Pieces of Mars: How We’ll Get Them to Earth


Mat Kaplan:
How we are going to get Mars rocks to Earth, this week on Planetary Radio.

Mat Kaplan:
Welcome. I’m Mat Kaplan of the Planetary Society with extra of the human journey throughout our photo voltaic system and past. If it was straightforward, somebody would’ve carried out it already. It’s not. It’s actually, actually arduous, however we’re now nearer than ever to reaching that lengthy held objective for robotic exploration of the Red Planet. NASA JPL’s Richard Cook is the supervisor of the Mars Sample Return Program. He’ll share the present plan, together with how two descendants of Ingenuity, the Mars helicopter, could play key roles.

Mat Kaplan:
Here are a few program notes. I’ll quickly be leaving for the Kennedy Space Center the place I’ll be a part of the hopeful crowd, watching the primary launch of the Space Launch System. That greatest ever rocket will enhance the Artemis 1 Orion capsule towards lunar orbit. It’s sitting on the pad as I document this with every thing trying A-OK for liftoff. Yeah, we actually used to say A-OK. Bruce Betts has provide you with a humdinger of an area trivia query based mostly on the SLS. You’ll get your shot at it on this week’s What’s Up.

Mat Kaplan:
While I’m away, you may get to listen to the celebration of the Voyager mission’s forty fifth anniversary. I’ll be at JPL when deputy challenge scientist Linda Spilker and others mark this event. You’ll hear my protection in our August thirty first present that may also function one other dialog with the nice Ann Druyan. Ann and I’ll speak concerning the Voyager interstellar mission and people golden information she helped create.

Mat Kaplan:
Turning to the Downlink, the Planetary Society’s free weekly e-newsletter means we’re additionally turning again to final week’s go to with Jane Greaves and our dialog about phosphine and the opportunity of life within the ambiance of Venus. Thanks a lot to all of you who took up the problem Jane and I gave you. We’ve acquired a bunch of very entertaining and even stunning artists’ ideas of these penguins who fly excessive above Venus. Need I remind you that there is no such thing as a precise proof for penguins or some other residing organisms there, however reviewing your fanciful art work has been nice enjoyable. We’ll have extra to say about it subsequent week, and we’ll share a few of these pictures. There’s far more at planetary.org/downlink, together with the newest information about Virgin Galactic.

Mat Kaplan:
Richard Cook has been within the Mars exploration Business for greater than three a long time. He labored on the Pathfinder mission that introduced the tiny Sojourner rover to the Red Planet simply over 25 years in the past. He grew to become challenge supervisor for the Mars exploration rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, and did the identical for the far more formidable Curiosity Mars Science Laboratory that’s nonetheless rolling and doing science. He joined us on stage again in 2012 for a Planetary Radio stay dialogue about that mission. You can hear it on this week’s present web page or planetary.org/radio.

Mat Kaplan:
Richard left his job as JPL’s affiliate director for flight tasks and mission success in 2021 to tackle Mars Sample Return. As you may be taught in our new dialog, it has been an thrilling homecoming. Richard, it has been a very long time. Welcome again to Planetary Radio.

Richard Cook:
Thank you. It’s nice to be right here.

Mat Kaplan:
Do we now have a fairly good concept of how these priceless pristine bits of Mars that Perseverance is amassing are going to make their approach again? Not again, are going to make their approach right here to Earth, to all these keen scientists who simply cannot wait to get them of their labs?

Richard Cook:
We do. We’re within the a part of the section of the challenge the place we’re nonetheless formulating our plans. Everything hasn’t been authorised, however I feel we now have technical idea for the way we wish to do it now. And I feel we’re prepared to maneuver on into making that occur.

Mat Kaplan:
Let’s discuss a number of the particulars of that. I imply, this section that NASA simply talked about, there was a press launch put out. It mentioned, “It’s the system requirements review,” however are we nonetheless in what you are calling the conceptual design section?

Richard Cook:
We are, proper. Officially, we’re nonetheless ready for, as I mentioned, the entire approvals to happen, however we’re in broad phrases within the formulation section of a program which is damaged into two important chunks. One is the idea section. And the second half is the preliminary design section. And so we’re really about to go from idea design to preliminary design and that’ll be form of the subsequent yr or so.

