Yay, Space!

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Yay, Space!
Number 3251
Broadcast Date MARCH 30, 2018
Episode Length 1:01:06
Hosts Tom Merritt, Sarah Lane
Guests Bobak Ferdowsi, Ariel Waldman, Rob DeMillo

It’s our end of month DTNS round table. This month we examine where space exploration and the tech industry intersect, why privatization of space is good or bad, and how the internet is empowering citizen astronomers.


Quick Hits

BuzzFeed posted an internal memo from Facebook Vice President Andrew Bosworth from June 18, 2016. The memo argued that connecting people was Facebook's job no matter what. Bosworth wrote, "Maybe it costs someone a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools," adding later that, "anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good." Bosworth said he made the post to surface issues and have a debate. Mark Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed that he and most people at Facebook disagreed strongly with the ideas expressed in the memo.
Sometime Sunday morning, China's abandoned Tiangong-1 space station will return to Earth. The space station weighs about 18,000 pounds, which will break up and most of which will burn up on re-entry. The station is not under control and moving fast so it is difficult to predict where it will land though statistically it will be somewhere between latitudes 43°N and 43°S. It is unlikely to be solid ground, much less a populated area.
UnderArmour announced Thursday that 150 million accounts for its MyFitnessPal app had been accessed by attackers in February. Usernames, email addresses and passwords hashed with bcrypt were exposed. UnderArmour is requiring all app users to change their passwords.
SpaceX launched a group of 10 NEXT satellites for Iridium Friday with a partially re-used Falcon 9. SpaceX has launched 50 satellites for Iridium's NEXT project which is replacing the world's largest commercial satellite network of low-Earth orbitals. SpaceX attempted to recover the fairing but CEO Elon Musk tweeted the fairing impacted water at high speed.
The US FCC has approved SpaceX's plan to launch 4,425 high altitude satellites as part of a broadband network. Half of the satellites will need to be launched within six years. The service will be called StarLink and will need to have a debris mitigation plan finished before launch. SpaceX will need further approval for lower altitude satellites that would bring its number to 12,000.


Bobak Ferdowsi's Discussion Topic

  • How does the privatization of space travel affect NASA, ESA, JAXA, etc?
  • Favorite technological advancements in the space industry over the last 12-24 months?

Ariel Waldman's Discussion Topic

Rob DeMilo Discussion Topic

  • How are citizen-scientists using the internet to change space exploration and astronomy?

Adviser's Discussion

  • How close are we to the big accomplishments like moon bases, asteroid mining or living on Mars? What will it take?



Preceded by:
"Cloudy with a Chance of Nuts & Bolts"
Yay, Space!
Followed by:
"Slowing Down Self-Driving"