Jack Boone, Department Of Ece, Colorado Boulder discussed on Scientific Sense

Scientific Sense


Mike. Yesterday's a jack boone's who's a professor in the department of ece fisa goal in planetary sciences unto colorado boulder. He is also vice president images for academic affairs in blue sage for disuse system system. Jack while thank you. Joe is good to be with you. Thanks for doing this so you at your team. On deeply involved in the upcoming nasa missions to the moon including The designed to place radiofrequency absolutely on the far side of the moon and be kevin deemed really back there for almost fifty years. Now i know that china s landed. I was actually looking at some photographs that just gained today from From their lander. I israel in india. Almost got there but Fleas land properly. And so so. What's our interest. What's sudden interest in going back to the moon after fifty years. Yeah i don't know that. I would characterize as a sudden interest i think on the part of the science community and really the exploration community interest has been there for a while but what has changed in the last decade is the cost doing missions And the accessibility of the moon in this new era in which we have now. Private companies like spacex and like the blue origin company. Jeff bezos company They've put considerable private resources in developing new rockets of with reusability to lower the launch costs and also technology which was extreme in the nineteen sixties to try to get to the moon. All hannity vetted from scratch now is relatively straightforward at gill as you mentioned Even a small countries like israel Private companies have contracts with nasa to fly payloads. Now it's it's it's realizable to Envision going to the moon at a relatively modest cost certainly in comparison to the sixties and seventies. Yes so that's a. It's a very interesting phenomenon. Now it's it's almost like a business model question. Space is Blue blue horizon blue origin. Laura gin and that is another company. Lakers peterson things. Well lockheed you ally the united launch alliance which is the lockheed and boeing Company as well they all have these new generation of launch vehicles that are capable of going to so nasa in some sense outsourcing Some of the transportation right to so captain made a selection or are they going to do essentially multiple companies. Do it the the plan is to have monk multiple companies just like the commercial crew program To the space station there's boeing and spacex And for the case of the moon for the un crude landers that Landers that are just carrying payloads nasa has identified a out a dozen companies To be able to transport a payloads to the moon and at the same time. They're also undergoing competition right now. They selected three companies to design as part of a public private partnership the next generation of human landers. So that's the same. Mostly the same group that has spacex blue origin and the third one is is dynamic which is a company in huntsville alabama rate. So it's nassar's goal here is They are they going to take contracts from other other countries do send pedal to the moon in these companies. The the way this is working now is nasa is buying services so they're no longer buying rockets or landers which they will then own operate Instead the philosophy is To buy a ride for example a seat On a human land or or by space for a payload so these companies that are responsible for indemnifying Making sure they have a proper insurance for losses They take A bit of the risk and and then proceed along those lots now. What that means is that the companies then they own the intellectual property they owned landers they rockets they own the The other transportation devices. So that means they can sell seats. They can sell payloads to for example a european space agency Or the russian space agency or individual companies. That might want to puts a payload on the moon Investigation in this kind of a lower gravity environment so it's much more entrepreneurial than what we had before and it lowers the cost to the taxpayer for doing all these things by the artist program. Which is the new human programs. The moon the Recently released cost to get the first woman in the next man to the moon by twenty twenty four is a factor of ten less than the apollo program. Yeah it's interesting. I remember jack I was involved a little bit on the economic side of the next generation. Space legal program two thousand two thousand one two thousand two timeframe and this was a program was supposed to replace the shuttle and we did not go forward with it and i guess so. What was the arranged with the russian system to get their astronauts into space station. Yeah the the problem was that you might recall The shuttle accident that occurred in two thousand three And then president. George w bush declared that the shuttle really wasn't safe And that needed to be replaced and it took a while. We're still in the process of of fully replacing it. The last shuttle launch was twenty eleven If i remember correctly so in the meantime in order to get to the space station What we did is contract with the russians to use their soyuz spacecraft to go back and forth the space station so we. What we did is the buy seats. Those seats cost about seventy five or eighty million dollars so they weren't cheap but eventually got us back and forth. He said before we get the details of the Admission stack help philisophical question so way we have technology advancing the about conflict. Television's really taking off machines. Getting lot smarter What does sort of the basis for sending humans Could be not accomplished thing that human could do with machines if that's a good