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Robert Pepin, professor of physics and astronomy at University of Minnesota, discusses the U.S. space program, Atlantis space shuttle launch, and new developments in space and astronomy. Pepin also answers listener questions. Program contains pledge drive segments.

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Robert Capon will be along in just a couple of minutes. We're going to talk space exploration. Mike Edgerly. Here is his hair right now. And we're talking space membership exploration. I guess membership explorationworks exploring the the Netherworld of membership one 800-227-2811. That's anywhere in the MPR listening area. We're asking for your support during this this brief Breakin in midday asking for your financial support to like to keep midday going to keep it safe to keep its noon-hour Lively and and vital and a source of information that really goes beyond the headlines of the in a way that no other news source on the on the radio dial can do membership is the single most important source of income for Minnesota Public Radio. That's why Gary and I are here asking for your contributions your membership support 1-800 to to 72811 anywhere in the MPR listening area. We'll we'll get going with midday very shortly. But Gary we need toWait, we need to get the word out. 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The important thing is that you do what you can so you give us a call one 800-227-2811. Thank you know I like you very well weather permitting the Atlantis space shuttle is scheduled to lift off from the Kennedys.Sweater this afternoon. The shuttle will have seven crew members on board including to Russian cosmonauts. The shuttle is scheduled to dock with Russian space station, Mir drop off the two cosmonauts and then return with American Norman thagard and the two cosmonauts currently managing space station as Mission has gotten more attention than most shuttle flights are for one thing the document over with a mirror would be a first-of-its-kind for another the Atlantis is NASA's 100th man space flight. So we thought we'd spend the hour today talking about the Atlantis Mission and the future of space exploration University Minnesota astronomy and physics Professor. Robert. Pepin is here and we'd like you to join the conversation as well. Glad you could join us today Professor nice to be here waiting with bated breath for the launch.Am I well I was waiting with bated breath last week and it said the breath has gotten slightly less baited. They they will eventually find a hole in the clouds and poke through they were very narrow lunch today. So I think the chances are maybe fifty-fifty. Why can't they move to all-weather launches? I mean I get planes up and down and in the worst weather. Well, maybe I could turn the question around and ask you if you like me sitting on top of that many tons of extremely explosive fuel with lightning strikes in the area. You can't you can make that argument also for airplanes, but not nearly as potentially catastrophic has loose electricity around the launch pad. So that's that's the real issue that I all that and they don't want to fly through clouds of woodpeckers now assuming they get the Atlantis up would we be able to see it fly around? I don't really know the answer that is often. They are visible in the right area this guy at the right kind of the time of day. And this one may well be visible to I really don't know. I've never got out and look because there were too many clouds around here today. Alan Fortin is the Atlantis Mission. I think every shuttle flight is it has some degree of importance and I speak as a scientist as well with someone who's interested in the space program. This one I think in the long range is somewhat more important in both the scientific in a political sense than than most of the play this link up with mirror and this exchange of crew members is to a certain extent. It's symbolic, but it under underlying that is a genuine desire for much more Cooperative efforts and the International Space Program and at the moment this over the old Soviet Union Russia has the only extant space station and to me it's always made a great deal to say To have international usage of that facility are what I call are ephemeral space station is plugging along and it's 17th or 18th redesign and well both of the political and scientific fronts are trying to decide what its ultimate fate will be this parallel move to utilize the mirror station in an International Way is I think a very important aspect of international biomedical degree biomedical research. So this is symbolic of the beginning of that contribution and that cooperation coordination and space and in that sense. I think it's extremely important is all the competitions on out of the US vs. Soviet / Russian programs. Is that all the thing of the past and we're all on the same page and happy Little Campers, where are largely it is and we are perhaps on the same page at least not too many chapters behind or ahead. Are we Call Happy campers. Well, let's face some facts the competition with the old Soviet space program was one of the fires the drove all the space program specifically hours in the Decades of the 70s and 80s and challenging about competition as long as one doesn't do it with bombs. And it seems to me that competition in space was rather healthy, very stimulating for both sides and a great deal got done in Planetary Exploration and a developing space architecture in space expertise. So in a way, I guess today is University of Minnesota Professor Robert Pepin as we talked about the space program space exploration. You mentioned the The apollo-soyuz