Mat Kaplan:
This remains to be such an thrilling step, to truly have seen that press launch and seen the artist renderings of the spacecraft which might be going to be doing this work for us. I imply, it looks as if perhaps Perseverance was the primary actual feeling we received, like this long-held dream pattern return. It’s really began, and now this simply looks as if the subsequent step alongside the way in which.

Richard Cook:
Absolutely. And it is humorous, as a result of I’ve been right here 30 years and labored on a number of pattern return ideas or concepts and so they simply by no means received previous a sure level. And I feel we actually are type of now on the level the place we’re going into terra incognito, for instance, on a pattern return, proper? Where we actually have not made it this far, and naturally, we now have on different applications. So we actually know what that seems like, but it surely’s actually refreshing and a terrific feeling to get the sense that, yeah, the momentum is constructing and we actually have an idea that may be executed. And now we simply want to start out happening that path.

Mat Kaplan:
So what would that be on Mars? Aries incognito or [inaudible 00:06:05]?

Richard Cook:
Yeah, there you go. Yeah, good level.

Mat Kaplan:
So there are some huge adjustments right here from what we initially thought would occur. Maybe the largest one, appropriate me if I’m mistaken, is that that rover that we had been hoping to have supplied by the European Space Agency for various causes is now now not a part of this plan. Do I’ve that proper?

Richard Cook:
That’s proper. I feel it is just a little little bit of a confluence of a number of totally different occasions that made that potential. First and foremost, in fact, is that Perseverance is doing so properly on Mars that it actually has form of exceeded, I imply, knock on wooden, exceeded everyone’s expectation by way of how properly it is labored, the samples it is gotten have been very compelling to this point. The car itself is working nice. The group is doing an incredible job.

Richard Cook:
And so it actually provides you confidence and offers us confidence that we will depend on it to be the precept path, proper? We all the time knew it might be there, we might seemingly could be there, however our confidence has solely gone up over time that it might be capable to be the first supply path. So that is one merchandise. The second one, in fact then, is we began speaking about, properly, do we’d like a backup? And clearly for a very long time, the Fetch Rover and Perseverance had been kind each in a position to do the job, however having the second rover, the Fetch Rover, does make this system extra difficult. It provides one other … I imply it is a very succesful car, but it surely takes up area and it requires sources on either side of the Atlantic to make it occur.

Richard Cook:
And I feel given our confidence in Perseverance, we mentioned, “Well, maybe we should look at other options for that.” And that is what we have been form of doing for the final yr is, are there different methods to each get the Fetch Rover there, but additionally fulfill its operate, which is to type of function a second path. And ultimately, once more, success of Ingenuity on Mars has actually opened up the chance {that a} helicopter, an aerial-based system, may obtain that very same retrieval restoration operate with a a lot smaller footprint. Much extra easy approach of … I imply, it is nonetheless difficult to accommodate a one meter blade, proper? But normally, the mass of the helicopter’s very low and so they are much simpler to carry alongside than a Fetch Rover could be.

Mat Kaplan:
So no Fetch Rover. Still, in fact, a lander, a NASA-provided lander, which we will discuss extra in a second. So as an alternative of the Fetch Rover rolling over to the place Perseverance occurs to be, or perhaps the 2 assembly within the center. Now Perseverance, you may hope, will roll over to this lander. Or if for some cause, Perseverance cannot, you may haven’t one, however a few helicopters to assist switch these samples?

Richard Cook:
That’s proper. Yeah. I imply, the prime path is strictly what you mentioned. Perseverance will drive actually proper as much as the lander, and the lander, in fact, has an arm on it. And the arm will attain out and one by one pluck the samples that Perseverance is carrying on it and take it off. Take every pattern tube off one by one and put it into what we name the orbiting pattern canister, the OSC. It’s the factor on the entrance of the MAV. It is our provider, our check tube rack, so to talk, of the place we put the tubes. And so, yeah, that is the fundamental concept, is Perseverance is true up near the place the lander shall be.