question i'm glad you answered that you ask that question because Excuse me i think what we're looking for now is is Really different mode for doing work on services like the moon or mars. Excuse me in that. We unlike apollo you had a single astronaut. Geologists such as astronaut harrison schmitt on all seventeen doing classic field geology. With a shovel to now advance unit twenty-first-century. We're gonna to do. Is i like to say we're going to bring Silicon valley with us to the moon. So we're going to bring advanced robotics. Be telly operated. That will use a machine. Learning artificial intelligence And will team with the astronauts so that they will these. These rovers advance scouting. They will identify interesting places and then the role of the astronaut is to make critical decisions on what to investigate What the samples. Look like i. i still think it's true. I've been told from my colleagues who are geologists stromer But who are uninsured. Scientists in that the difference for example between. Let's say the The curiosity rover on mars. And what it's been doing and having a human on mars that the work that the curiosity rover has done last seven years could be done in two days by geologists. a that's the difference and to also bring back. You know better selected samples and so forth. So there's no replacing humans and that's not going to happen anytime soon but you you do your point being. You only wanna use humans when you actually have to. Because their time is valuable and they're expensive and also Walking around even on the surface of the moon is dangerous. Because the you know the a space where the asian micrometeorites another possible dangerous but going into this new environment. I think what we're going to be able to do is reduced risk and improved efficiency. The i don't remember the numbers but a human Mission is about ten x the cost of a non human mission. Obviously the the efficiency and like you say what begin out of it different but guess on the cost side. It's about the fact of a magnitude different you know. That's hard to say because robots still are very limited in what they can do. They're just so many things that only humans can do is a little bit of apples and oranges but yet you're probably right that on the ballpark about a factor of ten. Maybe even more. But there's also much more than a factor of ten improvement in efficiency. So you know. Those costs will balance out and obviously the advantage of a human is You know they've been. The unexpected happens in michigan learning in As long as you have heard of data to teach a machine but then the unexpected happens machines. noel exactly. The rover gets stuck. It suffers a mechanical problem. That If you have a human there at least in the vicinity can help fix it. And move orders you know i think about for example servicing of the hubble space telescope and that was done five times by human astronauts and The astronauts such as john grunsfeld did to the servicing missions was very clear that the telescope could not have been repaired in upgraded by anything other than humans because the tab the complexity of the task the ability to be able to get in and To make repairs Make on the spot. Decisions just You know there was no replacing that so hopefully humans have a few more years of Do i think we've got many years to tell you the truth. I think it's going to be you know in reading some of the literature. I think it's going to be a quite a long time if ever that. We have truly Intelligent self aware machines can operate with the same decision making kick be very good at repetitive calculations outstanding job of there but You know making creative innovative entrepreneurial. Decisions were We're nowhere close to that yet So i do that. A multiple missions being planned An international collaboration so he's the first one that is supposed to take off as leave. Yeah artists is the new name for the human missions to the moon Artemis in greek mythology was the sister of apollo The twin sister of apollo. She's the goddess of the moon. So that's very appropriate. Since nasa has already declared bet up for that first landing which nasa has been planning for twenty twenty four would Would have that first woman in the next man on the surface the first expedition by humans to the moon in the twenty first century. So optimistic applaud. Its name the program programming program. Yeah exactly right so so andrade damasio multiple things going on And so do we have sort of a space station like that is going to orbit the out. Yeah in fact. That's honored design. And we'll be under construction in the next few years has called the gateway lunar gateway. And it's it's not like the space station in the sense of being gigantic And being really limited to that single orbit the gateway is really more of a spacecraft is going to have a pulse in system using a new generation of solar electric bad is ion propulsion That will be piloted for potential for optometry use in going to mars. I have just a couple of modules that will be there it will be a place where astronauts coming from the earth on on the orion spacecraft which is a it plus the space launch system is a heavy lift vehicle that will take astronauts the moon they will dock at the gateway and then they will get into a reusable lander go to the surface. Come back in that lander and then the next crew that comes in will do the same thing so you don't throw everything away like we did during hollow in the nineteen sixties again. The reusability idea is Is key to keeping the costs down so so it is more dealer so can't be attached as as alright right. Ds change in the future. Cab edge more against it. We can in fact The japanese space agency