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Blair Allen from NASA Edge joins us for Episode #009

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Welcome to SpaceVidCast Episode 9. (Cariann) Uh. (Ben) There you can't do it. (Cariann) Nine. (Ben) Yeah that's the first time. Well, you're gonna get the next one. But, uh that's going to be the last time that works. (Cariann) I know. (Ben) How are you going to do eleven? I'm not sure. Oh oh, like this! My name is Benjamin Higginbotham and with me is the beautiful, talented, and wonderful Cariann Higginbotham. We are the SpaceVidCasters. I am the space geek, I do not work for NASA, Virgin Galactic or any other space organization I just think this is fun cool stuff. You on the other hand, um ... (Cariann) I work for NASA, Virgin Galactic, all of them. (Ben) Um, you're not the huge space geek, I'm trying to turn you into a space geek you're kind of an average American as I would put it and I'm trying to convince you and help you understand why space travel and space flight and getting back to the moon and on to Mars is the future of humanity and why we absolutely positively must do it. (Cariann) Yes. (Ben) So, we're working on that and I'm hoping to convince you of the same thing. Today's show is going to be amazingly super duper awesomely cool. First, we've got Blair Allen from NASA Edge who's going to be coming up on the back end of the show. An amazing podcast, actually one of the primere podcasts or videocasts or they call it a vodcast I believe for space travel and all things NASA. Its a lot of fun, its a great show if you haven't seen it its NASA Edge, so we'll be talking to him a little bit later on. We've also got a couple new segments going on today. We've got one of the users in the chat room Starbucksluva has submitted a news article in video format. (Cariann) Yes. (Ben) And we're going to be rolling that in. (Cariann) Awesome. (Ben) I know, I'm all excited. I'm ok, I've got like goosebumps and stuff, its gonna be kinda cool. So why don't we actually start with your space news first and then we'll go on to that news. (Cariann) My space news first? (Ben) Yup, absolutely. All right, so what I've got here is I actually found a video. It's all CG, so I apologize for that but as you know, we have not been to Mars yet, so obviously this is CG. Um, but I found a video where you can fly through the biggest valley on Mars. (Ben) That's cool. (Cariann) Yeah, and I really don't know how to explain, but its almost like ah, a CG version of going down into the grand canyon, but on a completely different planet. Ah, so I don't know I thought that was really kind of cool. I guess this came up a couple of years ago from NASA, but so I personally am just seeing this now, so I apologize that this is all old hat to some of you guys out there, but it is of Mariner Valley and its just amazing and unfortunately I didn't actually grab the url of the video itself, I grabbed the url of the story that points to the video. (laughter) But it does have a link, it does have a link, so you can go ahead and hit the video from there um, but its, its just interesting, its, its just kinda like a peek at what we may or may not see with the Phoenix. (Ben) Yeah. (Cariann) So that's why I thought that that was really kind of ... (Ben) And we'll be talking about what the Phoenix is and kinda how cool that is in a moment, so lets move on to your next article. See, I'm kinda, I'm looking over her shoulder to see what her next news item is gonna be then I'm gonna, unlike last week, check this out, ready for this, ready for this, we have visuals. (Cariann) Pictures. Awesome! Um, apparently we're going to the sun. I just said the moon. (laughter) I almost said the moon! (Ben) I don't think we can walk on the sun. (Cariann) Oh, man, I'm so sorry. Um, ok, so my understanding is that there is a NASA solar probe. Its an unmanned spacecraft of course, scheduled to around 2015. And, its supposed to answer some "burning questions" we have about the sun. Hey, I didn't write that article, I am just quoting what it says. (Ben) Starbuck says she needs a good tan. (Cariann) Yeah, don't we all and obviously the reason its unmanned is because we don't want to expose anyone to that kind of radiation, uh, UV exposure ... (Ben) or fire! (Cariann) What? Fire's cool! Everybody likes fire. What's your problem? (Ben) I don't think you can land humans on the sun. (Cariann) We're not landing! Yeah, so anyway (laughter), uh, the project is $750 million that will be able to withstand the inconceivably high temperatures of 2600 degrees Fahrenheit. Anyhow, so there's there's some more fun stuff about that. I won't bore you guys because I know you love it when I just read right off the page. (Ben) And your last one, this is kind of, wait, wait, hang on, visual. (Cariann) Actually I have two more. (Ben) Wait, no I only have links for one more, do this one next. (Cariann) I know, well the other one really doesn't have a picture so you should be good. The reason I added a fourth one is because this one is so short, really all it is is hey, guess what? You'll be able to see the ISS. (Ben) That's