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tv   NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Apollo Program  CSPAN  August 28, 2019 1:02pm-2:37pm EDT

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shootings in texas and ohio, the house judiciary committee will return early to mark up three gun violence prevention bills including babing high capacity ammunition magazines and preventing individuals convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing a gun. live coverage begins wednesday, september 4th at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span and if you're on the go, listen to our live coverage using the free c-span radio app. >> up next, speakers associated with the nasa jet propulsion laboratory. they talk about what scientists learned from the rocks and other materials gathered during the missions. >> well, hello and welcome to nasa's jet propulsion laboratory
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in california on a hot afternoon in pasadena for our monthly public lecture series. i'm preston dikes. 50 years ago three human beings set out on a journey across a quarter million miles of space to the moon. two of them set down in a fragile landing craft on the lunar surface, and one of them stepped into history uttering a phrase we all know by heart. for that one human being to make that one small step took the focussed efforts of hundreds of thousands of people over the course of a decade. an industry and universities and in government. for their part, jpl and cal tech didn't play the leading roles in the apollo effort, but for all who contributed to apollo, as for all of us who play even a small role in the space program today, the true reward lay not in the glory of the moment but in contributing to something greater. something that mattered.
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jpl ease primary role then and now is to help lead the robotic exploration of the solar system including technologies that contributed to apollo. jpl manages nasa's deep space network. during apollo the deep space network was used to receive the astronaut's tv transmissions from the moon and also was a vital communications backup during apollo, especially during the tense days of apollo 13. cal tech long a world leader in the field of geology contributed to the field training of the astronauts and to the study of the samples they returned. tonight we'll hear just part of the apollo story. the road to apollo and how jpl figured into it and how scientists at cal tech and other institutions teased out some of the moon's greatest secrets.
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if you're watching our live web cast, you can submit questions via the youtube chat. we are fortunate to have an emmy award winning producer on the staff. blaine baggett had space flight, the first nationally broadcast series ever made about the space race. one of his key advisers was apollo 11 astronaut michael collins who called space flight the real stuff. blaine turned to astronomy. he was the executive producer of "the astronomers". in 1999 he joined jpl is now a jpl fellow working on films about their historic role in the exploration of space. he has received the distinguished service medal, and his birthday just happens to be
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july 20th, the very day that apollo 11 made the first human landing on the moon. please welcome blaine baggett. [ applause ] thank you. good evening. it's fantastic to see you here. thank you for coming out. i'm delighted to see so many of you. by the way, i also -- my birthday also serves as the day we first landed on mars. so something was meant to be, i think. okay. the more that i have come to understand the moons of the solar system, the more i appreciate them for their incredible diversity. i want to start with the outer
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solar system with these moons. high peern looks to me like a seashell. pan looks to me like a ufo. and if we have any "star wars" fans out there -- oh, i don't even have to make the reference, but there's the dark star. but there's more to the moons than just unusual shapes. moons in our solar system are the prime targets for the search for life. saturn's moon is a beautiful icy world where geysers are constantly erupting. spraying out into space water ice. titan, which also orbits saturn, has rivers and lakes. but they're made of liquid
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ethane and methane, and we are going to explore titan. on the right is jupiter's moon, uropa. beneath the icy crust is a water world thought to contain more h2o than in all the oceans combined. here at jpl we're hard at work on a mission right now called europa clipper to be launched to this world. these moons and many others, they're almost 200 -- there are almost 200 moons in the solar system. they exist in the outer solar system. if we move inward toward the sun, we find a different story. mores has two very small moons. venus and mercury have none. only the earth has a sizable moon and a beautiful moon. why that is that we really
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haven't the terrestrial planets, we only have one large moon is a great mystery, but i will leave the science of the moon and the engineering it took to get us there to two great pioneers who are with us tonight. it's a great honor and privilege for me to share the stage with them. as for the present, we are in the news not only because of the apollo 11 anniversary. we are in the news about the moon because nasa has declared we are going forward to the moon to -- it's the next step on our way to mars. now, to me time will tell whether this is the latest case of us becoming moon struck and whether being moon struck is going to actually stick again. the biggest question, i think,
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is whether we'll have the will that translates into the funding to go. those in favor of going to the moon have their arguments. first of all, the technologies have come a long, long way in the last 50 years. and what we've learned about the moon in the last 50 years helps to make the case for going again. for instance, once it was thought that the moon was bone dry. that's turned out not to be the case. missions by nasa and by the indian space agency have found evidence of water in the polar regions of the moon and craters where sunlight in the shadow of craters where sunlight doesn't reach. these areas are prime real estate for future expiration and settlement. i will show you there you see some examples of the water. because if you wish to live off the land as nasa says it wants to do with a permanent presence, you need water.
