NASA EDGE: NE Live@The Future Forum

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NASA EDGE: NE Live@The Future Forum
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NE Live @ The Future Forum

Featuring: Interviews with NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale and Astronaut Carl Walz
Blair takes the helm at NASA's Future Forum. Can Franklin and Jacky bail him out?

The NASA EDGE Team, minus perennial host Chris, takes in NASA's Future Forum in Miami, Florida. Despite Blair's shaky leadership, Franklin and Jacky provide essential support in executing an ESA on the University of Miami Campus and preparing Blair for his big interview with the "Honorable" Shana Dale and Astronaut Carl Walz. Of course, you will definitely want to find out if the "Grand Poobah" loses his credibility or his credentials?

Segment 01

BLAIR: Welcome to NASA Edge.

FRANKLIN: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

JACKY: At the University of Miami in Florida.

BLAIR: Yes. We're here at the Future Forum but before we get started there are a few things that I need to talk about that are noticeably different from our ordinary broadcast. As you probably recognize, Chris isn't here. I’m not going to get into the personal reasons that he's not here. That's his own thing but…

JACKY: Wait a minute. What did you do to him?

BLAIR: No. I didn't do anything. I am the host.

JACKY: You know he's always wanted that position.

FRANKLIN: And he just strong-armed it this morning.

JACKY: Yeah, all by himself. I wonder if Chris knows.

BLAIR: You know… yes, I'm physically strong but I would never strong-arm Chris because I'm not a violent person in any way. But he couldn't be here…

JACKY: He could pay someone.

BLAIR: Guys, we're hosting.

JACKY: Okay. Sorry. Go ahead.

BLAIR: So, we're here at the Future Forum with me as host. In fact, Jacky, you're abandoning everything I taught you yesterday about what it means to be a co-host that supports the host. I had Ron shoot some video of our meeting yesterday. Why don't we roll with that?

BLAIR: So, we've got a show tomorrow.


BLAIR: Do you have an agenda or anything for me to go over and evaluate.

JACKY: Oh, don't you have that?

BLAIR: Um. You were on the same telecoms. As host, I wouldn't think I would have to do any of that. I thought you would put all that together. Don't you have some notes or anything?

JACKY: Haven't you learned from Chris? He does a lot of work.

BLAIR: Yeah, Chris does do a lot of work.

JACKY: Yeah.

BLAIR: I'd call him but he can't really help me at this point. Is there…? What's the…? Future Forum?

JACKY: Blair. I have to tell you something. I know we give you a hard time but I have a lot of faith that you can do a really good job.

BLAIR: Okay.

JACKY: Okay? So I need you to get you stuff together. You've been in the same telecoms. Go back through your notes, put an agenda together. Then, we can review it together.

BLAIR: All right, can you forward me everything you have?

JACKY: Sure.

BLAIR: That will help. I'll read that and we'll get together later. I'll try, Yeah.

BLAIR: That's not the tape that we… Ron, we didn't talk about…

JACKY: Yes it is. It's exactly what happened.

FRANKLIN: That was not good at all, Blair.

BLAIR: [stuttering] I… That's not right. I would have my "A" game on. That's… I disavow.

FRANKLIN: That was a "C+" game, doc.

BLAIR: C+. Yeah, that was a C+ but that's not accurate. I'm very professional.

FRANKLIN: Well, if Chris were here, he would have done his research. He would have checked his sources. He would have used the internet.

JACKY: Enough, Franklin. Blair, you're doing a great job.

BLAIR: Thank you.

JACKY: I’m sure Chris would be so proud.

BLAIR: He would be… I saw that. And Chris is not here but I'm hosting. Everything's going well, if you just get on board. We're talking about the Future Forum. We're going to be hearing from Shana Dale and Carl Walz. I got to interview them. That went great. So, we'll look forward to that. But also, I understand, even though I'm not Chris, you guys did get out to the campus. Tell us about that.