jaksa recently committed to fly a module And nasa has invited others such as the russian space agency to think about them attaching A module as well so it definitely is modular. That way you can add habitats you can add laboratories And can can grow over time. But it's also the the idea is that it's going to be long duration spaceflight and it's away way from the earth's magnetic field so you've got the full range environment of what you would have going to mars. So i think nasa all also looks at. This is a prototype of the vehicle that would be sent to mars. Lucchese david some Conversations yet again. Remember that To go to mars you would rather start off. Start off from the moon. Is that still thinking or that. Exchange i don't think that's been decided but there's this potential real advantages of a loon. First of all launching from the moon versus the earth requires much less thrust. What what we call delta the. That's the change in velocity to Get off there. Because there's only one sixth gravity on the moon and secondly if we're successful in mining water from the minute we know now there's considerable amount of water at the polls of the moon That's hydrogen and oxygen. We can convert that potentially into rocket fuel. You wouldn't have to bring that from earth so the costs associated with launching some could be substantially reduced in doing this from the moon versus from your so people are actively working that right now and seeing if that might be the way to go i of think that might end up being How missions to To mars or undertaking so under optimus Are there plans to actually create a habitat a big enough habitat for people to stave or extended period of time. So nasa has designs. And once again i should mention this is. This is all international Insa is involved. The european space agency is involved in providing a module for the service module for the orion. It also will be working on the gateway. The canadian space agency is providing the robotic arm And the same will be true on the surface The idea is that the first few missions will of just get started That first nation in twenty twenty four is planned to go to the south pole of moon. Will we've never been to before and look at the water. Ice situation there but Over time by the end of the decade the expectation is that will have multiple habitats. And we'll have people staying there for long periods of time like the arctic station. It's run by the national science foundation. The mcmurdo station as called in which you have a number of scientists come in and visit for anywhere from a few weeks to staying for year here so salama but when the next generation space program was in progress space. Too big big project. I would imagine spacex Others cab this business plan so what's the clamps time Do that The gay yes. So it'll be somewhere between three and five days to get from the earth and you're right about. The tourism spacex already has a fide a japanese businessman. If i remember correctly who has bought a A ride not the surface of the moon but to orbit the moon on a spacex vehicle. Sometime in a in a few years but the it'll be in a three to five days to get to the gateway and then Another day to get down to the surface. So i fully expect by the end of the decade especially given the accessibility to the moon by the private sector and by isa companies That they will be selling seats to wealthy individuals to spend a A summer holiday on the moon is so if the if the gateway is expandable perhaps Taxpayers can make some money nasa. Well it might be. Yeah but but once again this is. The transportation for the most part is probably not going to be through nasa but by these individual companies who own their own rockets their spacecraft and now they will sell seats to to wealthy tourists. yeah and so You you mentioned the european space agency. You mentioned the canadian space agency of so. Is this like the space station. A larger collaboration or those are the three major ones. Yeah it is and you're right. There are Oh gosh there's probably a dozen or so. Companies countries rather involved in the international space station and nasa envisions this much the same thing And i to. I order all the countries that are involved in. The international space station have been invited to become involved with the gateway And so as i mentioned several have accepted with With enthusiasms others are still keeping that around and take a quick break jack. Benny come back to talk about the radio. Frequency of savitri on the far side of the more that you're designing you bet sounds good. This is a scientific sense. Podcast providing unscripted conversations bit leading academics and researchers on a variety of topics. You like to sponsor this podcast. Please reach out to in full at scientific sense dot com back Jack you're talking about upcoming missions to the moon Some of the manned mission some of some of the technology that you're sending up there there is a gateway bridges like the space station but attested propulsion its zone. Sorta are based entity source. And it's more dealer things could be attached to it. That may be subject is imploding. Creating that a launchpad so to speak to go to mars perhaps habitats that a large announced a mining for water mighty for hydrogen and other things and so he the program is called autonomous. So could be portal light program and underneath optimists. There are various things being planned right. So what are the The primary objectives all of those radius approved betas projects. I should say under under optimus. Yeah we'll go. let me let me start off by just looking at the difference with The apollo program because the apollo program ended fairly abruptly once the political