Weekly Space Hangout: ScienceOnline 2013 Edition

This week, we broadcast the Weekly Space Hangout from the ScienceOnline 2013 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Fraser Cain, Nicole Gugliucci, Alan Boyle, and Amy Shira Teitel were on location in Raleigh, and then Scott Lewis and Dr. Thad Szabo reported from their offices.

This week, we talked about:

We record the Weekly Space Hangout every Friday on Google+ at 12:00 pm PST / 3:00 pm EST / 2000 GMT. You’ll want to circle Cosmoquest on Google+ to find out when we’re recording next. The audio for the Weekly Space Hangout is also released to the Astronomy Cast podcast feed.

2 Replies to “Weekly Space Hangout: ScienceOnline 2013 Edition”

  1. Regarding the dual disasters of the Shuttle Program, I could relate to Mr. Szabo’s comment: Shock and disbelief, under Challenger, with the sense of grief. Before Columbia, unbelief: No! This cannot be happening again (as he said). And overcast sense of mourning.

    Obviously, the two accidents (which have a commonality of date and season) highlighted, in the most dreadful way, the two most critical, and so dangerous times, in any space-flight mission: roaring lift-off from fire and ice, and screaming re-entry through friction and air. When the astronauts seemed especially confined, and captive within those incredibly complex machine assemblies – at the mercy of the tremendous forces streaming all around them during the ascent/descent passages. The flight phases that subjected the spacecraft to the greatest mechanical stresses. The launch-beginning, and touch-down ending to the stages of a mission – when potentially, so many things could have gone wrong, and set-off a cascade catastrophe.

    Mr. Cain’s remarks on the Shuttle were eye-opening, with memory-stirring points. The dual disasters: the one-two blows that brought the Shuttle down.

    Mr. Scott Lewis’ explanation of “Flex Ropes” and CME—vividly fascinating.

    Planet-size Thunderstorm plowing through gas seas, flashing lightning?! Blowing out in its own world-circling wake. “Awesome!” But then, that’s the Universe Today.

  2. Thanks for putting in the ‘overtime’ you guys! Always a pleasure hearing from you!

    Concerning the Columbia disaster. I remember quite vividly watching the launch and seeing that piece of foam impact the wing! It was shown repeatedly on network TV in slow motion. I remember turning toward the wife and saying, “THAT was a VERY bad-bad thing! Damn!” So if I knew… am sure NASA also knew just how bad it might be. I am also SURE they _thoroughly_ discussed ALL possible scenarios long into the night, eventually deciding to leave the mission as it was and hope for the best. I personally will be deeply saddened remembering those events… for the rest of my life.

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