Apollo 50+50: Exploring the Solar System
All. Right how you doing I wish. We could do this for two days it's, been it's been awesome what our great students that's how that's gonna show, up every day just, to interact, with these great students we have an amazing final. Keynote of the afternoon for, you so it's my honor and pleasure to introduce you to, dr., Thomas derbycon the associate, administrator for. NASA's, science. Mission Directorate, since. October, 2016. Thomas. I am so glad you, joined us at NASA, just, a little little, part, that I had in that because he's, a colleague friend, former professor. Of Michigan. Professor. In the School of Science as well as in engineering, there's no one that I can better think of they can cross from science. To, talk. To the engineers, the design and build and I really think that that is the future how do we get all of our students, trained in engineering. And science to ask the, really fundamental questions, that, Thomas, puts. In his mission statement, you. Know, where. Do we come from how. Did life originate how. Are the Earth's environments, changing, he's. In charge of close, to seven billion dollars of that portfolio, a hundred, NASA. Science, missions from, space to. The atmosphere, to, earth. During. His career he's offered over 200, publications. He's. An expert in Solar and Heliospheric, phenomena. Has, been involved in several NASA science missions Alicia's, a messenger. Spacecraft to, mercury and ace the advanced composition, Explorer, has. Been a member of many National Academy panels and helps. Serve also to advise, NASA before joining NASA as a a for, science Mission Directorate Thomas. We're so glad to have you here and let's, go to the explore, of the solar system, and the universe. Thank. You. I guess. So much. Well. I was really glad to, be invited to be part of this event and of course the first thing I thought Oh curse must not be available. Or. Bridenstine, and, and. Of. Course what you will learn I think from, this talk is that it will, not matter who's giving this talk, because. The message that we have is a message, that we have together I want to really talk about three things the. First one is why as a scientist, who I care about human exploration I want to talk about that the, second thing I want to talk about what is the role of a, university like MIT in. The program in the pursuit of the program that we have out there I want to talk about a third topic which. Is really. Dear to me and that is that I believe, that, as we build a new future one. Driven by aspiration. By the leadership that has gotten, us to, the moon we. Need to think differently than we have thought in the last few decades and it's, that thinking, and that dedication to success. Sticking. Your neck out like somebody, said this morning that I really want to talk about in the third part, so. The, first thing I want to talk about is this, picture and, of course it's Buzz Aldrin some, of you say and I say no it's, the solar sail it is. Science. You. Know hiding out in plain sight this. Sail, is. The, simplest, experiment that I'm aware of that was done as part of the Apollo campaign the first experiment. That was deployed on the surface of the Moon it is, a simple foil, very. Sophisticated foil. But it's not, that, unlike of the stuff, that you have in your kitchen that, you may wrap up your sandwich and it's. A little bit more sophisticated and, a lot cleaner than the stuff even, before the sandwich goes in because. What it's doing it's just sitting there on the, top of the moon of course that as we heard this morning from you. Know professor super as does not have a magnetic field anymore a macroscopic, magnetic, field at the moon and therefore, the solar wind the atmosphere.