JACKY: I think Chris would be proud of what we did.

FRANKLIN: Very proud of what we did. We actually did an ESA here on the campus of University of Miami. We had a lot of interesting responses from the students. Jacky was superb.

JACKY: Thank you.

FRANKLIN: You're welcome.

BLAIR: We expect a lot but she always delivers.

JACKY: This is the first time I've worked with Franklin. It was a pleasure.

BLAIR: How did Franklin do?

JACKY: Oh, excellent!

BLAIR: He always does a good job.

FRANKLIN: I think you'll look forward to seeing that and as I said we talked a lot about technologies. The students, believe it or not, were all over it.

BLAIR: I like the feeling we're getting here. We're starting to build as a team, now, Chris's absence, maybe not such a big deal. Do you feel that?

FRANKLIN: Chris is actually a teacher. He was a teacher before he came here to NASA Edge. I think his presence here at the University of Miami is missed.

JACKY: Yeah, definitely missed.

BLAIR: The students didn't really respond to all my professorial efforts. Which is unfortunate but that is okay because I'm not a teacher like Chris. But I am a host and you're watching NASA EDGE.

FRANKLIN: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

JACKY: From the University of Miami in Florida.

BLAIR: Things are cooking. This is good… nice. I feel like we're bonding.

FRANKLIN: Where's that blazer?

BLAIR: The patches.

Segment 02

FRANKLIN: Welcome back to NASA Edge.

JACKY: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

FRANKLIN: We're here on the campus of the University of Miami, outside the Student Center. This is the place where we're going to ask ESA questions to the students about spin-off technology and the future of NASA.

JACKY: Who do you think will win, the guys or the girls?

FRANKLIN: I think the men will do pretty good.

JACKY: I have a feeling the women always know what they're talking about.

FRANKLIN: Let's check it out.

FRANKLIN: Amy, my first question to you is what is a resQpod?

WOMAN: I would have to say something that goes on a spaceship in case something goes wrong?

WOMAN: Are you kidding me?

MAN: I’m guessing it's sent to space.

WOMAN: It's part of a ship that can eject and bring whoever's on the ship to safety.

WOMAN: I don't know exactly what it is but I have a feeling. I remember I was watching Air Force One with Harrison Ford and they used a pod for him to escape. So, I'm thinking that's what it is.

FRANKLIN: The rescue pod I'm talking about is actually spelled R-e-s-Q-P-o-d. Have you ever heard of it?


MAN: I have no idea. I really don't.

JACKY: It's actually spelled R-e-s-Q-P-O-D.

MAN: I guess a ResQPOD. Seeing that an IPod and that pod are spelled the same. I would presume it would be a variation of an IPod.

FRANKLIN: The ResQPOD is actually a device that enhances circulation to the heart and the brain during CPR.

WOMAN: Oh. Okay.

FRANKLIN: It was born out of technology used at NASA to help astronauts to get reacclimated to increase their circulation when they got back on Earth.

WOMAN: Okay.

FRANKLIN: Just a bit of information. So you've learned something today.

WOMAN: I did.

FRANKLIN: The second question is multiple-choice. And we're talking about spin-off technology. How many spin-off technologies has NASA developed over the years? A. 16 B. 160 or C. 1,600

WOMAN: 160.

WOMAN: The middle one, B.


WOMAN: Spin-off technologies in terms of other technologies?

MAN: I would go with B.

JACKY: It's actually 1,600.

MAN: Really?

JACKY: Yeah. Pretty amazing, huh?

MAN: Yeah. I'm only familiar with the bed because…

JACKY: … all the commercials. True.

MAN: I'll say C, 1,600.

WOMAN: C. 1,600?

WOMAN: C. 1,600?

FRANKLIN: Absolutely correct. Good. You're looking real smart today. No one's going to get the first one. I actually believe that.

JACKY: And the last question is a lot easier. Where would you like to see NASA go in the future?

