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Houston, We Have a Podcast. Episode 51: Airspace

Gary Jordan (Host): Houston We Have a Podcast. Welcome to the official podcast of the NASA Johnson Space Center, Episode 51: Airspace. I’m Gary Jordan, and I’ll be your host today. On this podcast, we bring in the experts — NASA scientists, engineers, astronauts — many of whom work in human spaceflight. But there’s another part of the NASA story that’s often forgotten, and yet it’s right in the name NASA itself, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. So today, we’re talking about that first part, aeronautics. With me today is Harry Roberts, Flight Operation Supervisor for the Aircraft Operations Division out at Ellington Field Airport. That’s kind of close to here at the Johnson Space Center. We talk about the operations out at Ellington Field and the aircraft itself that helped to make human spaceflight possible. So with no further delay, let’s go light speed and jump right ahead to our talk with Mr. Harry Roberts. Enjoy. Harry Roberts, who is the Flight Operation Supervisor for the Aircraft Operations Division out at Ellington Field Airport, who talks to us about aeronautics at NASA; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as, the operations out at Ellington Field and the aircraft itself that helped to make human spaceflight possible. Harry Roberts, who is the Flight Operation Supervisor for the Aircraft Operations Division out at Ellington Field Airport, talks to us about aeronautics at NASA; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as, the operations out at Ellington Field and the aircraft itself that helped to make human spaceflight possible. [ Music ] Host: All right, Harry. Thanks for taking the time to come on the podcast today. This is an interesting episode because it’s not something you would sort of think of, like, right off the bat. Like, you think NASA, you think space, but there’s a whole story about aircraft, right? It’s actually in the name — National Aeronautics and Space Administration. So I appreciate you coming on. Harry Roberts: Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Host: All right, so let’s first set the scene. We’re talking about the Ellington Field Airport. Usually, I mean, we talked to a lot of people here at the Johnson Space Center, but Ellington’s, like, part of Johnson, but it’s not a Johnson property. So what’s the story there with Ellington Field? Harry Roberts: Right, so Ellington Field is essentially an airfield where we’re allowed to do all of our aircraft operations. Host: Okay. Harry Roberts: And the aircraft operations would extend from the T-38, which is basically for the astronaut space flight readiness training program. We have our Gulfstream aircrafts, so a G-3 and a G-5, out there. Our WB-57. And then, also, when the Guppy comes into town, that’s where we’re going to store it. Host: So it’s kind of the house for– Harry Roberts: Yeah. Host: All of these [inaudible]. That’s where they’re, you have them there. That’s where they stay. That’s where they’re maintained. So it’s kind of like a base of operations. You need the space because you need runways and stuff. So who else do you share Ellington Field with? Is it just NASA, or do you, is it for other things? Harry Roberts: No. Actually, so it’s a joint reserve base. So you have Army National Guard out there. We have the Air Force National Guard, which operates a couple different aircraft to include the F-16’s and some UAVs. And then, we also have just a regular fixed-base operations center, which is for civilian aircrafts. So they have a general aviation flight school there also. Host: So military. You got NASA planes. You got civilian planes. So it’s not like your typical airport. Like, if you were going to take a flight, I don’ know, if you were to book a flight and take it on like a 7, I don’t know, 737, whatever, aircraft, this is totally different. This is just a smaller airport. What other kinds of cool aircraft do you see? I mean, I remember seeing helicopters there sometimes too. Harry Roberts: Yeah. So the Air National Guard will occasionally operate the– Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: Apache Longbow. And then, one of the other people I forgot to mention was the Coast Guard, so they’ll operate their helicopters that are there in support of different operations. Host: Nice, okay. So aircraft operations, the, where this sort of fits into the story of NASA — how does that work in relation to the Johnson Space Center? Harry Roberts: Right, so Aircraft Operations Division falls under the Flight Operations Directorate, and so we play our role in that we are there to support the astronauts in order to get them trained and ready for spaceflight readiness. Host: Trained how? What are you training them for? Harry Roberts: So all sorts of things. The great thing about the T-38 and the aircrafts that they primarily operate out of is that it facilitates them learning a bunch of different aspects, from crew coordination and communication inside and outside as well as, you know, just the ability the manipulate different things. One interesting fact right now: The astronaut or the astronaut candidates are actually there down in the maintenance area, and they’re actually turning wrenches and working on the aircrafts that they go out and fly. So it’s pretty neat, and they learn a lot in that aspect because not only do they fly the aircraft and learn about it from that aspect, but they also get to turn the wrenches because it’s, when you’re on the Space Station, you can’t exactly have a, you know, a callout and say, hey, can you guys come up here and fix this? They have to facilitate all that on their own too. Host: So it’s kind of immersing yourself in this world of — that’s 1 thing I always am just totally fascinated by with astronauts is you’re absolutely right. You’re not just spacewalking and flying around in space. No, you are there to do everything. You are the research, you’re the researcher. You’re the scientist. You’re the plumber. [laughs] You’re everything. You’ve maintained this spacecraft. I mean, you have plenty of support from the ground, but it’s ultimately going to be you, like you said, turning the wrench. Harry Roberts: Absolutely, yeah. So they get to learn all those things here on Earth, right, before they get to go practice it in space. And it provides another opportunity that is a little bit different than a simulator. A simulator, you kind of know that there’s not a whole lot of repercussions there to come out of it because it is a simulator. Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: But when you’re in a airplane and you’re operating it out there, it’s a fluid dynamic environment. Things are constantly changing, whether it’s the weather, or your fuel state, or, you know, the, in the engine and how it’s operating. You have to be able to adapt to those changes real time. And there’s no better platform to provide that than, a lot of times, actually being in an aircraft. Host: Is it the sense of kind of accountability maybe, that ultimately it’s your hands turning this aircraft, so you have to make sure you put the care into it because it’s going to be you flying it? Harry Roberts: Absolutely. Accountability, and I also think kind of like an appreciation, right. You know, you take a lot of people who aren’t used to that, and they’ve kind of spent a lot of time in the academic environment. And now, you get to put them in a different environment that they might not necessarily feel comfortable with. So they get to explore that before it’s game time, if you will — you know, being either on one of our vehicles or on the Space Station. Host: So let’s just dive right into the aircraft. We’re already hinting at one of them, the T-38, and this is the one that astronauts are, quote, unquote, “training” in and doing some of the maintenance, but then ultimately flying. So what is the T-38? What’s the history there? Harry Roberts: So the T-38 originated as a Air Force training aircraft, right. So in order to go onto any of the follow-on jet aircrafts, they had to start off there. And we adopted it in the early ’60’s and have been using it ever since. Host: [laughs] Okay, so it’s an older piece of equipment, then. Harry Roberts: It is, yeah. Some of the airframes that we have out there have been out there since the early capsule days. Host: You can actually, it’s kind of impressive, actually, that they’re still running. Props to the maintenance guys that actually keep the planes going, then. Harry Roberts: Absolutely. We have a fantastic maintenance department that’s been countless hours kind of out there turning the wrenches, keeping the aircraft well maintained and ready to go for everyday flight requirements that we have. Host: So why was the T-38 the plane that was selected in the ’60’s? What’s good about that, this particular plane you can train on? Harry Roberts: It’s provided a lot of different things, one of which is redundancy, right. You have 2 engines, which is, if you talk to a lot of fighter aircraft pilots, they’re going to tell you, you know, 2 is always better than 1, but it also provides you a very simple platform on which to operate from because, as you get into other more complex systems like the F-16 or the F-18, it can get very difficult when you’re talking about even a simple system like the hydraulic system or the environmental control system. It gets really complicated. But here in the T-38, it’s actually pretty simplistic. So it makes it, 1, easier to maintain, and then, 2, easy for the astronauts to kind of come in to learn and then go out and operate almost immediately. Host: So are the, are all astronauts flying these jets, or is it mainly the pilots that are really grabbing the stick? Or, I guess, I don’t know. Harry Roberts: So right now, it is the pilots that are primarily responsible for safety of flight and aircraft control, but we do offer the RCQs, so the rear cockpit qualified individuals. So they’re going to have the opportunity to kind of learn the aircraft. There’s a stick in the back also, so if they had the opportunity, they could absolutely fly the aircraft from the back. So it’s, I’m more than positive it’s been done before. Host: So I’m trying to imagine the shape of this plane. I’m imagining sort of a tiny jet, right. It’s a fairly small aircraft, right, compared to other jets that you would probably fly. And so the benefit of that is, what kind of environment is good for an astronaut to really immerse themself in for the T-38? Is it altitude, speed, acceleration? Harry Roberts: It’s kind of all of those things– Host: Okay. Harry Roberts: Because it provides that environment that is a little bit different, right. You’re taking, again, people who might not be used to this, and you’re putting the helmet on them. You’re putting a mask on them. So it’s a little bit restrictive. So then, they start to get used to those kinds of things. The speed at which it travels and, you know, manipulates. And then, additionally, you also have your gravitational forces that can be put upon the astronauts while they’re operating inside the aircraft. And so that’s something that can help them kind of get used to the environment that they’re about to go into, right. The, I think it was one of the astronauts that I’d talked about in the past, how her experiences in the plane, and how she’d been exposed to those things, and how to operate in a very dynamic situation in which the aircraft was maneuvering, it helped facilitate her being able to perform well while she was, you know, on the shuttle as well as when they were going up into the Space Station, so. Host: Oh, so you sort of, I guess training your body to realize what’s to come for a spaceflight. Oh, man. You know, I’m going to feel g-forces this way, and that’s how it feels being really high, and I got to make sure I breathe this way. So you’re sort of conditioning your body to really get ready for that next step, which is going to space. Harry Roberts: Right, conditioning your body as well as probably training your mind to start thinking outside the box and develop those problem-solving skills that you might not necessarily be adapt to utilizing. And, you know, really think ahead of what it is that you’re about to do. So when the astronauts are on an EVA, for example, thinking about how much fuel that they have in the aircraft to kind of translate to how much oxygen they have in their suit while they’re on that EVA. They have to manage that. They also have to think about, okay, this is how much I have left. This is when I need to start thinking about, you know, coming back inside and what I need to start doing to facilitate all those different things. Host: So what’s like a typical flight? If you were to hop into the back of a T-38 and say, okay, now’s your training? So where are you going? What are you doing? For how long? Harry Roberts: So we have various different phases that we put them through. Initially, when they come through, they get, essentially, it’s called contacts. It’s familiarization with the aircraft just to get the basic feel for it. And after that, they go to a navigation phase, which is going to be instruments. They learn how to navigate on the airways because it doesn’t operate the same as an interstate system down here on Earth. And then, after that, they move into an air navigation phase, which is where they’ll go to several different facilities or bases, fly out of there, and then come back. And then, finally, they do a formation phase. So they’ll actually fly in close proximity to another aircraft. Host: Oh, okay. So there’s several phases in a single flight, or is it like a step-by-step, like– Harry Roberts: Step by step, usually. Host: Okay. Harry Roberts: So we work them up to those various phases, but– Host: I see. Harry Roberts: In any given flight, it could be different. It just depends on where that particular individual is. So if some of the astronauts here complete, then they might go and use a T-38, say, to go to talk to someone for SpaceX, or that’s what the commercial crew’s doing, right. They’ll go talk to someone out there at SpaceX, or they’ll go use it to visit the facility at Kennedy and see what’s going on over there. It just kind of helps us, 1, get them going where they need to go, but then, at the same time, they get to train while they’re going up in that aircraft. Host: Oh, I see. Okay, so it’s kind of like, instead of, you know, booking like a commercial flight and just going to visit the center, now you can get some training on the way to your destination. Harry Roberts: Right. Host: Oh, okay. And they, and several destinations, I guess, right? So Kennedy was one of them. You can go out to, is it Hawthorne in California where you’re going to see SpaceX, or is it– Harry Roberts: Yeah. Host: Also in Kennedy? Harry Roberts: Well, so it just depends on where they’re at and what they’re trying to do, right. So for example, we have, we’re dropping off some of the components out to the Kennedy Space Station, or, sorry, the Kennedy Center. So that way, they can see what’s going on out there. Then, they’ll go out to Long Beach is actually where they land to go visit SpaceX out in California and stuff like that. Host: Yeah, I was just there a couple weeks ago, so I’m trying to familiarize myself with the area. Okay, so Long Beach Airport. That makes sense. So I guess astronauts are — are they the primary users of the T-38, or are there other pilots that are using them? Harry Roberts: Those are the primary users for the T-38. We have instructor pilots that teach, but, primarily, it’s