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and by the way, india, is about to launch its scheduled for a new mission to the moon next week. it's a combination of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. and what is its purpose? it's going to go prospecting for resources, including water. and then there's china. its program, its space program is growing by leaps and bounds. and china has made no secret of its interests in exploring the resources of the moon. the chinese rover launched in january of this year and is now roving on the moon. and on the far side of the moon where direct communication isn't possible, it's an impressive technological achievement. and by the way, i don't know if you know where the rover landed on the far side of the moon, but
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it's in a crater named after theodore von carmen. i hope that name sounds familiar. it's none other than the first director of jpl. and for whom this auditorium and this lecture series is named after. and i can't help but wonder whether the selection of a crater named after von carmen is somehow intentional in terms of where the chinese landed, but i'm not exactly sure what the message might be. the larger point i'm trying to make is that we may be at the beginning of a new space race. a space race this time that is a multinational one. a moon rush where the prize is to stake out regions suitable for establishing human presence. so speaking of space races, let's now go back to the first one to understand how apollo
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came to be. that means we have to go back to 1957 in the launch of sputnik, and to help us we'll watch a video clip from one of my documentaries called "destination moon". i butchered myself to cut it down to show it in a short clip. hard to do, but better for me to do than anyone else. if we could, can we roll the first clip? thanks. >> in october of 1957 the soviet union shocked the world with the launch of the first earth orbiting satellite, sputnik. america's response, a satellite called vanguard, was also a surprising and spectacular event. vanguard would be only one in a long string of setbacks for the
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united states space program. on a visit to the u.s. in 1959 soviet premier made sure to underscore the disparity between the two nations. >> a successful moon rocket harrelled at the arrival in america. a scientific feet capitalized on. it gave solid foundation to boasts for soviet achievement. >> america's hopes for competing in the race for the heavens rested with the newly formed space agency, the national aeronautics and space administration. nasa was given an assortment of technical facilities scattered across the country. one of them was the jet propulsion laboratory in pasadena, california. of all the groups nasa inherited, jpl was a part. this research center was then like today managed and staffed by employees of one of the world's most renowned
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engineering universities. the california institute of technology. jplors were accustomed to a dra tradition of independence. from jpl's perspective, nasa was a new-comer with no portfolio. in contrast, jpl had built missiles and the first successful u.s. satellite, explorer one. jpl was led by william pickering. when nasa asked him his ideas for the nation's robotics space program, he responded with an ambitious plan that called for jpl flying spacecraft to the moon and nearby planets. >> sputnik has been called america's technological pearl harbor. it was a shock to the american psyche, and the reactions ranged from the reasonable like placing greater emphasis on science and math in the classrooms for which
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i suffered, to the extreme, the idea of setting off a nuclear bomb on the moon to demonstrate america's technological capability. a number of well-positioned people in the united states toyed with this idea. they included the scientists edward teller known as the father of the hydrogen bomb. jpl's director at the time, william pickering. now, what you see here is an air force report, because they explored this idea to great depth creating this report that went on for about 250 pages. one aspect of the report was to consider what science might be derived from measuring the lunar debris scattered by a nuclear explosion. one of the credited researchers on the project was a college student by the name of ce sayingen. that's right. that's the late karl sagan who would become one of the world's
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best known scientists and an outspoken critic of the nuclear arms race. meanwhile, the soviet union continued to surprise and confound. for instance, when there was the first visit of a soviet head of state to the united states, the soviets timed the trip to coincide with the first mission to reach the moon. luna 2. kind of rubbing our nose in it. and just two weeks after that, they launched luna 3. they took this image of the far side of the moon. it's not much by today's standards, but at the time it was a technological triumph, and eisenhower could only grin and bear it. now, ten weeks after john f kennedy took office, the soviet union struck again watching the first human in space. now, in kennedy's inaugural address, he suggested a aloud in
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a speech the soviets and the americans should explore space together, but another launch changed that thinking for a time. a frustrated kennedy wrote this memo directing vice president johnson to conduct a survey to find a way, any way, to beat the soviet union in the space race. what would it take, kennedy wanted to know, putting up a space lab, a trip around the moon, landing a rocket on the moon, landing a man on the moon, or any other idea. and note kennedy's impatience. he wanted to know are the people involved in the space program working 24 hours a day, and if not, john, why not? to get the answers to kennedy's questions, johnson turned to nasaed a m na nasaed a -- nasa's
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administrator, james webb. webb believed the only real hope to have the first person in space was landing an astronaut on the moon. others argued for a mission to mars, a human mission to mars. well, webb's more practical proposal went out, and kennedy took it to congress, and now made his very famous speech proposing to land a moon on the moon and returning him safely to earth before this decade is out. what's not well-known is the phrase before the -- the story of the phrase before this decade is out. it was a last-minute compromise. james webb was given an advanced copy at the last minute of what kennedy was going to say, and to his shock, the script, the address mentioned that there was a deadline of 1967. webb convinced the white house to take out the year and say instead the decade is out.
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had 1967 stayed in, we would not be saying today that nasa met kennedy's goal. but now let's turn to jpl's role in getting footprints on the moon. even before kennedy's speech, jpl was working on two moon projects. the first was called ranger. it was designed to be a spacecraft that takes close up images of the moon before crash landing. but even crash landing on the moon turned out to be a lot harder than expected. i will be asking someone to relive the pain for us live about those days. but for right now, let me summarize what happened. ranger one didn't work. ranger 2 didn't work. ranger three didn't work. ranger four didn't work. ranger five didn't work. at this point, the lab stood down and regrouped.
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a year later they launched ranger six. it worked perfectly except in the last few minutes when its camera refused to turn on. no pictures meant another failure. january 30th, 1964, was jpl's darkest day. and in exactly this room, crowded almost as probably as many people as you see right now in this room, were people listening to what was going on live. and imagine what they felt like. well, let's see if they had better luck with ranger seven. as you watch, be aware that you're sitting in the same room as some of the people, some of the footage you're about to see of some of the people. okay? roll the next one. >> you have six rangers which
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fail. with each failure the pressure on jpl became more intense and after number six this was really a catastrophe. >> i had no fear that the lab was going to fall apart. it was quite the opposite. everybody pulled together and basically what can i do to help? >> six months after the debacle of ranger six, jpl was ready to try once more. it had required working three shifts a day, seven days a week. >> the next one, seven, was a severe strain on everybody, because it had to work. and if it hadn't worked, there's no telling what jpl would have been like or what would have happened to jpl. it was a sobering experience.
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>> launched through the 66-hour crews was a textbook flight. three days after liftoff, jpl's auditorium was once again filled beyond capacity with people and tension. >> magnetic tape recorders were started at 1307 at both pioneer and echo sites. we are anticipating turn on momentarily. we have full power on f channel. >> roger. >> all recording. all tape recorders are recording. >> video is very strong and seconds to impact. >> video is still good. three, two, one. impact. impact has occurred.