WOMAN: I know this is what everyone says to go to Mars and stuff like that. But I think we should discover if there's actually life out there.

MAN: I would like to see NASA develop programs to further help us on Earth as well as in space, so, keep on developing technologies to progress our civilization.

WOMAN: Flying cars.

FRANKLIN: Flying cars. Why flying cars?

WOMAN: I don't know. It would just be cool to see.

WOMAN: Well, nanotechnology is something that vets have started to dabble in slightly as the medical field has also started. So, I guess to try and improve nanotechnology so it’s more available to forms of medicine. It can help more.

MAN: Um, probably Mars.

WOMAN: Oh, I have one. I heard that when you go into space that your bone density is decreased. Perhaps they can do more research rebuild the bone density for people who have osteoporosis. It would be helping the space plan and regular, lay people.

MAN: I would like to see NASA back on the moon. I think so much was dedicated before my life to getting there and there's so much more we could do there.

FRANKLIN: Wow. We had a good time here on the campus of the University of Miami doing our ESA questions. And I'm actually proud to say that the women did edge out the men by a small percentage on their answers.

JACKY: Yes, they did. And we had some really great answers from nanotechnology to flying cars. It was great to see what all the students had to say about NASA and how interested they were.

FRANKLIN: So, until the next time we step out for an ESA, and hopefully you'll come out and work with me again.

JACKY: I would love to.

FRANKLIN: Until then, this is NASA EDGE.

JACKY: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

Segment 03

BLAIR: Excellent job on the ESA, guys. That was fantastic.

JACKY & FRANKLIN: Thank you.

BLAIR: And if I'm not mistaking, I think our first ever NASA Edge tag team, where we actually have two people out at the same time getting ESA questions.

JACKY: I didn't know that.

FRANKLIN: Yeah. First time I had the opportunity to work with you. When we were down in Daytona, during our road trip, Blair got out on the beach and did a little ESA interaction with the people. But this was different and it was nice to be working here with you at the University of Miami.

JACKY: Thank you, same here.

BLAIR: Of course, those were my pre-hosting days. That was the old co-hosting days. You’re following in my footsteps. And of course, I’m very professional now. I did get the opportunity to speak with the honorable Shana Dale, the Deputy Administrator at NASA, which was great. I got to spend a lot time, a very long interview and asked very tough questions. She was very responsive and we’re going to take a look at that. I’m sure you guys will be impressed. What you’re going to see here in the interview is an inside look at all things NASA via Blair and Shana Dale. Let’s check it out.

BLAIR: Thanks so much Shana for coming and talking to us about the Future Forums. My first question, right off the bat, is actually, what is the Future Forum?

SHANA: The Future Forum is the opportunity to go to seven different cities in 2008. Places we don’t typically go to, not our typical aerospace stomping grounds. And share the wealth in terms of what NASA is doing. This is our fiftieth year anniversary. So, part of this is celebration. Talking about the achievements over the past fifty years but also looking towards the future and what our new programs are and really trying to reengage with the American public and share the excitement about what we feel about the space program.

BLAIR: How does spin-off technology happen?

SHANA: Well, spin-offs are a part of the whole space economy that we’re talking about.

BLAIR: Now, I’m sorry. Is space economy like U.S. dollars or is that moon currency?

SHANA: No. It’s actually worldwide. For 2007, the numbers are just in, and it’s $251 billion in revenue worldwide that were generated.


SHANA: A huge number. The space economy is really everything that we get from space in terms of what comes out of exploring and understanding and utilizing space. It can range all the way from applications, like extracting money from your ATM machines, kind of low-tech, all the way up to high-tech stuff, like advanced breast cancer imaging, which came out of the Hubble Space Telescope program. Because NASA is engaged in going into the unique, extreme environment of space, we obviously have to innovate and create our own technologies to accomplish our missions.

BLAIR: That’s interesting. How does that happen when NASA does something like use the Hubble or something in the ISS or Space Station. How does that make it’s way to the public?

