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Astrobiology & Astronaut Training

Date: 04-09-10
Host: Art Bell
Guests: David Grinspoon

Filling in for George, Art Bell was joined by writer and scientist David Grinspoon, for a discussion on astrobiology-related topics. Grinspoon said astronomers have confirmed that other stars, besides our own Sun, have planets in orbit around them. There could be billions of planets out there and the probability that life exists on at least some of them is high, he speculated. According to Grinspoon, it is also likely that intelligent alien life, perhaps more advanced than the human race, is out there wondering, like us, if they are alone in the universe.

Grinspoon expressed his support for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), noting that he hopes to be alive when they finally detect a signal from an intelligent civilization. Some believe the program should expand to include a beacon that continuously broadcasts signals into space from Earth, he added. Grinspoon pointed to the work of a Russian radio astronomer who is currently transmitting messages on behalf of humanity. This could potentially alert a paranoid and destructive alien race of our existence, Grinspoon imagined, though it is more likely they would be peaceful, he said.

Grinspoon also spoke about the climates of other planets, why he does not buy into Moon landing conspiracy theories, as well as detailed his own adventures training to be an astronaut on private sub-orbital space flights. Grinspoon was among the first class of a dozen scientist astronauts being prepared to conduct research on private-sector space missions. Grinspoon said the scariest and most thrilling part of his training took place in a human centrifuge, where he was taught to withstand an acceleration of 6Gs without passing out.

Art hosted Open Lines in the final hour of the program.

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