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all video data good right up to impact. transmitters were functioning properly. >> roger. >> when impact occurred, the auditorium erupted in a great cheer. people shook hands and hugged one another. some wept. one hard-nosed engineer likened the event to a spiritual experience. >> some people had smuggled in some champagne and champagne bottles were opened. it was a great celebration. >> finally the now humbled jpl work force had succeeded at the moon. the television camera recorded some 4,000 images that aren't
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much to behold today, but at the time they were as a scientist in the room declared at the time, 1,000 better than any image of the moon from earth. now, the rangers, by the way, here's some headlines just to give you some sense of i think -- i think it reveals the sense of anxiety that was relief. the relief of we have finally succeeded. i'm interested in the two hurt in the minor riot at the glendale bar. i don't know the story about that. i'll have to look that up. any rate, so after ranger came surveyor. surveyor was a more complicated mission. it was about soft landing on the moon and staying alive on the moon for some time, and well, let's just watch the video. i think that will tell more than
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i can. john, if we can roll that, please. >> of all the questions nasa wanted answered, the most important was knowing what the surface would be like for apollo astronauts. was it solid? or would layers of dust act like lunar quick sand and swallow them whole? nasa had hoped the answers would come from surveyor. this was jpl's first experience in overseeing on behalf of nasa the work of an arrow space company, but the contractor was struggling for good reasons. surveyor was far more technically challenging than the rangers. this spacecraft not only had to soft land on the moon.
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it had to do so autonomously. it was also expected to send back images and science data from the lunar surface, not for a day but for weeks. >> that was a difficult, trying period, because we were growing up at the same time that hughes was growing up. and we didn't always mesh. a trying time. >> grand baja ma is tracking. as shown by the animated diagrams on the monitor, the atlas sentar separation has occurred. >> 63 hours after launch, surveyor 1 was only 1,000 miles
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away from the moon with the speed increasing as the moon's gravitational attraction beckened. >> holding steadily. >> it was supposed to enter a fixed rated descent. so that happens. >> normal. all signals good. 100 feet. >> a certain distance above the surface, the engines are all supposed to shut off. and then thereit's supposed to to the surface. the engines don't shut off. >> and you could hear a pin drop. >> it worked. we're down. it's still transmitting.
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>> for the first time an american spacecraft achieved a soft landing on another celestial body. surveyor one operated for six weeks. it sent back more than 11,000 images before the battery ceased to work. and nasa had the answer to its question. the lunar surface was solid, and suitable for landing by the apollo astronauts. >> this is my favorite surveyor image, because every single time i look at it, what i see in it is almost neil armstrong stepping off the lunar module, but it's not. it's the shadow of surveyor one
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on the moon. now, i do not want this evening to be guilty of committing the sin of omission. so i want to acknowledge the soviets were the first to land on the moon with luna 9. it used air bags which we adopted to go to mars, so it can be argued that this was not actually a soft landing, and at the time it wasn't large enough to erase doubts about whether the lunar surface would be able to bear the weight of an apollo lander, but it's interesting to make a comparison between the luna 9 image of the moon and a surveyor image of the moon. and we begin to understand that being first doesn't always mean being the best. because what happened to the soviet union program in part was
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the concentration on first actually hindered their technological development. for completeness, i have to mention one more firsts by the soviets that few people know or remember. would you believe me if i told you that the apollo 8 astronauts were not the first earthlings who fly to earth and return to earth? that's true. that's a fact. these were the first earthlings to accomplish that. now, it's easy to make a joke of this, but zon 5 was serious business. it demonstrated the soviets were very serious still about sending people to the moon. but their version of the saturn 5 never worked. now, i'd like to make one more connection between jpl and
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apollo. and it has to do with apollo 12. as you probably if you've been watching the great documentaries this week, you probably know now it wasn't well known when i did space white in 1985, but apollo 11 landed with only twenty-seconds of fuel left, something like that. that was because the computer overshot where they were supposed to land, and they were headed toward a field of boulders. neil armstrong had to take control and find a safe place to land. the mission planners weren't going to let that happen again. they wanted a pinpoint landing for apollo 12 and make sure they had a landmark to know where they landed. on the moon everything was kind of the same. they decided to land next to another surveyor, surveyor 3. that's it that you see right here in front of you with pete conrad, and my favorite all time
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astronaut. behind you can see the lunar module they landed in. and pete used sort of a hacksaw to take off the camera of the surveyor three, and a piece of the scoop and brought it back. there was a sense some scientists thought when they took it to the lab, that they found microbial life on the camera, that it had come from earth. somebody sneezed on it on earth. it went to the moon, survived for three years and went back. that's been pretty much discredited now. they now think someone sneezed on it after it got back. but, but, what's important about it is this is exactly the same time we were beginning to understand that life is far more hardy and more tenacious than we ever expected and there was more possibility for looking for life elsewhere in the solar system.