business in 1975 and now they actually doctor ran into each other or whatever. How does the Atlantis program how to plan? How does a vibe that differ from? It doesn't really differ very much into detail as usual the main problem here and it was certainly the problem in the apollo-soyuz. Cup was making sure that both sets of Engineers are on the same page. The the United States is one of the few countries left. For example, that uses the English system of England engineering units the the old Soviet Union and now the Russian space program and every other space program are entirely metric someone they want to make sure that when you have a quarter 20 thread that needs to lock into something that will actually will on the on the other side of the pork so is primarily an engineering problem and this time it's been very well study because the international tension between the two Nations is can Literally less than it was then. I saw it in terms of the of the engineering to Tails and in terms of the transfer of crew excetera excetera. That is at 1975 link up higher degree of technology. And in this case, I think much less of a one shot show, which I think apollo-soyuz really wasn't in at least an in terms of that link up. This is I mentioned before I think promises a long. Of genuine International cooperation and utilizing first the Russian space station and later hours as well. Let's get to some callers Brian your question for Robert Pepin, please. Thank you. You asked you asked a question. That's very close to my heart. I I'm I'm actually a planetary science in Ascend and and Mars is by far my favorite planet. Well, I suppose I shouldn't except the one I'm standing on but it's my second favorite planet. The there are several hurdles in the way of mounting a serious attempt to visit Mars with pilot admissions. The 1st, I think is probably Financial that caught that that mission has been estimated at the one or two hundred billion dollar level and Toes clearly going to have to be in the second is physiological One of the great purposes of space station research both a mirror and ultimately an hours will be to look at the buy physical effects of long-term exposure to very low gravity environment. And so far the the results are not terribly promising the human body is an interesting mechanism at it discovers that if certain strains that are exerted on it by gravity are absent it compensates in one way for example by decalcifying bone structures because they don't have to be as strong as they have to be under one gravity. So they're there are physiological effects which in the long range weather damaging at least need to be very thoroughly studied exercise regimes develop that will prevent that sort of thing. So the hurdles at the moment while they're ready three-fold Financial Biophysical biomedical and I think a national or International commitment commitment to actually do it from the point of view of a leaping of the human Spirit outward beyond the level that we reached at all. So the scientific drivers loose there's no question about the scientific drivers. It's a fascinating planet with probably very many parallels to the early history of the earth locked up and its surface record. But at the moment nobody International Community is willing to seriously undertake that level of financial commitment and there are various political considerations, which will have to be addressed as well. Ultimately. We will go there. I think probably in for five decades would we have to send a manned flight up there? Couldn't we send an unmanned spacecraft am a robot and directed from here in terms of digging around in the Martian surface and the rest precisely what we're going to do Gary the unmanned Mars probe. Is required active the there are missions from the United States that our plan for Mars in 1996 and 1998 and with luck at 2-year rentals beyond that which carrier package in small automated Rovers and other things which will do exactly what you suggested. There is one problem of guiding an automated Rover from Earth on Mars though. It can have a television camera and it can show you where it's going and let us suppose. It is approaching the edge of a crevasse and you would prefer to signal at that. It should not fall into that crevasse. You tell it to stop and it takes 20 minutes for your signal to get there for the whole week. We are for one of the very first times Bound by light speed in terms of our ability syndicated long-distance it one good notices in the lunar exploration where the time delay from from Houston to the moon and back was about 2 and 1/2 seconds and even thought it was disconcerting. When was talking to the astronauts on the lunar surface about 20 minutes is going to require an entirely new approach to direct. Guidance from the ground and it is a from from from Earth. And in fact, most of the plan robotic structures for exploration of Mars. I have some degree more or less sophisticated. We hope increasingly more of artificial intelligent intelligent so that they the Rover is in fact able to detect and avoid obstacles by itself without intervention from Mission Control the lunar Landings. Did we get anything out of those other than a lot of PR in a nice boost to say that the man had walked on the moon did we learn a lot by having people actually walking around and we actually learned a great deal. We we learn more scientifically by having trained observers. They're trained not only to observe the surroundings, but also take to intelligently select samples than we ever could have in the 1960's and 1970's by robotic exploration. There is really quite nothing nothing like having a person of train signs of a person or in many of the cases except