Q&A: ROB MANNING Chief Engineer, Mars Science Laboratory

Written on August 8th, 2012


Aired 08/05/12

ROB MANNING is the Chief Engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. MANNING has been designing, testing and operating robotic spacecraft and rovers for 30 years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. In the 1990’s Rob was chief engineer for Mars Pathfinder, the first to send a rover to Mars. He also led flight system engineering for the Rover Entry, Descent and Landing teams. Rob is in the Aviation Week Magazine Space Laureate Hall of Fame in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

We talk just hours before the rover Curiosity landed on Mars. Using a never-before-tried landing system called a “sky crane,” the degree of difficulty of this landing is enormous. After parachuting to within one mile of the surface, the sky crane fires thrusters to lower itself to hover over the surface. While hovering, Curiosity is lowered to the ground on cables. Once the cables are released, the sky crane jets to a safe distance before crashing to the ground, leaving the rover to explore the planet’s surface. We’ll talk with Manning about the aims as well as the challenges of this mission.

Q&A: Psychedelics in 2012 – Charles Grob MD, James Fadiman – Author

Written on July 25th, 2012



Aired 07/22/12

Did you know that LSD is being tested as a treatment for alcoholism? