book is available at the One Giant Leap Foundation website and if you order it from OGLF, Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show.  Please use this UR::  We began our first segment by talking about the retirement of the shuttle per the FY11 budget, the addition of a third shuttle flight referred to as a suicide flight, heavy lift, and space policy.  Pat also spoke about the challenges in carrying out a humans to Mars mission, not just from the human factors and engineering perspectives, but with the will of the American people given the costs and risks involved in such a mission.  In response to listener questions, our guest talked about covering more than 100 shuttle missions and many of the spin-offs from NASA programs that are now commercially successful products.  I asked about nuclear propulsion for going to Mars and our guest had much to say about the probability of this.  Commercial space came up as he talked about his talks and associations with MSFC.  Other topics discussed during this segment included Space X, possible contamination of Mars from Earth, EELVs as commercial launchers, Constellation, and the GAP causing us to rely on Russian rockets.  A listener asked about the layoffs taking place at KSC, MSFC, and other NASA centers.  Pat had much to say about this, especially for Florida.  John in Atlanta called in to talk about space shuttle LEO access and missions based on Pat's comments about shuttle missions.  We started our second segment by asking Pat about the need to return to the Moon.  We then talked about the Viking experiments and new information that may end up validating the work by Dr. Gil Levin.  Pat was asked to compare robotic Martian missions to boots on the ground for Martian science.  Our guest had much to say about this so don't miss this discussion.  Later in the segment, we talked about other national space programs going to the Moon and Pat mentioned the problem of being able to collect Apollo lunar artifacts, returning them to their own country.  Bigelow Aerospace and private astronauts were discussed in the context of the NASA oversight discussion that was an overriding theme of this show, especially with NASA oversight on human rating commercial launchers.  All of these topics and more are included in Pat's book which is an excellent read for valuable space history plus a look at what may be our space future.  You can reach Pat Duggins through, his Facebook page, or through  Post show comments and questions at the blog URL above.


  1. Dear Mr. Pat Duggins,

    You commented about the risk of nuclear power plants crashing no Earth. Note the Apollo 13 LEM carried such a nuclear power plant that did nothing when it crashed into Earth. As one would expect, it did nothing.

    As to the Russian’s still using their ‘60’s Soyuz. It’s not a good idea to keep half century old designs, that were built as quick and dirty solutions. And its safety record isn’t as good as shuttles.

    Course on the flipside –For all new-spaces boasts about how of course they will build safe tested space craft, SpaceX clearly didn’t. As the failures of their initial ships showed. (Didn’t check engines they expected to refly after dropping into the ocean, as to their corrosion resistance to sea air?)

    Sadly with the loss of the shuttle, we’ve given up on doing anything serious in space. HLV’s can do flags and footprint missions to the moon, but real use of space, development, launching big missions like Mars etc – those options are really closed without a serious space truck.

    Also, Biggelow is adamant that he is NOT building a space hotel. He’s building space platforms for sale or lease. He doesn’t mind folks building a hotel with his platforms, but he feels just listing him as that cheapens the scope of what hes trying to do.

    Kelly Starks

  2. This was a very insteresting show. I will buying his book soon. It should be good reading.Mars seems so far away at the present time. I was really hoping to be very far ahead of what we are now. Would be interesting to find out someday if Viking really found signs of life on Mars.