kinda cool though! (Cariann) Yes, no it is, don't get me wrong. But I really don't know much else to say about it other than hey guess what? (laughing) You'll be able to see it, my understanding is that through Friday uh, you will be able to see this, see the ISS. So its the rare glimpse for stargazers across the country as it orbits earth. (Ben) Do you need a telescope or can you just see with the visible eye? (Cariann) You know, funny enough, my article does not even tell me that, even. (Ben) That's awesome! (Cariann) Yeah, so you can see it. (Ben) Uh, someone in the chat room, um alright Starbuck says "visible eye" fantastic! So, where do you need to .. someone, anyone in the chat room, where do you need to look in the sky? Is it like near the moon? Or I think actually, near the moon we've got Jupiter showing up soon as well. (Cariann) I would look up. (Ben) Up at the sky? (Cariann) Yeah. (Ben) Great, that's, that's fantastic. Um, what's your last news story? (Cariann) Alright, my last news story that I just found a few moments ago, so we will almost dare to call this "breaking news" if you will. (simulated beeping) Indonesia, is actually launching a rocket into space. (Ben) Awesome! (Cariann) Yeah! (Ben) This is their first? (Cariann) It is, well its the first step in a program designed to make Indonesia less dependent on other nations in their aeronautic field. Apparently they have been using pretty much everybody else's stuff. (Ben) Ok. (Cariann) Which I didn't know, ah, but, one of the reasons that is a big deal is because the nations in Asia in general are all kind of in the middle of this huge regional space race of sorts, um, the Koreans just launched their first astronaut Indians are getting ready to build their own crew capsule to put astronauts into space. Ah, China has obviously sent a space probe to the moon. Japan's done it. Later this year, China is going to have their own space walk from their own spacecraft (Ben) Right. (Cariann) So this is kind of a big deal that the, not that Indonesia is tiny, but comparatively (Ben) I'm gonna soap box for a minute if I may, and this is where we've got all of these different countries that are starting to get up into space, and we've ever since Apollo 11, if you take into account inflation we haven't really been giving NASA the same funding that we used to give them with the Apollo 11 era. And so we've got all these other countries that are going to start to rapidly catch up with this. And the point is we've got this fantastic brain set, brain trust, sitting at NASA, I don't want that to scatter! (Cariann) No. (Ben) Right, I mean we need to keep it consolidated so that we have all these really smart people in one location. So I'm of the opinion that we need to start throwing more money at NASA lets go back to the moon, lets get back to Mars, and you know there are 2015, 2020, 2030 timelines. Well, let's accelerate those timelines. Lets get there faster, lets get people excited about this stuff again, I mean that's why we're here, we're here to get people excited about going back to the moon, going on to Mars, and its not just NASA. No, no, no, no. I mean its, its anybody. Lets get us all there. But, this is a tipping point for our space program, because, especially in this upcoming election because we're losing the space shuttle in 2010, we're retiring the space shuttle and we're moving to the Constellation program in 2015, and whoever is elected president will set the direction of NASA. And some candidates want to delay the constellation program by 5 years, others are a little wishy washy. So I think its important. And I'm not telling you who to vote for or anything like that, I'm just saying its important to contact your government officials and let them know how important space travel is to you. And explain to them exactly, like we're explaining to you, why humans must explore other planetary bodies. We have to get off this planet. Or we're doomed. (Cariann) The other one, one of the many other good things that is coming out of this besides other people, you know, getting out there and doing this stuff. I think is that it is putting a little bit more pressure on the US, you know. We're not in a cold war anymore we don't have all those other people, you know, kind of like nipping at our heels. You have more people now nipping at our heels. And I think that's going to be a huge motivation for us to kind of, you know maybe, come together for once and get the stuff done. (Ben) So one of the, ah, things that we've got coming up in two weeks: STS-124, that's the space transportation system, aka the space shuttle, will be launching from the cape and we've got, ah, a little news on that from one of our members, StarbucksLuva so lets take a look at that now. Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled for launch on May 31st. We will have a live broadcast of that launch starting at 4pm central daylight time. STS-124 will carry the JAXA station laboratory, otherwise known as Kibo. Greg Chamitoff will replace the expedition 16-17 flight engineer, Garrett Reisman and remain aboard the station as a member of the expedition 17 crew. Reisman will return to Earth with the STS-124 crew after a successful 82 days aboard the International Space Station. A new progress cargo carrier docked to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station on May 16th with more than 2.3 tons of fuel, oxygen air, water, propellant, and other supplies and equipment aboard. Progress 29 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, May 14. It replaces the trash-filled P28 which was undocked on April 7 and destroyed on re-entry. Once expedition 17 members have unloaded the cargo, P29 will be filled with trash and station discards and it will be undocked from the station and like its predecessors deorbited to burn in the Earth's atmosphere.. Awesome! Nice little quick clip from Starbuck, so thank you very much for submitting that. And giving us the update as to STS-122. Remember we're going to have live coverage of that here, right here, on We actually just installed 2 brand new FTA satellite dishes on the KU band so we can actually get you better coverage and uh, we actually have had one motorized dish installed by PSP satellite here locally in Minneapolis to make sure that we get you the very best coverage, not only from NASA but from the ESA and anyone else who actually broadcasts on KU-band. Oddly enough NASA does not broadcast on KU-band. (Cariann) And you've got the whole install online, correct? (Ben) Yes, we have, we actually, its not on the SpaceVidCast site yet we actually have HD footage of us doing that, uh but we, we, if you go to my personal blog, Bencredible, you can watch the raw unedited version of that. All 7 hours of the install. I recommend fast forwarding through that one. Its a lot of standing there doing nothing. So that's coming up in two weeks. But in one week, on May 25, in one week we've got a really exciting thing happening the Phoenix lander will be landing on Mars. We actually had Fox do a quick video on that, so lets take a peek at that. Phoenix is the first Mars establishment. Its the first mission that is going to try to land near the north pole of Mars. And its the first mission that is actually going to go try and reach out and touch water on the surface of another planet Where there tends to be water, at least on Earth, there tends to be life, and so its potentially a place where life could have existed. on the planet in the past. And liftoff! The main purpose of PML is to take a spacecraft that is traveling at 12,500 miles per hour and bring it to a screeching halt in a soft way. Earth and Mars are so far apart that it takes over 10 minutes for a signal from Mars to get to Earth. And EDL itself is all over in a matter of seven minutes. So by the time that we even hear from the lander that EDL is started, it will already be over. We have to build large amounts of autonomy into the spacecraft so that it can land itself safely. EDL is this immense technically challenging problem. Its about getting a spacecraft that's hurtling through deep space and using all this bag of tricks to somehow figure out how to get it down to the surface of Mars at 0 miles an hour. Its this immensely exciting and challenging problem. Oh that's going to be awesome! You can actually watch, that's a 90 second version of the, I think its like a 7 or 9 minute video that you can watch at the Jet Propulsion Labs on if you want to see the whole thing. So coming up in just a moment we're going to be talking to Blair Allen from NASA Edge, one of the premiere podcasts on all things space related. All specific to NASA. He's actually a very funny guy if you guys have seen their podcasts, So this is going to be a lot of fun. We'll be right back with that after this. ♪ Inspiring Music ♪ [Video of STS night launch] [Video of Virgin Galactic SS2 Launch] [Earthrise] [The International Space Station] [CG of Astronauts climbing from Constellation lander] Ok, and we're back with Chris and Blair on NASA Edge, brought to you by ESNB our proud sponsor. We've got a lot of cool things to talk about in the show today. We have an interview with the NASA researchers. Yes, Pat Kosgrove, is a good buddy of mine who works in the ESP directorate with me that will talk to us about the vision for space exploration. Excellent. And we'll be taking some calls, maybe giving away some prizes. Uh, and also talking about our bigger competition. We have the first ever podcast competition. Space Exploration podcast competition ... I can see Blair in the camera kind of holding his head like that. [Demonstrates] That is the first ever NASA Edge episode. I actually had to dig around for that. They don't put that on their site. But it is in their Facebook profile, so ha ha, I found that. Uh Blair, welcome to the show. So, first off, who are you? I mean why, why does anyone care, who are you? (Blair) [laughing] Well, like your wife, I'm an outsider. I'm not a traditional NASA person per-se in the science sense, you know, I'm more of a production guy. And I came to NASA a few years ago to do educational programming. And, um, when we finished that up Chris, who you saw there in the video, we were having a creative meeting and we just still