for one. Hey, I a former military pilot who is retrained as a scientist and and they did an extraordinary wealth difficult to answer. I think that that the ability to sample and make Intelligent Decisions robotically is much greater than it was 20 30 years ago and I would be hard-pressed to argue as strongly that the only great scientific advances say on Mars would be by placing people on the planet. I think we can do a great deal robotically in preparation for that final scientific assault, which is I said before I think is several decades away Sally's on the line from Duluth with a question for Robert Capon Aya place. It's not really a question is a comment. The question was asked about whether or not we would be able to see the space station and last week the Duluth News Tribune publishing schedule for when your would come over and my husband and I were lucky enough to see it on Saturday evening. It went very fast. It's only took about two minutes to get over the whole area. But it was exciting thinking the Turkey Pond it would you I wonder would you be able to see then like two lights coming together it when the shuttle that I've been docked with the mirror, you better ask Sally if you still on the line. Are you still there? I knew some kind listener would bail me out of my ignorance about whether you could see it and you actually saw mirror good for you. Tell me when I mean that's the one that the newspaper said would be up and it was exactly the time on the schedule. We also look for it on Friday and Sunday but it was too cloudy does happen around here doesn't I don't know whether you'll be able to see the shuttle as clearly mirror is a pretty big structure reflects a nice bunch of light shuttles have been visible. And so it may be part of some of their listener will tell me the answer to that. It may very well be that it will be visible this time with her here permitting. I wonder why they don't put some kind of a I don't know what it would take but a kind of reflective something-or-other on these various spacecraft is for PR purposes and for interest to pick four people here. So you have a better chance to see if maybe you would pick him up at user. Actually. They're probably doing that already Gary for it for a different reason. That's a good idea if they're all sorts of reflectors on their pick up very easily by radar and Laser is for example, but they're covered with a highly reflective metallic coating any way to avoid being roasted and parboiled by the Sun and so they they they generally have fairly reflective coatings on them just for Protection they might improve that a little bit I think that's probably the reason you can see them at all remember photographs of Skylab when it was up all that gold foil on the outside, which was really there is a thermal protection rather than one to attract attention, but it works that way to I guess today is Robert Pepin who teaches astronomy and physics at the University of Minnesota as we talked about space exploration here on midday. Josh is on the line for Minneapolis to answer. How about quasars quasi-stellar objects? What are they saying about them? They're one of the most that they are one of the most interesting astronomical phenomena that I know about and I don't know very much about them. I do know that if there has been this long-standing debate about where they are and what their intrinsic Luminosity is beyond that I'm afraid. I don't know what the ins-and-outs of the latest arguments are. I might add to that. By the way that the deep space astronomy is becoming one of the most exciting fields in all of space exploration and I count that as part of space exploration the the Hubble telescope now up to level even exceeding its original performance specifications. The increasing ability of ground-based telescopes to do marvelous things with various adaptive off to Optics to get rid of two of atmospheric Jitter. We're entering an era and deep space astronomy, which I find to be absolutely fascinating gamma ray burst, for example of very large flashy outputs of high. Because the energy that occur almost uniformly all over the sky. There's a great argument about where they're coming from. Some people can say they're coming from our own Galaxy by a mechanism that nobody really understands other things to think that they are millions upon millions of light-years away and extremely energetic and no one really has the slightest idea of what they are every time we look with higher and higher resolution in greater and greater sensitivity. We find something new now. I'm wondering I was going to ask you about that because I keep hearing about all these things that the Hubble is sending back in the way of more clarity and so has a certain extent that Theory's been propounded about one thing or another origins of the universe origins of stars has the information that comeback generally upheld those theories. Have we been on the right track? I'll Lo these many years or have we watched a lot of theories be debunked. We've been both ways. There are some having having to do with that with certain aspects of cosmological evolution, which don't look very very firm resolve a name or one of the greatest news ever by the wake is the is the identity of the so-called dark matter in the universe and there wasn't one time a theory that it was composed largely of stars that were too dumb to see but Hubble with his great sensitivity is allowed us to put very strict limits at least in the Solar neighborhood of how many of these objects there are around and there aren't enough. I might point out that the great mystery of the missing matter is that it fits thought with rather good theoretical justification that the