going to be the astronauts who are utilizing the aircraft the most. Host: Okay. Do you really take them through the wringer at any given point? Because you said there was an element of problem-solving that goes into whenever you’re an astronaut on these planes. Maybe, do you take them through a run where something’s going wrong and you have to have some kind of snap judgment to say, this is the right call? Or any kind of, I don’t know, contingency situations, something like that? Harry Roberts: Sure, so we have simulators. Host: Oh, okay. Harry Roberts: And then, what we’ll utilize that simulator for is emergency procedures. So it gets them familiarized with a checklist, as well as how to operate it, and then start making those judgments and decisions on the ground. And we can kind of amp up the scenario. It’s fully graphics as far as being able to see outside the cockpit and stuff like that. So it provides that realism that is kind of often absent in some of the simulations, but, at the same time, it allows us to kind of utilize it as a teaching environment as opposed to, this is going to be a catastrophic event if you don’t absolutely get this right right now. Host: Yeah. Are the simulators out at Ellington Field too, then? Harry Roberts: They’re actually here on site. Host: Oh, really? Oh, I want to — where are they? I want to check them out. [laughter] I’d like to take a ride for them. I mean, not in sort of any kind of problem. I would probably freak out. But just to see what it’s like to fly inside. It’s always so cool going out to Ellington Field because you just hear the jets going by all the time, and it’s really, it’s kind of a cool environment. Harry Roberts: Absolutely, yeah. It’s my favorite part of coming in to work every day. Host: [laughs] Yeah. Hearing jets, and helicopters, and all kinds of cool aircraft going by. You know, I’m kind of blown away by the fact that these planes are from the ’60’s. I’m sure there’s been some upgrades over the past that really help you to maintain them, right? Harry Roberts: Sure. So the T-38’s start out, obviously, they have a series, and so the A model was the very first one, and we’ve upgraded since then. We’re actually the T-38 November, so N. We’ve done significant upgrades to the avionics with inside the aircraft. For the most part, a lot of it has remained the same. There were some modifications that were done to the air inlets. So we actually changed the way they were designed, and the Air Force actually adopted them because they still fly the T-38 for their jet training. And then, we made some other modifications along the way. As far as different systems, they obviously get upgraded, and we had to change with the times. We’re still making more upgrades as far as different systems would have to operate with the FAA and stuff like that. Host: Really getting your use out of it, though, if it’s a 1960’s plane. That’s not bad. Harry Roberts: Absolutely. Host: So if you’re an astronaut training for the T-38, you’re learning these new upgrades. How often are you coming back to sort of just maintain your familiarization with the aircraft? Harry Roberts: So each of the astronauts, whether they’re the pilots or they’re sitting in the back, have a quarterly requirement that they’re required to maintain a certain number of hours each quarter. Host: I see. Harry Roberts: So they have to get those quarterly requirements and then also maintain a certain number of landings if you’re actually the pilot. So they come back pretty often. Host: Yeah. [laughs] I wish I had a quarterly requirement to fly a plane. I would love flying so much, but, I don’t know. I guess if you’re answering media calls, it’s not exactly the same as flying in space. Harry Roberts: Correct. Host: All right, so the T-38 is one of them that you — actually, you have a couple of them, right? How many T-38’s do you have? Harry Roberts: We have several. So it just– Host: Oh, okay. Harry Roberts: However many are operational that day, it kind of depends due to the maintenance cycle, but we have quite a few T-38’s out there. It’s pretty impressive. Host: Yeah. And you have to maintain all of them. How about that? So you have this section of Ellington Airport that’s dedicated to NASA. You got, you know, you’re sharing the space, and you got the T-38’s over here. Another aircraft you have are, is it 2 Gulfstream aircraft, right? Two– Harry Roberts: Correct, yeah. Host: Gulfstream planes? Harry Roberts: Yeah, the G-5 and the G-3. Host: Awesome, okay. So what are they used for? Harry Roberts: So each of those are used for primarily science missions. The G-5 we recently acquired, and we were using that almost exclusively for the direct return mission. So each time the astronauts come back from the Station and they land in Kazakhstan, we actually go there, pick them up in the G-5, and, that way, we can return them within 24 hours. So that way, all the data collection can be quickly acquired as opposed to having them come, you know, say, via commercial or something like that. Plus, it just facilitates them being able to have an environment that’s a little bit more comfortable for them on their return home because, as you know, it can be a pretty arduous adventure out there for 6 months to a year on the station and then coming back. Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: And then, the G-3, we also use that in place of the G-5 to do the direct return mission, but we also have different missions that we do. They actually just got back from it’s called OMG, so Oceans Melting Greenland. And they go out to the polar ice caps, and they do some kind of mapping with a, essentially, they have a pod that goes and, around. They have specific lines that they go back and forth over Greenland, and they map the differential between what the ice is now and what it’s been in the past. I think it’s been going on for about 2 years now, so it’s pretty interesting. Host: Wow. I guess how often are they doing that, flying out to Greenland? Harry Roberts: So they do that particular mission at least once a year. It’s typically, we actually just got back, so it’s late February, early March, and then, after that, occasionally, it happens in the fall. But primarily, we’ve been supporting the one in the springtime. Host: Have you gone on any of those flights and seen– Harry Roberts: I haven’t myself, no. Host: Ah, that would be cool. Harry Roberts: Yeah. Host: So I know Gulfstreams are, it’s actually a — Gulfstream is a company. Gulfstream Aerospace, right? And they build private jets. Harry Roberts: Right. Host: So this, it sounds like this is not your typical private jet if it’s being used for science and direct return missions. So if I’m imagining a G-5, I imagine a sort of, like, lounge area, right, [laughs] with a bar. This is not that, right? So what’s the, what’s inside the G-5? Harry Roberts: Yeah, it’s not so much Mad Men 1965 [laughs] aircraft, but, so on the direct return mission, we’ll actually modify each of the aircraft to kind of adapt to whatever mission it’s going to support. So for the direct return mission, we can actually, when we had 2 astronauts coming back, we had 2 beds in there. So that way, they can lay down on the beds. Host: Oh, yeah. Harry Roberts: There’s different medical things in there, so that way, they can be attended to while they’re actually coming back if they have any kind of issues. Obviously, it has a laboratory on board and then some other things so that way they can have kind of, like, a kitchen, a galley, essentially. And then, if we’re doing a science mission, we’ll alter that, and then we’ll take out those beds or we’ll take out some of the chairs, and we’ll roll on pallets of just basically computer equipment and say, okay, here we’ll affix it to the floor inside the aircraft, and then the scientists essentially are sitting in a very comfortable chair while they operate their computer system that’s sitting right in front of them to do whatever it is that they’re, whatever data collection they’re trying to achieve. Host: So it’s kind of, it’s not really customized on the inside at all. You’re really just using the plane because I guess it’s fast and it’s, you can, easily modified, so you can switch it to whatever you want. And especially, you said the, for the direct return missions, now you have this plane that’s dedicated to, from a scientific perspective, getting these astronauts back to do medical testing, to make sure they have enough rest. That makes a lot of sense. Harry Roberts: Yeah. Well, we do some other modifications. So the G-3 has a tube essentially on the back of it to drop sonobuoys out of it. So they would drop the sonobuoys on some of the Greenland missions to measure the water temperature and see, okay, how much is the temperature of the northern oceans actually rising? And then, identify that information. Additionally, we’re going to put nadir windows inside the G-5. And so those windows will provide the scientists utilize optical measuring instruments, so that way, they can gather some other data for whatever missions that they might be doing. Host: Nadir windows. That’s a very nautical way of saying like a window on the ground, a window on the floor, right. [laughs] Harry Roberts: Yeah, absolutely. Host: And the, I guess you can actually drop, you can drop stuff into the ocean too. Okay, that’s cool. Do you need a public affairs officer for a science mission or a G-5 mission? Harry Roberts: I actually just saw a story last night on the news, and they were talking about one of the other research centers that sent out their aircraft, a P-3– Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: To go to this exact mission, so maybe there’s a chance for you in the future. Host: [laughs] All right. Just keep me in mind. [laughs] So science. You got the direct return missions. Now, you’re maintaining this aircraft too, right? So what are you doing to maintain and to sort of make sure it’s going to be, it’s going to work when you need it to work? Harry Roberts: Right. So there’s different phases of inspection that it has to go through based on how many flight hours it’s actually done and completed. So based on those different kind of requirements, we’ll go ahead and initiate whatever maintenance requirements that we have to do. It’s really nice that we’re able to do a lot of that stuff in house, and we’ve kind of coordinated with manufacturers of the engine as well as, you know, just different components [inaudible] the aircraft. Inside of AOD, there’s actually a lot of different people. So there’s the maintenance team, the operations team, the engineering team. And so to get things changed, we really just have to kind of go down the hall and say, hey, this is something that we’d like to adjust or change inside the aircraft. Is that a possibility? And then, the team of engineers goes to work, and then start to figure it out. You know, hey, is this going to fit inside the aircraft? Are the engines capable of supporting this as far as electronic loads? Just different things like that. So it’s actually really interesting to see how this all works and kind of comes together, and it’s all organic in house as opposed to a lot of different corporations that would have to kind of outsource this to whoever actually manufactured those particular components. Host: Yeah. And you can justify it by saying that this is something that you’re doing pretty often, right? So you got a couple flights per year for, that you got to go over to Kazakhstan. And for a crew return, you got [inaudible] science missions that you’re doing too. So there’s a use case for it. So those are 2 aircraft, T-38. I’m just going to go through the aircraft. I’m just going to– Harry Roberts: Sure. Host: So we got the Gulfstream and, or 2 Gulfstreams and the T-38’s. One that is always so cool to talk about is WB-57. And that one’s the high-altitude plane. Very unique looking. It’s got super big wings, and it’s known because it can fly super high, right. Is it technically in space when it’s flying? I don’t know what, where’s the threshold for space is? Is it 60,000? I don’t know. Harry Roberts: Yeah. I think it’s just underneath, but they do wear pressure suits because of the altitude at which they’re operating at. And if you had a loss of cabin pressure and you’re flying at that altitude, the air is just so thin, the usual time of consciousness is microseconds, probably, at that point. Host: Oh, wow. Harry Roberts: So you would need to be inside that pressure suit in order to function at that altitude. Yeah, no, that is probably one of the more interesting planes. The giant wings on it were not the original ones. They were actually a little bit different as far as shape, but they started to notice the amount of structural damage that was occurring in aircraft that all just probably [inaudible]. The engineers who built that probably did not anticipate it still flying well into the [laughs] 2010’s into the 2020’s. So– Host: So it’s another old aircraft, then? Harry Roberts: Absolutely, yeah. That, one of the aircraft, NASA 927, is actually, was in the boneyard, in Davis-Monthan, for 41 years before we brought it back to life after 2 years, and it is now one of the, one of our aircraft that is actually flying. So after, it’s one of the longest stints inside the boneyard and to be brought back. Host: The WB-57? Harry Roberts: That particular one, NASA 927, yes. Host: Okay, that particular — oh, because there’s only a few of them, right? Harry Roberts: Right. We only have 3. Host: Okay. Are they the only 3 in the world, or– Harry Roberts: They are the only 3 that are continuing to operate at this time for high-altitude research. Host: Wow. So 41 years in the boneyard. Does that mean it’s just sitting somewhere completely unattended for 41 years? Harry Roberts: Yeah, they do some kind of essentially setting up so that way it can kind of go into this long-term storage, but they’re, they probably don’t anticipate that it’s ever really going to get brought back. Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: And if they do, it’s in a much lesser capacity than what this one is actually operating at. It’s definitely getting its work done. Host: Yeah, for sure. So you got new wings on it, like you said, but it’s doing high-altitude flights. Is that the main purpose of it? Is it science? Is it training? Harry Roberts: So there’s a lot of science. So they kind of, I think, originally, back in the early days of the WB, they were doing some research to identify whether or not this, the radiation levels up at that altitude, what they were like, and kind of, how do we get that information? How do we collect this data, right? And so you can actually go to the source, 60,000 feet, 65,000, and collect that information. Some of the cooler things that it’s done is, during the solar eclipse, we had 2 of them that tracked right underneath the actual path of totality, and it was– Host: Oh, that’s awesome. Harry Roberts: To give the scientists back on Earth a little bit longer view, right, because in whatever particular spot you were on within that path, you had a very short window that you were actually able to observe the solar eclipse. But here– Host: Right, in the totality, it was like 2 minutes, right? Harry Roberts: Right. Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: Yeah. But here we were able to track it, and we had 1 aircraft essentially separated by a couple miles on side that, on that path, and as it traveled along that path, we’re able to kind of monitor and capture all the data, so it was pretty interesting. Host: So how long were you able to extend your total amount of time in– Harry Roberts: I think it was– Host: Totality? Harry Roberts: About 8 minutes, which is– Host: Eight minutes? Harry Roberts: Pretty good, yeah. Host: Yeah, quadruple. Harry Roberts: Yeah, and some of the other things. So after the shuttle accident with the Columbia, they were able to identify, hey, this was something that happened when the space shuttle was already on its way up during the ascent. So we couldn’t actually see what fell off the space shuttle, and we couldn’t see how it impacted. So what they came up with is they’re like, hey, we’re going to put some cameras on this aircraft, and we can fly it at such an altitude that we can actually observe the space shuttle as it goes through its ascent, and then gather that information, see if there’s anything going on that we might not be able to identify initially. So we’d have that information right after launch as opposed to having to wait until, you know, during reentry. Host: So after return to flight after Columbia, you were flying WB-57’s out at launch at Kennedy. Harry Roberts: Correct. Host: Oh, okay. And observing, oh, I guess you had a lot of time, right, because you were flying high-altitude planes, so you had some, you had a good view for quite some time until it passed 60,000, I guess. Harry Roberts: Yeah. Host: Or maybe even beyond that? Could it tilt up? I don’t know where the camera was. Harry Roberts: Well, it can tilt up, but I’m, you’re still not going to be able to look down at it once it passes you, but you can– Host: Oh, yeah. Harry Roberts: Still see it’s going to give you a much better view than, you know, because at that point, the atmosphere is so thin, so it gives you a much better, unobstructed view of kind of the space [inaudible] that point. Host: So it was pretty operational for a while after return to flight. It was used for shuttle missions, and you got some cool science opportunities there that you can do. What else can the, is the WB-57 used for? Is it a trainer aircraft at all where astronauts are getting suited up inside? Harry Roberts: So some of the astronauts have gotten suited up in it, and that’s– Host: Oh. Harry Roberts: Just to kind of, you know, see what the pressure suit environment is going to be like and see all that stuff as opposed to, again, it just gives you a different simulation, right. They can go to the NBL, but it’s going to be a little bit different to put on that suit and be in a situation like that. So some of the astronauts have gotten in it and had the opportunity to kind of go and fly, so it’s been pretty cool for them. Host: Wow, yeah. What are the, have you ridden in it? Harry Roberts: No. Host: Oh, man. [laughs] You should. You’re– Harry Roberts: Yeah. Host: Leading the charge. You go, oh, hey, I got to do this for research purposes, right? Harry Roberts: Absolutely, yeah. Research purposes. Host: Well, what do the astronauts say about it? What do they take away from it? Harry Roberts: It’s just a unique opportunity and experience to kind of get that feeling ahead of time, right. There’s always that opportunity where you’re going to sit in the seat, and there’s no time like game time, essentially. But this provides you the opportunity to kind of do it before you get there. So it provides them a little bit of a foundation to kind of build off of. Host: I see, okay. I’ve seen some suit-up activities. It’s pretty cool what the pilots have to do to actually get prepared to go in a WB-57. They actually sit down, and you have some, I don’t know, technicians or some experts who are there helping you to put the gloves on, and put the helmet on, and make sure everything is sealed, and then you get, like, this little, looks like a suitcase, I think, but it’s, is it your oxygen, or the pressure itself, or– Harry Roberts: Yeah, so it’s circulating the oxygen with– Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: Inside the suit. So the aviation life support system guys are there helping them get suited, put it all on, make sure that the system checks out. They actually do a pressure check. So they inflate the suit to make sure that there’s no leaks. And then, they actually take all the air out. So that way, they can say, hey, are you still able to breathe off of the oxygen that’s being supplied to you at this point? And then, after they, they walk to the aircraft. That system that they’re carrying with them is actually kind of 2 piece in that it allows them to have circulation while they’re out there because, as you know, during the summertime here in Houston, it gets really warm. [laughs] So even though we’ll take them in a truck, and drive them to the aircraft, and get them inside as quickly as possible, it can still get pretty hot in that suit. So they definitely want to keep that as cool as possible. Host: Oh, I can imagine. I’ve actually seen them, in order to take a drink in the pressure suit, they, it’s different because it’s not like you can just pull back your mask and start sucking away at the drink bag. They actually have a straw that they put through the helmet, right. And it’s like that’s how they get it through their pressure suit. Harry Roberts: Yep. Host: Yeah, that’s interesting way to take a drink, but, yeah, I guess if you’re cool and you need some, or you’re hot and you need a way to cool off, that’s a good way to do it. Another aircraft that is particularly interesting is one called the Super Guppy. So what’s this one? Harry Roberts: So the Super Guppy is kind of an amalgamation of a bunch of different aircraft. So essentially, what they did is they had a problem, and we have to transport these various pieces of equipment, and it started back in the early capsule days. They’re like, how do we get this stuff from where it is now kind of all over the country back to, you know, either Kennedy, or Houston, or something like that to do the science and the research on it and also put it all together? And so they kind of came up with this aircraft, and it’s just various pieces of a bunch of different aircrafts that they assembled together, and they said, okay, this is, you know, what we’re going to go with. And now, you have the Super Guppy, and it’s [laughs] — this is the last of I think 4 Super Guppies that they built. So it is, again, another old aircraft, but it’s proven extremely useful, and it’s been huge. I mean, it’s already provided mission support for EM-1. Next week, it’s going to deliver some components for EM-2. So yeah. That’s one of the things I’ve had to learn here is the acronyms. So it moved the Multipurpose Crew Vehicle Stage Adapter last week for EM-1, and now it’s going to move the heat shield skin for EM-2 next week. Host: Okay, so the purpose of this aircraft — and you said it’s like a amalgamation I think was the word you used — of several different aircraft. And I’m imagining, if you were to imagine like the central tube of a — and I’m not good with aircraft terms, so just, you know, stay with me [laughs] — it’s the central tube of a aircraft, it’s like the front is just kind of blown up like a balloon almost, right. So it looks like a flying manatee. I don’t know. [laughs] Harry Roberts: Yeah. Host: I don’t know what’s a good comparison. Harry Roberts: That’s probably good, yeah, because it’s — the replacement aircraft for that is called the Super Beluga. Host: Super Beluga. [laughs] Harry Roberts: So I guess manatee would be pretty good. No, essentially– Host: Oh, a beluga whale. Harry Roberts: What they did is, so the fuselage– Host: Fuselage. There it is. Harry Roberts: Is, yeah, the fuselage is going to be the main tube portion, and then, essentially, what they did is the upper top portion of the fuselage, they kind of expanded it as well as elongated it. So that way, it would kind of fit whatever was going to be in there. I think it’s about 25 feet in diameter inside. We can actually fit all sorts of different things. So they do more than just move various components of, like, Orion around. They actually move around T-38’s that are broken and– Host: Whoa. Harry Roberts: If it’s broken beyond the point that it can actually fly, then we can actually load it up in the Super Guppy and then move it to wherever we’re going to do our long-term maintenance on it. It’s moved an MB-22 fuselage, which is the Marine Corps and Air Force’s Osprey aircraft, the tiltrotor aircraft. Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: So that fuselage, it’s moved that. So it’s done quite a few different things, but– Host: Osprey’s a cool aircraft, right. That’s the one that sort of takes off like a helicopter, and then propellers move from the top sort of forward– Harry Roberts: Right. Host: And you can turn it pretty much into a plane. It’s like a hybrid helicopter plane. It’s a pretty cool aircraft. So you pretty much, the benefit of the Super Guppy is it’s got such this weird shape that you can put stuff inside and transport it that wouldn’t fit inside of another aircraft. That’s the benefit of it. Harry Roberts: Right. It’s not going to fit inside of another aircraft or it would take too long or be too much of a pain or a hassle to kind of facilitate moving it on any kind of traditional rail or, you know, road, kind of logistical means. So– Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: Or it would just be too dangerous, or maybe they don’t want to move it because it’s too high value of an asset to have it be– Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: Out on the road, right. So they’ll go ahead and put it in the Super Guppy and then move it that way. Host: Yeah. If you’re taking about like a expensive space piece of equipment, one that’s certified for flight, you don’t want to start over from the beginning if it gets a couple scratches on the rail. You want to put it into this nice aircraft that’s going — you know that this thing is going to transport it efficiently and safely to its destination. That makes a lot of sense. Harry Roberts: Yep. Host: Yeah. Like you said, for high-value stuff. So I’m guessing — a lot of these aircraft that we’re talking about are relatively old, right? The T-38, the Super Guppy, the WB-57 — all these older aircraft that you constantly have to maintain. So how do you make sure that they are ready to fly? Harry Roberts: So again, you know, it’s just a brilliant maintenance team that does a lot of the heavy lifting on that aspect. So the Super Guppy resides out in El Paso typically when it’s not here in Houston or out supporting other missions. And out there, they’re doing the maintenance to kind of get it ready. And then, also, being out in El Paso, the dry desert climate kind of makes it a little bit easier on the aircraft. Older aircraft in particular like to, like that environment a lot better than they, the humidity of, say, Houston. Host: Yeah. So I’m imagining if you leave like a bicycle out here in Houston, you get like a matter of time before the chains rust. [laughs] So, okay, it’s the same thing with aircraft. So you got all these old aircraft. Are those, is that the primary aircraft that you have here, or is there more that maybe you’ve had and have since gone? I know one of them was actually the C-9 I think was one of them. Harry Roberts: Right, so the C-9, which was utilized for zero-gravity training. Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: And then, before that, we had a KC-135, and they utilized that to support the, they called that one the vomit comet, right, so that’s where that name came from. And that was just to do various parabolas out over the water, and they would simulate zero-g, they would simulate lunar gravity. So they could do different things and essentially allow the astronauts opportunity to kind of get some exposure to that kind of environment as opposed to having to wait until they got in space to actually experience it. So it’s pretty interesting. Host: Yeah, learned how to move around. I did have the pleasure of riding on — I don’t think it was the C-9 — but it was when the education office was doing microgravity flights for students. That was the program that they had a while back. I think it was called Reduced Gravity Program. I actually was an intern there and got to ride with my mentor, who was in charge of the program because I had been helping along with it. Unbelievable experience, and it is so weird to try to get used to it. But what’s interesting is, so the, it does this parabolic flight where it goes up, and it’s at like the peak of that parabola that you experience zero gravity. And then, when you go down, you experience 2 g’s. And it’s, you’re experiencing zero gravity for only like a couple seconds at a time. And we did I think 30, 32, I think it was 32 parabolas. I did not, it did not take long for me to sort of get adjusted. It’s incredible how quickly the body can adjust to a completely new environment, something that is never experienced before. Harry Roberts: Yeah. Host: Pretty cool stuff. Harry Roberts: Yeah, so when I used to fly just experiencing, you know, different kinds of g levels at whatever time in the aircraft, it was always pretty astounding to me and how my body quickly adapted. Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: And how there would be things that I’d be doing inside the aircraft that I was like, oh, wow, I can’t believe we were just, you know, at 5 g’s at that particular moment, and now my body was acting and reacting in a normal capacity as opposed to any other time, where you’re just walking around on Earth in a 1-g environment. So it was pretty interesting. Host: So are you a pilot too, or did you just ride on the aircraft when you were experiencing this? Harry Roberts: So I was a, before coming to NASA, I was actually in the military for 11 years. I served in the United States Marine Corps as a naval flight officer. Host: All right. Harry Roberts: And so I was on the EA-6B Prowler, and I got to do that for a couple years. And then, after that, I taught at flight school down in Navy Pensacola, so it’s been pretty interesting for me. Host: Okay, so you — what’s the Prowler? What’s that aircraft? Harry Roberts: The EA-6B Prowler is an electronic attack aircraft. Host: Okay. Harry Roberts: So its essential and primary mission was to deny and delay the enemy’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum. Host: What? [laughs] Harry Roberts: Yeah. Host: That’s straight-up sci-fi, man. Harry Roberts: After that, it gets pretty complicated, so. Host: [laughs] Okay. We’ll just stop there. Okay, pretty cool. So you experienced a lot of different forces on your body during some of those flights. Five g’s — that’s got to feel pretty intense. Harry Roberts: Yeah. So when you’re kind of experiencing it, you don’t really notice it. Host: Really? Harry Roberts: There’s this one time that we actually pulled more than 5 g’s, and I had no idea. The adrenaline was rushing so much at that point that I didn’t even really notice it. And then, there was another time that I remember I was kind of had my arms on the canopy rail, and I looked away for a second, and it was at that moment that the aircraft turned, we initiated a pretty strong pull, we pulled about 7 g’s, and I was like, okay, no big problem. And later that day, my wife was asking me, she was like, “Hey, where’s that bruise on your arm, where did that come from?” And I had to think about it for a second, and then I remembered where I had my arms, there was a little lever there, and so that level had actually put an indention into my arm and caused it to bruise after that 7 g’s, so. Host: Oh, wow, because it was 7 g’s of force being applied to your side right there. Harry Roberts: Yep. Host: And you didn’t