goals were reached and it was never Really a sustainable program so Nasa and i think all of the governmental space agencies are looking for is for arsonist to be the beginning of a sustained presence on the moon and in space and using the moon as a stepping stone for human and robotic exploration of the solar system including getting the mars so the philosophy of artists is really quite different. So you're there the stay So you need to figure out how to live off the land. So that does mean as you're saying mining's water being able to grow crops being able to manufacture Equipments the habitats themselves from the From the of the regular or the soil material so using the the kind of advanced manufacturing capability three d. printing Electrolysis so that's a really different approach. And it means that what will be worked on is not just get there but a flag in the ground rather in full of soil and return on instead it means You know how do you figure out how to be there for the long haul so that means than learning how to to excavate how to build How to really maintain a life in a in a certain sense of independence. Part of the reason you want to do all that is because that's exactly what's going to be necessary for marce because mars is so far away That right away in the first human mission. They're gonna have to do all of those things so let's figure it out on the moon. I where we're still only three to five days away. Delino know. I guess we should know by now. Is the one reasonably mineral-rich just like the old. Yeah it is. It's in. It's in a different location But the the The soil the regular. If you will they don't have the same kind of iron And nicole Deposits all of the These these materials of magnesium lumina m- are in the soil and so you have to do some processing to extract that but the techniques are well in hand to be able to do that So everything from paving roads to building habitats are Are possible and must be made doable. Because that's what we're going to have to do on on mars as well. Yes so that is that is clearly philosophically really really different things. So we will excavate Vivo refined materials. We will create components as manufacturer. Actually create a craft. That could then take off tomorrow so well maybe components a bat and once again the the idea of of doing that in the nineteen sixties was real science fiction That just was not possible. As part of the reason you know a luna program wasn't maintained today this is fact. this is As i said earlier all of the technologies developed by a silicon valley and beyond our We're going to take all of that to the moon with us in utilize it. Yes that goes into the cost. Like you mentioned jackson who i think understood. That currently artist program in today's dollars is about one tenth of the Yes so the apollo program was about two hundred and fifty billion dollars. and nasa administrator bridenstine has requested twenty five billion dollars of through twenty twenty four. So that's not all in one year but distributed out to do that first mission to the moon and it may the the the majority of tosses we've already invested in the new rockets in the orion spacecraft so it is in For example building the the new human rated landers and and the gateway in the infrastructure and hogan countries. I know that china india israel russia All are interested halted their plans. Fake dollars I think overall You know they. They fit very well again. The the collaborations. We've had internationally with the international space station bode well for a business future. Because we've already figured out how to do this out of share resources. Make sure that interfaces are common and that electronics work in the different environments. So that's That's well underway the one country for political reasons that we don't work with the. Us is china at this point. But you know who knows that might change in the next decade as well and I i i understand that most of the water is on the far side. The side that we cannot see what most of a sex ed pulse and so some of it is accessible like This viper mission. That nasr's going to send to the south pole in advance of the artemis human landing It is a close enough to the nearside that they'll be direct radio communication from the south pole to the earth and so so is optimised focus is going to be on the far side No not necessarily because there's Interesting places to go to on the near side and the polls Certainly the far side is that's unexplored territory and the far side has a very interesting geological feature has something called the south pole pagan basin which is the largest deepest oldest impact crater that we know of in the The inner solar system and scientists are really eager to get in there and to sample a vat location. Because it's going to tell us about the early history of formation of the moon but also the formation of the earth any other benefits Such as lower Anything like that on the floor. Not low radiation but the other benefit is that. It's it's quiet. it's radio quiet. On the far side of the moon so from the earth we are limited in being able to do observations below. Roughly one hundred megahertz or eighty megahertz so in other words below the fm and that's due to the earth. Honest fear which absorbs some of the radio radiation and refracted But it's also do radio frequency interference and so there's a whole portion of the universe at radio frequencies that we've been unable to probe from the earth but going to the far side where it's radio quiet. There is no i honest. Fear around the moon for the first time we're gonna open up on entirely new Epoch to investigate the very early universe has of That's pretty interesting. So you have a