wanted to figure out a way we could do something about NASA in terms of outreach, in a show setting that would be fun and not so scripted and um, you know, for lack of a better word, more of a public relations kind of thing, or a regulated thing. We just wanted something more conversational, something more natural and organic that would promote NASA. So that's how we came up with NASA Edge and I'm laughing because yes, that is the pilot, that's what we used to pitch the show. Um, which is very funny, um, so anyway thanks for bringing up some old wounds. [laughter] (Ben) Oh, no problem, and the show's actually very different, you've got a totally different open now (Blair) Yes. (Ben) You've got, you've really flushed out the format of what the show feels like. Um, you've got a pretty good schtick going on at this point. I mean, you really have a great dynamic in the show I think. (Cariann) For sure. (Blair) Well, what's really cool is, you know, Chris, ah, he...he's worked at NASA for a while But he's primarily, er, before he worked at NASA, he was an educator. Ah, and so even apart from the show and my relationship with Chris, he's always been very educational and helpful and knowledgeable about NASA and we would just, you know, talk about things and he...he knows people, he knows all about the different programs, and I was just soaking it up, I was like "wow!", you know, how do you know all this stuff? And um, you know of course that helped with the dynamic, it helped with, ah, how we construct the shows, um, and thanks! I'm glad. I hope it comes across well. Yeah it is quite a schtick. In fact, we were talking with one fellow out at NASA Glenn, Dick DeLombard. And we actually had an activity. And I was trying to figure out some properties of acceleration on roller coasters for NASA Physics Day. And I was like, picking which rides are associated with which properties and he looked at me and he's like, "Blair, you're actually pretty smart!" [laughter] You know, it was funny, it was like "I can't believe you figured this out!", you know. And it was like ... because he only knew me from the show, and so, and we did have a good time but ah, it was a lot of fun. (Ben) When watching the show, it feels like the three of you really know each other. Have known each other and have been friends for many years. Is that actually the case or did you just kind of come together for NASA Edge itself? (Blair) Well, it like, Franklin for example: I worked with for years. We've worked on the productions uh, at NASA since about 2001 and um, whereas I knew Chris, and I knew who he was and I had meetings with him and stuff. Didn't really start working with him closely till NASA Edge. But, um, Franklin also worked with Chris for years on other productions, so you know, we're all kinda tied together. And of course Ron, who is our director / camera man / editor / everything um, he's worked with all of us as well. So, we did have a lot of comradery, which actually helped, because when you try to do something crazy or you're trying to do something a little different you kind of have to rely on them to, you know, make sure you don't go to far or you know, you're not too nuts. Because I have suggested some pretty crazy things, um, and they've protected me in many ways. And you! They've protected you as well. [laughter] (Ben) Yeah, it seems like a really fun group of people and it is very educational and just the fact that you guys have so much fun, it comes across as just an interesting way to present the same information. Because ah, you know, and maybe, you're free to disagree but I think a lot of people, they've kind of lost interest in space travel and um, presenting it in a new, fun, and outgoing, and energetic way will hopefully you know, kinda light a fire underneath them, go "Yeah, actually this is kinda cool!" (Blair) Well, what I like too about what you said in your opening of your show, you know, talking about your wife being ... she's sort of the me in this relationship. Although I don't want to explore that too much. [laughter] That's kinda weird, but what's really cool is um, you know, when we go out and we do a show I'm the outsider but I'm also meeting with some of these NASA folk, ah for the first time and learning things, and that's not staged. I mean and we'll go into meetings and like we met with Paul Young, ah I'm sorry, um Paul Marshall on the Constellation Program and um, you know I'd had some ideas about why NASA is where they are, and yet he sort of layed out some thoughts on Constellation and things I hadn't considered about where we are with the space program and so, I try to take that and kind of bring that to the show and it really helps. I mean I think that I grew up and was very enthusiastic about the space program and I've seen it sort of, um I don't want to say diminish, I would say its so broad now it encompasses so much more that its just, its hard to cover all the aspects that uh, in technology, and in exploration, and in other things that NASA's involved in there's just so much. You know, so I'm actually happy to have Constellation bringing in a little bit more focus