Richard Cook:
The different chance is strictly what you mentioned, that for no matter cause, over the subsequent six, seven years, we resolve that Perseverance is just not in a position to maintain going, or we do not wish to gamble that it’s going to proceed to outlive. Then we will drop the entire pattern tubes that it is carrying with it on the bottom. And in reality, we will try this for the primary time in in all probability the October, November timeframe the place we will set up a primary pattern depot. And this has been the plan all alongside the place we will … Once Perseverance will get a sure variety of high-value, attention-grabbing samples, it drops a set of them, 10, 12, in that vary, in a extremely protected, actually benign place. And then it could go on and do the remainder of its mission, and it could proceed to get extra samples.

Richard Cook:
But we all know that we now have, at that time, it doesn’t matter what occurs to Perseverance after that, we all know we now have this set of predeposited pattern tubes. If, for no matter cause, Perseverance had been to die six months from now, which we predict is, in fact, unlikely, impossible we may in reality ship the lander there. And you then’re proper. The helicopters would go and retrieve these 10,12 pattern tubes and produce them again to the MAV. And that might be it, that might be good. From the scientist’s perspective, they wished to go to Jezero Crater as this most fun place they might go to on Mars. And they’re very clear to us, in case you can solely carry again these 12 tubes, “Okay. I mean, that’s great. That’s good enough.” I imply, if you may get extra tremendous, even higher, proper? But they’re undoubtedly could be keen to go together with, in a pinch, with the primary set of 12 samples

Mat Kaplan:
I hadn’t had this picture in my head earlier than, however of Perseverance dropping these samples, virtually like laying the world’s most valuable golden eggs to be retrieved later. You talked about the MAV, the Mars Ascent Vehicle. I’ll come again to that in a second. But the very first thing I received to say is we have been following and speaking every now and then to members of that group behind Ingenuity. They have to be justifiably proud to see that the success of their little proof of idea whirly hen is now serving to to form plans for pattern return.

Richard Cook:
Absolutely. And the helicopter group, I imply, there’s a complete type of backstory to Ingenuity and kind the little helicopter that would. And it was a part of this larger … I imply, in quite a lot of methods, it jogs my memory no less than of the Sojourner and Pathfinder period the place it was type of the group of those that nobody believed in. And they’re off of their nook doing their factor. And then ultimately, they have this dramatic success. And it actually kind set the stage or laid the groundwork for future use of mobility, aerial mobility on Mars.

Richard Cook:
And certain sufficient, the very first thing out of the gate is, “Well, hey, we could use this to retrieve samples.” And so a number of the those that … Bob Balaram was kind one of many engineers right here who was the daddy of the helicopter of Ingenuity, for lack of a greater phrase. He’s very a lot within the combine right here as saying, “Hey, this is where go from here.” And so it is a testomony to the each ingenuity of the parents concerned, but additionally their perseverance, as a result of they’re very very similar to, “We believe in this technology and we’re going to make it useful on Mars for future missions.”

Mat Kaplan:
Ingenuity and Perseverance-

Richard Cook:
There you go. Exactly.

Mat Kaplan:
… these titles turn into much more acceptable than after they had been chosen years in the past now.

Richard Cook:
Right.

Mat Kaplan:
You’ve received this lander, which no less than within the artist rendering, I assumed I see just a little little bit of heritage there of this is my espresso cup with Insight emblem on it.

Richard Cook:
Yep. There you go.

Mat Kaplan:
I imply, there’s some confirmed expertise, proper? But I’m additionally considering of that MAV, that Mars Ascent Vehicle rocket, the one which’s going to hold the samples as much as the ready Earth Return Orbiter from the European Space Agency. I’m making an attempt to think about a extra harrowing step on this course of. It looks as if seven minutes of terror in reverse.

Richard Cook:
It is. And I feel that, I imply, I hate to say that we have gotten just a little blase about touchdown issues on Mars, however it’s as you mentioned. I imply, it’s totally comparable, very a lot the identical downside, and in reverse. I do assume that, I imply, clearly we now have expertise right here on the Earth that we’re counting on as a beginning place, the propulsion, the thrust vector management, the entire parts, proper? But placing all of it collectively and demonstrating it for the primary time on the floor of Mars carrying these, as you mentioned, very valuable, valuable cargo.