SHANA: A lot of times it’s interaction from the innovative partnership program office that also has small offices in each of our centers. So it’s connection with those particular communities but also doing broad announcements of technologies that have come up. And opportunities to partner or opportunities to pick up those technologies and further develop them.

BLAIR: If I’m a small business person in Miami and I come to the Future Forum here, what can I do as a result of attending a really cool Future Forum? Because I thought it was time travel at first but that’s my own ignorance. I guess it’s something else.

SHANA: For small businesses, I think it’s making that initial connection with us and the primary place for people in Florida to have that connection with the Kennedy Space Center and to have a direct connection with the Technology Transfer Office and the Small Business Office there. That’s your first venue but you may want to have a relationship with any one of our different centers or the people at headquarters. All the people that are working in those offices are very receptive to developing relationships with these small businesses.

BLAIR: I come here and hear about all the different technologies and then I start to contact Kennedy or another agency and possibly we can partner on developing technology.

SHANA: Could be.

BLAIR: And then adding our own dollars to the space economy.

SHANA: Exactly. And also adding, we have over 1,600 documented, NASA-derived technologies at this point, which is very significant. That could add to that collection as well.

BLAIR: That’s quite a Hall of Fame. You could create a t-shirt. My technology was developed by something from NASA. That would be cool.

SHANA: That’s all a part of what NASA does to spur innovation in the United States and also increase our U.S. economic competitiveness. And all of that adds to it. Small business is a major driver of the U.S. economy. So, to the extent that NASA can take what we’ve uniquely developed and help transfer that technology and further the economic base of the country, that’s in everybody’s interest.

BLAIR: I’ve noticed you are referred to as the “Honorable Shana Dale.” How could I get the status of the “Honorable Co-host Blair Allen” or “Honorable Host?” How do you get that?

SHANA: You get that by…. How I got that was becoming a Presidential appointee, Senate confirmed person. It’s a hard path. You might want to think about a different title, like the grand poobah.

BLAIR: Ah, nice!

SHANA: You know. It’s a little bit different. Something different than “The Honorable” but it’s unique.

BLAIR: It also has some clout. I think if I were the Grand Poobah Medianaut of NASA Edge, that might help me get along.

SHANA: There you go. That opens doors.

[both laughing]

BLAIR: Awesome. Well, I’m all about opening doors, except when you’re in space unless you’re clothed properly.

SHANA: Yeah.

BLAIR: Because that’s important.

SHANA: That would be bad.

BLAIR: Well, thanks so much. We look forward to the Future Forum. And thanks for the interview. This is great.

SHANA: Thank you.

BLAIR: You’re watching NASA Edge, an inside and outside look at all things NASA.

SHANA: Who was that guy? I thought I was going to be interviewed by Chris.

Segment 04

JACKY: And welcome back to NASA Edge.

FRANKLIN: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

BLAIR: From the University of Miami in Florida at the Future Forum. As you can see with my incredible hosting leadership, we can mix things up here. And Jacky gets to open the show and Franklin and then…

JACKY: You know that was Franklin’s idea.

FRANKLIN: You knew I came up with that idea before we came back on.

BLAIR: Right, but…

JACKY: Give credit where credit is due. It’s part of being a leader.

BLAIR: Right but my leadership allowed that creativity to flourish, which is nice. And speaking of flourishing, how ‘bout that interview with Shana Dale. Pretty good.

JACKY: Great job.

BLAIR: Oh, thanks. Awesome.

FRANKLIN: It was pretty good but I think Chris fed you some information in questions for that interview.

BLAIR: Did you see the interview? Those were my questions. You know that. Chris would have done a better job I think with the questions then I did. But I put things together and of course Shana Dale, brilliant in answering, did a great job. And certainly helped me learn a lot more about NASA and hopefully you as well.

JACKY: The most interesting part to me was the education part.