because, you know, its immense. I mean there's just so... We were talking just yesterday um, we're laying out our schedule and we've got shows from here through next year. And we are running out of time already, and we've got still other things we're learning about. So, its, its great. (Ben) So, what, what brought you to NASA, how did you origionally start at NASA? It sounds like you kind of did some projects before you started NASA Edge at NASA But what was the initial thing that actually got you in the door then? (Blair) Well, um, actually Ron, who was the director, was working on a show called the NASA Sci Files, which is an educational program, ah, for 3rd through 5th graders. I was working with metv and the NFL and I had hired Ron before, years ago, freelance. So, um, I guess they were looking for somebody and he remembered me and called me up and asked me if I'd be interested. And of course, it's hard to not be interested in NASA. To know a lot, but you know, even as a kid, you know, it holds a lot of, you know, emotion and stuff and I'm a Star Wars fan, I make no bones about that. So, ah, anyway I thought it would be really cool. So I went and interviewed and got a job producing Sci Files, which I loved and, um even though that was more educational, you were doing things with NASA all the time, you know, and highlighting all the things they're doing. So that was exciting! And I did that for several years. (Cariann) Wow. (Ben) That sounds like, you know of of the schticks on the show is that ah, you want to be the first media-naut on the moon and I'm going to challenge you to that because actually I'm going to beat you there. That's my goal. (Blair) Oh, wow, OK. (Ben) Yeah, that's absolutely my goal. And ah, so I've thrown the gauntlet down. Right here, right now, you know, something, some sort of gentleman's bet saying I'm going to make it there before you do. (Blair) The irony is that if Chris is probably watching this show he's probably betting on you. [laughter] Along with a lot of other people. (Cariann) Oh, funny. (Blair) It is part of the schtick of the show and it's, it's part schtick, I mean, I would love to do that. But, ah, you know good luck man! I don't want to get too competitive here on the show so I want it to remain civil but, ah you're on! (Ben) Oh no no, I'll get competitive. Oh no, its ... game on at this point. So, actually in the chatroom they're talking about who's paler, you or my wife. And I would actually argue the little guy you've got on your left is the palest creature we have ... (Cariann) Not fair, not fair! (Blair) See, that was strategic so I would look less pale. [laughter] (Cariann) Ahh, yes! (Blair) With the pale object in the screen. (Ben) I think it worked well. What's the story behind the little astronaut guy you got? (Blair) This is a great story actually. We were just down in Johnson, and um, you can't see it, but I'm also wearing some NASA Edge NASA shirt. (Ben) Keep it on, keep it on! (Blair) Yeah, no problem. I don't want the girls out there to go crazy. Ah, but anyway, we're trying to find a way to make some of that available on the net with ah, some people down at the exchange shop at NASA Johnson. Um, and they're going to hopefully make some of our products available on their web store. I think it's Anyway, um we were talking to them and they have these bobble-heads and we said oh, we've got to have one. You know, and so they gave us one for our set and I don't know, I love it. You know, I'm going to try to put my face in there, so it's sort of a Blair bobble-head astronaut. (Cariann) Awesome! (Ben) That would be absolutely awesome, just like having a little cutout of your face sitting in there. That would be awesome. (Cariann) For sure! (Blair) In fact I was showing it to my wife today and I was going, "Look, in zero-g you could, you'd have a bobble-body." [laughter] But my wife, she said, you know, immediately as she's the wiser of the two, "I don't think that's how they operate, I think that's not how you handle bobble-heads." So I got chastised with my free NASA product. [laughter] (Ben) So where does NASA Edge go from here, I mean you've been producing these shows ... and what is the release schedule? I actually haven't been quite able to figure that out. It feels kind of sporadic from time to time. (Blair) We haven't been able to figure it out either. (Ben) Alright, it's not just me then. So what is the plan with that? (Blair) There are two things that go into it. I mean we have two products, actually. NASA Edge and then [email protected]'s which are shorter segments. And really the production schedule, ah, the reason it's crazy is because we're still experimenting with a lot of things. For example, we had a show scheduled to come out, we shot another show, and then headquarters said, "Well, can you make sure the last show you did came out first." And so we ... part of what we do in trying to meet their needs and meet everyone else's needs is be as flexible as possible. So, we shift things around, we try to be as um, accommodating as possible. So sometimes we'll do something more relevant, some things get shifted around a little