project A radio frequency. Originally that is being planned there. So from smarty perspective jackson eh. Fog i understand that You know the the mvp sort of clear and eighty thousand years from From a big bang so this is posed that honey dinosaur expo. Yeah that's that's that's that's curricula stab. That's the beginning of what's called the dark ages of the early universe so the universe at that point is transparent but there are no stars. No galaxies yet. They're still collapsing formation. A stage so the dark ages is filled with neutral. Hydrogen and that hydrogen radiates at low frequency. So below one hundred megahertz and it will allow us to probe the physics of that early universe. So be able to test more thoroughly models of cosmology inflation and also the early stages of star formation to be able to look at time periods that we can't get to with the hubble space telescope or even the upcoming james webb space telescope. So so this is the era. As a photon says. kate At eighty thousand years and before before stars formed beacon actually see using Something like hubble telescope or something along those lines it's the time there is just dark and it just hydrogen. Yes that's right. So there's a big gap in our understanding of the universe from this Roughly four hundred thousand years after the big bang that you mentioned the cosmic microwave background the start of the dark ages until The hubble space telescope begins the probe. And that's about. Oh i would say a half to three quarters of a billion years. So there's a huge gap all of this interesting physics and astrophysics of happening objects. Collapsing forming the first stars. Those stars coming together to produce the first galaxies and the only way we can the only way we know to be able to sample it is using that neutral. Hydrogen emission and looking at what the impact on the hydrogen is from formation of those those stars and galaxies. So it's a unique way of of probing the early universe in the moon. The far side of the moon is the only place we can do. This and so that measurements would be just just spectrum. Well they would initially using just a single single die. Poll telescopes We can look at the global signal looking at the spectrum but then with time what we want to do. Is the bill on a ray a radio telescopes on the far side that will give us some spatial resolution. So we'll be able to map out The the density fluctuations of the neutral hydrogen in the early universe and Tell us much more about those first stars and galaxies and also the the early cosmology. So what we want to do is we. We start off with just single antennas on the on the surface of the far side in work towards building these race. Eventually having maybe a hundred thousand. I pull antennas on the far side and so so so jack Do we have some expectations of other things like from stat at modern so could be either confirm more potential object some of the weekend. Yeah in particular. What we wanna do is really wanna test the standard model of cosmology and in particular. Is there any missing physics. And there's some indication from recent observations that dark matter may be playing an unexpected role in cooling The neutral hydrogen and that means that the characteristics of the dark matter this is kind of non gravitational interaction the characteristics of that dark matter quite different than what we thought. So these experiments actually could be a way of probing the dark in the universe. Which as you know makes up some ninety plus percent of the mass in the universe and right now we don't really know what to absolutely that is a that's a. That's an embarrassment to both of physics in the astrophysics community is the dominant form of mass in the universe and we've not been able to detect it from the ground only indirect detections from astrophysics observations. And so. is it possible for us to see some sort of timelines. Oh how that changed and that might give us some ideas. Dogmatic might have played a role in in formation. It could it could and how it might have also a affected the evolution of the universe in many ways that we don't anticipate Some of these models of give dark matter a small electronic charge fraction of an electron that allows Than interactions with matter. That again would be quite surprising. So what what we what. We inevitably do gill as anytime. We turn on a new telescope particularly at a new wave. The history has been we learn something new and surprising. And i think that we very much expect that to happen when we turn on our first radio telescope through far in the next few years. And this sounds like a really big Thing jackson you said thousand so these dipoto Yeah that's eventually. I mean we start off small. As i mentioned. We start off with a single on antenna in next year. Our first radio telescope is going to fly to the moon with one of these small companies. That i mentioned to you that nasa has contracted bring payloads. This is a company called intuitive machines out of houston they're gonna bring Our radio telescope initially is going to be on the the near side and then a few years later that's going to be followed by a mission on the far side so we get this going And then hopefully. By the end of the decade where able to put down on initial array bet We'll have a hundred or so of these dipoto antennas to get started. And then we just the nice thing about these arrays of radio telescopes. We can just build them over time. Maybe even manufacturer the In tennis from the lunar a stockpile of material. I was about to say what you need is some sort of senseless locating. Yes exactly because when you're doing thousands of these things You just generate them and then put them on a