even know it. Harry Roberts: I had no idea. Host: [laughs] How does it sort of feel like? How would you describe the feeling of extra g’s? For those who haven’t ridden on a plane. I’ve felt 2 g’s. I mean, you could probably compare it to like a roller coaster ride or something, but the feeling of having additional gravitational forces on your body. Harry Roberts: Probably say you don’t notice it too, too much because you’re typically sitting down, and you’re not going to notice it a whole lot until you try and maneuver or move some kind of appendage on your body. Then, that’s when you notice. You’re like, oh, wow, my head feels very, very heavy right now. [laughs] Or, why does it feel like my arm is lifting a 60-pound weight so I can press this button? It’s at that point that you actually start to recognize it, and you’re like, oh, wow, this is kind of painful. And then, before you know it, it’s over, usually, so. Host: I guess looking straight is probably a good method whenever you’re flying and experiencing these g’s. I imagine if you’re turning your head just left to right or up and down and trying to look over — I know, I mean, I, just doing like a roller coaster ride, one of the many reasons I probably couldn’t be an astronaut/pilot is I get terrible motion sickness. So even like turning over to the side would be, I guess with those gravitation forces, would sort of induce nausea to a point. Harry Roberts: It can, but, again, you know, you’re talking about how the body reacts and kind of adapts– Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: Pretty quickly. Once you get used to that environment, it becomes kind of second nature to you, and you get used to it pretty quickly. A lot of the training that we do is to kind of prepare your body for those kinds of things. So we incorporate that into the various training aspects. We do a centrifuge training, and they’re used to, one of the sets in there is you actually turn your head to the left, and you are anticipating there’s going to be some kind of gravitational force. And it goes basically from 0 to about 6 and a half, upwards of I want to say almost 9 g’s. And then, at that point, you’re supposed to be able to execute the Hick maneuver in order to maintain consciousness as well as keep the blood inside of your upper body as well as inside of your brain. And then, after that, you’re like, oh, okay. You start to learn how to deal with all these different things and how to kind of operate within that environment as opposed to, you know, just being, having it slammed into you immediately on day 1. So we kind of baby step people through those processes. Host: What’s that maneuver? You said the Hick maneuver? Is that what you said? Harry Roberts: Hick maneuver, yeah. So essentially, you’re squeezing all your lower extremities in order to keep the blood from just pooling in your feet. And then, you’re also kind of adjusting the way you breathe and essentially making a “hick” sound. And that’s closing off your throat and kind of the, all the main arteries that run up to your brain. So that way, you can squeeze that blood back into your brain. Host: Wow, you’re literally forcing, okay, you’re forcing the blood up. How do you squeeze your legs? Are you doing it with your hands, or are you just, like, flexing? Harry Roberts: You’re just flexing. So you’re taught to kind, like, squeeze from the bottom up. So you’ll squeeze your calf muscles and your thighs, your glutes, and then you’ll just try and keep all that as tense as possible. And then, while you’re doing that, you’re doing the Hick maneuver. So in addition to kind of keeping that blood flow up inside of your brain, you’re also keeping the air inside of your body because it’s a huge exertion on behalf of whatever that individual is to kind of do all these things. So you have to hold all that air because it’s real easy to kind of let it all out because we’re just used to breathing in a 1-g environment, right? And now, [inaudible]. So you kind of have to monitor that, maintain it. Otherwise, it can be lights out real quick. Host: I can see how you would probably want to practice that maneuver and get pretty good at because in the event that you would need to pull a serious amount of g’s — I know in the future, one of the things they’re looking at is, for example, talking about Orion, you already hinted at EM-1, EM-2, some of these Orion missions, for crew flights, they’re going to have an abort system on top. And you’re already on top of the largest rocket in the world, the Space Launch System. But then, if you want to escape the largest rocket in the world, you have to have a really, a lot of force in a very short amount of time that’s going to pull you away, and you’re going to experience some significant g’s there. So I can see how if you, in an abort scenario particularly, you would really want to master that technique. I know while you were describing what you had to do, I almost passed out. So the fact that I’m talking right now is pretty amazing. [laughter] So we got aircraft operations at Ellington Field, and while we’re on the top of just Ellington and Johnson Space Center, kind of to give the whole perspective of what’s going on here in Houston because I don’t think we’ve talked about it before on the podcast, I don’t think. Yeah, so we got the Johnson Space Center, which is next Clear Lake, right. Then, we got a little bit more northish is Ellington Field. But we also have something called the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, right? Harry Roberts: Right. Host: Which is pretty close to Ellington Field. Harry Roberts: Yeah. I’d probably say it’s kind of in between the both of us. So like from the flight line over to Ellington, you can kind of look over and see on site. It’d be a lot quicker if I could just walk across probably as opposed to driving over here. But, yeah, you can see the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, and then the rest of some of the buildings are kind of faint in the distance. But, yeah, you can definitely see it out there. Host: Yeah, and that’s, the, I guess you can call it the giant pool. Harry Roberts: Yes. Harry Roberts: And that’s where they simulate extravehicular activities, suiting up in a space suit, and going for a space walk. Full-scale markups in the pool. You can pretty much get a feeling. Just like you can get a feeling for g’s and get a feeling for this flight simulation sort of feeling within the T-38, you can get a feeling for what it’s going to be like to do a space walk in the pool. That’s probably one of the best simulators we have for what the actual thing is going to be like. And I think White Sands Test Facility is also part of the story, right? Host: Yeah, but I would have to kind of do a little bit more research to kind of get the information on that one. Harry Roberts: Me too. Yeah, we’ll have to bring someone on to talk about that, but that’s sort of the, I think that’s, that pretty much is Johnson Space Center. It’s mainly those facilities and probably a couple other things here and there. But everyone working together for human spaceflight, pretty much. So you said you had a military background. What other sort of, I guess most of the [laughs] flight instructors and folks out at Ellington are going to have some sort of military or pilot background, right? Host: Right. So as far as the research pilots, we typically recruit those individuals who have had a experience, 1, in a jet aircraft, and then, 2, as an instructor because it’s going to be their primary role and function. Every one of our research pilots goes on to eventually become some kind of other pilot in addition to that, whether it’s on the WB, or the Gulfstream, or the Super Guppy. Harry Roberts: Yeah. Host: But, yeah, we typically recruit military pilots to be the research pilots out of there, so it’s probably one of the few opportunities that you get to fly after the military in a jet aircraft and get to do a lot of the things that you did before, so. Harry Roberts: So is there elements of collaboration? Because we’re not the only NASA center that has aircrafts. Like, there’s actually I think Armstrong Spaceflight Center over at Edwards Air Face in, Edwards Air Base, there it is, in California. They have some aircrafts out there too. Is there elements of collaboration there? Host: Yeah, so, actually, the Glenn Research Center, they just came down with a T-34, which is a turboprop aircraft, and were able to get some of the astronauts in there, and simulate some spin training, and then get them the opportunity to kind of sit in the front seat and experience what it’s like to fly from the front because it’s a little bit easier to maneuver and fly in that particular aircraft. And then, we also have, we’re going to interact with Armstrong. We’re going to help support them. They’re going to bring down some Hornets to do the quiet sonic boom technology. They’re going to be part of that development, so we’re going to be helping them and supporting in that role. Host: Quiet sonic boom, that’s pretty cool. Harry Roberts: It’s, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you say it out loud, but then– Host: [laughs] Quiet sonic thump, maybe? Harry Roberts: Yeah, so that’s the idea is– Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: Turning a sonic boom into a sonic thump, right. Host: Yeah. Harry Roberts: And then, 1, facilitate travel kind of across the United States commercially with that technology, but also, as far as spaceflight, right. If you got to see the audio from SpaceX when they landed those 2 rockets simultaneously– Host: Oh, yeah. Harry Roberts: There was actually a pretty loud sonic boom whenever they came back. You could hear it in one of the videos that I saw. So, you know, developing all that stuff, it’s going to be key for future exploration in flight like that, especially since you’re going to bring it back to the United States. Host: That’s right. Yeah, that’d be cool if supersonic flight can be just a little bit quieter. I mean, I would love to go to Europe in, like, 2 hours. That would be pretty cool. [laughs] Harry Roberts: Yeah, I’m sure everybody would love that. Host: Yeah. [laughs] That’d be pretty great. All right, well, Harry, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sort of telling the story of this aeronautics element to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Appreciate you coming on. Harry Roberts: Thanks for having me. [ Music ] Host: Hey, thanks for sticking around. So today we talked about aircraft operations and the Ellington Field part. That is the whole story of the NASA Johnson Space Center. I don’t think we’ve addressed this on a previous episode, but we just sort of label it as an episode because it kind of helps us keep track of how many we’ve done so we can brag about it later. But really, you don’t really have to listen to them in order. So there’s a lot of other topics that you can cover on Houston We Have a Podcast. We talk to a lot of different people — astronauts, scientists, engineers, flight directors, flight controllers, pilots — all these different, cool people with honestly amazingly stories, amazing stories. So you can go back and listen to any episode in any order. Otherwise, there’s plenty of other NASA podcasts you can listen to. We got Gravity Assist out at headquarters hosted by Dr. Jim Green that’s about planetary science and our friends over at Ames Research Center for the NASA in Silicon Valley Podcast. They talk about the some of the research that goes aboard the International Space Station. On social media, you can follow the NASA Johnson Space Center accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can use the hashtag #asknasa on one of those platforms to submit an idea or maybe a question for the podcast, and maybe we’ll turn it into an entire episode or maybe even answer it in the beginning for a future episode. So this podcast was recorded on April 10th, 2018 thanks to Alex Perryman, Kelly Humphries, Lori Wheaton, Pat Ryan, Bill Stafford, and Brandi Dean. And thanks again to Mr. Harry Roberts for coming on the show. We’ll be back next week.

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Ep8_Exploring the Cosmos with Styx

>> HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PODCAST! WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL PODCAST OF THE NASA JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, EPISODE 8, “EXPLORING THE COSMOS.” I’M GARY JORDAN AND I’LL BE YOUR HOST TODAY. SO THIS IS THE PODCAST WHERE WE BRING IN NASA EXPERTS, AND IN THE CASE OF TODAY’S EPISODE, SOME SUPER COOL SPACE FANATICS TO TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING NASA. SO TODAY WE HAD QUITE A FEW SPECIAL GUESTS. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HUMAN SPACE EXPLORATION WITH GLENN LUTZ, JOHN CONNOLLY, AND THE BAND STYX. GLENN IS THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE EXPLORATION INTEGRATION AND SCIENCE DIRECTOR, OR EISD, HERE AT THE JOHNSON SPACE CENTER. JOHN IS THE HEAD OF NASA’S MARS STUDY CAPABILITY TEAM UNDER EISD, AND STYX, WELL, STYX IS A ROCK BAND. WE TALKED TO TOMMY SHAW, WHO DOES GUITAR, VOCALS, AND A LOT OF THE WRITING, AND LAWRENCE GOWAN ON VOCALS AND KEYS AND ALSO DOES SOME OF THE WRITING, TOO. WHY IS A ROCK BAND HERE AT THE NASA JOHNSON SPACE CENTER? WELL, WE HAVE A LOT OF AMAZING THINGS TO SHOW OFF AND SOMETIMES PEOPLE COME OVER TO CHECK IT OUT. WE HAD A GREAT DISCUSSION ABOUT EXPLORING THE COSMOS, WHAT HUMAN EXPLORATION MISSIONS WILL LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE, AND WHY WE SEND HUMANS TO SPACE IN THE FIRST PLACE. SO, WITH NO FURTHER DELAY, LET’S GO LIGHTSPEED TO OUR TALK WITH MR. GLENN LUTZ AND MR. JOHN CONNOLLY, AS WELL AS MR. TOMMY SHAW AND MR. LAWRENCE GOWAN FROM STYX. ENJOY. [ MUSIC ] >> T MINUS FIVE SECONDS AND COUNTING! MARK! [ INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER ] >> HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PODCAST. [ MUSIC ] >> OKAY, SO HOW ARE YOU GUYS LIKING THE TOUR SO FAR? >> DO WE HAVE TO LEAVE? >> YEAH! >> IT’S A MIND BLOWER, IS WHAT IT IS. >> YEAH. >> IT’S A MIND BLOWER AND GETTING TO MEET PEOPLE THAT DO THIS EVERY DAY IS– THAT’S AN HONOR AND THAT ALONE, AND THEN SEEING THEM WITH THE MACHINERY IS– I CAN BARELY FORM WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW OVERWHELMING IT IS. >> WHAT MAKES IT SO OVERWHELMING, THOUGH? IS IT JUST THE HISTORY OR IS IT JUST THE AMOUNT OF STUFF, MAYBE? >> WELL, IT’S KIND OF EVERYTHING, YOU KNOW? >> OKAY. >> JUST FROM BEING A CHILD AND FROM– I STILL REMEMBER SPUTNIK, AND SO I FOLLOWED IT– MY FAMILY WOULD ALWAYS FOLLOW EVERYTHING THAT WENT ON. AND UP UNTIL MODERN TIMES NOW, I MEAN, ALL THROUGH OUR LIVES WE’VE WATCHED IT, AND THEN NOW TO DO– WE DID A LITTLE STORY OURSELVES. >> YEAH! >> –ABOUT IT AND IT INVOLVES SOME– TRYING TO GET IT RIGHT SO IT WOULD BE FEASIBLE, AND NOW TO SEE THESE– THE HARDWARE THAT WE WERE JUST SORT OF IMAGINING. >> RIGHT. >> TO SEE THE ORION, THAT WAS AMAZING, TOO. BUT ALSO TO SEE THE CONTROL ROOM THAT WE’D ALL SEEN AS A CHILD. JUST REALLY, IT’S JUST KIND OF OVERWHELMING. >> YEAH! MISSION CONTROL, RIGHT? A LOT OF HISTORY THERE. LIKE, THIS–WE WERE TALKING ABOUT IT ON THE BUS, RIGHT? JUST YOU– YOU’RE JUST– YOU’RE SITTING IN A ROOM AND YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT ALL THE GREAT THINGS THAT HAPPENED HERE. YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT LANDING ON THE MOON, YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO FLY HUMANS IN SPACE, ALL FROM THIS ROOM. >> YEAH, THE COMMAND CENTER, BASICALLY OF THE GREATEST HUMAN HISTORY THAT’S UNFOLDED IN OUR