Richard Cook:
I imply, we now have to take heed to the truth that’s in all probability the largest problem we now have is to make that piece of this system work. It is sweet that we now have so many individuals serving to in that regard. So it isn’t like we’re simply making an attempt to do that as an experiment. You know, we received Marshall, we received Lockheed Martin, we’re Northrop, we have the entire individuals who actually perceive how you can make techniques like this work, working along with us. And I feel that provides us confidence that we have got the proper method.

Mat Kaplan:
So that little rocket makes it up into orbit and there it meets … Tell us about this ISA contribution.

Richard Cook:
Well, in order that one of many issues that I all the time snigger about with these applications or take into consideration is that what number of form of superb issues occur that you do not take into consideration. Like on this case, properly, first we now have to land this factor. Then we received to take off and have the MAV work. But rendezvousing with a volleyball sized pattern canister with a spacecraft that is the scale of what a couple of soccer area? I imply, the photo voltaic arrays on this factor are large. And so, it is received to seek out after which rendezvous with this pretty small mainly … I imply, it has a beacon on it, however is clearly it isn’t a full spacecraft. It’s a quite simple type of beacon. And the ERO guys should mainly discover it, shut on it, after which get ready the place it could get ingested into the CCRS system, the seize and containment system.

Richard Cook:
And so all of that’s … Fortunately, there’s quite a lot of similarities between that and rendezvousing with stuff right here on the Earth. And so there’s quite a lot of applied sciences and strategies each to determine it, since you’re utilizing optical and RF techniques to attempt to see the place the OS is. But then the entire closed-loop steering and management of the way you rendezvous with one thing and it is all carried out autonomously, proper?

Mat Kaplan:
Yeah.

Richard Cook:
Because we will not actually do a joystick upon method. And in order that’s a difficult downside. And I feel happily the ERO group, the ESA [inaudible 00:16:56] management with Airbus in Toulouse, they’ve quite a lot of expertise, quite a lot of potential to get entry to sensors. The [inaudible 00:17:05] is constructing the digicam and the lidar is from Europe as properly. And in order that they’re actually placing their finest effort on that a part of it as a result of that is so important to, clearly, the complete success of this system.

Richard Cook:
CCRS, I discussed, that is the subsequent half. And that is, once more, within the subsequent class of, “You’re doing what?” is, when you get this factor, get it near the place you are able to seize this, the volleyball, then CCRS has to ingest it, has to maintain it from flying again out, proper? So I imply you bought to maintain it captive after which you must undergo a sequence of on orbit meeting actions, as a result of clearly one of many huge necessities we now have is that we have to ensure that the entire pattern canister is contained in not one or two, however mainly three successive shells which might be there to guard it from the entire reentry dynamics that we’ll see when it comes again to the Earth.

Richard Cook:
And so to be able to meet the planetary safety necessities, we now have to make sure that no Mars mud, our samples, are doubtlessly on the entry car. We should undergo this effort to encapsulate a number of instances. Each of these, the OS, will get encapsulated two or 3 times. And then lastly it will get put within the EEV, the Earth Entry Vehicle, and introduced again to the Earth. So that itself is just not one thing we have ever actually carried out both is an autonomous onboard meeting of a number of {hardware} parts to encapsulate. I imply, to some extent, OSIRIS-REx, and Genesis, and Stardust did that, however a lot, a lot easier than what we’re speaking about doing.

Mat Kaplan:
So you have just about answered my subsequent query, which was about this sophistication of the robotics and different applied sciences which might be going to be wanted to make all of this occur. I imply, actually, it makes me assume that that is no less than in some methods, the methods you have described, probably the most refined and audacious try of any robotic mission.

Richard Cook:
It is within the sense of the necessity for the encapsulation and the reassurance of that encapsulation. The one factor that it would not try this makes it in some methods comparable … On Perseverance there’s the opposite finish of the spectrum, which is the sampling system. It’s doing a bunch of those self same issues as properly, the place it is getting tubes and doing all that. But it has the problem of additionally having to try this inside Mars rocks. You received to have a drill. You received to know that it is interacting with Mars supplies. So the really closest analogy, we predict, to CCRS is basically the sampling system on Perseverance, which was a really substantial problem.

Mat Kaplan:
Robot contained in the robotic, proper?

Richard Cook:
Exactly, that is proper.

Mat Kaplan:
And we all the time inform folks, discover a description of this pattern system that is inside Perseverance and you may be blown away by its complexity, but it surely’s working.

Richard Cook:
Yeah. That’s probably the most difficult a part of Perseverance, actually, is that piece as a result of the remainder of it had quite a lot of heritage from … It’s to not make it appear straightforward, but it surely had heritage from Curiosity or from sky crane system on Curiosity. But the actually new new factor on Perseverance was the sampling system. Fortunately, a number of the those that labored on that are actually engaged on CCRS, as a result of it is a joint … It’s led by Goddard, as a result of Goddard has quite a lot of on orbit meeting expertise from Hubble and different locations like that. And so it is mirroring them, their historical past and ours, by way of pattern dealing with and issues like that. And so it is turned out to be a terrific collaboration between the 2 facilities to make this technique work.

Mat Kaplan:
The different huge collaboration that we have already talked about is with the European Space Agency, which appears to be … I imply, I do not know if it was Thomas Zurbuchen, or perhaps the administrator, was speaking about the advantages of a program like this, as so many are these days, between NASA and businesses all over the world. What these sorts of multinational collaborations carry to a challenge like this, I imply, it is made it loads simpler to take this on, hasn’t it?

Richard Cook:
It has. Yeah. And the items that, I imply, even with out the Fetch Rover, the items that the Europeans are doing like ERO and the pattern switch arm, we could not do that with out them. I imply, these techniques are very complicated. They require entry to industrial capabilities that, to be trustworthy, we now have, however we’re additionally making use of. So we actually have to … These tasks get to be so huge and sophisticated that you just both take 30 years to do them, otherwise you received to determine a solution to get assist and to get companions.

Richard Cook:
And that presents a problem as a result of, I imply, everyone has totally different cultures and alternative ways of doing work, however I feel we have constructed a extremely efficient type of teaming relationship with the Europeans the place, I imply, they’re completely in. And they’re very invested in ensuring that they create it to bear the entire good issues they do. They’re additionally wish to find out how we do issues and vice versa. I feel it has been nice expertise for us to grasp how they do tasks as properly. Because it actually does make you conclude that there is a lot functionality on the market if we may all simply work collectively. And this can be a nice alternative to show that.

Mat Kaplan:
Yep. If all goes properly, what are we ? I imply, it seemed like perhaps the Earth Return Orbiter shall be launched earlier than the pattern return retrieval lander. And if that’s the case, why is that? Why is the orbiter going first?

Richard Cook:
Mostly in order that it is pre-positioned there. It takes just a little bit longer for it to get there as a result of the job of going to Mars and coming … This is the primary time we have ever despatched one thing to Mars after which introduced it again. And for simply the scale of the spacecraft, the quantity of gasoline you must take, all ends in ERO each being very giant, but additionally requiring an electrical propulsion system to get it there and to get it again. And so EP techniques are typically … It takes longer to get there as a result of low thrust. So it takes just a little bit longer to get there.

Richard Cook:
We need it to be pre-positioned in order that it could assist with relay, to function a relay for the lander. When the lander lands, it is received mainly rather less than a yr to get every thing carried out and that is quite a lot of work and we wish to ensure that the there’s relay and we clearly have relay satellites there now. They’re getting just a little bit lengthy within the tooth, so to talk. And so we had been frightened that, would they nonetheless be there? And so we would like ERO to be ready the place it is already there, already able to do the relay operate when the lander will get there.

Richard Cook:
The lander, it is attention-grabbing, is definitely spending extra time attending to Mars than it usually would do as a result of we wish to have it land on the proper time of yr. The lander itself is photo voltaic powered and there is quite a lot of causes for that we may go into, however the the lander and the helicopter are each photo voltaic powered. And so we wished it to land in type of spring, for lack of a greater phrase, on Mars. So due to that, the the lander is taking form of just a little little bit of a circuitous path to Mars as properly. And that is why, despite the fact that we’re launching in ’28, we can’t really get the lander to Mars till 2030. So it takes a yr longer than regular to get there. Then it does the yr on the floor, then the MAV launches and ERO catches the OS. And then at that time, as a result of once more, it is electrical compulsion, it has to spiral again out and head again to Mars. And so by the point it spirals out and will get again to the Earth slightly, it is about 2033, late 2033.