rover and rover takes them out and ossets. You don't necessarily need humans to To do that. And so watch document gore. What what would be sort of the avia that you might core for this this whole entire so. It really is hitting a couple of areas of scientific interest so I would both referred to them as sort of our cosmic so cozma logically. It's trying to understand the very first stars and galaxies that were created in the universe that eventually led to our milky way into our son. So you know proving howley we get there. The other thing that we can do this array the other goal is going to be looking at nearby exo planets and there were probing radio frequencies a different aspect of habitability that is do these planets have a magnetic field and we know in the case of the earth the magnetic field is really important for life because it shields us from all of the harmful a space radiation coming from the sun as well as from supernova remnants and material supernova. That happened outside the milky way. So with these radio frequencies we can actually and an initial array will have the sensitivity necessary to determine In looking at these nearby exoplanets which are being discovered daily with whether or not they have magnetic fields and therefore are they good targets for a poor habitability that's interesting so the Declared hundred aches planets that have been discovered. One attribute beacon assigned to them is whether they have magnetic magnet field. This fit in the filling the gap in the in doing this at radio. Frequencies is the only way of that we can do it. And the radio frequencies are very low. They're below the ionospheric cutoff. So once again is one of these things that you absolutely must do. This from the far side of the moon is is magnetic field if necessary conditions or have it delivered. That's a really good question. I think this is actively debated in the community We know it's absolutely essential for life on earth because If you look. In contrast to mars mars had a magnetic field early on for probably the first few billion years but then its core cool the magnetic field shutdown and as a result the atmosphere of mars which once allowed liquid water on the surface thinned out Over time and so today mars has been transformed into a desert planet It's really hard to imagine any form of life certainly on the surface in a be some Some microbial life in the in the sub service. So here that's a good example of lesson. If you will of you know how a planet change dramatically From time that it initially had a magnetic field today in which it has no global magnetic feel so is it. is it radiation that it is it. is you have a solar wind. The sole wind which blows from the sun it. It contains a mass and velocity and so it's very effective at stripping atmospheres. It didn't strip the earth's atmosphere because once again the magnetic field deflects the solar wind which is made up of charged particles and so just the flex around the magnetic steel leaves our atmosphere alone the solar wind. You know in the case of of mars that that space radiation just goes right to the surface of mars these days and that's not true. If that was true in the earth. We wouldn't be here yet so Just jack i. I don't know much about this but it just wanted to get your perspective so They're not some Some hypotheses around planets around whitewater swift wasps They are not. That hard survey can be closer but then You know the radiation could be too high. So if fi find a planet that disclose but as beatty high magnetic field it might still been considered to be in could and that's the kind of of trade-offs as you want look at so many of the nearby stars are these red dwarf stars. They're they're also called indoor stars. They're cooler than the sun They're smaller. They also seem the flare a good bit and habitable zone where water would exist is closer to those stars as well so i think folks are worried that that environment might not allow a life to exist on those planets unless you did have a fairly strong magnetic field so yes the kind of thing that you'd want to look at and look for and investigate and we'll have the capability doing that in just a few years with a radio array on this is. This is an exciting thing jack Log of different objectives. It's going to be a process. A long term process From economic investment perspective substantial more efficient than the the missions that we have the l. cloud in the past so so given all of that In conclusion jackie look forward. Say five years ten years what your expectations may be be in. Five years and bear will be ten years. Yeah i think we'll be on our way back to the moon with humans and five years. I'm not sure we're going to get there Quite that time. But i confident that certainly By years after that will have other return of human astronauts to the moon. I also expect them a good bit of of scientific infrastructure to grow up on the moon. Not only out radio ray that we were talking about in radio. Telescopes but other scientific infrastructure is going to investigate the geology of the moon understand in different locations mining water ice turning into fuel Mining of materials on the moon so By the end of the decade. In ten years i expect to see a thriving scientific and Really in industrial entrepreneurial community that has risen excellent. Yeah good luck with the good lipid today and thanks so much. You're welcome countless pleasure. Thank you this is a scientific sense. Podcast providing unscripted conversations leading academics and researchers on brighty of topics. If you like to sponsor this podcast please reach out to info. At scientific sense dot com.

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