total amount of matter in the universe is some certain number and we can only see and identify about 10% So 90% of the matter at least it is rather firmly thought is invisible to us in the question is what is it an over the last fifteen or Twenty Years marvelous things ranging from Girls called Macho's to other particles called wimps brown dwarf stars. I won't I won't go into the entomology of those two expressions, but they they do mean something. What is the missing neutrinos are an interesting possibility. Now, there are enigmatic little particles and interact with practically nothing the travel at the speed of light and the question is whether they have a little bit of mass if they do there so many of them that they might make up almost all of the missing matter, but nobody knows we're doing experiments with Minnesota in cooperation with with others to actually try to set up an experiment. Consisting of shooting a neutrino beam several hundred miles through solid rock from Illinois to the soudan mine in Minnesota. If that experiment is is is approved. It may in fact answer the question of whether these little elusive particles have some that. So I hear the University of Minnesota is directly involved in this question. There are other theories that have been splendidly confirmed. We now have almost the ability to look into young star-forming regions saying that you're in the Orion Nebula was it one of the great spectacular areas of this guy where do stars are being born all the time theories of the origin of stars, like our sun suggested that they start off shrouded in gas and dust with a rotating disk of material around them from which the planets will eventually form in the last 10 years or so. This picture has really been very very strikingly confirm both by observations in and non visible wavelengths in the in Red and lately, it's becoming possible to actually image these things by facilities such as the Hubble and we can see that the theory looks as if it were correct. Before that time Gary we had only our own solar system to study and we had that we had to guess as to how it might have 4 minutes very easy to go astray when you're constructing a theory based on an example of one and so is very very important to look elsewhere for other solar systems in the process of formation to see if we were even moderately right or whether our solar system is just a rare accident and there aren't any others around. We now think that they're fairly, Mark your question for Robert Pepin place in order to leave the solar system. It would seem that we need some type of other and propulsion system. I'll have you thought about that. What kind of things are on the horizon baby, you know, what a thousand years or The hall by the kind of question. I love Mark. We don't need a new propulsion system to get to Mars the chemical that were using our clumsy there an efficient and they they they demand that U-Haul very large amounts of mass around until it's 2 and until the fuel is used up for which is not a good way to do it. And then you do have to carry fuel now as far as other kinds of propulsion systems proposals go from the ridiculous to the sublime several years ago a very prominent nuclear scientist whom I will not name suggests that one good way to propel a rocket ship to very high speeds would be too loaded with several hundred nuclear weapons and detonate them under the art rocket ship the the pressure pulse with then accelerate the rocket ship forward and if you set off a hundred of these you could read something like 10% of the speed of light that is not a motive space transportation that I think I would enjoy a very Others other suggestions have to do with very high speed electromagnetic propulsion system where one carries a relatively small amount of fuel but is able electric cheetah accelerated to such high speeds. That one gets quite High Thrust out of it. Now, these are not these are not on clouds of flamin dust, I propose and systems that are there slow and steady but they work all the time and given enough time one can build a very respectable seeds always remembering that wherever you're going you need to keep turn off fuel to be able to stop when you get there. So you have to turn the thing around and blast in the other direction, but there are lots of ideas Mark. Some of them are actually on the drawing boards and there have been some prototypes of some of these systems are there is nothing that I know of that is radically new many of these ideas have been around for the last fifteen or Twenty Years. So a thousand years from now the imagination boggles. I'm quite sure that the Rock Chips or spacecraft in a thousand years will not be propelled by any of the mechanisms that were thinking about now what happened to the idea of a supposed to be just a runway in the off it goes flies up to a to the space station in this instance. I suppose I could get gassed up there and then head off tomorrow is what we stay here a lot about that. Yes in the early days you did before it was realize that the shuttle is an experimental vehicle and always will be one with a very high degree of intrinsic danger connected with it a a propulsion system, which is intrinsically hazardous in those days. There were all sorts of plans that we thought we could put Mass into orbit for $10 a pound. Well, it's currently two or three or more of that and more than that and we'll stay that way. It's such a risky Venture. There's so much protection that has to build in because it is man by people that it has and always will be so intrinsically expensive that it could never Operate as a taxi cab adjust is too costly and I guess today Robert Pepin who teaches astronomy and physics at