Archive for the 'Lunar Exploration' Category

On this episode of Talking Space, the team discusses the International Space Station One Year Mission. We also mention that the New Horizons spacecraft is just a little over 90 days away from its destination: Pluto. We then look at the ramifications of an article by Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle making an assertion that NASA is looking at leveraging the Moon as a true stepping stone to Mars. We also cite The Examiner's Mark Whittington, and a rebuttal to Mr. Berger's piece by Marcia Smith at SpacePolicyOnline . Mr. Berger stood by his piece in a later blog post. NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said during a public panel aired on NASA TV, “I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade." We discuss what that really means for us and how some main stream media outlets have reported on this story. Mark Ratterman wraps up his involvement with the First Robotics Competition  and what do the Mars Exploration Rovers have in common with Major League Baseball? We'll tell you in this week's NASA Spinoff Segment. 

The outro song is "Familiar Frontier " by Craft Lass. It is used with her permission. To purchase the file, visit The song is also available on iTunes and Google Play.
Show recorded: 4/9/2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass 


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On this episode of Talking Space, we begin our two part discussion of a recent trip to Pasadena, California for SpaceFest VI. The event features astronauts, artists, and other vendors and speakers as a way to talk about current topics in the space community and meet some of the people who made the past possible. During this part, we talk about the events leading up to the event including a tour of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a visit to Endeavour at the California Science Center. We then begin talking about the opening event with the Apollo astronaut panel. Afterwards, we talk about what was on the floor of the event, and a special birthday celebration for an astronaut.

Tune in to Part 2 to hear about the panels and discussions as well as a look at another Californai conference that happened around the same time.

Images were inserted here. To view them visit

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Gene Mikulka

Show recorded 06/06/2014

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SpaceX launched CRS3 successfully and the Falcon 9 first stage made a zero velocity soft landing in the Atlantic. We also noticed that typical NASA news conferences vs one with SpaceX is quite different. We look forward to Orbital making their first night launch mid-June from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport with cargo to the ISS. So, were you concerned about the problem on the ISS with MDM possibly impacting the SpaceX launch? Well of course now we know SpaceX was able to launch without delays related to that problem on orbit.
LADEE's mission is complete; we know some great science was accomplished and look forward to hearing more from the team involved. NASA selects Kathryn Lueders as Commercial Crew Program Manager at KSC.
The 1 year anniversary of the signing of a lease with PaR Systems took place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Hanger N. Listen to a short recording of KSC Director Bob Cabana talking about how important this is for the future of our space program. To see more about the incredible variety of work PaR Systems does and in particular the non-destructive testing capabilities go to

Our next episode will be our 200th. You can count on another great interview with a NASA Astronaut (and no we're not telling who it is till next week)

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Mark Ratterman and The Spaceflight Group's Jason Rhian

Show recorded 04/22/2014

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On this episode of Talking Space, we welcome The Spaceflight Group's Jason Rhian to discuss his trip to see TDRS-L launch. Along with talking about the launch and TDRS-L, we discuss some other experiences he had while at the Kennedy Space Center including some insider information on Dreamchaser as well as a "look" at Orion. We wrap things up with a happier look at NASA's Remembrance Week.

For more on The Spaceflight Group, visit and follow them on Twitter@SpaceflightGrp and like them on Facebook 

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Gene Mikulka with special guest Jason Rhian of The Spaceflight Group

Show Recorded 1/27/2014


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On this episode we discuss the multiple launch attempts by SpaceX of the SES-8 satellite. Frustration at lack of information provided by SpaceX to the press gets considerable attention from the Talking Space panel. Will it change when crew launches begin? We sure hope so. Did you know Kimbal Musk, brother of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk started a blog in November of 2005? It is named “Kwajalein Atoll and Rockets” - Kimbal Musk also has a twitter account @kimbal though most of his recent tweets are not SpaceX related.

Comet ISON got our attention, now we say goodbye as its first trip around the sun did not end as so many hoped. Sorry but no incredible December holiday views of ISON are expected. Here is a link to the SDO Mission Blog and the post from November 29, 2013 describing the challenge that observing sun grazing comets presents.

On December 1, 2013 at 1730 UTC China National Space Administration (CNSA) launched a Long March 3B carrying the Chang’e-3 lander/rover to the moon. It was a welcome surprise to find @CCTVnews (China Central Television) provided live streaming coverage of the launch. They also requested participation from social media! The multiple camera views, commentary and length of coverage from prior to launch to after payload separation were appreciated by spaceflight enthusiasts eager to follow along. The European Space Agency is supporting Chang’e-3 to the moon. See this link to read more

Emily brings us an introduction to her article on SpaceFlight Insider about the 30 years of spaceflight participation by European Space Agency. You’ll appreciate ESA even more for their contributions to manned spaceflight, exploration and certainly the International Space Station. Also we talk about the Spaceflight Insider Team and hear that “we ain’t seen nothing yet” regarding future plans. Here is the link to Emily’s December 1, 2013 ESA article