That's Being blown away from the Sun is, hitting. The surface on hibbett and so, basically what happens. You see the shadow there of course that means that the Sun is on the other side that from, that side that, solar wind is hitting that, surface. And implanting, itself at, the kilovolt, per mass unit, just. Because of the speed of that wind now. What's really interesting is. That when. After, the exposure. Of. This, foil. Buzz, wrapped. It all up put it back into. The. Ascend, module, and brought it back to earth and, it was of course used. In lapse to extract, that solar wind and two measurements, what's, really interesting about this is that. The first time the. Accuracy, of these measurements, was matched, by, robotic exploration is, in, the late 90s, I, build. An instrument and that's a series. Of generations, of instrument, the first time the, neon isotopic, abundance, for example, of the Sun which is a fundamental, measurement, of the Sun was, matched in accuracy was, in the late 90s with, a robotic instrument, that. To, me is a fundamental. Example. Of doing. Science, because of the fact that human exploration enable, set an example. Of leadership, of science, because of human exploration what. This also is a sign of is international. Interactions, that, happened from the beginning in the Apollo program yes. Their worst natural objective. This, was done at, the University and burn where I got my PhD so. Get off PETA does the, site the. Professor, that was there hototc ah because of that interaction, that was there an interaction. Led, by the United States, leadership. And collaboration, are, not opposing, values they, go together and, have from the beginning of, course. Just. Like the geology that was done by humans, on the moon we've learned how, to, trick. Things, into. Measurements, that actually, a lot harder to do geology. On the surface, of Mars. For example there's, a geologist, sitting right there at, the surface of Mars. Called insight, and the. Instrument, that you see at the bottom right there is, the sighs instruments done by tennis, there's, several, other countries that provided. Important. Contributions, to this but, it's sitting on the surface of Mars. Right now and, it's listening it's, listening with an accuracy you've never heard, the, inside, of Mars and of course what we're trying to do from this from seismology. Is just like on the moon we're, trying to understand, to make the build of the inside of Mars and of course the, time-dependency such as Mars quakes that may be, there we expect them to be there and we're, waiting for that to happen right now we, land it there with. A team a dedicated, team which, land at the eighth successful. Landing. On the surface of Mars the only team, that ever most successful, in landing on, Mars, and actually. Doing work afterwards to JPL team together with our industrial partners. The. By the way there's a hammer that was in the news - a hammer that, is, was. Done by Germany, to, kind of drive into, the surface, you should know and that's always hard to do in in, whatever is the limit of tweets today you know in terms of characters, this, of course was, a risky. Instrument, that we added have, nothing to do with level one objectives, and geek talk so in other words. Whatever. It does right now, we. Will be successful with size alone but, we're really of course but never giving up why. Would we we're, trying to learn with what we have - right there is a perfectly. Functioning, heart you, know spacecraft. And an investigation. At the level we've, never had at the surface, of Mars, that's only one example we, talked about this. Example, already in the previous talk and frankly I'm going to show a picture of the, MIT team, I'm. A strong believer that. The. Contributions, of academia, and the contributions, of a commercial, and again of. Business. Entities, in together, witness are absolutely, critical, for the vitality of, NASA as we go forward whether, they're for profit or non for profits, we need, to, come together as, one Explorer. As one together, with science, and human, exploration but, also at these various stakeholders, to do the, very hard thing that, we're doing in this case learning, how to take samples of a body.
Out, There Pandu that. Is a. Record-breaking. Body as an exploration, tool, this is the smallest body any, object, has ever been in orbit around it's, the snow smallest, body the, smallest orbit we've ever done the closed orbit, and of course we're gonna bring, objects. Back like. A probes. Back that we will an Alma analyzed in our laps just, like every body that, we've ever investigated whether. It's the moon whether it's Mars I think professor, supid it's just a wonderful job today talking about the surprises, today that, body is also full of surprises, for example we did not know that this thing is going to shoot at us so. There are emissions, of. Particles. Kind of at a cubic, centimeter or so scale, that are coming off parts. Of that body it's an active, body how, can that be like, you know if you take like you. Know hunter planetary, scientists, in a room and ask what's the likelihood of that before, you observe it there's not a lot of takers why. Would it be active. And the answer is you. Look at nature you will be surprised, you look at nature you'll be in awe about the, wonders that you observe and this is no example. And in part we, observe it of course because of that student, group that you just heard a talk about and just because, you heard it right now I'm not gonna spend a lot of time. On except, to say how excited I, am about this instrument, being there right now, I mean, how, together. With the instrument, that is there also these lives that have been affected, by the very work that. They did right here I always. Say the, most important, thing you learn when you build hardware is humility, because. There's a lot of things that work when. You put, it in your calculator or, your computer, or even worse the internet a lot of answers that come back and it looks perfect when. You start building something, there's a lot you need a lot of help. Hopefully. You know somebody who's a psychologist who, can help you with that or a good team around you, because, you're not nearly as good as you think you are in doesn't, matter whether you're at MIT, another. School that you compete, with or schools. That, most of the MIT students, here did not consider, to, go to school with the question, is can, you do this stuff can you learn it at the level that at the end to.