bit. But, um we're also a very small crew. I mean you've heard ... there's only one person I haven't mentioned in this discussion, and that's Darrell, one of our other editors. And that's it. We have a very small operation and we've been traveling so much that it's hard to get stuff done, um, while you're out shooting more stuff. And so, we try to put out one full show each month. And then throw out some [email protected]'s along the way. (Cariann) Nice. (Ben) You know, I do have a request. I'm going to put you on the spot for this request. (Blair) Sure. (Ben) You distribute your podcasts at like 320x160 so it's about this big [demonstrates] on a good day. I would love ... and there was one, there was one done at 720p and I'm almost sure you guys use HVX200's, which ... (Cariann) It's the only one he watches. (Ben) I always watch that one over and over in a loop. [laughter] I'm like oh, its high-def, that's awesome. (Blair) I just had Ron do a cutdown of the show that just has me in it and that's how I watch it. (Cariann) See, fair enough, I can totally understand. (Ben) That is a great idea. I'm going to start doing that for our own shows. (Blair) Exactly. (Ben) Yeah! (Blair) That's my own special ... [laughter] (Ben) You produce them in high-def don't you? (Blair) Yeah, we do, and actually I'm sort of torn here because I'm wondering what I can really say and still have a job, but ... [laughter] (Ben) I understand. (Blair) Really what's going on there is when we started this there ... in fact you'll notice around NASA there's not another podcast that's 30 minutes, that's video. And so we're kind of a different product for them. Um, and it was really a bandwidth decision. We would like, we would obviously like to post the 720 versions, believe me, but we also are on NASA TV and we send them a tape version, so you know, we keep pushing and pushing and try to make that available. I mean, we're even exploring trying to make the larger versions available some other way. But since all our numbers, everything we've been measured by is through the portal, we have to be careful with that because we don't want to, you know, we'd have to make you download the small version and then allow you to download the bigger version so we can capture the numbers. (Cariann) See, for the masses, you elitist! [lauhter] (Ben) I don't think I've been called a (Cariann) The masses! (Ben) I don't, I believe this is the first time I've been called an elitist on the show. (Cariann) There you go. (Ben) That's fantastic. This is a new thing. (Blair) I'm really sensitive to people that are elitist you know, because I work with them all the time. Just kidding. They're good guys I work with. (Ben) So where do you go from here? Have you been doing a lot of Constellation stuff? I mean, what can be expected in the near future from NASA Edge? (Blair) Yes, um in fact ... and it's really awkward because it's, it's funny um, we have a Daytona show that's coming out, um we just shot some stuff on the Hubble SM-4 mission um, and obviously one of the big things we're excitied about: we're going to be at pad abort 1 for the Orion. And just lots more Constellation, of course LRO and LCROSS are coming up. And um, the big news, I guess I can make this kind of breaking news, um [Ben's "breaking news" beeping] exactly, on Monday, er Wednesday, the 28th, next week, we will be on Mike and Mike in the morning on ESPN, which is very exciting. [Oohs and aahs] for us. Yeah, it was sorta, those guys were sort of the inspiration of the show. The show came about, we were in a meeting and we were kicking around ideas, what can we do for NASA and Chris, who was basically a fan of Mike and Mike like I am said, "Well, why can't we you know, sort of do a Mike and Mike for NASA?" And um, you know I was just like well yeah, let's do Mike and Mike for NASA or something like that. So that was sort of the seed of the idea. And it turns out that they're going to be interviewing Ken Hamm, from station in June, so in advance of that, on Wednesday next week at 8:20 in the morning. We're going to be on, sampling some space food with Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg. (Ben) Now are they going to be broadcasting that on NASA TV as well? (Blair) They will not. So, the interview with Ken Hamm will be, I believe, but our show I don't think ... we're going to advertise it on the portal I believe. And I should have said this at the very beginning: Everything I say is entirely subject to any kind of change whatsoever. So I'll deny if I get called on any of this stuff. Um, but essentially ... (Cariann) It's ok, nobody watches this anyway. We're totally safe here. (Blair) Well, that may be. Nonetheless, [laughter] I don't know, you have a lot of chat stuff going on down here. (Ben) It's destracting isn't it? You want to have a conversation, but you've got like this ADD thing going on when you've got all this text scrolling by. (Blair) Yeah, and I actually have like HD-ADD, so ... [laughter] That's great see I'm getting some ... that's excellent, those numbers are good. That's awesome! (Cariann) That's hysterical. (Ben) You know, and that's