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so that to me is part of the legacy also of the moon landings is that i believe now that we are right now working hard to go to other moons in the solar system to look for life, it's really one of the great quests of all time. so i want to leave you with this image of two footprints. one robotic. one human. because to go the great quest we want to go on, it's going to take both of them. thank you very much. outstanding. that was excellent. thank you so much. well, with that historical back ground in hand, we'll change fwe gears to hear about some of the science of apollo. many of the elements we take for
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granted today were huge mysteries in 1969. and those mysteries required that new techniques and new scientific instruments be developed. after all, no one had ever studied a pristine sample from effort's moon before. our next speaker is one of the people who helped develop those new ways of studying the lunar samples from apollo 11. what he and his colleagues learned helped to completely transform our understanding of the moon's history. ardin albee got a ph.d.. he retired after 50 years as a professor of geological and planetary sciences. he served for six years as chief scientist at jpl. and project scientist he served as for two -- excuse me, for two nasa missions to mars as well as
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serving on innumerable committees and boards for nasa and higher education. for a look at the science of the apollo lunar samples, help me welcome dr. arden albee. >> thank you. as you see, i've been around here for a long time. i wore this jacket because i found it in the back of the closet, and there's a possibility i wore it 50 years ago to the first -- my daughters would say no way, but it's been back there for a long time. mine is going to be a little bit more of i was there and i'm going to tell you some funny things. some difficult things. some mysteries. in 1610 galileo used an early telescope to provide our first
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real knowledge of the moon. and, in fact, until the arrival of spacecraft, other teleskopic work did not add much more to that knowledge. on this first slide we see the large, smooth, dark areas which galileo called seas. the surrounding areas, lighter in color, which are pitted with craters which he called craters. he did name them as craters. these intensely cratered areas which appear white in contrast to the dark seas became known as highlands. indeed, they were higher than the dark-colored basins. now, many controversies about the moon as we heard a minute ago fermented for generations. extreme positions were taken by gentlemen with great eloquence but few facts. i almost forgotten now is the
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intense debate on such sunbject as to the depth a lunar will sink. and shaping the landscape. and whether radiation could be accumulated in the dust from the radiation in the solar system and cause an explosion when the astronaut put his foot down into the soil. and finally, the presence of exotic organisms or water under the surface. many of these seem very passe to us now, but we have to remember that such controversies consumed countless hours, millions of dollars to settle, and thousands of printed pages during the development of the apollo. the lunar ranger, the lunar surveyor project, jpl, and the lunar or bitter project at langley were undertaken to
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resolve some of these and other questions that affected the safety of the astronauts for the mission. now, clearly we all know that apollo did not sink out of sight in the dust. and it didn't explode on landing. but, in fact, the apollo 11 spacecraft, the samples, and the crew were actually quarantined for 21 days until testing showed that exotic organisms were not present. now, engineers and planners worked for more than a decade to solve the problems of getting to the moon and back. at the same time scientists were working on problems that would allow them to interpret the lunar samples. they didn't know at that time that's what they were doing. in the late 40s, scientists who have been involved in the war effort took their new knowledge of isotopes and mas peck tom tri and took them back to the
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universities. a new generation of graduate students began to use these tools to attack problems in geology and other fields. these included some of the ones that you've probably known about. the 4.6 billion-year-old age of iron meteorites. highlighting the health problems due to the led additives in gasoline, and a detailed study of impact craters here on earth. isotopic geochemistry was born at the university of chicago under the leadership of a nobel prize winner and others. their students moved to cal tech and other universities around the country in the early 50s and continued these kinds of studies and were to become critical to understanding the return lunar samples. in the mid 60s the apollo program began to fund scientists to develop clean labs, new instruments
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instruments, and new protocols and procedures to prepare for the return of samples. hundreds of teams from many countries were chosen to work on the apollo 11 samples. necessitating the development of new precision instruments and labs for the analysis of small samples. a number of these teams were at cal tech and jpl, chosen to work with different approaches. now, i was part of a team at cal tech dubbed the lunatic asylum. it was a variety of different approaches. during the quarantine period, scientists and technologies in the lunar receiving lab were making preliminary studies and preparing samples which had been selected for distribution to the various teams. these samples were sent out under strict security. we had to keep them in a safe, et cetera. and an embargo on releasing any results until the apollo 11 lunar conference in january of
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1970 in houston. each team was required to arrive at the conference, turn in a written paper, give that paper and then publish that paper without any changes. so it was -- it amounted to a real blind test, and in addition, there was a fixed word limit. and i can remember spending my christmas vacation in part editing and reediting the manuscript to see if we could take out a few words here and get a few more words in there, because that was one of the difficulties. now, the combination of the rules set up a giant blind test of all these new techniques, and everybody headed to houston tense with excitement to see what others learned and to see if they'd gotten it right. but the new instrumentation came through with flying colors. a decade before, we could not have gotten all the day we got, and if we had it, we couldn't
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have interpreted it because we wouldn't know what to do with it. what were some of the measurements? well, studies of the mineral chemistry, texture, and bulk composition of rocks are used to determine physical and chemical history. trace element chemistry is used to determine signatures of very specific chemical processes. precise topic analysis are used to study a wide variety of chronological and vee owe chemical problems. the samples were also exampled were a variety of physical properties such as magnetism and seismic wave velocity. it's obvious no one team could operate with all these techniques and methods. well, let's take a look at the next slide. we're looking here at the lunar
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surface which you've seen. craters everywhere. fine dust, and here and there are rocks sticking up out of it. our team members like most of you now and the entire world have looked over armstrong's shoulder as he zoomed over a battered war zone of craters of all sizes and over a pile of rocks to land on the lunar surface. here we see that surface and array of small craters. standing on the ladder responding to earlier concer concerns -- responding to earlier concerns about the mission and landing, armstrong actually commented in the live broadcast that the spacecraft pads had not sunk into the soil.
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well, our next slide shows the soil up close. the fine soil and the larger fragments and the larger rock fragments you see there were all fragments broken in the intense cratering that had hurled them to this site. there was nothing that we collected that came from a bedrock. geologists are always taught they have to collect from bedrock, but there was no bedrock to collect from. with great anticipation we examined our soil sample under the microscope, and began to start our tour of the moon. the next slide shows a hand full of apollo 11 soil. it contains a wide variety of material. it is originally dusty. now, in part these are transported from a very great distance by multiple cratering
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events. so this soil provides an answer to the very first question we always ask. what is the moon made of? one group from harvard studied over -- nearly 2000 of these little fragments to see exactly what they were under the microscope. about a third of the fragments were of dark rock derived from the sea. a careful look identified them as the salt which is the most common volcanic rock on earth, and it did not take any special equipment. just an experienced eye an hand lens to be able to make that determination. about half of them were a mass of broken rock fragments cemented by glass which had formed as a melt during the impact. about 5%, the white ones here --
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these white comes are calcium aluminum silicate. the team looks at these and inferred these have been transported from the highlands. the highlands were far away, and it would take multiple impacts to bring that material. nevertheless, the material was abundant. they took an even greater giant leap and inferred that an early site, the rich crust was produced by floating of these crystals as they crystallized from the melt. so they floated to the top toward the surface. this idea of an early ocean of molten rock which became dubbed
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the magma ocean was embargoed until the conference and was created with considerable surprise, maybe even considerable doubt. now, we expected to see irregular glass globs, but the presence of all these beautiful spheres was a great surprise, though it probably should not have been if a melt flies -- not the atmosphere. you got to be careful here. if it flies through space, even, it's going to tend to become spherical. the next slide shows some of these -- they were so intriguing. we spent lots of time playing with the balls. there were round balls and long balls, green, red, hallow balls. see the next slide here? here is a half a ball. it's been broken. and on this fresh surface, we see these light dots, white
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dots. in particular, all through this area here. each of those is an impact crater from a micrometeorite. one of these is shown in the next slide. here we see where the impact was. it has a molten shell around it. and then there are radio outflow of what is now glass which was the melt, and beads going out further and further in all directions, and if you look deeper in it, there are fractures underneath it. this -- these were -- these cups like this, sometimes broke loose and we found those cups just floating in the soil as well. now, one of my favorite photos is a cup like this that actually hit another meteorite.
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they hit and formed one of these. the next slide shows the bombardment of of the atmospher. unlike earth, which is protected by its magnetic field and by its atmosphere, the layers of the samples in the rock preserve a record of meteorites of cosmic rays and of solar wind and flares. the energy of the solar flares differs between the wind and the flares and they're deposited at different depths. the cosmic rays have an interaction with the material in the rock and produce new
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elements which can be analyzed for. so these things can be used to look at what has been for many -- using all of the spacecraft and looking at different depths in soils and different depths in rocks, you can understand what the radiation affects have been in the -- for -- for many, many time. one of the interesting things is apollo data showed that the average solar flare activity has not changed over the past few million years. and there were many theories that solar flares were responsible for climate change. but there has not been that kind of a change. now, high on our list of questions, because this is what the main reason our particular group was chosen, was to investigate the dark rocks.
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our group received portions of them to study and date. upon your first sight in the lab, it was very clear that they looked a little different than basalts. and it quickly answered a questions that has been asked for a million years, what's the moon made of? we knew we couldn't tell anybody, not until we got the news. the next slide shows a -- photos of a thin slice of a rock, one of the basaltic rocks. and this is looking at it under a microscope. this device then allows us to identify the different minerals in the rocks, to study the texture for comparison with
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basalts on earth and to see where the last bits crystallized and what the composition was. the features which you see there are a little different. it could perfectly well have been collected from a frozen flow in hawaii. however, when we look at the late-stage crystallization, we see deinstinctive differences. these are not present in lunar rocks. there's no trace of water. they are perfectly clean and not altered. the other thing is that little white thing is iron metal indicating a reducing state of that final melt that we simply would not see in a luner result.
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can you tell a lunar basalt from a terrestrial basalt. at first glance, they look alike. but from details, you can understand the differences. this next slide is a little bit complicated. it's what we call an evolution diagram. we received a -- five samples of the rocks, portions of them. we dated them, each with ages close to 6.5 billion years. this diagram shows a plot,
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because that's a convenient way to determine under the masspectrometer. they're measured in a number of different samples taken from a lunar rock which have differing compositions along this line. and if they make a linear line like we see here, you can see that they were originally formed along with line and had decayed for the same amount of time back to that line. this is called an internal isocron. and it is the -- they are probably the most -- the bulk of the ages from the lunar samples are measurements. because of the embargo, we couldn't talk about this exciting date until the conference. and we learned the other groups had gotten similar results with
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this and other techniques. later missions dated rocks from different basins. the next slide is a cartoon, if you will, which summerized the history of events that have shaped the lunar history. if we look down at the lower part, looking at the oldest part of it, and what we see there is that it is heavily cratered. no crater can fall without ablit rating other craters. these basins, the surveyor -- the data in particular, that photography enabled the photo
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geologists to map these basins and from these basins to see what the outflow looked like. in the same manner, the various basalts are shown here. and each of those had been mapped by photo geologic techniques and you can look at the overlap relations. you can project this through to get a relative time sequence. on the -- this sequence that we see on the right-hand side, and we see on the right-hand side shows a whole set of features which has been identified in photo geology. they provided a sequence of what happened on the surface of the
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moon. on the right-hand side you'll see that we then have dated these various lavas. and these allow us to make an absolute scale for this timing. so this time scale is still used today. it's applied to earth, mars, and other objects in the solar system for which we can come up with a relative sequence of events, but we do not have samples yet in order to actually measure the age. we will come back to this, but we'll see that almost everything on the moon happened in the first 1 1/2 billion years. since then, very, very little has happened to it. the next one i want to talk about, the next slide, is the mystery of the anomaly.
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the volcanic rocks are derived by partial melting within the interior of the planet. this partial melting, that's how the salts form. the major element composition of the rocks didn't differ greatly from basalts. these are the rarest elements which act very much alike in most cases because they're very similar in their size and their charges. and the people have used these to understand the difference between basalts which were derived from the ocean crusts and basalts which were derived from the continents. there are differences in the way the rare earth patterns are from those two sources.