The Kepler Space Telescope is in the news again. A new plan may allow Kepler to reacquire its pointing ability and continue searching for exoplanets. Some great reading material is available for FREE from NASA. They have ebooks available supporting Kindle and other ebook readers. How about their most recent title"NASA's First A:Aeronautics from 1958-2008" Go to to find your next great read.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman. Guest Panelist: Emily Carney from our partner The Spaceflight Group

Show recorded 12/02/2013


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On this episode of Talking Space we discuss the SpaceX launch attempt of 25 November 2013 which ended with a hold then a scrub with plans their next try for 28 November. The ExoMars mission entry descent and landing module has been named after Italian Astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli. We talk about the discoveries Schiaparelli made in 1877 of "canali" or channels on Mars. ExoMars first launch is scheduled for 2016.
Then some news about cancellation of the new ASRG equipment ptogram using PU-238 Radioisotope and an upcoming launch of CNSA Chang'e 3 to the moon.
The Chang'e 3 will have a lander delivering China's first rover to the moon. Gene brings up some real concerns about anticipated effects of the Chinese lander's exhaust plume on the US LADEE satellite which just started measurements to establish baseline readings of the lunar exosphere. Could the Chinese Chang'e 3 interfere with LADEE? It sort of depends on how you look at the LADEE mission objectives.
Space Tourist Dennis Tito appeared before the US House subcomittee on space. He wanted the US government to to join with his vision of Inspiration Mars "A Mission for America" Sounds foolhardy and dangerous to Gene and for 2017/2018, $700 million from NASA'a budget is out of the question.
Olympic Gold Medal winners on Feb 15th of the 2014 Winter Olympics will recieve a medal with a piece of the Chelyabinsk meteriorite that exploded over Russia on that date in 2013

Ok now pay attention.... Time to give math some respect as we hear how "Algorithms + F/A-18 Jet = Vital Testing for SLS Flight Control System"
Read the details on this Marshall Space Flight Center / Dryden Flight Research Center program and see how young these "Rocket Scientists" are via the link below

Happy 15th Birthday from Talking Space to the International Space Station. Here is the Canadian Space Agency video Sawyer mentions that is a must watch showing ISS construction made possible by Canadarm2

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

Show recorded 11/25/2013

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On this episode, sticking with the new format, we discuss the recent WGS-4 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. We then proceed to how Opportunity, which is beginning its 8th year on Mars, will be spending the winter. We continue on with more on Phobos-Grunt and its demise. On our second go-around, we discuss how we're taking a look in real time at snowfall amounts. We then proceed to the naming of GRAIL-A and B, which just recently began orbiting the moon. We then move on to the groundbreaking for the exhibit which will house Space Shuttle Atlantis. On our final round, we discuss sea turtles being rescued at Cape Canaveral, a sci-fi movie made in space, and some space junk guidelines.

For information on NASA's Precipitation Measurement Missions, check out their Twitter account,@NASA_Rain or their website

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded - 1/23/2012


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On this episode of Talking Space, we return from our three week summer break to catch you up on the latest in space news, starting with the successful launch of the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, (GRAIL) mission which successfully launched to study the moon and our own Mark Ratterman was there to cover the launch. Mark also gets a special interview with Kim Guodace, a former shuttle vehicle engineer for United Space Alliance. We then move on to the failure of a Progress 44 resupply ship launched aboard a Soyuz and how it may leave the International Space Station unmanned. We move onto the topic of space debris including the UARS satellite scheduled to crash back to Earth at an unknown location. We then discuss some stunning shots of the lunar landing sites taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, LRO. We finish off with pieces of metal on Spirit and Opportunity which were once a part of the World Trade Center towers which were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.

Two images were inserted here. To view them, please visit

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded - 9/11/2011


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On this episode, we finally have the entire team back at the same time to make this episode. We begin with more delays of STS-133, which was no surprise to any of us. We then become surprised by the findings of an earth-like core on the moon as well as organics, the basic building blocks of life, found on Mars back in the 1970s by the Viking landers. We then offer our condolences and well wishes to the victims of the Tuscon, Arizona shooting which injured Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the wife of NASA astronaut and commander of STS-134, Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly). Rep. Gifford's brother-in-law, Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) is currently commanding Expedition 26 on-board the ISS, bringing up the question of what to do if a family emergency occurs when you're 200 miles above the earth.

To visit Brian Shiro's blog post regarding the moon's core, please visit:

To check out all of the projects occuring in the Zooniverse, including Old Weather, please check out:

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gina Herlihy, Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded - 1/9/2011


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On this episode, we talk about OpenLuna Foundation

OpenLuna is a volunteer organization. They welcome and encourage participation. The OpenLuna Foundation was founded to return mankind to the moon through private enterprise. Listen to our conversation with Paul Graham, President/ Chairman of the Board and Debi-Lee Wilkinson VP of Membership/Development & board member. OpenLuna is innovative and open source. Yes! Open Source. This is a show you'll want to download, save and listen to several times. They joined us to talk about………

“Your Moon, Your Mission, Get Involved!” And on twitter Follow OpenLuna @OpenLuna

Hosts this week: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman and Sawyer Rosenstein Special Guests: Paul Graham and Debi-Lee Wilkinson of OpenLuna Foundation

Show Recorded – 10/2010 & 12/19/2010


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