BLAIR: Well, you work in education, right?

JACKY: I do. I work with a program called 21st Century Explorer. It’s in both English and Spanish and offers hands on activities and additional resources for teachers and parents, all downloadable for free.

BLAIR: That was almost host-like. You did a good job.

JACKY: Thank you.

FRANKLIN: So this is not her first rodeo.

BLAIR: That’s true. But see again, under my leadership, see how this all comes together. It’s really nice.

FRANKLIN: Blair, this is a democracy.

JACKY: Chris would be proud.

BLAIR: I’m sorry. Anyway, to not be a dictator, I’ll move on and democratically approach our interview with Carl Walz, former astronaut. I talked to him and we’re going to look at that interview. He’s in charge of the Advanced Technologies division at NASA. So, you’re going to learn a lot of interesting things about technology and what we’re doing in the space program. It should be good. Let’s take a look.

BLAIR: Hi, we’re here with Carl Walz. He is an astronaut at NASA. Also, his title, if I get this correct because it’s rather long, is Director of Advanced Capabilities Division. That sounds a lot like Morgan Freeman from the Dark Night Batman movie.

CARL: Uh huh.

BLAIR: What exactly do you do as Director of Advanced Capabilities?

CARL: In the Exploration Systems Mission Director, there’s two groups. There’s the constellation group. We all know what those guys do, developing the next generation of space transportation. On the Advanced Capabilities side, we have our lunar precursor robotics program. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter & O-cross are in that group along with our human research program, a lot of that work being done on the International Space Station. Then we also have our Exploration Technology Development program which is providing the technology underpinnings for both Orion, Aries I and Aries V, Altar the lander and our surface capabilities as we develop the Outpost on the moon.

BLAIR: So, you don’t have much to do in that office, basically?

CARL: No. No.

BLAIR: That’s a lot of stuff!

CARL: It is a lot of stuff. It’s a really broad brush. I’ll go from talking about surface nuclear reactors for the moon to talking about the effects of bone loss in astronauts.

BLAIR: Wow. You cover the whole gamut.

CARL: I try.

BLAIR: We were looking at doing some segments on LRO and LCROSS. I wouldn’t have put that in that division. You’re basically dealing not just in support of constellation but all the other things that go into a long-term presence on the moon?

CARL: Absolutely. That’s right.

BLAIR: Awesome. How’s real estate going to work on the moon? Are you going to be involved in selling plots and the nitty gritty of all that? How is that going to work?

CARL: It’s a good question. A lot of those things have to do with international treaties. There’s a Peaceful Uses of the Moon Treaty. There’s a Moon Treaty itself. All those things have to get worked out. Our piece of that is to develop a comprehensive, topographical map of the moon. We’ll do that with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Along with that will also be surveys of some of the resources that we might expect to find on the moon. LCROSS, we hope to see if there’s any water ice in any of these permanently shadowed craters. That’s going smack into a crater, create a big debris cloud that we’ll be able to measure and look for direct evidence of water. It’s going to be pretty exciting. We’re going to try to set it up so it’s visible from Earth. So, we’ll have Earth telescopes as well as space telescopes looking for the big boom.

BLAIR: Just as an aside, I know the International Moon Treaty is important but if we could get a little plot of land on the Shackleton rim, I’m looking to put a retirement community there.

CARL: There you go.

BLAIR: I’m setting aside some money now. Some investments that maybe we could put toward that.

CARL: Hey, it’s one-sixth G. It’s easier to get around.

BLAIR: I’m wondering if you could help me out here. As a “medianaut” in training let’s say that wants to go to the moon, would it be more likely for me to get in on a robotics mission? I’m willing to put myself at risk and go up with some robots and do a mixed mission, ahead of the regular astronauts. If something goes wrong, at least I’ll have helped the cause.

CARL: You will have helped the cause.

BLAIR: Is that possible? Do they have an avenue for something like that at NASA?