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when we look at the lunar ones, they show a very different one, but with this striking anomaly of the element europium. and the interesting thing, europium had to get depleted. this had to be formed and that europium had to go somewhere. the formation of the feldspar collects europium over any of the other minerals. it could subtract it. so this team, they inferred that these crystals had formed. they subtracted the europium, carried it away, and therefore, they made the interpretation
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that there was an early crust which formed as a accumulation of calcium feldspar. if you remember back to the start of the talk, a group working in the east had looked at the particles in the soil and where they had came from and interpreted the origin of the highlands of being an accumulation of in same mineral. one group using geologic approaches came up with the same answer as the group using isotopic approaches. it was very interesting to hear this coming from two very, very different directions. and from research groups who would hardly ever talk to each other. we learned a lot more about this
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process by study of samples from later missions. it seems to be related to the presence of other unusual rock types. we're going to see a photo of a couple of other unusual rock types. the first one is a photograph of a true anorthorite. this is a sample of that outer most crust rich in anorthorite. the next slideshows an alumnus collecting a dunite sample. the next slide. and in this case, it has been
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highly fractured and crushed up. you can see both a thin section and the actual rock. dunites are not uncommon on earth. we find similar fragments in hawaii and in our own desert. then another one is there are rocks -- we'll look at the next slide. this one is a complete puzzle. i wrote four papers on it. i ought to right another one, but i don't know any better. at any rate, this is a rock very rich in potassium, rare earth element elements. we don't know how it fits in. each of the samples we have dated. each of them has dates of around
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4.4 billion years. so they're telling us something about the very, very early evolution of the moon, but we don't know exactly what. i used a few detective stories in every one of the hundreds of scientists involved have their own favorites. let me close with a summary of what i think we learned from the apollo missions. such studies are still ongoing with even newer methods and samples that have not yet been studied. you may have heard they're about to release some of the ones that have been held in reserve and will be available for study. and we kept splits of everything we worked on and those are available. these findings have changed our understanding of the moon and its evolution as well as that of
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earth and other planets. we understand the features are predominantly the result of impact by huge projectiles during the first half billion years of lunar history and most of the younger craters were formed by impacts. the moon did not form by slow aggregation of cold particles, slowly heated up, as was one of the prime theories. it was covered in its early life by molten rock in which a rich crust formed by floating, floating in the melt, as it
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crystallized of a mineral. as the outer layer of the moon became ridged, lava migrated downward in depth. since 3 billion years ago, volcanic activity has been very infrequent and localized. one of the most important things which we're still struggling with, many chemical similarities show that the earth and moon must have formed within the same area of the solar system. they're fundamentally different than your other moons. all of this knowledge is a gift of apollo. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank apollo. [ applause ] >> thank you, arden.
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we're going to bring our chairs on here. thank you, so much. we're going to make a transition now to a discussion portion of our show, so pardon us while we get some chairs on stage here. to cap off the evening, we're going to transition to a little discussion on the apollo era as it appeared to us in pasadena and the legacy of apollo. they're joined by one of the greats who's coming up on the stage now, in his career -- in his career he served in engineering development roles on several early launches to earth orbit and the moon including leading the design team for the ranger spacecraft. he held senior project positions and was project manager for
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three minor space missions that jpo was involved in. he also served as jpl's chief engineer. joining us is john casini. [ applause ] >> i just have to say, again, what an honor it is to be with both of you. it's a privilege. >> speak up. >> will do, yes, sir, right away. >> yes, sir. >> what i'm going to do is ask a few questions to get us going and then i'm sure you have questions and so many of you standing and we're so appreciative of you being here. i want to make sure you get a chance to ask some questions too before we call it a night. we haven't heard from you, so we're going to give you a few minutes here. since you were the -- you were in charge of the design of the
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ranger. what were you doing wrong? [ laughter ] >> what was your main problem that you were having in the early days? can you talk about that? >> i had a hard time getting these very liberal caltech people to pay any attention. i solved that by taking them out for a beer. no, i -- it wasn't that -- we had never done anything like this before. and the jpl at that time has been involved in designing missiles for the army and they were getting a little old like me and arden are now. they knew what the principles were. they knew the things that had to be done or the way you had to go about doing something very complicated, interfaces and
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making deals and having a way of tracking whether your progress against them. everybody had a product and somebody's product was somebody else's input. and managing that whole concept of deliverables, receivables, schedule, documenting what you needed to do, that's what they taught us. other than that, you know, the rest of it, figuring out the nuts and bolts, was pretty much up to us. nobody could help us. and they were smart enough to -- to let us go and for the most part, we were smart enough to pay attention to what they told us was important and we tried to do that. and somehow or another, it seemed to work. >> i remember you telling me once we didn't know what we were trying to do and there was no one who could tell us -- >> that's right. there was nobody we could go and ask, what about this or that. because that was stuff that nobody had ever done before. >> and also, the rangers, just
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to be clear about this, the rangers had problems the first six. some of those failed because some of the rockets weren't working. it wasn't just a problem with the spacecraft. >> the mission consists of two parts, a launch vehicle, and then the thing that you're building, the spacecraft goes on top of the launch vehicle. so the launch vehicle guys were having problems and the spacecraft people were having problems. ranger one and two, the first two spacecraft worked perfectly, but the missions were counted as a failure because it had to be launched up, put it in orbit, and then the upper stage of the launch vehicle had to ignite a second time and accelerate us out of orbit. the bittfirst time we did that,
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didn't work. we did this ranger two. and exactly the same thing happened again. exactly the same thing. those counted as two ranger failures. but it was the launch vehicle. typical ranger three and four, those were both spacecraft failures, and one of them was another rocket failure. it was going back and forth. but, you know, from anybody -- we have our -- who's our community? our community is our -- the scientists and the engineers that are working on this, but also there's a political community. and the politicians who are funding this and the congress and the newspapers, they don't care whether it was the spacecraft that failed or the launch, the mission didn't work. >> what did that do to your morale? what was it like here? >> it was sort of disappointing.