LIFETIME. >> YEAH. >> SO, TO BE AT THE EPICENTER OF THAT AND DRINK IN, AND AS TOMMY JUST POINTED OUT, IT’S SOMETHING WE’VE HAD SINCE WE WERE CHILDREN. >> RIGHT. >> SO, YOU’RE IN TOUCH WITH YOUR ENTIRE– THIS MIGHT BE OVERLY PHILOSOPHIZING, BUT IT’S– I CAN’T EVEN SPEAK. >> OVERLY PHILOSOPHICAL. >> OVERLY PHILOSOPHICAL. THANK YOU SO MUCH, GARY. I NEEDED THAT. >> IT’S THAT– THAT’S WHAT I MEAN. THIS HAS BEEN A LONG DAY. YEAH! >> IT’S THIS WEIGHTLESSNESS CONDITION HERE. IT’S THE– NO, YOU’RE IN TOUCH WITH ALL OF THAT AND THE FACT THAT YOU’RE SO CLOSE TO THIS– WHAT IS THE GREATEST HUMAN ENDEAVOR IN OUR LIFETIME AND ALL OF THAT’S ENSUED BECAUSE OF IT. >> ABSOLUTELY. SO, WHAT WAS SO EXCITING, I THINK, FOR US, FROM OUR END, IS TO SHOW YOU NOT ONLY THE HISTORY OF KIND OF WHAT WE’VE BEEN DOING HERE AT THE JOHNSON SPACE CENTER FOR SO LONG, BUT ALSO KIND OF WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO, RIGHT? LIKE YOU SAID, WE’RE SHOWING YOU ORION, WE’RE SHOWING YOU EXPLORATION. WE’RE ALREADY TALKING ABOUT MARS, THE MOON, GOING BEYOND, GOING BEYOND THE LOW EARTH ORBIT, AND WE’RE KIND OF EXCITED TO SHOW YOU THAT. SO, I MEAN, JUST IN TERMS OF HUMAN EXPLORATION, JUST EXPLORING, GOING OUT, SEEING WHAT IS BEYOND. >> YEAH. >> WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THAT DRIVE? WHY DO WE HAVE THIS DRIVE TO EXPLORE THE– EXPLORE SPACE AS HUMANS? >> IT’S JUST– IT’S HUMAN CURIOSITY. >> I THINK SO. >> WHAT ELSE IS THERE? WE’VE DONE THIS, YOU KNOW, WHAT’S OUT THERE? >> YEAH. >> AND WE KEEP FINDING OUT A LITTLE BIT MORE AND I’VE REALIZED HOW SERIOUS THE– THAT QUEST IS HERE. BUT, FOR ALL THOSE QUESTIONS, THERE’S ALL THIS DETAIL AND ALL THIS RESEARCH AND WANTING TO GET IT RIGHT HERE SO THAT IT’S RIGHT WHEN YOU’RE OUT THERE. >> YEAH. >> JUST SEEING ALL THE MANPOWER AND ALL THE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IS KIND OF– IT’S KIND OF MIND BOGGLING. >> IT’S WHAT– IT’S THE MOST EXTREME EXAMPLE OF HOW HUMAN BEINGS HAVE THIS BUILT INTO OUR DNA, THIS– WHAT ELSE, IS THE QUESTION. LIKE WHAT ELSE? >> YEAH. >> AND AS I’M WALKING THROUGH THERE, EVEN LOOKING AT THOSE– ALL THOSE VARIOUS VEHICLES, IT’S LIKE WHAT ELSE COULD YOU DO WITH A VEHICLE THAT WOULD WORK IN A PLACE THAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YET? SO, JUST– I GUESS THAT’S REALLY ANOTHER THING THAT SEPARATES US FROM ANY OTHER FORM OF LIFE IS THAT WE’RE DRIVEN IN THAT WAY. NOT TO STAY SAFE, BUT TO DO THINGS THAT ARE RISKY AND HARD. I THINK I’M GOING TO START QUOTING JOHN KENNEDY OR CAPTAIN KIRK IN A MINUTE. ANYWAY, IT’S GREAT TO BE CLOSE TO– >> YOU’RE ALLOWED TO DO THAT. >> ARE YOU? OKAY! >> BUT, I THINK MAYBE IT’S THAT HUMAN ELEMENT. RIGHT? IT’S THAT PASSION THAT REALLY DRIVES US. AND MAYBE IT’S KIND OF BUILT IN OUR DNA TO WANT TO EXPLORE. MAYBE THAT’S WHY WE SEND HUMANS. HUMANS CAN HAVE A STORY WHEN THEY EXPLORE THAT I DON’T THINK ROBOTS CAN. IT’S JUST– IT’S THAT PERSONAL– THE HUMAN ELEMENT THAT WE CONNECT WITH. >> WELL, THAT’S IT. WHAT WAS IT LIKE? >> YEAH. >> YOU CAN’T, NO MATTER HOW GREAT YOU’RE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS, IT CAN NEVER CONVEY EXACTLY WHAT WAS IT LIKE. >> EXACTLY. >> AND SPEAKING TO DAN, ASTRONAUT DAN BURBANK, HE WAS ABLE TO, IN VERY SHORT ORDER, GIVE YOU A SENSE OF WHAT THAT FELT LIKE. >> YEAH! >> YEAH. >> JUST FROM HIS PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. YOU CAN’T GET THAT FROM DATA, FROM A ROBOT OR SOMETHING. YOU FEEL WHAT HE’S FEELING, SORT OF. YOU’RE THERE. >> YEAH. AND WHEN HE DESCRIBES SOME OF WHAT HE HAD TO GO THROUGH TO DO IT, I’M GLAD I DIDN’T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THAT. SO I VICARIOUSLY ENJOY IT. >> WELL, WHAT I THINK WAS FANTASTIC– SO TALKING ABOUT HUMAN EXPLORATION, THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT IS KIND OF BRAND NEW OR JUST THINKING ABOUT IT. WE’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IT FOR A LONG TIME. IN FACT, WE HAVE PEOPLE HERE AT THE JOHNSON SPACE CENTER DEDICATED TO THINKING ABOUT EXPLORATION. SO, I WANT TO FORMALLY INTRODUCE TWO FOLKS THAT WE HAVE WITH US TODAY, GLENN LUTZ AND JOHN CONNOLLY. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE. YOU ARE PART OF OUR EXPLORATION GROUP, IN A SENSE. SO, TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU GUYS DO. >> ALL RIGHT. WELL, WE ARE PUT IN PLACE TO DO JUST THAT– TAKE US TO THOSE NEXT STEPS. >> MM-HMM. >> SO, JOHN’S IN CHARGE OF PUTTING OUT THE PLAN AND HE’S GOT A GROUP THAT’S MAKING SURE THAT EVERYTHING THAT WE NEED TO GO TO MARS IS THOUGHT ABOUT. >> MM-HMM. >> THERE’S NOT A CVS OR WALGREENS ON THE WAY TO STOP IN TO PICK UP SOMETHING. SO THESE GUYS ARE IN CHARGE OF PUTTING THAT WHOLE PLAN TOGETHER FROM THE NUMBER OF ROCKETS, HOW WE ARE GOING TO LIVE ON MARS. AND WE’VE GOT GUYS IN OUR GROUP THAT ARE WORKING ON TECHNOLOGY GAPS. WHAT WORKS TODAY AND WHAT’S– WHAT WE NEED AND THERE’S A GAP, SO WE’RE CLOSING THEM, IN TESTING AND ET CETERA. OUR GROUP ALSO HAS THE SCIENTISTS IN IT. AND SO THEY’RE SAYING, “OKAY, WHY? WHY ARE WE GOING?” >> MM-HMM. >> AND WHERE? WHERE ARE WE GOING TO GO? TO THE MIXTURE THAT WE TAKE THE BEST ADVANTAGE OF WHERE WE’RE GOING. >> YEAH. >> SO, TOMMY MENTIONED THAT, YOU KNOW, AS KIDS WE ALL KIND OF WATCHED THE APOLLO PROGRAM, LOOKED UP IN THE SKY, SAW SPUTNIK, AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT GOT PEOPLE LIKE GLENN AND I HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. YOU KNOW? WE WERE TURNED ON BY THAT AND KIND OF MADE THAT OUR LIFE’S CALLING. AND WE’VE BEEN LOOKING AT HOW WE GET PEOPLE BEYOND LOW EARTH ORBIT, PERHAPS BACK TO THE MOON, PERHAPS ONTO MARS AS SOON AS WE CAN. AND THAT’S BECAUSE WE ALL THINK THAT HUMAN EXPLORATION IS A FUNDAMENTAL– A FUNDAMENTAL PART OF BEING HUMAN, YOU KNOW, PUSHING OUTWARDS INTO THE STARS. AND SO, WE DO HAVE PLANS TO DO THAT. SO, THAT MISSION CONTROL THAT YOU SAW, WHERE WE DID ALL THOSE GREAT THINGS BACK YEARS AGO, THE BEST IS YET TO COME. ‘ >> SO, I MEAN, TOMMY AND LAWRENCE, JUST FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, JUST SEEING WHAT YOU SAW TODAY AND MAYBE THESE– SOME OF THE FOLKS THAT HAVE BEEN TALKING TO YOU TODAY KIND OF GOT YOUR MIND JOGGING ABOUT MARS. AND YOU’VE THOUGHT ABOUT MARS IN THE PAST JUST FROM YOUR WRITING AND STUFF LIKE THAT. SO, IN TERMS OF MARS, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS THAT’S SO INTRIGUING? WHY WOULD WE WANT TO SEND HUMANS THERE? IN YOUR EYES. >> WELL, IT’S BEEN THE SUBJECT OF ALL DIFFERENT KIND OF CREATIVE WRITING, FROM MARTIAN CHRONICLES WHERE IT WAS LITERALLY LITTLE GREEN MEN TO THAT BOOK THAT BECAME THE MOVIE, “THE MARTIAN.” >> RIGHT. >> SO, IT’S REALLY BEEN– CARTOONS FROM WHEN YOU’RE GROWING UP. THE LITTLE GREEN MEN AND MARS. AND YOU CAN– AND IT STANDS OUT. IT’S DISTINCTIVE. AND THE NIGHTTIME SKY, IT IS RED. >> YEAH. >> DID GET TO SEE IT A LOT. AND I GUESS IT’S RELATIVELY CLOSE COMPARED TO WHAT ELSE IS OUT THERE. SO, IT’S ALL OF THOSE THINGS– FROM FICTION TO FANTASY, AND REAL RESEARCH, AND ALL THOSE THINGS. WE’RE JUST FASCINATED BY IT. AND THE ONE THING THAT STRIKES ME IS JUST THE MORE WE SEE OF THINGS, HOW KIND OF SMALL AND INSIGNIFICANT WE ARE COMPARED TO WHAT WE THOUGHT OF WHEN WE WERE CHILDREN. THE WORLD JUST SEEMED SO MAGNIFICENTLY LARGE. AND I USED TO JUST LOOK UP AT THE CLOUDS AND GO, “HOW FAR UP IS THAT?” AND NOW, TO SEE WHAT YOU’RE PLANNING ON DOING HERE, IT’S AWESOME! >> I KNOW A LOT OF THE ASTRONAUTS. I’M NOT SURE IF DAN BURBANK BROUGHT IT UP, KIND OF IN HIS TALK, BUT THEY HAVE SOMETHING CALLED THE OVERVIEW EFFECT. BEING UP 250 MILES, YOU HAVE THIS VIEW OF THE PLANET. YOU SEE THIS THIN LINE THAT’S AROUND THE PLANET THAT’S JUST PROTECTING US, AND THAT’S IT. AND YOU KIND OF HAVE EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE SAY, THAT EFFECT OF, “WOW! WE ARE SO SMALL! THIS PLANET IS NOT AS BIG AS I THOUGHT!” >> YEAH. >> WE’RE ALL CONNECTED, BUT, YOU KNOW, THERE’S SO MUCH MORE TO THIS UNIVERSE AND TO THE EARTH, I GUESS. >> YEAH. >> AND SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING ABOUT BEING ON MARS AND LOOKING OUT AND NOT BEING ABLE TO FIND EARTH. >> YEAH. >> WHICH ONE OF THOSE IS EARTH? >> RIGHT. >> YEAH. >> IT’LL BE THE BLUE ONE, ACTUALLY. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO PICK OUT EARTH, JUST LIKE WE COULD PICK OUT MARS IN THE SKY. EARTH WILL BE A LITTLE BRIGHTER, A LITTLE BLUER THAN ALL THE OTHER THINGS OUT THERE. >> SO, JOHN, THERE HAVE BEEN IMAGES FROM THE SURFACE OF MARS. CAN WE SEE THE EARTH? IS IT BLUE? >> YES, WE CAN. >> ALL RIGHT! >> YOU CAN SEE THE EARTH FROM MARS. WITH NOT MUCH HELP, YOU COULD ACTUALLY PICK OUT THE MOON NEXT TO IT. >> OH, WOW! >> SO– >> WITH THE NAKED EYE? >> YEAH. SO, WHILE YOU’RE– WELL, IT DEPENDS ON HOW GOOD YOUR EYES ARE. >> WELL, FROM THE– YEAH. >> INSIDE A SPACESUIT. >> SO, YEAH, WHEN YOU’RE ON MARS, YOU’LL BE ABLE TO LOOK AT IT ALL. >> AMAZING. >> COMFY AND– >> YEAH. SO, I MEAN, KIND OF BOUNCING OFF OF TOMMY’S POINT OF IT BEING IN OUR MIND TO EXPLORE MARS, FROM A PRACTICAL SENSE, FROM YOUR GUYS’ PERSPECTIVE IN THE EXPLORATION GROUP HERE AT THE JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, WHAT ARE WE THINKING ABOUT? WHY MARS? >> WELL, BECAUSE IT’S NEXT. IT’S THE NEXT LOGICAL PLACE TO SEND HUMANS. IT’S THE MOST EARTH-LIKE OF THE PLANETS. IT’S A PLACE THAT HAS INCREDIBLE SCIENTIFIC VALUE. IT MAY HAVE HARBORED LIFE IN THE PAST. IT MAY HARBOR LIFE STILL. THOSE ARE HUGE, HUGE QUESTIONS. THOSE ANSWERS, SOME OF THOSE BIG FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS THAT WE’VE HAD LIKE, ARE WE ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE? >> YEAH. >> AND IT’S ATTAINABLE, I THINK. MAYBE THAT’S THE BIGGEST REASON TO GO THERE IS BECAUSE WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY NOW, OR IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS, THAT WE COULD PUT TOGETHER A MISSION AND GO THERE. >> ACTUALLY, JOHN, I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU. >> YEAH. >> FROM WHAT WE HAD– KNOW ABOUT MARS SO FAR, IS THERE ANY FOSSIL RECORD YET THAT– WHERE THEY’VE GONE DOWN AND CHECKED? “WELL, HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED DURING THIS TIME,” AND HAVE THEY SEEN ANYTHING? >> SO, WE’VE ACTUALLY NOT REALLY EXPLORED THE Z-DIMENSION ON MARS. >> RIGHT. >> OKAY? WE’VE ROVED ACROSS THE SURFACE, AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT’S ON THE SCIENTIST’S PLANS IS TO GET A DRILL TO START DRILLING CORES. >> OH. >> AND LOOK AT THINGS LIKE THAT. PROBABLY THE ONLY FOSSIL WE MAY HAVE SEEN ARE SOME FOSSIL– WHAT WE THOUGHT AT THE TIME WERE FOSSILIZED BACTERIA. BACK ABOUT 1997, THERE WERE A FEW FOLKS WHO THOUGHT THEY SAW SOME REMNANTS OF BACTERIA, VERY, VERY SMALL STUFF. >> RIGHT. >> BUT, WE HAVEN’T REALLY DRILLED DOWN TO FIND ANY TRILOBITES YET. >> RIGHT. BOY. >> SO, FROM A PLANNING PERSPECTIVE, IF YOU WERE TO PLAN– THAT’S WHAT YOU’D DO? YOU THINK ABOUT PLANNING A MISSION TO MARS, RIGHT? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEY ELEMENTS THAT ARE VITAL TO MAKE A SUCCESSFUL MISSION TO GO TO MARS? >> SO, IT’S A PRETTY LONG LIST. SO, YOU NEED A PROPULSION SYSTEM THAT WILL ACCELERATE YOU OUT OF THE GRAVITATIONAL PULL OF EARTH. YOU NEED A HABITAT THAT’S RELIABLE ENOUGH TO TAKE YOU ON A SIX-MONTH TO TWELVE-MONTH TRIP TO MARS. YOU NEED A LANDING SYSTEM THAT WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH THE MARS ATMOSPHERE AND DOWN TO THE SURFACE. >> MM-HMM. >> YOU NEED ALL THE SURFACE EQUIPMENT, LIKE THE ROVERS THAT YOU GUYS WERE JUST IN, AND THE SPACESUITS, AND THE HABITATS, AND EQUIPMENT TO USE MARS RESOURCES. AND THEN YOU’D NEED A RIDE HOME. YOU’D NEED AN ASCENT VEHICLE TO GET YOURSELF BACK OFF THE SURFACE TO THE VEHICLE THAT’S GOING TO BRING YOU HOME AGAIN. AND SO, WHEN YOU PUT ALL THOSE TOGETHER, THERE’S A LOT OF PIECE PARTS THAT IT TAKES TO DO THAT MISSION. >> AMAZING. >> IS THAT TRUE FOR ANYWHERE WE WANT TO GO TO, RIGHT? YOU WOULD NEED SORT OF A SIMILAR PROFILE? >> SIMILAR. >> OKAY. >> THE MOON IS ACTUALLY A LITTLE EASIER THAN MARS TO GET TO. >> OH. >> YOU DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH AN ATMOSPHERE. >> OKAY. >> AND IT’S A LOT CLOSER, OF COURSE. >> YEAH. >> RIGHT NOW, THE MOON IS 250,000 MILES AWAY FROM US, MARS– >> A LOT CLOSER. >> IT’S 250 MILLION MILES AWAY. >> OH, WOW! YEAH. >> IT’S AT ITS FURTHEST POINT FROM US RIGHT NOW. IT’S ACTUALLY HIDDEN BEHIND THE SUN. SO, IF YOU WERE ON MARS RIGHT NOW, WE COULDN’T TALK TO YOU. >> OH. COULDN’T AT ALL? BECAUSE IT GETS THE COMMUNICATION? >> YEAH, FOR A WEEK OR TWO, YOU’RE HIDDEN BEHIND THE SUN AND WE LITERALLY CAN’T TALK TO YOU. >> THAT LONG? A WEEK OR TWO? >> YEAH. >> WOW! SO, WHAT’S– I’M GUESSING YOU’RE PLANNING FOR THAT, RIGHT? >> OF COURSE. >> SO, WHAT WOULD BE– IN THE SITUATION WHERE THAT WERE THE CASE, RIGHT? YOU HAVE FOLKS ON MARS AND THEY DON’T HAVE COMMUNICATION WITH FOLKS ON EARTH FOR A WEEK. WHAT ARE THEY DOING? >> LISTENING TO STYX. >> THEY COULD BE LISTENING TO MUSIC. >> WELL, WHAT WAS IT– IN “THE MARTIAN”, WHAT WAS THE THING? IT WAS– >> IT WAS “HAPPY DAYS” ON THE MOVIE, BUT IT WAS SOMETHING ELSE IN THE BOOK. >> WE’VE GOT SOMETHING WAY BETTER THAN THAT. >> SO, OUR ROBOTIC MISSIONS THAT ARE THERE NOW, WE PUT THEM KIND OF INTO A SAFE MODE FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS. >> OH, OKAY. >> WE JUST DON’T HAVE THEM DO VERY MUCH. AND IN ABOUT TWO WEEKS, WE HAVE THEM START BROADCASTING UNTIL WE PICK THEM UP AGAIN. SO, THE CREW WOULD PROBABLY HAVE– PROBABLY HAVE ABOUT TWO WEEKS OFF, I’D SAY, WHERE THEY DON’T– WHERE THEY PROBABLY WOULDN’T DO VERY MUCH. >> WOW. >> DO YOU THINK THE ACTUAL SHOT TO GO TO MARS WILL LAUNCH FROM THE MOON OR FROM EARTH? >> SO, ULTIMATELY, EVERYTHING STARTS FROM EARTH. THE QUESTION IS, WHAT’S THE MIDPOINT? >> RIGHT. >> SO, WHERE DO YOU ACTUALLY ASSEMBLE VEHICLES AND THINGS LIKE THAT? >> RIGHT. >> ENERGETICALLY, IT ACTUALLY MAKES MORE SENSE TO ASSEMBLE THINGS IN SPACE RATHER THAN ON THE SURFACE OF THE MOON. SO, YOU COULD DO THAT IN LUNAR ORBIT. >> RIGHT. >> YOU COULD DO THAT IN A VERY HIGH EARTH ORBIT, BUT IN SPACE MAKES THE MOST SENSE. RIGHT AT THE EDGE OF LEAVING THE EARTH’S SPHERE OF INFLUENCE, THE EARTH’S– THE GRAVITATIONAL FIELD OF THE EARTH, THEN JUST TAKES A LITTLE KICK FROM THERE TO KICK YOU OUT TO MARS. >> HUH. >> BUT YOU DON’T WANT TO– YOU DON’T WANT TO GO INTO A GRAVITY FIELD LIKE DOWN TO THE LUNAR SURFACE BECAUSE THEN YOU HAVE TO FIGHT YOUR WAY OUT OF THAT AGAIN. >> OH, RIGHT. >> SO, WHAT WOULD YOU BE BUILDING AROUND THE– >> WELL, WE’RE CURRENTLY WORKING ON SOME PLANS FOR BUILDING, FOR EXAMPLE, THE TRANSPORT THAT TAKES CREWS FROM THE VICINITY OF THE EARTH TO MARS ORBIT. >> HUH. >> AND SO, THOSE ARE THE KIND OF THINGS YOU CAN’T LAUNCH IN ONE LAUNCH BECAUSE THEY’RE TOO BIG. SO, YOU HAVE TO PUT THEM TOGETHER SOMEWHERE. >> RIGHT. >> AND ANYWHERE IN CISLUNAR SPACE KIND OF MAKES SENSE TO DO THAT. >> OKAY. INTERESTING. >> SO IT SEEMS LIKE A COORDINATED MISSION, A VENTURE WITH LOTS OF ADVANCED THINGS. SO, YOU HAVE ALL THE HARDWARE. >> YEAH, IT’S GOING TO TAKE A LOT OF LAUNCHES TO PUT PIECES TOGETHER AND GET THOSE THINGS SEQUENCED OUT TO MARS IN A WAY THAT HAS WHAT YOU NEED ON MARS WHEN YOU NEED IT. >> AND THAT IT’S UP THERE AND OPERATIONAL BEFORE WE SAY, “OKAY, GUYS, IT’S TIME TO COMMIT CREW TO GO MEET THEM.” >> RIGHT. >> SO, DO YOU THINK THERE WOULD EVER BE A TIME WHERE– WHEN YOU GET ALL THAT WORKED OUT SO YOU– IT’S JUST SECOND NATURE, THIS IS HOW YOU DO THAT? TO EXTEND THAT TO MARS SO YOU’RE BUILDING THINGS IN MARS TO GO BEYOND THERE? >> I THINK IF WE FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO IT ON MARS, THAT’LL BE THE NEXT GIANT LEAP, IF YOU WILL. AND THAT’LL TEACH US A LOT ABOUT SURVIVING WITHOUT BEING DEPENDENT ON EARTH. AND I THINK THAT’S THE NEXT BIG STEP. >> IT GOES BACK TO YOUR FIRST COMMENT THAT EVEN AS LITTLE KIDS, YOU