Mat Kaplan:
So 2033 is after we may see, if all goes properly once more, that pattern return capsule making its approach blazing via the sky and being recovered down right here on the floor.

Richard Cook:
That’s proper. And that is when all of the scientific evaluation can start, proper? The Perseverance group has carried out a terrific job choosing a terrific set of samples, and now they’ll should be affected person. The science group’s going to should be affected person whereas we go get them and are available again. And then they lastly can check out them and truly get them of their labs and begin them.

Mat Kaplan:
I clearly do not should let you know how lengthy this has been the dream, the holy grail, not only for engineers, however for these scientists that you just’re speaking about, to get these samples again into the labs with their huge hulking tools. You’ve been a JPL, as I counted, for about 33 years.

Richard Cook:
That’s proper.

Mat Kaplan:
Did you understand that there’s a web page about you on the NASA web site that was created whilst you had been nonetheless the flight ops supervisor for Mars Pathfinder?

Richard Cook:
I’m not stunned as a result of nothing ever goes away on the web.

Mat Kaplan:
Yep, yeah. Let me provide you with a quote from that web page. So right here it’s, that is again whenever you and I each had much more hair. “One day I hope I can work on a sample return mission that will bring back a rock for geologists to look at.”

Richard Cook:
There you go.

Mat Kaplan:
Dream come true?

Richard Cook:
Absolutely. Yeah. Well, I imply, this job actually is the fruits of my profession. I imply, I’ve labored on Pathfinder and with Curiosity, Spirit and Opportunity. So I’ve had a number of missions right here and there have been alternatives to go do different issues. I labored up within the director’s workplace for some time and did different stuff. But the prospect to truly get to the place the apex of the entire Mars program for the final 30 years, the place we will really make it occur is simply … It’s such a terrific alternative regardless of the on a regular basis challenges, I actually can not say sufficient about what a terrific alternative is.

Mat Kaplan:
Richard, I hope that we’re nonetheless following this, you and I, and able to be a part of that joyous reception in 2033, when these bits of Mars come to Earth.

Richard Cook:
There you go. Me too, trying ahead to it.

Mat Kaplan:
Thank you a lot.

Richard Cook:
Thank you. Have one.

Mat Kaplan:
That’s Richard Cook of the Jet Propulsion Lab, supervisor of the Mars Sample Return Program. I’ll be proper again with Bruce and What’s Up?

George Takei:
Hello, I’m George Takei. And as you understand, I’m very happy with my affiliation with Star Trek. Star Trek was a present that seemed to the long run with optimism, boldly going the place nobody had gone earlier than. I need you to learn about a really particular group referred to as the Planetary Society. They are working to make the long run that Star Trek represents a actuality. When you turn into a member of the Planetary Society, you be a part of their mission to extend discoveries in our photo voltaic system, to raise the seek for life outdoors our planet, and reduce the chance of Earth being hit by an asteroid. Co-founded by Carl Sagan and led right now by CEO Bill Nye, the Planetary Society exists for individuals who consider in area exploration to take motion collectively. So be a part of the Planetary Society and boldly go collectively to construct our future.

Mat Kaplan:
It’s time for What’s Up on Planetary Radio. The chief scientist of the Planetary Society is right here. Please assist me welcome Dr. Bruce Betts. Yay.

Bruce Betts:
Thank you. Thank you. Good to be right here. Nice to fulfill with all of you great folks.

Mat Kaplan:
Will indulge me? I’m going to learn a few feedback. I proceed to get these great feedback from folks about my plans. Still have greater than three months, of us, earlier than this occurs and you will nonetheless hear from me every now and then. But Stephanie Retrum in Arizona, “I’m thankful to Mat for all these years of joy and laughter and gracious humility. What a loss. I wish you all the best in the future. Wednesday is my favorite day because of you.” Isn’t that good?

Bruce Betts:
Wow.

Mat Kaplan:
I do know.

Bruce Betts:
You wrote that one, did not you?

Mat Kaplan:
No, no. And I did not pay her, no less than not but. Vlad Bogdanoff in British Columbia. “Mat, I’m so terribly sorry to hear of you’re impending retirement. You and your voice will be immensely missed. In your honor, I will continue my Planetary membership in perpetuity until the inevitable heat death of the universe.”