the University of Minnesota's we talked about space exploration there on the FM news station next caller Miriam. Go ahead, please. That's a good question. You actually two or three ways to do it. You can carry batteries and and and many of the of the robotic spacecraft do carry batteries. You can carry little generators that led burn fuel and turn a rotor and fruit and produce it to generate electricity. That way the way Grand Coulee Dam and Hoover Dam do using water to turn turbine blades another way to do it, which has turned out to be very effective in the space program Blue Ridge not terribly popular with the environmentalists is to use what's called a radio thermal generator, which actually is a small canister loaded with the plutonium in which is radioactive and decays and produces quite a lot of heat and that heat is you just almost as in a conventional power plant to to be translated into electricity either by turning a rotor or in this case kind of transferring it directly into it like Through a series of physical interfaces. So that's how your produce electricity in orbit the most popular way in things as they near the sun is to put out a whole series of solar panels, which were little devices that are illuminated by the Sun and they are able to turn solar radiation into electricity directly. So you shine light on one side of them and you start of run your Mixmaster or toaster off the other side has a nice complicated little package of various kinds of material which have the ability convert light directly into electricity. So those are all of the ways that I can think of where you can make electricity in orbit without a very long extension cord. Jack is on the line from Spirit Lake Iowa cleanser or to even get close to an object. Is that a a function of a space travel per say or are we conserving fuel to the point where we really have to take a long time to get there? Are you referring specifically to the upcoming Atlantis mirror hookup? They have lots of maneuvering fuel but the docking has to be done. So precisely as I understand that there are there are two sets of 12 volts that have to engage with Audrey much clearance and it's the shuttle commanders job to two very slowly and gently go to guide the shuttle into the docking pork with practically zero misalignment so that the bolts will engage smoothly. It's a very very delicate Maneuvers. So the time that it takes it simply because the shuttle Commander is being extraordinary careful to be on the right trajectory and not as such a high speed that even if he does mate successfully he doesn't bounce back off which I actually could happen. I understand when the soyuz and the Apollo dock in 1975 actually the Apollo bumped into the soyuz and the Russians were mad and something God. Damn. What I was at all. I don't really remember Gary but I'm perfectly prepared to believe it happened. It's a it's a very delicate maneuvering that there are probably better than misalignments that it will eventually be developed when this becomes common the the Russians are really the only people who had a lot of experience with Docking now, it's sort of strange territory with us because we haven't very much. With anything but they've been resupplying there right there Mir space station for I guess about a decade now with with fairly frequent Supply flights and they occasionally trouble with Docking. In fact, I think there was an incident with a few months ago where they had all those long delay and taking a cosmonaut who was it by that time it entirely sick of the Mir space station you be out at her butt out of here about nine months recall. They had a docking problem which prevented taking him off for some. Of time. So It's Tricky Steve your question, please. Servation of satellites in the night sky is not nearly as difficult as you might think. We live out in the country up in Northwestern Wisconsin, and we probably see if we have no idea what they are normally but once a month or so, I would say that there's a satellite pass over you can tell by their behavior as they pass over whether an airplane or satellite or Aurora meteorite. Of course first one I saw that I knew that I was looking at was Sputnik 2 in this is why I have got a history of looking at it when it when it was launched. There was a flight to give of course, you know, it was a big deal back then. Good for you. I actually have never seen one. I have to go in. The rice and they tend to be rather low in the sky don't think this at this latitude. A really just any kind of turbulence or our atmospheric disturbance in all this sticker cards towards the horizon and they've hidden links them out until they were up above I used to live in Indiana and we couldn't see them until they were about 45 degrees above the Horizon. They just did the amp the dust was thick enough down there that you couldn't you know, they just didn't appear. Oh, well, that's Indiana horse. Right right quite often. You'll be rewarded with something. That's just a little bright light very silent to just drifts across the posters cuz you've asked you you and I believe it was Sally answer the questions that I didn't know the answer to now you're simulating me to go out and look and by the way, I'm in meteorite researching happen to see a meteorite. Be sure and let me know. I guess today is Robert Pepin who teaches astronomy and physics at the University of Minnesota as we talked about space exploration my runs on the line from Eagan. Go ahead sir, student 11:50 to switch on the Mirror Lake from Metallurgy, and thanks for this together. Yes, that's that's an interesting question. That was a very big deal for for both the shuttles and the space station in the early days. And I