SEE THE 2-YEAR-OLD, THE NEXT THING THAT’S JUST OUT OF HIS REACH, SO IF WE GET TO MARS, THAT WOULD BE THE NEXT THING JUST OUT OF OUR REACH. >> SO, TOMMY, KIND OF THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT BIG STEP. IF– THINKING WAY OUT IN THE FUTURE, IN YOUR MIND, WHAT WOULD KIND OF BE SOME OF THE NEXT PLACES THAT WOULD BE REALLY COOL TO SEE? BEYOND MARS. >> WELL, WE HAVE SORT OF A SELFISH– >> I KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING HERE. >> ON THE AGENDA. >> YES. IT WOULD JUST BE STARTED UPON THE BAND’S NAME OF THE FIFTH MOON OF PLUTO. AND WE’VE ACTUALLY SEEN PICTURES OF IT AND IT’S NOT THE GREATEST LOOKING. IF YOU WERE GOING TO VACATION ANYWHERE IN THE AREA, WE’D GO TO PLUTO, JUST MAYBE TAKE SOME SNAPSHOTS. >> YEAH, TO SEE IF FROM THE SURFACE. >> I DON’T KNOW. I THINK WITH A LITTLE WORK WE COULD BUFF IT UP AND MAKE IT A HOLIDAY DESTINATION. IT’S A FIXER-UPPER, THERE’S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. >> IT’S A HANDYMAN’S DREAM. >> IT’S ABOUT THE SIZE OF DOWNTOWN CHICAGO, BY THE WAY. >> IS IT? >> YEAH. >> IT’S NOT TOO BIG. >> YEAH, IT’S NOT THAT BIG. >> CHICAGO’S NICE. >> YEAH. YEAH. >> A FROZEN CHICAGO. >> IN AN UNBIASED OPINION. >> I DON’T THINK IT HAS THE WATERFRONT. >> [ INDISTINCT ]. >> YEAH. >> IT’S COME A LONG WAY SINCE THE WORLD’S FAIR. >> YEAH. >> THERE YOU GO. >> ANOTHER THING THAT– BACK TO WHERE WE WERE STARTING– >> YEAH? >> THAT BLOWS MY MIND, WHEN I KEEP THINKING THAT, YOU KNOW, THAT ONE OF THE AIRPORTS WE GO THROUGH, I THINK IT’S ST. LOUIS, IS THAT THE ONE THAT’S NEAR KITTY HAWK OR WHERE THE WRIGHT BROTHERS? >> SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS. >> YEAH. >> SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS. >> IS THAT IT? >> MM-HMM. >> OKAY. SO, I’M THINKING HUMAN FLIGHT, IT STILL BOGGLES MY MIND. IT’S JUST OVER A HUNDRED YEARS AGO AND NOW WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ASSEMBLING THINGS IN SPACE THAT CAN REACH, YOU KNOW, THE NEXT PLANET. SO, THAT’S BACK TO ME, KIND OF BEING MIND BLOWING. >> YEAH. I THINK THAT’S MORE OF LIKE THE DOING ASPECT, RIGHT? SO, LIKE, YOU KNOW, I FEEL LIKE WE’VE BEEN DREAMERS FOR SO LONG. >> YEAH. >> AND WE’RE DREAMING ABOUT THE COSMOS, AND BASED ON OUR LIMITED KNOWLEDGE, HAVE COME UP WITH THESE FANTASTICAL REALITIES OF WHAT IT COULD BE, BUT THEN ONCE WE REALIZE THAT, YOU KNOW, WE CAN GO INTO SPACE AND WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY TO DO IT, AND YOU ACTUALLY BUILD IT AND DO IT, THAT’S A WHOLE NEW– >> WELL, THAT’S WHY MEETING GUYS LIKE THIS IS SO– >> YEAH! >> –AMAZING FOR US. YEAH. >> ALL RIGHT. SO, ALL RIGHT, GOING WAY BACK OUT TO PLUTO. YOU HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF ACTUALLY SEEING NEW HORIZONS, RIGHT? WHEN IT ACTUALLY TOOK PHOTOS OF PLUTO. >> WE WERE INVITED– WE HAPPENED TO BE IN THE D.C. AREA THE DAY THAT THEY DID THEIR FLY-BY AND WE WERE INVITED OUT AND WE GOT TO MEET THE PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, ALAN STERN, AND ALL OF HIS PEOPLE. AND THEY WERE WAITING THERE FOR US. I’LL NEVER FORGET, THEY WERE THERE– THEY HAD A BANNER AND THEY HAD ALL KIND OF GATHERED IN A ROOM KIND OF LIKE THIS >> YEAH. >> AND THEY WERE WELCOMING US AND WE DIDN’T KNOW WHO THEY ARE. WE’D NEVER MET THEM BEFORE. >> SURE. >> WE KNEW WE WERE AT THEIR MISSION CONTROL, BUT– SO, LITTLE BY LITTLE, WE STARTED GETTING INTRODUCED. IT’S LIKE GUYS LIKE YOU WITH THESE– WHO’VE DONE THIS AMAZING THING AND WE REALIZE, THIS IS ALL BACKWARDS. WE NEED TO HAVE A BANNER FOR YOU. >> YEAH, EXACTLY. >> IT WAS LIKE THE WE’RE NOT WORTHY KIND OF THING. >> IT WAS LIKE THERE THEY’D WON THEIR SUPER BOWL AND THE CULMINATION OF A NINE-YEAR MISSION. IT WAS WHEN THEY WERE GET– AS THESE PICTURES WERE COMING THROUGH, WE WERE AMONG THE FIRST PEOPLE, EARTHLINGS, TO SEE THIS– TO SEE THIS UNFOLD. ACTUALLY, YOU JUST REMINDED ME OF SOMETHING WEIRD ABOUT THAT DAY THAT I REMEMBERED. I REMEMBER US GETTING LOST ON THE WAY TO GET INTO THE THING. >> WE COULDN’T FIND OUR WAY THERE. >> WE COULDN’T FIND OUR WAY THERE! AND THEY SPENT NINE YEARS GETTING TO PLUTO. >> WE MET THE NAVIGATOR WHO DID THE– >> WHO ACTUALLY FLEW IT. >> YES. >> YES. >> WOW. SO, HOW DID HE DESCRIBE THAT RIDE? WAS IT LIKE– I GUESS IT’S A PRETTY INTRICATE RIDE TO GET ALL THE WAY OUT THERE. >> THE ONLY THING I REMEMBER IS THAT HE SAID IT WAS– THE CRAFT ITSELF WAS ABOUT THE SIZE OF A BABY GRAND PIANO. >> YEAH. >> SO, DIRECTING THAT THROUGH, YOU KNOW, ALL THAT DISTANCE, YOU KNOW? AND IT’S, I GUESS IT’S THE FARTHEST WE’VE GONE, RIGHT? SO, IT WAS THE FARTHEST WE’VE EVER SENT ANYTHING, I SUPPOSE. AM I RIGHT? >> I THINK VOYAGER. >> OH, VOYAGER’S EVEN FURTHER. >> YEAH. >> IT GOT A HEAD START. >> OKAY. >> YEAH. >> BUT IT NEVER TOOK PICTURES OF PLUTO. >> ALL RIGHT! >> YEAH. >> WELL, I DON’T’ WANT TO PUT ANYTHING– I DON’T WANT TO PUT VOYAGER DOWN IN ANY WAY, BUT TO HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THAT WITH SOMETHING– OH, I REMEMBER. ONE QUESTION I ASKED THAT DAY WAS, “ISN’T IT LIKELY THAT IT’S GOING TO BE HIT BY SOMETHING OUT THERE?” BECAUSE I’M ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, I WAS ASKING DAN ABOUT THAT, AS WELL. AND ONE OF THE SCIENTISTS THERE EXPLAINED TO ME THAT WE– IT TAKES A LONG TIME BEFORE THE CONCEPT OF HOW VAST SPACE IS FINALLY SINKS IN, THAT THE LIKELIHOOD OF ACTUALLY COLLIDING WITH SOMETHING IS SO MINISCULE. >> MM-HMM. >> THAT IT’S INCREDIBLY UNLIKELY. AND TO MY MIND, IT SEEMS LIKE, I DON’T KNOW, WOULDN’T THAT BE HAPPENING ALL THE TIME? AND APPARENTLY IT DOESN’T HAPPEN VERY MUCH AT ALL. >> EVEN THE ASTEROID BELT, I THINK, IS A GOOD EXAMPLE, RIGHT? HOW FAR– HOW CLOSE ARE SOME OF THE CLOSEST THINGS IN THE ASTEROID BELT? >> WELL, NOT AS CLOSE AS THE STAR WARS MOVIES PORTRAY THEM. >> THAT’S WHAT I’M THINKING. I’M THINKING HAN SOLO GOING THROUGH, YEAH. >> SO, PEOPLE THINK OF, YOU KNOW, ASTEROID BELTS AND THE KUIPER BELT AS BEING THIS SORT OF ROCK PILE IN SPACE. >> YES. >> AND IT’S, YOU KNOW, LITERALLY MILLIONS OF MILES BETWEEN LITTLE SPECKS OF THINGS. >> YEAH. SO, IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT STUFF IN THE KUIPER BELT IS EVEN FARTHER AWAY? LIKE, ARE WE TALKING ABOUT– >> OH YEAH. SO, THAT’S OUT BEYOND PLUTO. >> YEAH. >> ONE OF THE THINGS I’VE HEARD IS THAT WE COULD LAND ON AN ASTEROID, THOUGH. >> WE WERE WORKING– WE HAVE THAT TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. >> IN FACT, THERE’S ONE OF OUR ESA BRETHREN ACROSS THE POND, THEY DID LAND ON A COMET. >> OH, REALLY? >> WHEN WAS THAT? >> JUST RECENTLY. BUT WE’VE– WE WERE WORKING MISSIONS TO PUT DOWN ON AN ASTEROID AND SEE WHAT’S THERE. WE’VE MADE SOME COURSE DIRECTIONS AND NOW ARE MORE FOCUSED ON MARS. >> ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT A HUMAN MISSION? >> NO, IT WAS A ROBOTIC MISSION TO THE ASTEROID– >> OKAY. >> –TO BRING BACK THE PIECE SO WE COULD STUDY IT HERE. >> OH, GOT IT. >> AROUND THE MOON. >> OKAY. OKAY. >> YOU COULD LAND ON THE ASTEROID, BUT IT HAS ALMOST NO GRAVITY. >> MORE LIKE RENDEZVOUS. >> YEAH. AND MOST PEOPLE THINK THAT THE MOONS OF MARS ARE CAPTURED ASTEROIDS. SO, PHOBOS AND DEIMOS. YOU COULD GO THERE. VERY LITTLE GRAVITY TO HOLD YOU ON THE SURFACE, THOUGH. >> OH. >> SO, THAT MAKES IT A LITTLE EASIER TO GET TO, SO YOU DON’T HAVE THAT GRAVITY WELD HE WAS TALKING ABOUT TO TRY AND EXTRACT YOURSELF FROM. >> RIGHT. >> OH, OKAY, SO YOU CAN ACTUALLY JUST– WOULD YOU, IN A SCENARIO IF YOU WERE TO VISIT PHOBOS, RIGHT? IF– WOULD YOU LAND ON PHOBOS AND THEN LAUNCH OFF AGAIN? OR WOULD YOU DO SORT OF AN ORBITAL THING. >> OR ANCHOR, RIGHT? >> ANCHOR, OKAY. >> YEAH, YOU COULD DO EITHER. YOU WOULD KIND OF DOCK WITH IT. >> YEAH. >> OH! >> YOU KNOW, BECAUSE IT WOULD JUST BE KIND OF ANOTHER THING FLOATING IN SPACE. >> AHH, SO, YOU’D ACTUALLY HAVE TO– BY LANDING IT’S MORE LIKE GRABBING US. >> MORE LIKE THE BOAT IN THE PIER. >> OH. >> NEXT TO THE TIE-ON. DO WHATEVER EXPLORATION YOU COULD DO, PLANT THE FLAG. >> OKAY. VERY COOL. SO, I KNOW KIND OF GOING BACK, YOU KNOW, THINKING ABOUT JUST EXPLORING JUST DIFFERENT HEAVENLY BODIES, RIGHT? TALK ABOUT PHOBOS OR EVEN IF YOU WERE TO LAND ON STYX, RIGHT? THERE’S SOMETHING THAT WE LIKE TO CALL ISRU. THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT KIND OF WE’RE LOOKING AT. IN-SITU RESOURCE UTILIZATION, RIGHT? >> THERE YOU GO. >> IT’S USING THE STUFF THAT’S THERE TO CREATE MORE STUFF AND, I GUESS, IS THE VERY LAYMAN WAY OF SAYING THAT. >> RIGHT. >> SO, IF IT WAS RESOURCES. >> LIVING OFF THE LAND. >> LIVING OFF THE LAND! >> THAT’S A GOOD LAYMAN WAY OF PUTTING IT. >> THERE YOU GO. VERY COOL. SO, WHERE ARE SOME OF THE BEST PLACES WHERE YOU CAN LIVE OFF THE LAND THAT WE KNOW OF IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM? >> WELL, MARS IS PROBABLY THE EASIEST. MARS HAS AN ATMOSPHERE. >> AH. >> I MEAN, IT’S CARBON DIOXIDE. YOU COULD EASILY CRAFT CARBON DIOXIDE INTO OXYGEN AND CARBON MONOXIDE AND USE THE OXYGEN TO BREATHE, OR TO MAKE MOST OF YOUR ROCKET FUEL. >> HMM. >> AND, IN FACT, WE HAVE AN EXPERIMENT FLYING IN 2020 TO MARS THAT’S GOING TO TEST EXACTLY THAT. SO, THAT– AND IF THAT WORKS, AND IT SHOULD BECAUSE IT’S VERY SIMPLE CHEMISTRY, THAT MEANS THAT WE– >> KNOCK ON WOOD. >> YOU DON’T NEED TO TAKE EVERYTHING WITH YOU ANYMORE. WHEN WE WENT TO THE MOON ORIGINALLY, WE TOOK EVERYTHING WE NEEDED. EVERY PIECE OF FOOD, EVERY BREATH OF OXYGEN, EVERY OUNCE OF WATER. IF YOU FIND THAT KIND OF STUFF ON PLANETS, THAT REALLY CHANGES THE EQUATION ENTIRELY BECAUSE NOW YOU’RE LIVING OFF THE LAND, YOU’RE LIVING OFF THE RESOURCES OF THOSE PLANETS. >> AND DO YOU THINK IT’S POSSIBLE TO ADD NUTRIENTS AND NITROGEN AND PHOSPHORUS OR WHATEVER IT TOOK TO PLANT– >> POTATOES? >> POTATOES. >> PERHAPS. >> OR BEANS, OR CORN, OR WHATEVER. >> YEAH. >> YOU STILL NEED OXYGEN, THOUGH. >> WELL, YEAH, YOU NEED A LOT OF THINGS. SO, MARS’ SOIL HAS SOME OF THE THINGS YOU NEED FOR GROWING THINGS. YOU’D HAVE TO ADD NUTRIENTS AND YOU’D HAVE TO WASH A FEW OF THE OTHER THINGS OUT OF THE SOIL FIRST. >> RIGHT. >> BUT, YEAH, YOU COULD– YOU COULD, WITH ENOUGH ADDITIVES, GROW STUFF IN MARS SOIL. >> SO, YOU COULD MAKE FUEL AND FOOD. >> YEP. >> 3D PRINTERS. THESE– I HAVEN’T READ ENOUGH ABOUT THEM, BUT IS THAT PART OF WHAT IT IS? YOU TAKE THE ELEMENTS THAT ARE THERE AND YOU’RE ABLE TO FABRICATE SOMETHING THAT– WHATEVER IS NECESSARY NEXT? OR IS THAT– WHERE IS THAT? >> YEAH, I THINK 3D PRINTERS ARE ON THE STATION TODAY, SO, WE CAN BUILD– IF SOMETHING BREAKS, WE DON’T HAVE TO WAIT TO FLY UP A PART. WE CAN BUILD IT. >> OKAY. >> THE PART. 3D PRINTERS FOR THE FUEL THAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT, I THINK FUEL IS MORE OF A CHEMICAL ELEMENT THING. >> YEAH. >> SO, WE WOULDN’T REALLY PRINT ANYTHING, BUT WE WOULD CRAFT IT. >> WE ARE LOOKING, ACTUALLY, AT 3D PRINTERS TO TAKE– LIKE THE SOIL, YOU COULD FIND ON MARS. >> YEAH. >> AND, YOU KNOW, YOU ADD SOME ADDITIVES TO IT AND YOU USE THE SOIL TO BUILD HABITATS AND THINGS LIKE THAT. IT WOULD BE A BIG-SCALE 3D PRINTER. THERE’S SOME NASA TECHNOLOGY GOING ON AT SOME OF OUR CENTERS TO LOOK AT THAT. SO, I THINK 3D PRINTING IS IN ITS INFANCY. AND WE HAVEN’T REALLY EVEN EXPLORED ALL THE COOL THINGS WE COULD DO WITH IT. >> YEAH. >> SO, YOU COULD MAKE A METAL ALLOY KIND OF A THING. >> SURE. THERE ARE ALREADY METAL 3D PRINTERS. >> OR EVEN AN EARTHEN PLACE TO LIVE IN. >> YEAH. >> YEAH. >> OUT OF THE SOIL YOURSELF. >> THAT’S WHAT I MEAN. >> YEAH. >> THAT YOU– THE ELEMENTS ARE THERE TO BUILD IT. >> RIGHT. >> SO, YOU COULD ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW, CONSTRUCT SOMETHING BY BASICALLY DOING– IT’S DOING THE MINING AND THE MANUFACTURING. >> AND IT HELPS IN A LOT OF WAYS IN THAT RADIATION IS A BIG PROBLEM FOR THE HUMAN BEING. >> RIGHT. >> AND THE EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE PROTECTS US. WE’RE LEAVING THAT BEHIND. >> OH, RIGHT. >> TO GO TO THESE OTHER PLACES. >> YEAH. >> SO, IF WE CAN’T BUILD OUT OF EARTH LIKE THEY USED TO DO IN WYOMING, OKLAHOMA, BUILD THE SOD HOUSES, SO TO SPEAK. THAT HELPS FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE AS WELL. >> HMM. >> TO HAVE ADDED PROTECTION THAN JUST THE SPHERICAL DOME THAT WE WOULD TAKE WITH US. >> I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT. >> AND ALL THE TECHNOLOGY IS ALMOST THERE, OR PRETTY MUCH THERE, ISN’T IT? >> FOR BUILDING HOUSES THROUGH 3D PRINTERS? >> WELL, FOR DOING ALL THOSE THINGS. IF YOU GET YOURSELF ON THE SITE. >> IT’S HIS JOB TO MAKE SURE IT IS. >> BUT IT’S– >> SO, IT DOESN’T SEEM THAT OUTRAGEOUS >> NO, NO, NOT AT ALL. THAT’S WITHIN THE REALM OF TECHNOLOGIES THAT WE COULD HAVE IN THE TIMEFRAMES WE’RE LOOKING AT TO GO TO MARS. >> IS THERE ANY SORT OF “I WISH I HAD’S,” THAT YOU GUYS ARE THINKING OF? >> I WISH I HAD BETTER PROPULSION. >> AHH. >> BECAUSE RIGHT NOW, AS A SPECIES, WE ARE STUCK IN THE INNER SOLAR SYSTEM. >> HMM. >> BECAUSE THE BEST WE HAVE IS CHEMICAL PROPULSION. YOU KNOW, WE’VE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY A LITTLE BIT SINCE APOLLO, BUT– AND WE HAVE THINGS LIKE ELECTRIC PROPULSION NOW, BUT WE NEED SOME SORT OF DIFFERENT PROPULSION SYSTEMS, SOME SORE OF NEW PHYSICS TO REALLY TRAVEL AMONGST THE STARS OR REALLY TO GET OUT OF THE INNER SOLAR SYSTEM. >> YEAH. >> SO, THAT’S MY BIG “I WISH I HAD.” >> SO, WITH CHEMICAL PROPULSION, REALISTICALLY, IF YOU– IF YOU DESIGNED A MISSION TO GO LIKE WAY OUT IN THE EDGE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM, HOW LONG IS THAT MISSION PROFILE? TO GO OUT TO THE EDGE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM AND BACK. >> OH, MAN. >> OUTSIDE. >> YEAH, IT WOULD BE A MULTI-GENERATIONAL MISSION. >> YEAH. WOW. >> AND THAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH CHEMICAL PROPULSION. IT JUST– IT’S JUST NOT GOING TO PUSH YOU FAST ENOUGH TO GET WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. BY THE TIME YOU GOT THERE, ANOTHER SPACECRAFT WOULD RACE PAST YOU WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY. >> RIGHT. >> WOULDN’T IT BE NICE WHERE YOU COULD JUST FLIP A SWITCH AND JUST, “I’M GOING LIGHT SPEED,” AND THEN, BAM! >> CAN YOU SPECULATE ON WHAT WOULD EXIST OTHER THAN CHEMICAL PROPULSION THEN? >> WELL, SO IF– SO RIGHT NOW WE USE, YOU KNOW, WE COMBINE CHEMICALS, WE USE– WE ACCELERATE IONS TO PUSH OURSELVES AROUND. THAT ALL REQUIRES US TO HAVE A FUEL. OKAY? THAT WE SOMEHOW ACCELERATE OFF– OUT THE BACK-END OF A ROCKET. THE REAL– THE NEXT BIG STEP IN PHYSICS WOULD COME IF YOU FIND A WAY WHERE YOU DON’T NEED FUEL, THAT YOU COULD SOMEHOW CREATE FORCE WITHOUT FUEL. >> RIGHT. >> AND THERE ARE SOME TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS AT NASA GOING ON RIGHT NOW THAT ARE LOOKING AT THAT. IF YOU’RE A BIG FAN OF “STAR TREK,” THAT’S KIND OF WHAT WARP DRIVE IS ALL ABOUT. >> YEAH. >> CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT FOR ME? >> THAT WOULD– I WOULD LOVE TO GET ANOTHER PODCAST. >> I READ SOMETHING ON AN ASTRONOMY SITE THAT I SOMEHOW LINK TO NOW ON FACEBOOK ABOUT SOME EXPERIMENTAL PROPULSION THING WHERE– BECAUSE YOU’RE GENERALLY– YOU’RE PUSHING OFF OF SOMETHING TO GO THE OTHER DIRECTION AND THERE WAS SOMETHING NEW THAT THEY WERE– I DON’T KNOW IF THESE PLATES OR SOMETHING THAT SOMEHOW CREATED PROPULSION. >> YEAH, AND THAT’S THE NEW PHYSICS I’M TALKING ABOUT. WE NEED SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO GET THAT WORKING. AND WE DO HAVE AN ENGINEER HERE IN HOUSTON WHO’S WORKING ON A PROPULSION SYSTEM LIKE THAT. THEY– SOME PEOPLE CALL IT THE QUANTUM THRUSTING. >> YES. >> IT PUSHES– AND THEY DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND WHY IT WORKS, BUT IT’S BEEN TRIED A COUPLE PLACES AROUND THE COUNTRY AND IT’S AT THE POINT WHERE YOU HAVE TO BE VERY SKEPTICAL ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON. AND– BUT IF IT WORKS, IT COULD CHANGE THE WHOLE EQUATION BECAUSE IT DOESN’T NEED FUEL. IT’S USING DIFFERENT FORCES THAT SOMEHOW IS PUSHING AGAINST SOMETHING AND MOVING IT. >> WELL THEN– >> AGAIN, ANOTHER PODCAST. >> WE HEAR ABOUT GRAVITY ASSIST, RIGHT? >> MM-HMM. >> OKAY, SO, I MEAN, IS IT SOMETHING OF THAT NATURE? WHERE THERE’S SOME MAGNETIC EXCHANGE? >> NO, IT’S A LITTLE DIFFERENT. GRAVITY ASSIST IS– THAT’S BASICALLY CAPTURING THE ENERGY OF A PLANET LIKE EARTH OR VENUS AND TAKING A LITTLE BIT OF THAT PLANET’S ENERGY AND TURNING IT INTO YOUR ENERGY AS YOU FLY BY. >> YEAH. >> AND WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT ROLLER DERBY AROUND THE EDGE, YOU GET A LITTLE ASSIST AROUND THE EDGE. >> YEAH. >> WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT GRAVITY ASSIST, AND CORRECT ME IF I’M WRONG, BUT IT’S A GOOD BANG FOR YOUR BUCK. YOU DON’T PUT A LOT OF ENERGY INTO IT AND WHAT YOU GET OUT OF THAT GRAVITY ASSIST IS A REALLY BIG BOOST. >> RIGHT. IN FACT, MOST OF THE TIMES YOU DON’T PUT ANY ENERGY INTO IT. >> OH, WOW! >> GET CAPTURED. >> BUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING IS YOU’RE BORROWING A LITTLE BIT OF ENERGY FROM THAT PLANET’S ORBIT. >> THAT’S INCREDIBLE. >> YEAH. >> SO, KIND OF THINKING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, GOING BACK TO MARS FOR A SECOND. SO, BACK TO A MARS MISSION. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WE HAVE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT TO PUT HUMANS ON THE SURFACE, TO MAKE IT, I GUESS, FRIENDLY? >> FRIENDLY? >> HUMAN FRIENDLY. WHAT ARE THE THINGS WE’D HAVE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT? >> WELL, GLENN COULD TALK MAYBE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT SPACE SUITES AND EVA. >> YEAH. >> BUT, FROM MY STANDPOINT, GETTING PEOPLE TO THE SURFACE. SO, IT’S ALL A MATTER OF CHANGING VELOCITIES, FIRST OF ALL, RIGHT? YOU HAVE TO LEAVE EARTH. YOU HAVE TO RIDE A BIG ROCKET. YOU THEN HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR VELOCITY ENOUGH TO THROW YOU OUT TOWARDS MARS. THEN YOU HAVE TO SLOW DOWN ONCE YOU GET TO MARS AND MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH THE ATMOSPHERE AND SLOW DOWN ENOUGH SO THAT BY THE TIME YOU GET TO THE SURFACE, YOUR RELATIVE VELOCITY IS ZERO. SO, ALL THAT– ALL THOSE MIRACLES OF ROCKET PROPULSION AND ENTRY SYSTEMS THAT HAVE TO HAPPEN KEEP ME UP AT NIGHT. OKAY? THEN ONCE YOU GET TO THE SURFACE, YOU NEED SUPER RELIABLE SYSTEMS, BECAUSE AT MARS, LIKE YOU SAID, YOU DON’T HAVE A 7-ELEVEN NEXT DOOR. YOU DON’T HAVE A HANDYMAN YOU COULD CALL. YOU CAN’T SEND A SOYUZ OR A PROGRESS UP IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS WITH SOME NEW PARTS. SO, EVERYTHING HAS TO WORK FOR THE DURATION OF THE TIME YOU’RE THERE OR YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO FIX IT. AND SO, IT’S THAT SUPER HIGH RELIABILITY. >> YEAH. I THINK ANY ENDEAVOR ACROSS CIVILIZATION, THE LOGISTICS, LOGISTICS JUST GETS TO ME. IF THEY TAKE ON THE ALPS, THEY HAVE A TRAIN FULL OF DONKEYS BEHIND THEM TO GET THEM THERE. WE DON’T HAVE THAT LUXURY. SO, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE STUFF THAT DOESN’T BREAK. AND WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE FOLKS THAT INSTEAD OF THE SUPER PILOT, HE’S THE REFRIGERATOR REPAIR GUY. HE CAN TEAR APART AND PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AND TRUST THAT IT WORKS BECAUSE HE’S LIVING OFF OF THAT MACHINE DOING ITS JOB. >> YEAH. >> SO, EVERYTHING THAT YOU HAVE IN THE GROCERY, YOU KNOW, OXYGEN, ET CETERA, YOU HAVE TO TAKE WITH YOU OR BUILD OR SUPPLY WHILE YOU’RE THERE. >> BUT IT TAKES GOOD PEOPLE TO DO THAT, RIGHT? YOU NEED FOLKS THAT HAVE KIND OF A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES THAT CAN ACTUALLY WORK ON THIS. >> ABSOLUTELY. >> SO, TELL ME, LAWRENCE, IN YOUR PERSPECTIVE KIND OF WHAT– WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEY FOLKS THAT YOU WOULD NEED TO BRING WITH YOU ON A MISSION OUT TO SPACE? >> WELL, YOU NEED SOMEONE WHO’S– I WOULD THINK AN ENGINEER TYPE. >> DEFINITELY AN ENGINEER. >> WHO, YOU KNOW, WOULD BE SKEPTICAL AND THEN HAVE SOLUTIONS. AND I THINK YOU NEED SOMEBODY WHO’S GOT A GREAT IMAGINATION, WHO CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET TO THE NEXT– WHAT THE THING IS THAT YOU’RE TRYING TO GET TO. >> A LEADER. YEAH. IN A WAY, I GUESS. >> AND YOU NEED– YOU NEED HANDS. YOU NEED HELPERS. AND WHO ARE ALSO– WHO HAVE SPECIALTIES– SPECIAL TALENTS OF THEIR OWN BECAUSE OTHERWISE YOU’RE JUST A LONELY, YOU KNOW, YOU’RE DOING IT ALL YOURSELF, YOU KNOW? IT’S KIND OF LIKE– IT’S A LOT LIKE BEING IN A BAND. WE ALL SUPPORT EACH OTHER, OTHERWISE, OTHERWISE WE WOULD JUST BE ONE PERSON OUT THERE WITH A MICROPHONE. AND NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU ARE, THERE’S LIMITS TO WHAT YOU CAN DO THERE. >> I THINK STYX WOULD SOUND A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT WITH JUST ONE MEMBER. YEAH. >> YEAH, YEAH. I THINK THE, YOU KNOW, WE TALK ABOUT THE MACHINES THAT ARE NECESSARY TO DO ALL THIS, BUT, AGAIN, TALKING TO ASTRONAUT DAN. >> YEAH. >> I THINK MEDICAL IS A HUGE NECESSITY BECAUSE OUR BODIES MORPH AND HAVE TO ADAPT AND THEY DO ADAPT AND CHANGE IN THEIR– SO THAT CHANGES THE WHOLE EQUATION OF WHAT MEDICALLY IS REQUIRED, YOU KNOW, AS THE THING CONTINUES ON. SO, I’D SAY– I’D SAY AN ENGINEER, A REALLY GOOD DOCTOR, AND, YOU KNOW, PROBABLY A GOOD DRUMMER OR BASS PLAYER. >> I WOULD ADD A COMMUNICATOR. >> OH, YEAH. >> SOMEONE WHO COULD TALK BACK TO THE FOLKS ON EARTH AND DESCRIBE, IN TERMS THEY UNDERSTAND, WHAT THEY ARE EXPERIENCING. >> HMM. >> AND THE OTHER THING IS YOU ALMOST HAVE TO HAVE TWO OF EVERYTHING, OR DOUBLE TRAINING. BECAUSE THAT DOCTOR, IF HE’S THE GUY THAT GETS THE PROBLEM– >> YEAH. >> SOMEBODY ELSE NEEDS TO STEP IN. >> RIGHT. YOU WERE TELLING ME SOMETHING GREAT ABOUT THE– OR, FRIGHTENING, ACTUALLY, ABOUT THE DUST ON MARS AFFECTING YOUR THYROID. THAT’S PART OF WHY MY BRAIN STARTED MOVING TOWARD THAT. >> YEAH. WE’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE WE SEPARATE THE BAD ACTORS FROM THE HUMAN ASPECT OF THAT. AND SO, ALL THE SYSTEMS WE’RE BUILDING, YOU SAW THE ROVER ITSELF. >> YEAH. >> THE SUIT’S PURPOSELY ON THE BACK SO THE DUST DOESN’T COME IN WITH YOU. IN APOLLO, WE DIDN’T HAVE THAT SEPARATION. >> RIGHT. >> IN THOSE DAYS, THEY USED ZIPPERS TO CLOSE UP THE SUIT AND DUST AND ZIPPERS DON’T LIKE EACH OTHER. >> RIGHT. >> THIS JUST IN. >> MM-HMM. >> AND SO, THE SUIT YOU SAW DIDN’T HAVE ANY ZIPPERS. WE’VE GONE AWAY FROM THAT NOW. >> RIGHT. >> SO, AND EVERYTHING’S ON THE BACK TO SEPARATE. SO, YEAH, THOSE ARE THE LITTLE DETAILS THAT GUYS THAT WORK WITH JOHN’S TEAMS ARE THINKING ABOUT EVERY SYSTEM. >> YEAH. AND IT KIND OF HELPS THAT WE’VE EXPLORED THE MOON, RIGHT? BECAUSE IF WE DIDN’T THINK ABOUT, “YEAH, YOU’RE GOING TO BE WALKING ON THE SURFACE, AND THEN, OH, YEAH, YOU’RE GOING TO TRACK ALL THAT DUST BACK INTO THE COCKPIT,” OR WHEREVER YOU’RE GOING TO BE FLYING FROM. NOW WE’RE DESIGNING, LIKE YOU SAID, YOU MENTIONED, IT’S CALL THE SEV, RIGHT? SPACE EXPLORATION VEHICLE? AND IT’S DESIGNED WHERE THE SUITS GO ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE VEHICLE SO YOU NEVER STEP INSIDE WITH THE SUIT, RIGHT? SO THAT’S THE GENERAL IDEA. AND THERE’S A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT EXAMPLES LIKE THAT, RIGHT? >> YEAH. >> WHERE YOU LEARN SOMETHING AND SOME KIND OF COOL NEW TECHNOLOGY THAT WE NEED TO EXPLORE A DIFFERENT PLANET OR SOMETHING COMES OUT OF IT. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE THAT COMES– THAT YOU CAN THINK OF BESIDES THE SUITS MAYBE? >> WELL, WE’LL HAVE ROBOTS TO ASSIST US THERE. ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT THE HUMAN ASPECT OF THIS FLIGHT IS ROBOTS CAN GO AND DISCOVER THINGS, AND WE’VE GOT ROBOTS ON MARS RIGHT NOW DISCOVERING STUFF. BUT THEY REALLY CAN’T EXPLORE. THEY CAN’T– THE HUMAN BRAIN TO SEE THINGS AND COMMUNICATE BACK TO EARTH WHAT THEY’RE SEEING OR IF SOMETHING DOESN’T GO EXACTLY THE WAY IT WAS SUPPOSED TO, TO REACT AND DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. SO, ROBOTS ARE GOING TO BE A BIG PART OF THE MISSION AND HAVE THEM INTERACT WITH THIS. AND YOU GUYS SAW SOME ROBOTS TODAY THAT WILL BE ALONG AS AN ASSIST. >> MM-HMM. >> SO, GOT TO MAKE SURE THEY DO THEIR JOB AS WELL. >> SO, THE ROBOTS WILL BE HELPING LIKE A HUMAN– SO, FOR A MISSION– OR, A MISSION TO MARS. RIGHT? HOW MANY CREW MEMBERS WOULD WE PROBABLY– WOULD PROBABLY BE IDEAL TO TAKE ON A MISSION TO MARS? >> SO, MY NUMBER IS SIX. >> SIX, OKAY. >> OKAY? AND WE’VE DONE WHAT WE CALL CREW SKILL MIX STUDIES OVER THE YEARS. >> OKAY. >> AND IT’S LIKE GLENN SAID, YOU HAVE TO TAKE A DOCTOR BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO TAKE ANOTHER PERSON WHO’S MEDICALLY TRAINED IN CASE THE DOCTOR GETS SICK. YOU NEED ENGINEERS, YOU NEED GEOLOGISTS, YOU NEED ALL THE TECHNICAL– IF YOU ADD UP ALL THE TECHNICAL SPECIALISTS, YOU PROBABLY NEED 25 PEOPLE. SO, THEN IT’S A MATTER OF HOW CAN YOU CROSS-TRAIN PEOPLE TO DO– TO BE A DOCTOR/PILOT/GEOLOGIST. OKAY? >> WOW! >> AND THE BEST I’VE SEEN IS THAT YOU CAN PUT ALL THOSE SPECIALTIES INTO ABOUT SIX PEOPLE. >> WOW! THAT’S AMAZING. I MEAN, SOME OF THE FOLKS FROM THE NEW ASTRONAUT CLASS, RIGHT? I ACTUALLY HAD THE PLEASURE OF TALKING TO SOME OF THEM AND WE WENT THROUGH– I TALKED WITH ANNE ROEMER ON ONE OF THE EARLIER PODCAST EPISODES AND WE JUST WENT THROUGH ALL OF THE DIFFERENT FOLKS THAT WE BROUGHT ON FOR THE CLASS OF 2017. WE HAVE 12 NEW ASTRONAUTS. EACH OF THEM DOES NOT JUST ONE THING. >> RIGHT. >> THEY DO A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT THINGS. >> YEAH. >> FOR EXAMPLE, WOODY HOBURG IS AN ENGINEER IN FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES OF– HE’S LIKE COMPUTER SCIENCE, AND ELECTRICAL, AND AEROSPACE, AND MECHANICAL. LIKE HE’S ALL OF THEM. AND THEN WHEN YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT A DOCTOR PILOT, FRANK RUBIO IS A DOCTOR PILOT. HE FLEW HELICOPTERS, AND THEN HE DID SOME SKYDIVING, BUT THEN ALSO IS A MEDICAL DOCTOR BY TRAINING. IT’S INSANE. SO, THEY’RE FINDING THESE FOLKS THAT HAVE ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT SPECIALITIES, BUT WHEN YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT SCIENTIST/MEDICAL DOCTOR/PILOT AND THEN YOU HAVE ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT FOLKS THAT ARE SLASH, SLASH, SLASH, IT’S AMAZING. I HAVE– >> AND I WOULD RECOMMEND HAVING– BEING ABLE TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT. >> AND MANY ASTRONAUTS KNOW HOW TO. >> RIGHT. >> YEAH. >> WE HAVE GUITARS AND OTHER THINGS UP IN SPACE RIGHT NOW. >> YEAH. >> BECAUSE MUSIC IS REALLY A PART OF LIFE. >> ABSOLUTELY. >> AND IT’S ONE THING TO HAVE PRE-RECORDED MUSIC, BUT TO CREATE MUSIC AND MAKE YOUR OWN MUSIC WOULD BE PART OF IT. BECAUSE YOU NEED JOY. >> YEAH. ABSOLUTELY. >> YOU CAN’T DO– NOT JUST WORKING ALL THE TIME. YOU NEED TO HAVE THE JOY OF LIFE. >> AND YOU’RE RIGHT, SOME OF THE– SO, RIGHT, AS WE WERE SAYING, WE HAVE PROGRESSED FROM SHUTTLE FLIGHTS, WHICH WERE A COUPLE OF DAYS, ALL THE WAY UP TO NOW INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION FLIGHTS, WHICH ARE SEVERAL MONTHS. >> YEAH. >> SO, THEY’RE UP THERE FOR A LONG TIME AND A LOT OF THEM, LIKE YOU SAY, THEY DO BRING INSTRUMENTS. >> YEAH, CHRIS HADFIELD. >> WE HAVE– CHRIS HADFIELD HAS HIS GUITAR, RIGHT? >> HE’S GREAT. >> HE’S JAMMIN’. WE’VE HAD FOLKS BRING FLUTES. >> CADY COLEMAN. >> CADY COLEMAN, RIGHT. AND THEN I THINK KJELL LINDGREN BROUGHT BAGPIPES, RIGHT? >> WOW! >> THEY MADE HIM PRACTICE WAY ON THE OTHER SIDE. >> YEAH! >> HE WASN’T INVITED BACK! >> YOU KNOW WHAT, IT’S FUNNY. YEAH, I THINK SIX IS A GOOD NUMBER. THERE’S SIX MEMBERS OF STYX AS WELL, AND WE ARE VERY GOOD AT THE MUSIC PART. >> WE DO HAVE A MECHANICAL ENGINEER. >> WELL, WE DO. WE HAVE ONE. THAT’S RIGHT. J.Y. HAS A DEGREE IN ROCKET SCIENCE. >> REALLY? >> HE DOES, ACTUALLY. >> THERE YOU GO! >> AND, YOU KNOW, JUST LIKE A BAND, A CREW HAS TO BE A VERY COHESIVE GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO GET ALONG AND KNOW HOW TO SOLVE THEIR CONFLICTS WITHOUT LEAVING THE BAND. >> RIGHT. >> BECAUSE THERE’S NO PLACE TO GO UP THERE. >> YEAH. >> BECAUSE THEY ARE CONSTANTLY, THEY ARE ADJUSTING TO THINGS, YOU KNOW? AND YOU’RE– A LOT OF TIMES YOU’RE WORKING ON NOT ENOUGH SLEEP, THE WEATHER DOESN’T COOPERATE WITH YOU, YOU’RE GOING INTO THESE HABITATS THAT ARE DIFFERENT EVERY DAY, AND DIFFERENT CONFIGURATIONS OF HOW OUR– OUR DRESSING ROOM SOMETIMES WE’RE ALL IN ONE ROOM, SOMETIMES WE’RE IN– WE HAVE INDIVIDUAL ROOMS. SO, YOU HAVE TO BE ADAPTABLE AND FLEXIBLE AND KNOW WHEN YOU ARE FATIGUED AND– >> MM-HMM. >> YEP. >> AND KNOW YOURSELF. AND BEING IN A BAND IS– WE’RE VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE THE GROUP THAT WE HAVE BECAUSE SOMEHOW WE’VE– WE JUST GET THROUGH IT ALL, DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO, ADAPT, AND THEN AT THE END OF THE NIGHT WE GET TO GO PLAY, AND THAT’S REALLY WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. YOU’RE WILLING TO GO THROUGH WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET THERE AND TO GET THAT 75 OR 90 OR 100 MINUTES. >> YEAH. >> I THINK THAT’S– THAT IS WHAT BEING A BAND IS SOMEWHAT AKIN TO WHAT YOU’RE SAYING. LIKE, YOU HAVE TO– YOU HAVE TO KEEP– THE FOCUS HAS TO REMAIN ON WHAT’S BIGGER THAN ANY ONE INDIVIDUAL. AND TO BE ABLE TO NAVIGATE YOUR WAY THROUGH THE– HUMAN CONFLICT IS PART OF LIFE, AND IT’S PART OF DISCOVERY, AND IT’S PART OF THE FRICTION THAT BRINGS NEW THINGS ABOUT. BUT, TO DO THAT OVER AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, AS THESE PEOPLE WOULD BE– A CREW OF SIX WOULD BE FACED WITH, THEY HAVE TO HAVE THOSE KINDS OF SKILLS IN ADDITION TO ALL THOSE OTHER TALENTS. >> ABSOLUTELY. >> SO, THAT’S HARD. HOW DO YOU? IT’S HARD TO PICK THOSE PEOPLE. >> IT’LL TAKE A WHILE TO GO THROUGH THAT EVALUATION. WE’LL HAVE LOTS OF CANDIDATES TO LINE UP FOR THOSE SIX SPOTS. >> YEAH. >> IT’S GOING TO FUNDAMENTALLY BE A DIFFERENT KIND OF ASTRONAUT THAN WE’VE HAD BEFORE, JUST BECAUSE OF THE LENGTH OF THE MISSION, AND THE SELF-RELIANCE, AND YOU DON’T HAVE– EVEN COMMUNICATIONS. RIGHT NOW, IF WE WERE TO TALK TO SOMEONE ON MARS, YOU’RE 22 LIGHT MINUTES AWAY, ONE WAY. SO, IF YOU WERE TO ASK THEM, “HEY, CAN YOU GUYS HEAR ME?” YOU ALL CAN’T ANSWER BACK UNTIL 44 MINUTES LATER. AND SO, EVEN THE DYNAMICS OF HOW WE CONTROL A MISSION AND HOW WE CAN HELP THE PEOPLE UP THERE IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT. SO, IT’S GOING TO BE A MUCH DIFFERENT MISSION THAN ANYTHING WE’VE EVER DONE, EVEN OUT TO THE MOON. >> AND I THINK WHAT’S EVEN– YOU KNOW, ANOTHER IMPORTANT POINT IS THE FACT THAT THESE GUYS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO BE NOT ONLY– THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF EXPERTISE, BUT THEY’RE GOING TO BE TOGETHER FOR SUCH A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, SO THEY DEFINITELY HAVE TO GET ALONG PRETTY WELL. AND, YOU KNOW, IN MOMENTS OF CRISIS THEY HAVE TO KIND OF WORK THROUGH DIFFERENT SITUATIONS TOGETHER. AND AT THE DROP OF A HAT, ONE THING YOU’RE PLANNING ONE WAY, AND THEN IT’S GOING TO GO A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WAY. DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY EXAMPLES ON STAGE WHERE SOMETHING JUST IS NOT GOING ACCORDING TO PLAN? >> EVERY NIGHT, YEAH. >> EVERY NIGHT! >> ABSOLUTELY. >> BUT I MEAN, YOU JUST HAVE TO PUSH THROUGH, RIGHT? >> YEAH, AS A BAND, YOU JUST– YOU JUST PAY ATTENTION TO EACH OTHER, AND YOU GET– IF IT GOES OFF THE RAILS, WHICH IT DOES SOMETIMES, BECAUSE YOU’RE ALL HUMAN– >> YEAH. >> EVERYBODY JUST FOLLOWS YOU BACK– OFF THE RAILS AND THEN BACK ON AGAIN. >> YEAH. >> AND YOU DON’T LET ON. >> YEAH, I HEAR YA! >> YEAH. IT’S A TWO-SIDED THING. ONE IS THAT THE MACHINERY HAS TO WORK IN ORDER FOR YOU TO PLAY IT PROPERLY. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE’RE ALL FOCUSED ON THE ENTERTAINMENT OF THE AUDIENCE AS TO WHAT WE’RE DOING ON STAGE. SO, THAT’S MORE LIKE THE BIGGER PICTURE IS CONSTANTLY BEING READJUSTED TO. >> YEAH. >> AND THAT HAS TO BE– SOME OF THAT’S DONE ALMOST– I MEAN, I WON’T SAY IT’S TELEPATHIC, BUT IT’S JUST A NATURAL REACTION THAT YOU HAVE TO EACH MEMBER OF THE GROUP, BECAUSE YOU REALLY ARE PLAYING TOGETHER. YOU’RE TRYING TO SPEAK AS ONE VOICE. >> YEAH. >> THAT COHESIVENESS IS WHAT WE’VE GOT TO STRIVE FOR IN OUR CREWS. >> YEAH. >> AND WE’LL HAVE INTERNATIONAL CREWS, SO WE’LL BE MIXING CULTURES, AS WELL, BUT THAT COHESIVENESS IS WHAT IS GOING TO MAKE US SUCCESSFUL OR UNSUCCESSFUL. >> WELL, THAT WOULD HINDER OUR FLIGHT. >> AND THAT WAS SO EVIDENT TODAY ABOUT HOW THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA HAVE COMBINED, AND WHEN THEY’RE SOMETIMES AT ODDS WITH EACH OTHER IS WHEN FINALLY A BETTER SOLUTION COMES OUT OF A SITUATION. >> AND WE’RE PRACTICING THAT WITH THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION RIGHT NOW. >> YEAH. >> TWELVE, THIRTEEN COUNTRIES ALL PARTICIPATING, MAKING THAT THING A SUCCESS. >> ABSOLUTELY! >> A CANADARM CAME, LIKE– [ INDISTINCT ] >> SO, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS IS WE TRAIN ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION ALL THE TIME. AND WE’RE TRAINING FOR MISSIONS BEYOND AND GETTING OURSELVES PREPARED. IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG, WE’LL BE PREPARED FOR IT BECAUSE WE’VE PRACTICED SO MANY TIMES. AND I’M GUESSING IT’S THE SAME FOR YOU GUYS, RIGHT? YOU’VE PRACTICED SO MANY TIMES THAT IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, AT THE DROP OF A HAT, YOU CAN KIND OF– YOU KNOW, THAT’S HOW YOU’RE ABLE TO PULL THROUGH ON ALL THESE NIGHTS. >> HOW ABOUT THE NIGHT IN CARMEL EARLIER THIS YEAR WHEN THE POWER COMPLETELY WENT OUT, 100%? YEAH. AND FORTUNATELY, WE WERE IN A THEATER THAT KIND OF HAD A– IT HAD AN ALMOST STEEPLE-LIKE CHURCH TYPE THING. SO ALTHOUGH THERE WERE A COUPLE OF THOUSAND PEOPLE THERE, YOU COULD ACTUALLY HEAR FROM THE STAGE ACOUSTICALLY. SO, WE BASICALLY– THIS WAS GREAT. >> WHILE WE WERE PLAYING A SONG! I HAD TO PLAY AN ACOUSTIC. >> OH, RIGHT! MAN IN THE WILDERNESS. >> EVERYTHING STOPPED. >> YEAH. >> BUT THE DRUMS WERE ACOUSTIC AND MY GUITAR WAS ACOUSTIC, SO WE JUST KEPT PLAYING. >> JUST IT TURNED INTO AN ACOUSTICS! OH, WOW! THAT’S AMAZING. >> YEAH. AN UNPLUGGED SET, RIGHT? >> THE WEIRD THING IS THE AUDIENCE, LIKE, THEY GOT TOTALLY INTO IT. AND THEN EVENTUALLY WE FOUND A PIANO ABOUT FOUR FLOORS DOWN, SO PEOPLE ON HAND LOVED THE PIANO. IT WASN’T IN GREAT TUNE OR ANYTHING, BUT WE PLAYED FOR ABOUT ANOTHER HALF HOUR BEFORE THE– WE WERE OUT OF HYPERGOLIC FUMES. >> THAT’S FLEXIBILITY, ADAPTABILITY. THERE YOU GO! >> NO REFUNDS, WHICH WAS GREAT. >> THOSE ARE THE ONES YOU CAN REMEMBER, TOO, THOUGH. IT’S LIKE WHEN IT RAINS, OR YOU HAVE SOME KIND OF NATURAL THING THAT GETS IN THE WAY OF IT. THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT YOU REMEMBER BECAUSE YOU SEE– YOU REALLY SEE WHAT THE BAND IS MADE OF, YOU KNOW, AND HOW YOU GET THROUGH THAT. AND YOUR AUDIENCE. THEY’RE WILLING TO– IF THEY’RE WILLING TO WAIT AND STAY THROUGH THE WEATHER, THEN WE’RE CERTAINLY GOING TO DO IT. >> ABSOLUTELY. >> AND YOU MENTIONED EARLIER KIND OF THE BIG PICTURE OF THE ENTERTAINMENT OF THE AUDIENCE. MARS IS REALLY A DESTINATION, BUT GETTING THERE, WE HAVE TO SOLVE A LOT OF DIFFERENT PROBLEMS THAT WE HOPE TO DRIVE RIGHT BACK INTO LIFE HERE ON EARTH, TO MAKE LIFE ON EARTH EVEN BETTER FOR US AS MANKIND. >> RIGHT. >> BY SOLVING THE PROBLEMS THAT WOULD GO INTO THIS PLACE. SO, MARS IS A GREAT DRAW BECAUSE IT REALLY PUSHES US TO SOLVE SOME PRETTY TOUGH PROBLEMS. WATER RECLAMATION FOR THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES. >> RIGHT. >> WE HAVE TO HAVE PURE WATER FOR THIS TRIP. SO, THOSE KIND OF SPIN-OFFS ARE PART OF WHAT WE DO, AS WELL, IN THE BIG PICTURE. >> YEAH, FOR SURE. >> THOSE ARE KIND OF– TO YOUR POINT, LAWRENCE, WHERE YOU HAVE ALL THIS TECHNOLOGY AND YOU HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT, BUT THEN ULTIMATELY THE GOAL. THE GOAL FOR US IS MARS. THE GOAL FOR YOU GUYS IS THE ENTERTAINMENT OF THE AUDIENCE. SO, EVERYTHING HAS TO WORK, BUT IF IT DOESN’T, YOU STILL HAVE TO ACHIEVE THAT GOAL. >> YEAH. >> AND THAT’S WHERE YOU– YOU’RE BRINGING A PIANO FROM FOUR FLOORS UNDER TO STILL ACHIEVE THAT GOAL. AND IT’S WORKING. >> YEAH. >> BUT I GUESS FOR SPACE IT’S JUST A TEENY BIT HARDER. >> I THINK SO. >> YEAH, NO EXTRA PIANO. >> NO, EXACTLY. >> THAT’S ONE OF THE HARDEST PARTS FOR US, IS LIKE WHEN YOU– TO YOUR POINT, JOHN, WHEN YOU WERE SAYING FOR APOLLO MISSIONS, WE BROUGHT EVERYTHING WITH US, RIGHT? NO SPARE PARTS. I THINK A PERFECT EXAMPLE IS APOLLO 13, WHERE THINGS WERE GOING WRONG. WE DIDN’T HAVE SPARE PARTS TO FIX THINGS, BUT WE STILL FIXED THEM WITH THE STUFF WE HAD ON BOARD, RIGHT? YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT ENGINEERS GETTING TOGETHER IN MISSION CONTROL AND JUST LAYING OUT ALL THE STUFF THAT THEY KNEW WAS IN THE CAPSULE AND SAYING, “ALL RIGHT, HOW CAN WE FIX THIS ISSUE?” WE ACTUALLY HAD SOMETHING VERY RECENTLY, TOO, WHERE WE HAD– WE WERE DOING A SPACE WALK A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO, RIGHT, AND WE WERE SUPPOSED TO PUT A SHIELD ON THE OUTSIDE OF ONE OF THE MODULES. WELL, THE SHIELD GOT INADVERTENTLY LOST. SO, THERE WERE FOUR SHIELDS, AND WE WERE SUPPOSED TO PUT UP ONE, TWO, THREE, AND THEN THERE’S THIS EXPOSED PART ON ONE SIDE, AND WE NEEDED TO COVER IT UP. WELL, IT JUST SO HAPPENED THAT DURING THE SAME SPACE WALK WE TOOK ANOTHER COVER OFF OF ANOTHER PART OF THE SPACECRAFT. SO, ENGINEERS TOOK THAT COVER AND SAID, “OKAY, HOW CAN WE FIT THIS COVER ONTO THIS PART?” IT WAS LIKE– IT WAS KIND OF REMINISCENT OF THAT TIME WHERE YOU HAD TO THROW EVERYTHING– ALL RIGHT, WHAT DO WE HAVE AND WHAT CAN WE DO? AND THEY FIGURED IT OUT. THEY ACTUALLY FIGURED OUT HOW TO LAY THIS COVER OVER THAT EXPOSED PART. INSANE. THAT’S, I GUESS, OUR GRAND PIANO MOMENT, RIGHT? >> THAT’S GOT TO BE A GREAT DAY FOR THE CREW, THOUGH, TO– >> OH, IT REALLY WAS. >> FOR EVERYBODY. TO SOLVE THAT PROBLEM. >> I THINK WHAT’S EVEN BETTER IS DURING THAT SPACE WALK, I THINK WE GOT EVERYTHING DONE, RIGHT? >> OH, YEAH. >> I THINK ALL THE MISSIONS WERE– EVEN WITH THAT SETBACK, WE STILL ACCOMPLISHED THE MISSION AND GOT EVERYTHING DONE WE NEEDED TO. IT’S REALLY CRAZY. AND THAT’S THE STUFF WE’VE GOT TO PREPARE FOR. AND THAT’S THE STUFF YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT, RIGHT? AND WHAT HAPPENS– HOW MANY SITUATIONS, JOHN, ARE YOU THINKING, “OKAY, IF THIS GOES WRONG, THIS IS WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO”? HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU THINK THAT IN A DAY? >> HOW LONG DO YOU GOT? >> SO, WE WILL TAKE SOME SPARES WITH US, OKAY? >> YEAH! >> WE’RE NOT JUST GOING TO HAVE THE BOX OF STUFF WE HAVE. >> YEAH, YEAH. >> BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT OVER TIME SOME THINGS BREAK. AND SO, WHAT WE’RE LOOKING AT IS WHAT THINGS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BREAK, AND WE’LL TAKE SPARES FOR THOSE AND FIGURE OUT WAYS TO FIX THE STUFF THAT GOES WRONG. SO, YEAH, YOU CAN’T ASSUME EVERYTHING IS GOING TO WORK JUST RIGHT. >> MM-HMM. >> SO, A LOT OF THE PLANNING WE DO IS FIGURING OUT WHAT TOOLS, WHAT SPARES, WHAT MAINTENANCE EQUIPMENT TO TAKE WITH US TO FIX STUFF THAT’S GOING TO GO WRONG, BECAUSE THAT’S ALL WE GOT, YOU KNOW? NO PIANO IN THE BASEMENT. >> YEAH, HE HAS A TERM CALLED DISSIMILAR REDUNDANCY. SO, ELECTRIC GUITAR AND AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR. >> YEAH. >> THAT’S ON STAGE WITH YOU. AND SO WE HAVE SOMETHING THAT BUILDS OXYGEN AND SOMETHING ELSE THAT BUILDS OXYGEN OVER HERE, IN CASE THIS ONE FAILS. >> AND, YOU KNOW, AT A CERTAIN YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF HARDWARE ON MARS. SO, IT STANDS TO REASON THAT YOU COULD DO– YOU COULD SALVAGE PARTS, AND– >> OH, SURE, YEAH. >> AND THAT’S WHY IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO USE THE SAME SIZE SCREWS FOR EVERYTHING AND THINGS LIKE THAT. >> YEAH. >> WOW, AMAZING. SO, BEFORE WE WRAP UP, LAWRENCE, TOMMY, DO YOU HAVE ANY SORT OF– JUST TALKING ABOUT EXPLORING THE SOLAR SYSTEM AND ALL THESE DIFFERENT THINGS, DO YOU HAVE ANY SORT OF FLOATING QUESTIONS THAT, YOU KNOW, JUST SORT OF POPPED UP, JUST BASED ON THE TOUR AND THIS KIND OF CONVERSATION? ANYTHING THAT YOU WERE WONDERING? OR MAYBE SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT STUFF THAT YOU WEREN’T WONDERING BUT HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF NOW? >> WELL, WHAT ABOUT, YOU KNOW, YOU ALWAYS SEE SUSPENDED ANIMATION, OR LIKE– IS THERE ANY REALITY TO THAT CONCEPT? >> IT MAKES FOR GOOD ENTERTAINING. >> YEAH, THAT’S– I’M AN ENGINEER. THAT’S WAY OUT OF MY EXPERTISE. >> YEAH, THAT– WE’LL HAVE TO BRING A DOCTOR IN FOR THAT. NO, I DON’T THINK WE’RE DOING MUCH IN THOSE FIELDS, THAT I KNOW OF, ANYWAY. >> THAT IS– IT’S A GOOD TOOL TO GET YOU PLACES WHEN YOU’RE TELLING A STORY. >> YEP. >> ABSOLUTELY. BUT YOU KNOW, FOR THE MISSIONS THAT YOU GUYS ARE PLANNING FOR, YOU’RE TALKING– YOU KNOW, HOW WILL THEY GET THROUGH THOSE COUPLE OF MONTHS? BECAUSE WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT, I THINK THE SHORTEST TIME TO GET TO MARS WILL BE SEVEN MONTHS, RIGHT? MAYBE CLOSER TO NINE. WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO BE DOING IN THAT TIME TO SORT OF FILL IT? >> SO, THAT’S A GREAT QUESTION. SO, THEY’RE GOING TO BE EXERCISING LIKE CRAZY, BECAUSE YOU WANT TO ARRIVE AT MARS AS HEALTHY AS YOU COULD POSSIBLY BE. >> YEAH. >> THEY’RE GOING TO BE KEEPING THE SYSTEMS RUNNING. BUT THEY’RE GOING TO BE DOING AS MUCH SCIENCE AS THEY CAN ON THE WAY, TOO. NOW, MOST OF THE SCIENCE WILL PROBABLY BE SCIENCE ON THEMSELVES, SCIENCE ON THE HUMANS. BECAUSE WE’VE NEVER BEEN IN THAT DEEP SPACE CONDITION FOR THAT LONG BEFORE. THERE’S ALSO– YOU KNOW, WE’VE ACTUALLY BEEN TALKING ABOUT THEM DOING ASTRONOMY ALONG THE WAY. SO, THERE WILL BE REAL SCIENCE THAT THEY ACCOMPLISH, NOT JUST TRYING TO STAY HEALTHY. >> DO WE HAVE A GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF HOW, YOU KNOW, THE SKY, I GUESS, WILL LOOK ON THAT TRANSIT TO MARS? WILL YOU BE ABLE TO SEE A LOT OF DIFFERENT STARS? >> YEAH. IN FACT, THAT’S ALL YOU’LL BE ABLE TO SEE. >> ALL RIGHT, COOL! BECAUSE I GUESS THE VIEWS– >> BECAUSE THE EARTH IS GOING TO BECOME A LITTLE BLUE DOT VERY QUICKLY. >> YEAH. >> AND MARS WILL STILL BE OUR LITTLE RED DOT OUT THE OTHER WINDOW. >> SUN’S GETTING SMALLER AND SMALLER. >> YEAH, THE SUN IS JUST A KIND OF A BIGGER STAR IN THE SKY, AND EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST STARS. >> AMAZING. BUT WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WEIGHT, RIGHT? THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT. HOW MUCH STUFF CAN WE BRING WITH US ON THAT JOURNEY TO MARS? >> JUST ENOUGH. THAT’S HOW MUCH WE CAN BRING. >> SO NOW I’M GUESSING TELESCOPES IS PART OF THAT JUST ENOUGH. >> RIGHT. >> OH, YEAH. >> YEAH. IN SPACE, IN THE HUMAN SPACE TRAVEL, MASS IS ALMOST EQUAL TO COST, RIGHT? >> YEAH. >> SO, YOU KNOW, FOR EVERY BIT OF MASS YOU ADD, YOU’RE ADDING COST, BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO BOOST IT INTO SPACE AND GET IT TO WHERE YOU NEED TO GET IT. SO, EVERYTHING WE DO IS ALL ABOUT SAVING MASS. IN THE APOLLO MISSIONS, THEY ACTUALLY SAWED THE HANDLE OFF OF TOOTHBRUSHES TO SAVE MASS. >> WOW. >> HUH! >> JUST BECAUSE MASS WAS SO PRECIOUS BACK THEN. >> UNBELIEVABLE. >> THEY FIGURE YOU COULD USE A TOOTHBRUSH THAT HAS A LITTLE ONE INCH HANDLE ON IT AS GOOD AS YOU CAN USE A TOOTHBRUSH THAT HAS A SIX INCH HANDLE ON IT. >> WOW. >> WOW, THAT’S AMAZING. THAT’S CHECK-IN LUGGAGE, RIGHT THERE. >> YEAH. A LITTLE BIT STRICTER RESTRICTIONS THAN THE TSA, I THINK, FOR SPACE FLIGHT. >> YEAH, YEAH. >> ANY MORE DYING QUESTIONS BEFORE WE WRAP UP? >> I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING– I DON’T KNOW IF I HAVE ANYTHING PERTINENT TO EITHER OF YOU GUYS, BECAUSE I THINK THE THING THAT IMPRESSED ME TODAY, AGAIN, WAS WHEN DAN WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW MUCH EXERCISE. LIKE YOU WERE SAYING, YOU HAVE TO ARRIVE THERE HEALTHY. IT JUST GOT ME THINKING A LOT ABOUT HOW MUCH WE– OUR BODIES CHANGE WHEN WE’RE AWAY FROM THIS PLANET, AND OVER SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. AND THAT GETS ME THINKING ABOUT, WELL, WHAT WILL HUMANITY LOOK LIKE? HOW WOULD– WHAT WILL WE BE LIKE ONCE WE’VE SPENT A FEW YEARS SOMEWHERE ELSE? LIKE, IT COULD ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY CHANGE US INCREDIBLY. ONE OF THE GOOD THINGS I HEARD IS APPARENTLY YOUR WRINKLES GO AWAY. >> THAT’S GOOD. >> BUT I MEAN, AS A SPECIES, IT ACTUALLY WILL CHANGE US. >> YEAH, I THINK IF WE– IF THERE’S PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY ARE BORN AND LIVE ON MARS, WITHIN A FEW GENERATIONS, YEAH, YOU WILL BE CHANGED BECAUSE YOU’RE LIVING IN A LOWER GRAVITY ENVIRONMENT YOUR ENTIRE LIFE AND– SURE. >> MIGHT EVEN DEVELOP IMMUNITIES TO SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT EARLIER, GLENN, BUT, YOU KNOW, CERTAIN THINGS– I DON’T KNOW. I’M JUST SPITBALLING HERE. >> YEAH! >> IF I HAD A CHANCE, I’LL TALK TO MY GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDSON ONE DAY, AND I’LL ASK HIM THE QUESTION. >> YEAH, GOOD! >> YEAH, AWESOME. WELL, GUYS, IT’S BEEN AN ABSOLUTE PLEASURE TO BOTH TALK TO YOU AS A PART OF THIS PODCAST, BUT ALSO HAVE YOU HERE TODAY AND KIND OF SHOW YOU EVERYTHING THAT WE’RE DOING. AND IT’S JUST SO EXCITING TO SEE HOW ENGAGED YOU WERE AND TO– YOU KNOW, IT’S BEEN A REAL ABSOLUTE PLEASURE. AND, OF COURSE, JOHN AND GLENN, THANKS FOR TALKING ABOUT THE REAL SCIENCE THAT WE’RE DOING HERE AT THE JOHNSON SPACE CENTER. >> THANK YOU FOR HAVING US. >> THANKS FOR ASKING US. >> ABSOLUTELY. >> IT WAS UNFORGETTABLE. [ MUSIC ] [ INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER ] >> NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE EASY, BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE HARD. >> HOUSTON, WELCOME TO SPACE. >> HEY, THANKS FOR STICKING AROUND. SO TODAY WE TALKED WITH GLENN LUTZ, JOHN CONNOLLY, AND SOME OF THE MEMBERS OF STYX, JUST ABOUT EXPLORING THE COSMOS AND HUMAN EXPLORATION. IT WAS A FANTASTIC CONVERSATION, AS YOU PROBABLY KNOW, BECAUSE YOU’VE LISTENED TO THE WHOLE THING AT THIS POINT. BUT IF YOU GO TO NASA.GOV ON THE FRONT PAGE YOU CAN SEE ALL OF THE THINGS THAT WE’RE EXPLORING, ALL THE PLACES WE ARE IN THE UNIVERSE, BOTH ROBOTIC MISSIONS AND HUMAN MISSIONS. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW JUST ABOUT EXPLORING THE COSMOS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF HUMAN EXPLORATION, GO TO NASA.GOV/JOHNSON. WE ARE THE CENTER FOR HUMAN EXPLORATION WITHIN NASA. SO YOU CAN FIND ALL OF THE HUMAN MISSIONS THERE. ON SOCIAL MEDIA, WE’RE VERY ACTIVE, SO JUST FOLLOW US ON ANY OF THE ACCOUNTS ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, SNAPCHAT– ANY OF THOSE GUYS. LOOK FOR NASA. AND IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THE STORY OF HUMAN EXPLORATION, LOOK FOR NASA JOHNSON. YOU CAN ALSO USE THE HASHTAG #ASKNASA ON ANY ONE OF THE PLATFORMS AND SUBMIT A QUESTION OR IDEA FOR AN EPISODE THAT WE SHOULD DO IN THE FUTURE. YOU CAN ALSO USE THE HASHTAG #HWHAP — H-W-H-A-P FOR “HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PODCAST.” THIS PODCAST WAS RECORDED ON JULY 28th. THANKS TO ALEX PERRYMAN, JOHN STOLL, JENNY KNOTTS, AND JEANIE AQUINO. AND THANKS AGAIN TO MR. GLENN LUTZ AND MR. JOHN CONNOLLY, AS WELL AS MR. TOMMY SHAW AND MR. LAWRENCE GOWEN FROM STYX FOR COMING ON THE SHOW. WE’LL BE BACK NEXT WEEK.