Bruce Betts:
That’s form of a excellent news/unhealthy information.

Mat Kaplan:
That’s good till entropy wipes us all out. Yeah.

Bruce Betts:
Stop bringing me down. Stop, be extra gracious.

Mat Kaplan:
Here’s one which I feel you may like, Ian Jackson in Australia. “I used to be questioning that if Bruce would take one in all his unique, extremely prized, McDLT burgers from the freezer, defrost it, open up each parts. Would the odor be fairly much like Comet Gerasimenko?

Bruce Betts:
Wow. I feel we have … Oh, there’s undoubtedly inside publication in that. Thank you. Thank you. I normally simply put a garments pin, which is tough to seek out nowadays, garments pin on my nostril and eat them straight out of the freezer. So I actually do not … Except I warmth up the new facet.

Mat Kaplan:
Not a unclean snowball, a unclean McDLT. That’s what we’re speaking about.

Bruce Betts:
Was there ever a clear McDLT? I do not know.

Mat Kaplan:
Good level. What’s up?

Bruce Betts:
Oh, you get me so frazzled. We received planets throughout the night time. So we have Saturn up when the solar units within the east, after which developing a pair hours later, Jupiter. And in the course of the night time, Mars developing, after which Venus. Venus goes to be powerful, but it surely’s making an attempt to hold on for one more couple weeks low within the east within the predawn. Fun factor to search for is Mars, which is developing, once more, form of midnight but it surely’ll be up within the predawn, is hanging out for the subsequent a number of days close to the reddish star Aldebaran in Taurus. So you bought pink and pink type of, Mars is getting brighter and brighter till its closest method in December. And so it’s really considerably brighter than Aldebaran proper now, examine that out.

Bruce Betts:
We go on to this week in area historical past, it was huge week. 1962, Mariner 2 launched to Venus 60 years in the past. Voyager 2 had two huge weeks. One in 1981 this week in area historical past flying by Saturn and one in 1989. It’s nonetheless the one spacecraft to fly by the Neptune system. We transfer on to random area truth.

Mat Kaplan:
I feel you discovered a novel method there.

Bruce Betts:
So arduous nowadays. That was my impersonation of the SLS rocket doing random area truth.

Mat Kaplan:
Let’s hope it occurs on Monday the twenty ninth.

Bruce Betts:
Let’s hope. So it is scheduled to launch quickly, NASA, strongest rocket on the market when it comes Online in just a few days, hopefully. Interestingly, it’s so highly effective. How highly effective is it? It’s so highly effective. It can elevate extra cargo to the moon than the Space Shuttle may elevate to low Earth orbit.

Mat Kaplan:
Wow. I’m additionally upset since you took my line, how highly effective is it?

Bruce Betts:
I’m sorry. I received excited. We can rerecord it if you need?

Mat Kaplan:
No, no, no. It’s fairly all proper. You did a pleasant rendering of it, however that’s fairly superb. Very far more highly effective no less than than the primary stage of the Saturn V. It’s simply … I count on to be knocked over.

Bruce Betts:
I hope you are knocked over. Have somebody video that.

Mat Kaplan:
You wish to watch?

Bruce Betts:
Yeah. All proper, allow us to go on to the trivia contest. And as traditional, there’s something difficult that I hadn’t thought-about introduced up by one in all our listeners, however let’s begin out with the query I requested you. What spacecraft first lifted off the floor of one other world past Earth. And I do know form of how we did Mat, however inform us extra.

Mat Kaplan:
I’ll. As you understand, about half, perhaps extra, of the entries that we received this time mentioned Apollo 11.

Bruce Betts:
Gotcha.

Mat Kaplan:
Bob Clay in Arizona, he is not our winner. Sorry Bob. “Oh Bruce, you are a tricky man and a mad scientist. Everyone is going Apollo 11’s Eagle. Nope. It was Surveyor 6. It used its liquid-fueled Vernier engines to lift itself from its original landing site to a position 10 feet away, little hop.” He says, “Would that make Surveyor 6, an honorary pioneer? It didn’t ranger about the surface, like Curiosity. It jumped more like a space flea.” And then earlier than you remark, John Geiten in Australia, “Tricksy hobbits.”