just the live stuff too, so absolutely. (Blair) Well, anyway, but in terms of where we're going, that's what we'd like to do. I mean obviously we'd want to improve the ... the, oh, ah, well, in fact I don't know what's official, what I can say and what's not official. But, um anyway, those are the big projects that are coming up. And I'm really looking forward to doing ... finishing up the Hubble show with SM-4. After, like I said earlier today we just got back from Houston, where we interviewed all seven astronauts for SM-4 and that's a first for us. Um, and those guys are fantastic ah, and we got to talk to them at sort of the Hubble mock-up in building 9 and also the virtual lab there and it was just, it was awesome! (Ben) Now I believe that that particular mission to go up and service the Hubble Telescope, correct me if I'm wrong, where that one is the STS-125 mission on Atlantis, is that correct? (Blair) I believe so, yes. I believe you're correct. (Ben) Based on that, the latest date I have, which is as you said, subject to change because NASA like to be like, "No, no, no ... well, we can do it." Ah, the STS-125 will most likely be the last voyage of the orbiter Atlantis. That will be the last time Atlantis flies. Now, they've actually, that was supposed to be the drop dead final time, but ah, they've actually extended Atlantis to be able to fly later than that. But I, what I'm planning on doing, what I hope to be able to do is actually run down there and do a live show of SpaceVidcast right there from the launch. (Cariann) Can we fly? (Ben) You know, I'm going to run, I'm gonna drive. [laughter] (Blair) Well, it's good to see you two communicating, you know. (Ben) Yeah right! By the way, just so you know ... Well, the thing is if I tell her stuff like this that she doesn't really want to do, but I do it in front of a bunch of other people, what's she going to be like, "uuh, no". No. [laughter] (Blair) You didn't tell me about the October trip. I'm sorry, were you on the show? I mean ... (Ben) So that's how I get past that. (Cariann) Yeah, well I'm pregnant. (Blair) If you do go down, if you are there, we are planning on being at that launch as well. So, if you're there I'm sure we can hook up and do some more stuff for the show if you'll have me back, I mean. (Cariann) If you'll have us, are you kidding? (Ben) You know, actually I think that's a great idea. I think we should arrange a big NASA Edge / SpaceVidcast lovefest (Cariann) Spacevidgecast-edge? (Ben) Edged-spacedcast? Whatever. We should actually get a bunch of people. I mean we've got a bunch of people who are near the cape and who would be willing to go down there for that launch. And this is going to be a historic event If this is the last time orbiter 104: Atlantis actually does launch. Ah, you know, probably want to be there to see that. If you've never seen a space shuttle launch, you have to see them in person. They're just an incredible thing. (Blair) No, but you mentioned something really important that I think is another benefit of NASA Edge if I can just self-promote here. (Ben) Oh go ahead, pimp it! (Blair) um, unapologetically, one of the things that we do obviously as you know Ben is we're on facebook and myspace and the social networking sites, but um for our show for the shuttle launch, we actually through our social networking sites hooked up with some fans and actually interviewed a fan for our launch show, Sarah Resbeki, who we did not know except through our social networking site. So it's been one thing that NASA hasn't done in the past at least in terms of programming. We're trying to incorporate our fans into the show as much as possible. That was a case where Sarah found us on the internet and we were going to be down in Florida, she was close by, loves to come to launches, so we interviewed her. And uh, and we're going to try to use her more on the show and other fans like that. We've had Keri Bean, Victor Lopez and a couple of others. You know, it's just, it's a different way of doing things, but its a lot of fun because we're meeting people that aren't just working at NASA. They're NASA enthusiasts. But giving them an opportunity to have a voice as well. You know, because I'm all about supporting the ... well of course they're more insiders than I am. I end up asking Sarah, "What's going on in the space program, please tell me before the end of the interview." So I ... I have to get my act together. [laughter] (Ben) You know actually that's how we met up, I found you on Facebook and that's how we made all of this go. So I think we've got the facebook link in the chatroom right now. So for anyone who wants to get that, we'll also add that to the show notes. Blair, where other, where else can people find you and NASA Edge? I know that they're really looking for you. They're like wow! I need to see more Blair. (Cariann) Like where do you live? (Blair) It's funny how the audience wants to see more of me but management wants to see less of me. [laughter] (Cariann) I hear the same thing! (Blair) Its a classic impasse. But seriously, we're on Facebook and Myspace and we do Twitter I love that. And