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but that question was answered -- >> i let you do that interview. so you liked what he answered. >> i don't know if you picked it up in the clip, somebody said, wasn't it demoralizing after all of these failures and he said, no, it wasn't, it made us more unified and committed to find the problem and everybody pitched in. and that's where we learned, you can't just do your own job in this. you have to be looking over your shoulder and watching what the people next to you are doing. if they don't do it right, the mission is not going to work and you're all goats. everybody wanted everybody to work well and so we tried to help out and whatever way we could. and so i think that was good. funny thing about engineers, they like to solve problems. that's what engineers do. the harder the problem, the better they like it.
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one of the problems we have, you give an engineer a problem to work on, if he doesn't find it hard enough, he'll find a way to complexfy it. that was the other problem. it boils down to polishing the cannon ball. it doesn't have to be better, it has to be good enough. knowing when to stop improving things is just as important as knowing, you know, when to begin. >> even i fired a few managers to keep the politicians happy. >> yeah, well -- that's the other thing. we don't fire a lot of people for making mistakes. sometimes a person has made a mistake, having made that mistake makes him more valuable, or her more valuable in the next assignment. you made an investment in that
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person. a million dollar investment. >> or more. >> did it work? >> john, i've been waiting all night to ask you this question. we know that the russians early on sent up dogs into space. and i have read that you were among some here at jpl thinking about sending dogs to the moon. tell us that story. >> well, we were part of a -- the initial task force of trying to figure out how to put astronauts on the moon. we had a bunch of people, they went back to washington and they were helping with this program. some of us were saying, that is crazy. why do you want to put people on the moon? there's no air in there. something says, well, why don't
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we train some dogs. you can train dogs to do remarkable things, you know. we can teach them what they need to do, how to use a hammer or something like that, put them in little space suits and then when they're done, they die, but you don't have to worry about bringing them back. we actually -- >> you're a dog hater. [ laughter ] >> i'm not a dog hater. i'm neutral about dogs. dogs have a way of an affinity for me. so do goats. i'll tell you the story about the goats sometime. >> another time. that idea obviously went nowhere very fast, i'm sure. >> okay, okay. >> arden, i want to ask about the origins of the moon. can you speak about what some of the thoughts are that scientists
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have about how our moon came to be? >> well, we know because of the geo chemical similarities that the earth and the moon are closely related. they were formed from the same batch of meteorites. what we don't know is whether they collided, changed matter, these sorts of things. the basic theory that is now operating in which people are working in great details of the details of the collision process and everything is that there was a collision between two major astroids, one of which basically became earth, and this collision combined many of the materials in the two. that we know. but exactly the details of it, we don't. there's -- every issue there's a new -- slightly different touch. >> this was the -- the theory
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goes, it was 4 1/2 billion years ago -- >> 4.6 billion years ago. >> about the time that the earth was formed too, right? >> they were both formed at about the same time, and the key thing really that makes them come together are the oxygen isotopes. there are so similar to each other and different from other meteorites. it's a unique circumstance. >> and how -- when you mentioned the molten sea, did it cover the entire orb? i have this incredible -- >> the high lands are that frozen magma, and they cover everywhere around the moon. yes, it was a cooling -- it's how the moon cooled and
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crystallized. >> okay. so i'd like to throw it open to some questions from the audience, if anyone would like to come up to the mic. we have a mic over here. come on up to the mic. okay. yes. >> i'd like to ask if there were any differences between the different ranger probes from one to six. >> any differences between the one and six rangers? technically? >> the difference between -- >> the rangers. >> rangers one to six. were there major changes. >> oh, yes. we developed the rangers sort of like that -- i compare it to a volkswagen. they all look the same on the outside, if you buy one one year and buy another one three years
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later, they look the same, but they've made improvements. ranger spacecraft had to be three axis stabilized. you have roll and pitch. on the -- out the side we had anomaly ten in a that had a point to the earth. the roll positioned matter. that's another way of positioning the antenna. for ranger one and two, we didn't control roll. and then we didn't have any propulsion on it. and then ranger three, four, and five we put roll controls and then added propulsions. each one of those rangers had a capability that was engineered into it, but every one of them built on the earlier ones.
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it was a progressive development. >> that reminds me of the fact that the first project manager told me a story that what was thrown at the project very early on, they had not fully anticipated was contamination, that nasa put the requirement that we sterilize the spacecraft. and that meant baking them and we -- you're baking your electronics when you didn't realize -- >> that was not part of the original design requirement. and i was running the ranger one, two program, and i had a big battery in the middle of it. and they said you got to sterilize this battery. i said, wait a second, we weren't designed to be sterilized. we talked to some people and said, if you heat it up to 125 degrees, that ought to kill anything that's in there. it turned out it killed the
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battery but we didn't know it at the time. a few weeks later, over a weekend, in the -- the spacecraft with the battery in it up in the building, building 18 where we were testing it at the time, the battery exploded and we said, that's not a good idea. we didn't know for sure. but we were pretty sure it was the heat sterilization because people didn't usually do that to batteries. after that, we put a temperature on it and put a new battery in, cleaned it up, and watched the temperature continually. i got a call one night and i don't think it was thanksgiving, but it was thanksgiving weekend. and it says the temperature has gone up. what are you going to do about it? i said call up a technician and have them meet me in there.
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we climbed up in the chamber, and i can remember this technician, he said, bring a quarter inch drill and when we got up in there, he said what do you want me to do? i said i want you to drill a hole in the battery. he said what are you going to do? i said, i'm going to stand back here. but it worked fine. [ laughter ] >> earlier this evening we saw a picture of the footprint of surveyor on the moon. we wouldn't be seeing the footprint if the foot pad wasn't in it. does surveyor bounce? is that why we're seeing the footprint? >> my understanding, i listened to the audio of the transcript of pete and al, what they were saying through that period, it landed on a bit of an incline.