Bruce Betts:
Tricksy hobbits.

Mat Kaplan:
Yeah, that might be extra prefer it, that’d be extra prefer it. Are they proper? I imply, was that what you had been searching for?

Bruce Betts:
That is strictly what I used to be searching for, the Surveyor 6. They did the check to elevate off and land once more and so they did it efficiently.

Mat Kaplan:
We additionally received this entry from Steven Sourwine in Idaho about Surveyor 3, which apparently inadvertently lifted off the moon twice as a result of its engines not shutting down correctly on touchdown. Now to me, that is only a tough first touchdown. It simply bounced just a little bit making an attempt to get down the primary time. Do you disagree?

Bruce Betts:
I’m impartial. I’d’ve awarded it to him, and it is taught me one thing. So thanks. But no, it is actually … If I knew about it, I’d’ve mentioned intentional liftoff, however any case, my understanding is that didn’t come up as a battle within the random.org alternative. But it’s an attention-grabbing tidbit. Yeah. Rough touchdown. We’ve all had a few of these.

Mat Kaplan:
Indeed. Your understanding is appropriate, sir. Our winner, he’s a very long time listener, Torsten Zimmer in Germany. It’s been three and a half years since he gained one in all these that was determined by random.org. He really did win one in all our type of skill-based ones a few years in the past, however nonetheless Torsten, congratulations. You are going to get that duplicate of The Astonishing Story of the First Human to Leave Our Planet and Journey into Space by Steven Walker. It’s a narrative of Yuri Gagarin. We can provide that away. It’s a fairly a narrative. It has nice illustrations, photographs, included within the e-book. Have enjoyable studying it.

Bruce Betts:
Excellent. Would you want a query for the long run?

Mat Kaplan:
Yeah, what the heck.

Bruce Betts:
Coming again to SLS, hear fastidiously. As scheduled, as deliberate, on the primary 4 SLS missions, first 4 flights of the rocket. How most of the important engines have already flown as a part of a rocket launch? Albeit previous to variations made for SLS. So there are different gizmos attached, however what number of of them, of the primary engines, what number of of them flew earlier than? Figure that one out and needed to planetary.org/radio contest.

Mat Kaplan:
Wow. Across all 4?

Bruce Betts:
Across all 4. Otherwise, it might simply be trivially straightforward. Yeah, I’m kidding. But no, throughout all 4.

Mat Kaplan:
Start your work of us. Start your engines. You’ve received till August thirty first. Wednesday, August thirty first at 8:00 AM Pacific Time. And right here is the prize as a result of we now have these nice books that we will nonetheless award. This is Totality! by our pal, Jeff Bennett. It is what it appears like. It’s a e-book about whole eclipses. It’s very well carried out. He did a terrific job with this. It’s virtually … It’s just a little skinny to be a espresso desk e-book, but it surely’s that form of format. Lots of nice illustrations. We will ship it alongside to the winner with Jeff’s compliments, and I feel we’re carried out.

Bruce Betts:
All proper, everyone go on the market, search for the night time sky and take into consideration the idea of reusing your automobile engines within the subsequent automobile that you just drive. Thank you and goodnight.

Mat Kaplan:
Well, the primary motor vehicle that I owned was a Honda 175, 175 cubic centimeter engine. I feel it may be just a little bit underpowered for … Well, what number of of these would you must put within the SLS to get it to the moon? So much.

Bruce Betts:
Yeah. You went a distinct path with reusing automobile motors and rockets.

Mat Kaplan:
Oh, automobiles, automobiles. I get it.

Bruce Betts:
Cars, yeah.

Mat Kaplan:
He’s Bruce Betts, the chief scientist of the Planetary Society who would know higher than to make a mistake like that when he joins us right here for What’s Up? Planetary Radio is produced by the Planetary Society in Pasadena, California and is made potential by its Martian members. You earthlings are additionally invited to turn into one in all us at planetary.org/be a part of. Mark Hilverda and Rae Paoletta are our affiliate producers. Josh Doyle composed our theme, which is organized and carried out by Pieter Schlosser. Ad astra.

Leave a Comment