Get It with your team you, can build an instrument that actually works you can build a spacecraft that actually works because, the trick is and this is one of those hard things and I'll never forget the, Christmas, break I stood next to my mechanical, technician. When. I built this instrument, for Mercury we worked on together, professor. Subaru, and I I sat, next to him why, he. Was that, Christmas, break the only person, who could affect in a positive, fashion whether. That instrument, will come together or not all the PhD, education. Everything. I did all the papers did not help it, was him who had the full control of that team so. All I could do is bring this guy food and help. Him and be, there with him because I was I felt so bad because he was not with his family and because. Of me because frankly I had not planned well enough that's. Why we burn now all of our holiday breaks and so, the, only thing I could do is be there with him that's what I mean with humility and I, so hope that these 80 people learned that lesson if, they want to be successful they learned it there or in the future there's, no such thing as a, person, who's really, really excellent and arrogant and is successful in a team there's, no such thing and so, that's really critical. That's kind of going. Ahead to the last point I'm making I want, to talk about lunar science like, everybody in the solar system like everybody, we've ever observed, in. The universe the. Moon. Is rich with. Miracles. That remain to be discovered you heard a few of those, earlier, and I'm frankly not going to talk, about many of them some of these questions were, discussed just before lunch some. Of them relate to the, timing, the, key time scale of the solar system evolution you, did not talk about this but many. Of these, best. Measurements. To actually, gauge. That time when, the planets move the outer planets, when the solar system became unstable went into a new state, that. Timing is there on. The surface of the Moon and that we want to go and and measure that of course we talked about the, water. Cycle but, also space. Weathering how, surfaces. Like the moon and not interact, in the environment, of. Kind. Of radiation. From the Sun at, whatever, at. Whatever, energy. We. Talked about the, fact that we learned a lot about lunar. Samples, years later and you heard the announcement that we made this week that. Were opening one of the three remaining, Apollo, samples, that were that. Were still, sealed, why, do we do that we, either believe for going to the moon or were not, to. Me I'm betting, that we're going so over taking one of those samples opening. It up to answer questions we could not answer before questions. We didn't even know how to ask before and we can do it right now we have nine proposals. That are already there there's, many other investigations. That will be done by that this is only one example you. See an example that is very, recent where, some of these pebbles, that were extracted. I call them that of course did not quote that but out. Of these, samples, were analyzed, relative to their water content, and in fact water, was found only inside, of them significant. Measurable. Amounts of waters were fine found on the inside of them the moon is changing, we heard about that of course between.
Two And a half to one billion, years ago but there is also changing now the moon, of the apolar, is not the same moon as today even, if you went and just looked at the craters, those are the craters, that we, that. Have been or. New craters, since then and of course for, us that, cratering, rate is an important, characteristic, of the entire solar system our our, environment, relates, to also as some of the work that the professor. Bensel talked about earlier, about these near-earth objects. And otherwise that are around our. Space. Stirs water, on the moon again I think that was discussed so I'm gonna just flip through, that and that. Is just one, of several, investigations. I just talked about three or four of the hundred or so that, are out there, investigations. That. All, of them after characteristics. That I just talked about whenever, we go look there's. Something new we find often, key. Element is that we learn how to ask new questions that, we never knew how to ask but. More importantly, Co importantly, the. Success of these missions come from teams that come together and explore as one just, like how we seek to come, together and explore as one together, with our, with. Our. Colleagues. From human exploration. Kirsten I'd make a lot of jokes and that is when we speak again. Of the colas that he speaks more about science, than I do and I speak more about human exploration and, he does because. We want to make sure that people understand, that we we, think that that, the kunafa, science against human exploration. Mindset. Is a false dichotomy and, as it relates to a kind of a bottom line main mindset, as opposed to a top line mindset, one, that basically says whether or not whether, in fact we. Want to achieve pay calls or do you want it to split up the pie with. All the whatever, that pie is at any given moment, in time I believe great, ideas, even today attract. Funding, used. To be a fee later with a venture fund before I. Took. A cut in salary and went to NASA David. Knows what I'm talking about but, but, the point is the, point is. Great. Ideas, attract, support, and so for us is question, is what are these great ideas of course the. One of the reasons I'm showing this one is because. There's another MIT, grad one of the guys, who's not here right now who. Is active, Findus we. Believe that. Astronauts. Building. Being, actively, involved in actually assembling, and. Maintaining. Our systems, of the of the type that that, hopple. Are have, been tremendously. Successful in the past, astronauts. Together, with robots, now I will also affect how we explore. The. Morning especially Mars. I think that. Kind of tripod. You know kind of robots, together. With astronauts, and then entirely, kind. Of technology, entirely. In a robotic space without that interaction that tripod, will be what's there and is, absolutely, critical so how are we going to go there I think I, Charlie, talked about this earlier. The. Most important, element of their strategy, in my opinion. It's the first one and that is that we take, human. Explorers out of low Earth orbit, I think. There should be a happy. I, shan't. A mound of. Impatience. When it comes to leadership we. Have and, we should we have learned a lot in low Earth orbit, and that will be a training ground for future explorers, of the type that we're up here together a class, of astronauts, with tremendous, you. Know record. And tremendous. Exploration. History right there in front of the stage but. The point is we need to be a learning, organization and, the trick is not to do something, over, and over again the trick is to learn and do new things and, so where. Should we go we should go to. The moon what exactly, we do how long and so forth you, know what. We shouldn't do is create, another end station, at, the moon nobody wants that we do not want the, lunar, whether it's the Gateway or whether it's it's the, lunar surface, it should not be an endpoint like the space station is it should be a continual. Journey, outwards, that's, what you should see there what's the fastest, element of that journey science. Why, because, we have payloads, that don't have lives. We. Can take risks, and we will take risks, what we're trying to do with these payloads, is actually. Figure out how. We can, excite. The commercial, sector for example new players and international. Community, to go to the very science I just talked about in, part.