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and it slid just a little bit. >> okay. thank you. >> thanks for a great talk. i was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about the history and mineralology of the sample that's in the museum. >> i don't know which one is in there. these were distributed to the various centers and i don't believe i've ever looked at the one that's in here. [ laughter ] >> what number is on it? i might know it by that? >> i could check, if you want. >> i'll look at it afterwards. >> thank you. >> hi -- >> we're going to make sure we get a couple of social media questions in. the person with the name let's get outside now, wants to ask
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dr. albee, what did you think when you first had access to a lunar sample yourself, what was that like? >> i tried to convey that. when you look at that soil sample you have to gasp. those glass balls are just crazy. you didn't expect them to be there. why you have these beautiful spheres, but you do. and they're everywhere in the soil. >> and one more question from social media, joshua wants to know what do you guys think are the best way to expose fnew generations to the legacy of apollo? what do you think we should be doing to communicate that forward? >> that's sounds like a question for a professor. [ laughter ]
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>> i think, you know, the question about -- there's a certain thing called the apollo effect. have you guys heard about that? it inspired -- first of all, we're spending so much money on the program and there weren't enough engineers or scientists or technologyists in the country to do all of the work that needed to be done. and it attracted a lot of young people that it would have otherwise wasted their college years being lawyers or doctors to go into science, engineering, technology. [ laughter ] >> and i think that was the thing that made the whole space program eventually possible. all the things that we're doing today and have done afterwards, whatever they are, all happened because of that influx. and other countries jumped on the wagon too, china, india too.
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that's why they're in it now. i think the thing to get people in is to make sure that the missions we do from now on are not just science missions, which is good, but not just technology missions, which are good, but are publicly engaging, missions that capture the imagination of young people and get them interested in following it. what the hell do i know? [ laughter ] >> thank you. next question. >> hi, as we enter a new era of space flight, what are the most important lessons to remember from your era of space exploration? >> what are the important lessons from your era of space experience for the next generation in the next era of space? >> there's a continual transition. you have to remember apollo
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basically had no computers. and now, a spacecraft is filled with computers. the whole arrangement is different. when we flew mars surveyor, we had a network on board connecting all the parts of the spacecraft. it basically was like a wi-fi network. that amount of transition happened between apollo and the next few missions that jpl began doing. >> what about you, john? what advice would you have to the next generation? >> there are so many dimensions of that question. if you're talking about what does it take in terms of engineering and development to make something successful or what -- how do you -- how do you coach people to do things so that they'll last a long while, we learned that very slowly and very painfully over a long
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period of time. and it used to be the main problem was twofold. the first one was parts, electronic parts. we didn't -- most of the things you had, vacuum tubes, you couldn't depend on a vacuum tube to last more than a few years. you'd have to call the tv repairman and he would come up with his bag of vacuum tubes and put a new one in or he would say to your wife, when you plug the vacuum cleaner in, remember to plug the tv back in. we had a lot of calls like that. and then things would fail. when we got into -- transistors were invented in 1953. i was still in college. you couldn't get a shock from touching one. people didn't believe they could do anything. >> you ask about what you could
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do, invent cell phones. you sell a billion cell phones, you develop new products. >> something will go wrong. and the thing of is it, anything that goes wrong, you have to follow that to the root cause. you have to find out exactly to the degree that you can what happened and do what you can do or what you need to do to prevent that thing from happening again. and that's hard. you would to instill the need to do that. fixing and going on doesn't mean it's going to happen again. you have to find out why it went wrong and fix it and fix the thing that caused it to go wrong and then you're on a good track. but that takes discipline and it
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takes a lot of tedious work and it's not fun always. that's where -- that's why you go out and have a beer at the end of the day. [ laughter ] >> thank you. >> building on that, i think the two things, looking from my perspective, i see engineers working on miniaturization. and the second is the complexity of the software. these day it's software oftentimes what's going to get you before the hardware. we got time for just a couple more questions, i think. >> so that idea of setting off a nuclear bomb on the moon is very sbr intriguing to me who talked him down? >> there was someone in the department of defense, in the air force working on that. but, our defense department is always working on ideas, crazy ideas. some of them end up being
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interesting and good ideas. this was just one of them. >> they didn't know about space debris? >> did they know about space debris. yes, yes, i'm sure they did. but what it would do -- a quarter million of miles away, i don't know if they were worried about that aspect of it. >> okay. >> one more. good question. >> hi, i would like to know which of the seven ranger probes cost the most based on the parts used to build them. >> okay. how much was the most expensive ranger to build? it's a budget guy here. we got an accountant on our hands. >> i don't know if we can identify the cost of each individual ranger. they were built as a program. but each one had more capability and was able to do more things
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and so, you know, the ranger three, four, five, cost more than one and two, and rangers five and six cost more than three and four. and because there were so many failures, then we had to bore in on those failures. that meant more work, more people, more time, more testing. each one of them would cost more than the one before. the most expensive one would have been the last one which was ranger ten, i guess. >> thanks so much for your question. i would like to thank everyone here and online for joining us. and thank you to our speakers. [ applause ] >> join us again next month for our show on comets, astroids, and dwarf planets.
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we'll see you then. good night. [ applause ] all week we're featuring "american history tv" programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. lectures in history, american art facts, real america, the civil war, the presidency and special coverage about our nation's history. enjoy "american history tv" now and every weekend on c-span3. >> weeknights this month we feature "american history tv" programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. this week we showcase our weekly lectures in history series, taking you into college classrooms around the country. tonight, a look at world war ii and how american cartoons
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