CARL: Right now, I don’t think so. I think it’s either robots or people. We’ll see how that goes.

BLAIR: I’m willing to go out to the Desert RATS. I did some research. Didn’t turn out the way I wanted. It’s a first step.

CARL: Yeah. One of the things we really want to see if we can actually live off the land to a certain extent, using In-Situ Resource Utilization.

BLAIR: I’m… What was that?

CARL: Actually using the elements that exist on the moon to provide oxygen or water or raw materials. To take those things so we don’t have to bring as much from Earth.

BLAIR: Right, because it’s got to be incredibly difficult to keep providing those resources from Earth and for lack of a better word, shipping them up there.

CARL: Exactly. Yeah, the shipping cost is really expensive.

BLAIR: FedEx doesn’t even go to the moon.

CARL: Not yet.

BLAIR: Maybe in the space economy.

CARL: In the space economy, that could be a future growth market for them.

BLAIR: Yes. See, I’m getting the lingo down, meeting all the right people. I think I’m ready. You got to help me out with that.

CARL: I think you’re getting there.

BLAIR: Now, I do understand, just one more question, you use to hold the record for spending the longest time in space?

CARL: It was Dan Bursch and I. It was the U.S. record for the longest U.S. space mission. Of course, the longest human mission was 432 days, Polyakov from Russia. So for Dan Bursch and I, we held that record for Expedition IV. Recently, that record was supplanted by Mike Lopez-Alegria and his mission on the International Space Station. That was 213 days.

BLAIR: It’s still cool. How do you feel about record… Athletes sometimes, don’t like to see their records being broken, but how do you feel about your record being broken?

CARL: It’s one of those things that you have to be philosophical about because I think records are made to be broken. And you want that, at least I would like to see that continue, longer stays, because eventually when we go to Mars, the minimum time one way is six months. You have to come back. You want to stay awhile. So, you’re talking certainly more than a year or maybe up to three years, there, staying and coming back. We need to set more records like that.

BLAIR: I think it would be cool. I think you’re right and that’s a good attitude because ultimately with the long-term presence in space the record would be obviously broken, but, I don’t know how Dan feels, if you wanted an astronaut/medianaut co-op program, maybe you and I could go up?

CARL: There you go.

BLAIR: Then we could break all the current records.

CARL: There you go.

BLAIR: With your expertise and my wit and entertainment value, six months in space, no problem. Easy. On the way to Mars.

CARL: There you go.

BLAIR: Awesome. Thanks for taking the time for the interview.

CARL: You bet, my pleasure.

BLAIR: I hope the Forum goes well. We look forward to hearing you talk and hearing more from you. It will be great.

CARL: Well, thanks a lot.

BLAIR: Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

CARL: Sure.

BLAIR: You’re watching NASA Edge an inside and outside look at all things NASA. If you’re at D RATS again this….

Segment 05

FRANKLIN: Welcome back to NASA Edge.

JACKY: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

BLAIR: From the University of Miami in Florida at the Future Forum. What did you guys think of the Carl Walz interview?

JACKY: I loved it.

FRANKLIN: It was great. He’s a pretty interesting guy.

BLAIR: Yeah. What’s really cool is the fact that not only to we learn what’s happening in the space program but we’re also finding out how we’re going to accomplish some of these things. That was very fascinating. And we’ll actually hear more about that at the Future Forum.

BLAIR: You’re watching NASA Edge.

FRANKLIN: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

JACKY: From the University of Miami in Florida.

BLAIR: Not bad. A little, successful show, there.


BLAIR: Putting it together live, not bad.

BLAIR: Yeah. Hey Chris. Sorry, yes, it’s Blair. Um, yeah I know I’m suppose to be…. I’m at the Forum, I’m just not in the Forum. Yeah, I know as host of the show I’m suppose to be in the Forum but I gave the tickets to Jacky and Franklin. What? They called you and they’re already inside. Yeah, that’s about right.

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