who doesn't? Um, but we also have a blog that you can visit from our website. Our NASA website which is, should I give that? (Ben) Sure, yeah, go ahead, no, pimp it all out! (Blair) and from there you can go to our blog, which has actually been fascinating. Um, the blog because we get some very interesting blog postings and we get some very bizarre stuff that we can't post, which is pretty funny actually. Because we manage that whole thing. We don't have like, a staff or a program that sort of goes through. It all comes to us. (Ben) You are the staff. (Blair) Yes, we are. (Ben) Alright. Hey Blair, thank you so much for joining us. I hope you will be back sometime in the future to tell us some of those secret things that you couldn't quite tell us this show. Release some of that stuff and then we'll have a chance to talk about that. I want to bring on Chris and Franklin and everyone else on the show. And actually I'd love to get the guys who are behind the scenes in the show because, you know, producing a show like that, producing a show like that is actually hard and complicated. I mean you've got a lot of stuff going on. A lot of motion graphics and a lot of detail has to go in to actually producing that show. I don't know if people really understand how complicated something like that can be. (Cariann) You do. (Ben) Oh, I do. (Blair) Yeah and yes, I would definitely say people like Ron Beard, he's our like I said our director / videographer / set therapist, everything! He's a good guy. And Darrell Moore, who's slave to the computer. I mean he's just constantly editing and doing graphics and things like that. Those guys do a lot of work and do need to be recognized. I do have to say also, one other person, Jackie Cortez, who's been on our show. She was on the summer X-Games show, but she is actually a competing cohost, although I mean how could you replace me? I mean that's ... Anyway, that's another topic, but she's fantastic and she's going to be in our great moon buggy race segment that's coming up and the Hubble show. So, she'll be on more and more as well. (Ben) Alright, well I look forward to watching that. You can get NASA Edge on iTunes, you can get it at, they're on Facebook, they're on Twitter. Name a social networking site, you're probably there. So definately check them out, they're one of the primere NASA space videocasts or as you call it vodcasts. Blair, thank you so much for joining us. Hang on the line, we'll be right back with you in post-show in just a moment. (Blair) Thanks! (Ben) And I just cut him off. Huh, I'm done with him now! [laughter] We've moved on! Oh Blair! (Cariann) He's like ... "and, disconnect." (Ben) Boom! [laughter] Alright everyone, thank you so much for watching! Remember, we broadcast live every Thursday night at 9:00 central daylight time (CST). That's 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific, I think it's like 2 AM GMT, I'm not ... someone can do that, I don't know. I just did that in my head really quick. Probably wrong. So make sure to join us live at And if you just want to pop by and say hi sometime in the chat room, feel free to do that. We are always broadcasting something. Be it NASA TV or European Space Agency or something interesting so you can actually have some space-related stuff to talk to. Starbuck says they are always there. They are always in the chat room and they can answer any questions you may have about space flight, space travel, going back to the moon, on to Mars, and beyond and why space travel is critical to the survival of humanity as we know it. Join us, actually you know, like you said, we're going to be doing the Phoenix stuff this Sunday. So join us this Sunday. As Fox said, it's actually about 3 days away. Join us Sunday night for the Phoenix rover and we'll see you then!

Video Details

Duration: 40 minutes and 50 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Benjamin Higginbotham
Director: Benjamin Higginbotham
Views: 180
Posted by: spacevidcast on May 22, 2008

Blair Allen from NASA Edge joins us for Episode #009

We are joined by Blair Allen of NASA Edge, a monthly-esq videocast with an inside and outside look of all things NASA. How did Blair start at NASA, how was NASA Edge formed, what can we expect in the future and why isn't NASA Edge distributed in HD are just a few questions we answer.

In news this week we cover the upcoming Phoenix mission to Mars, STS-124 and her payload, Indonesia launches a rocket in to space, fly through a mars valley, sending satellites to the sun and watch the ISS station fly overhead this week.

Make sure to join us live this Sunday for the landing of the Phoenix Mars rover and the following Sunday for the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery for STS-124! Full details on times can be found in our calendar.

Show links:
Fly through the biggest valley on Mars -
Planning a trip to the sun -
See the ISS with the naked eye -
Indonesia to launch rocket -
Phoenix Lander Video -
NASA Edge -
NASA Edge Facebook Account -
NASA Edge Twitter Account -
Shop NASA -
Astronaut Bobblehead -

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