think it remains that there are certain fabrication techniques, which really haven't been tried in space and look very promising and there's certainly a great deal of research both associated with the space program and with with our general energy economy on Earth on photovoltaic because in the long run those are going to be highly efficient full of old takes will be extraordinary important not only to the space station, but in solar correct Herzog & collectors on Earth by all we really need is very high efficiency on those things and and we can start going to solar powered terrestrial which I think in the long run is going to be an extremely important energy source for the answer. Your question is yes, there is quite a lot of research continuing in that matter both on photovoltaic sap per se and on the Jen Area of a lot of space fabrication both of crystals and of other kinds of substrate materials question, please first monkey in an astronaut in space as I can safely insert a shuttle and everything else that goes up there now and if they do with the moonwalk trading no debris go to their suits where you know, what you asked you questions here and they're both interesting. I think on the matter or space to be witches are real Hazard there is absolutely no you can't imagine what damage to a spacecraft a small bowls can do traveling at 17,000 miles an hour if it happens to hit you in the right spot. We have retrieve things. From orbit in the past. We've discovered that they're full of little craters and pockmarks many of which were caused by by little flakes of paint would have actually gotten loose from other spacecraft in her flying around in orbit the larger breed down to prep half an inch or so can actually be seen by radar from the ground and their Track by the North American radar Defense command and call. I think it's in Colorado and you can imagine what a job that is, but for at least a larger pieces, we know pretty much what the orbits are and we know we're not to send a spacecraft or at least when not to send a spacecraft into a particular area what area is getting very crowded is one of the most important for us and that's geosynchronous orbit 22,000 miles or so up where the communication satellites are and there's so many of them now and they have shed so much miscellaneous debris over the last twenty or thirty years that that area is face is getting quite hazardous was also getting very crowded. There's hardly room anymore. As far as the Moon is concerned. I was directly involved in that and Quite right as any rational being would be if you're going to step out on the surface of the Moon and their little meteoroids raining down around you on the surface of the natural question to ask is what are the chances and I we answered that question to each of the cruise by saying the chances that you'll be hit by something large enough to penetrate your spacesuit are very small and they had really no choice but to accept that answer that we could document since we know pretty much how many subjects of a different sizes are actually hitting the surface of the Moon in a particular time. There's no way to avoid the small stuff material coming in at many miles a second but fortunately almost all much smaller than a grain of sand and one of the illuminating things that one could do which made the astronauts realize that they had been in this kind of an environment. Where is to show them under a microscope the surface of their helmets when they got back from from their particular lunar Mission and they're just covered with little impact bits caused by tiny little meteorites much more of the gray. Saint but travelling several miles is so I can wish you could actually vaporize the outside of the protective plastic shield and make a tiny little crater. The the answer that they would not in any probability be hit by something large enough to penetrate their suit or how much is a statistical answer simply say that the chances are and we could demonstrate that your chances are only one in the movie like being hit by lightning very slim being hit by an extremely large meteorite of the kind that the cause the of the enormous Extinction 65 million years ago. We know now having tracked the debris that exist in near-earth orbit that an object of that size, which is almost cataclysmic as far as as far as life on Earth is concerned should hit the earth unless it's spotted person to flechten about once every 20 or 30 million years. The last one was 65 million years ago. So statistically You could say where do killer asteroids on the way on the way these days we are both scientifically and politically and from the point of view of humanity break in a relationship. There are actually major programs how to identify and map the orbits of all hazardous material that exists in near-earth orbit. Those are receiving increasing funding now they promised then is that once we know the orbits of these objects, we can calculate what the chances are that any of them will hit the earth as the orbit of Vols in the future and take steps to avoid the Collision. Those tests were technologically very Advanced because you got to go over there and you have to mount some sort of propulsion device on the object early enough so that you can slightly deflected from its orbit in such a way that it misses. The Earth's protective logically very possible. And I think that's what really will happen. So I don't I don't expect them another ten mile or Eighth Mile wide object will actually hit the In our statistical sounds but if we will have that kind of Hazzard on a fairly fairly long time scale to worry about that in the same leg as worrying about paying your taxes or something that may get off