And Go, out there and land and to targeted. Science, and, some of them together. With international partners. Sorry Israeli mission that's gonna land we'll have a corner, cube that's not a huge payload, but, it's important, to us that it's there why because, if we have many, of those at the surface of the Moon together, with the ride in orbit asset there's science, there's. Support. That can happen also for lunar human. Exploration and and. Of course it's followed by assets, in orbit and then, on the surface this, is a, group picture of these, nine companies that, were selected as a commercial lunar. Campaign. That, that the first part of that commercial lunar. Campaign. Companies. And, I always said I said it there in that room I don't expect, that after, three years all of them are still standing, that is not how the. Commercial, space works, first. Of all some. Of them will have merch some of them some of the ideas will not have worked, that is okay some. New players will be there that are not currently there but, together the question is is there enough energy. There that we can use that commercial energy and align with them and in partnership explore. As one go, forward, of it because, we if we can do this we're all better off by. The way and if it's not working we're going to stop doing that, that's. Also important, taking, risks, leaning forward is, important, learning. Is just as important, you can take risk if you're willing to learn and pivot if you learn something and that's what we intend. To do you're really, excited, the, first task order, is with the companies right now since last week we're well I had breaking. All kind of procurement, time records with. Us and. And, kind of our goal is to go as fast as they can, what we did on our side is make payloads, available, by the end of this calendar year it's. Not because we think that there's a lot of companies that are eager to launch in the next few months but. We, want to be sure that. They're dictating, the time scale the speed, not. Us not a procurement, side not, a procurement time scale on our side they're, dictating the speed and whatever, the, speed they can do we will go with it's not us that limits, the speed so, that's the characteristics, that that's a new thing but, it's something that's really critical also as we go out there in a, low Earth orbit with the Gateway with. Various, international. Elements. But also commercial. Contributions. In different. Kind of acquisition. Our models. Just. Like we used to Space Station today we, expect this to be as a platform, for, science, just like the surface of the Moon we expect us to be a platform for science, and we start to solicit. Proposals, for. The best science, that can be done on this platform I tell. You when, I was at the University of Michigan as a young, professor I once. I organized. A seminar and i hada i taught, by a valued. Colleague. Of ours who's, no longer with us a professor Donahue, when the talk he gave is how, the science, community failed, to kill off the space station, I was, to talk and his, point basically is there's never gonna be any science.