something awful is going to happen to you in a very short time. But the problem with that kind kind of an event is that what it does happen if pills are quarter to a half of the world's population is so the annual risk is very high but doesn't happen very often. Something to worry about Lennie. It is an interesting observation of you learn more about the space environment. We learn more and more about hazards like this and I think we learn more and more about how to avoid them. I have to I asked you before we run. We're just about out of time now, but have we learned any more about the weather? There is a life out there someplace. I understand that the little project they had going in Australia that they shut that down cuz I couldn't find any signs of extraterrestrial life. They say they're going to forge ahead. Keep looking Gary. It's almost certainly there. I think Mars was the disappointment. We have subsequently learned that the surface of Mars is reading inhospitable to life is too much ultraviolet radiation that sort of thing. But now that we learn a little bit more by Looking Back in the terrestrial a biological record about how life developed. It's inconceivable to most the exobiologist that it would not have developed in some form or another in somewhat similar contacts in other places. It may very well have developed an early Mars and there may be fossil algae in thing and and and and faucet and organisms like that now no longer accept that are preserved in the in the record there. We'd really like to explore Mars into tail to look for things like that because the early conditions on Mars may not have been very different from the early conditions on Earth. Thanks a lot for coming by always fun to talk with you Robert Capa who teaches astronomy and physics at the University of Minnesota. Take a look at the space exploration business Atlantis schedule the left off yet this afternoon and a no word yet whether I don't know where that it's been cancelled. So we'll see how it all turns out like to thank all of you by the way who was listening to a dr. Pepper and especially those of you who are called in with your questions and comments. We will be rebroadcast in this program at 9 tonight on the FM news station. My cat has joined us and wow fascinating is always interesting. He's always interesting. The subject is so fascinating. There's so much to talk about and so little time that's right and speaking of whether there is life out there. Is there life out there among our listeners into are they willing to have to come forward and show their their pulse at all those meds? Midday listeners always answer the call. We had we had lots of a good calls today and and I would bet the significant number of those colors are members in maybe a few aren't and perhaps they can pick up the phone one more time and call one 800-227-2811. And that's anywhere in the MPR listing area. Gary and I are here asking for your support for Public Broadcasting. Then we need your support membership dollars are the most important source of income for Minnesota Public Radio, and it's a critical time for Public Broadcasting and programs like midday and it's it's a time when we have to turn to our listeners for support one 800-227-2811. That's anywhere in the MPR listening area, Minnesota Public Radio, like so many companies the fiscal year ends on June 30th, which course is this Friday. And so what we need to do is to try to convince about 4,000 people yet to call in and become members by the end of this week to round out our fiscal year on a good solid Financial basis now, we don't What you do? I pick up the slack for all four thousand people. But if you do your part add your name to the list, we are very confident that we'll be able to make that goal by the end of this week. But we do need your financial support. If you're not yet a member Now's the Time to become a member if you're a member and it's time to renew. Give us a call with your membership pledge one 800-227-2811 is the number to call one 800-227-2811 like to hear from all of you who are listeners to the midday broadcast find it a useful thing to have on your radio. Maybe you're tuning in now for a Ray Suarez and Talk of the Nation if you enjoy that kind of program and give us a call. Let us know it with a membership pledge one 800-227-2811 is the number $60. Mike will do the trick in most instances money easy money. That's nothing compared to what what's been on the space shuttle every year now that's $60 a day or house. That is $5 a month. That's $60. It's it's easy to do with say it's not hard to do. Give us a call one 800-227-2811 anywhere in the NPR listening area is Gary said if you maybe you're a listener who who finds the midday broadcast useful I can tell you maybe you'll find it too fun to listen to it doesn't always have to be useful or serious. So even something as traumatic as a as the space program can also be a lot of fun to talk about killer asteroids. Absolutely a life in outer space and you heard it here first and then he broke the story today are there is life in outer space 399 members 399 listeners have called to become new members or to renew their membership today 399. We need to hit 400 at be a nice little Magic Touch to hit here before we go off to the news and Talk of the Nation one 800-227-2811. That's anywhere the NPR listening area. I think it's easy sometimes to get the impression because I Minnesota Public Radio has been so successful. The programming is so good. So good over the years. I think it's It's fairly easy to get the impression that your membership contribution doesn't make any difference. And in matter fact, I think there are people who assume that the memberships in general membership contributions in general are really don't make that much difference. Well, it does make a difference matter of fact membership contributions Remain the single most important source of income for Minnesota Public Radio and we can say that without me if there's just no question about it. If you trace the history of this organization, you will find that as the membership has increased as that bass has gotten stronger the programming has gotten better and better and better now, it's not like five people have written checks for $1000000 only it was that easy $40 thirty dollars $60 at a time people just like yourself do what you can't you know, the federal federal funding is going to be going down. If not disappearing altogether. You probably heard about you no problems with other sources of Finding that membership support has been nice and strong right along and now we're urging you to do what you can take the place of somebody who's been paying the freight Lo these many years one 800-227-2811 number to call. Let's hear from all of you like to listen to mid-day 401 colors today 401 listeners have become new members or have renewed their memberships. They've called one 800-227-2811. That's anywhere the NPR listening area and there's a chance for you to make your bucks go just a little bit further during this particular portion of our membership campaign. There is a challenge now from some members who made a special contribution to challenge all of you who are not members, but who wants to become new members of Minnesota Public Radio Vivian and Lewis McGonagall and mr. And mrs. Richard Thompson r2r for the members actually who contributed the challenge you to come to become now a new member, they'll match your new membership dollars call one 800-227-2811 the news and Ray Suarez and Talk of the Nation coming up. But there's still plenty of time Gary 4 Midday fans to make their voices hurt. Have we told you about the goodies that we told you about the goodies that are available? If you join us it really at any level we will be glad to send out to public radio atlas of the United States and he's listing of where all the public radio stations are great. If you travel around if you join us at the $60 level or call in with an additional contribution $30 or so, we will send out to you portable visual encyclopedia. It's called a cyclopedia naturally Enough full of fun facts things that you would be interested in knowing and you just paged through it will send it out to you free of charge is join us at the hundred and $20 level out of people are picking up a Sarah janecek politics and Minnesota the directory that came out a short while ago and if you join us at the $180 level special premium special, thank you. Linda wertheimer is listening to America. Those are some of the thank you gifts and they are thank you gifts. The important thing is that you may That membership call membership pledge, and we will continue to do the best programming we can we hope it's good enough. We hope you enjoy it find it fun entertaining informative and interesting will do the best we can with your money. The important thing is that you make the pledge give us a try for another year or for a year and see if it works out. I think you'll find it a good investment one 800-227-2811 number to call 6 midday listeners on the line more to come. We hope six letters on the line more than 400 people have called today to become a doula to become new members or to renew their membership our goal for this membership campaign is 4000 listeners becoming members or renewing their memberships. It's just a small step toward the potential loss offsetting of the expected loss in federal funding that we expect to see but it's a small step but it's an important one one 800-227-2811. That's anywhere in the MPR listening area. If you're a US West's Taylor phone user all you have to do is dial pound 6ixnine, and we like to take this time to thank the Old City Cafe for providing us the wonderful lunch for all our volunteers to date one 800-227-2811. Okay about that time now time for the last Roundup those of you who been hovering by your phone. You probably actually touched your phone just moments ago touch the phone, but didn't pick it up and dial or perhaps you did and you got the wrong number. Well, here we go again about a minute ago, and then it's off to a Talk of the Nation with Ray Suarez. If you would like to become a member of Minnesota Public Radio, please do so. Now your membership contribution is essential to good strong programming on this station one 800-227-2811 1 800-227-2811. You don't have to go to a meeting. You don't have to do anything. But tell the volunteer your name address phone number and that you'd like to join say at the $60 level that will take care of it one 800-227-2811. We need to hear from you five listeners on the line right now either renewing or becoming new members and Minnesota Public Radio membership is the single most important source of income for Minnesota Public Radio you listen, and so therefore we come to you and ask for your support one 800-227-2811. I would like to remind you to Minnesota Public Radio news is supported in part by Financial contributions from Minnesota Public Radio listeners, and we certainly hope that you will be one of the people that were talking about when we read that message over the next while Gary I can hear. Thank you so much for joining us during our mid-day program today. Thank you Mike for coming by tomorrow. We're going to talk about the situation vs. Japan trade relations. Hope to hear from you tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in today.


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