And The, only thing I regret is, with our our friend I would like to show. Him the, instruments, I can't, speak on the inside out the inside that actually. Charlie. Called an administrator, bolden already did talk. About the inside of the, science on the inside of the station, what a locum it dough is the, excellence of the science on the outside, of the station where, we have six investigations. Mounted right now we selected, one just, last month in Helio, physics we. Have, neutron. Star observations, on on, the outside or the best in the world we have observations, of atmospheric, measurements on earth of of tropical. Growth on, earth and so forth that are their best measurements. And this is the right platform for it it's the space station useful for science hell, yes and we. Drive the, best ideas, with through, competition. Not because twenty, years ago we thought of them science. Is supposed to question and come up with new questions and that's, what we always want to be. Aware, of as we go forward, of course our horizon, goal is Mars we. Want to go learn how to be away from the magnetic field from the atmosphere, away at that day's distance, travel back in case there, is an emergency we, want to go to. Mars and we already heard this morning about the excitement. Of this to learning, that happened, with, this, exciting. Body we learned about this particular. Machine curiosity. To. Me I have to tell you the most humbling, part of my job is. Landing. On the surface of Mars there's absolutely nothing I can do at that moment in time my signature, is at the bottom and I tell you the, thing that JPL. Director did that was the most meaningful for me to me he, brought me in to the final navigation. Meeting with the entire team imagine. A team in which, there's 20 people around the table and they're. Arguing about the data that's coming back deep space the data are not clean, data, are never clean that, coming down and were arguing whether or not we need to do a control, burn an insight, before, we land, they're. Arguing next to me is chant really mr., guy who's tariffs been there for every single landing, and what, I was really excited about across, the table was a actually, a student that I knew from my previous time as a college educator, and they, argued, about a point as, peers. That's. How you create, axons. It's that dedication, and being okay, to, be basically. Questioned, it's not about a top-down, version, hyah I said nothing except. At the end tank that I was there that I could sit there and just be a fly at the wall because. That process of an excellent team coming together is something you'll never forget I saw.
I Learned a lot of stuff there that made me a lot very very worried, sitting. There in that room but, I was never more calm about. The success of this team because I knew we used exactly, the right process, to, create excellence. A process. A diverse, team can do coming together pushing, each other making. Each other better that's, what we're doing there and of course we're, on our way pulling, together the, next pick Mars. Mission which of course is a return. Trip to Mars the first return trip to Mars our sample return you to sorta the budget, release, this is now in the budget in, the president's budget of course the budget proposal, is just at and. I will see how to Congress. And you know our colleagues. On that on the hill relate, to it, the reason we can land there is because of Technology of the type that one of the speakers talked, about before, terrain, relative, navigation, where. We're landing is the riskiest of all the places that. Were. In front of us why. Because we have to technology, and by the way I actually. Created a checkpoint. Later. This year to make sure that the technology is making progress like, we all hoped but. Whatever not going to assume is that we're, going to take the safest, way for we're, gonna take the, best way forward and create. A challenge for the excellent, teams that I just talked about to, actually get us there safely our. Full confidence, in them of course we're gonna make it, but, my. Name is Thomas so I go check. What. We have in mind is. Much. Bigger what, we have in mind are robots, and humans, working together, at. The surface, of Mars. In, this room are people that will enable that some of the students that we heard about or in, this room and for me what. Is really critical. Something. That, I already talked about it's the attitude that. Is required, when you want to do exploration, the attitude, to put everything on the line and I, too want, to put a quote in front of you by. President, Kennedy I tell, you a quote that's not often used it's a quote that he used when. He was in, Congress and he, talked about the challenges, how the government, entities, will start fighting each other we've. Never seen this right they ever. They'll. Fight each other because. Of an attitude that is not right he says new, objectives. And new. Money cannot, solve these problems. They. Could in fact aggravate. Them further, unless. Every scientist. Every. Engineer, every, servicemen, every technician contractor. And civil. Servant gives his personal, pledge that. This nation will move forward with. The full speed of freedom, in the. Exciting, adventure, of space I believe.
That's. One of the major reasons, that an organization. Like MIT, and its peers are so critical, for everything, we do because, the attitude that we need to build that future a future that is in every way rivals, the exciting, work that. Colleagues. Talked about from, their past. That. Attitude, is that we need to start fostering right now an attitude, that. Brings. Missions. Into, being through. Sheer will and collaboration. In diverse, teams and thus, that well and with, that in mind I want to show you a little movie talking about people who do that just, now people, not, just within NASA but in the whole community, that want. To make this happen to, make the next 50 years better. Than the 50 years that were in the past. Ignition. Sequence star. We. Have taken tremendous, steps. We, have achieved the, earth-shaking. The, breathtaking, the. Groundbreaking. Have. Left a mark in the heavens our. Successes, build, one, upon another. What, is possible. It's, time we take the next great, leap. This. Is not hypothetical. This, is not about flags and, footprints. This. Is, about sustainable. Science, and feeding, forward the advance of the human spirit. Because, we are, the pioneers the. Star sailors, the, thinkers the, visionaries. Every, mission. We, advanced this, car. We. NASA. And. After sixty years, we're just getting started. Thanks. So much.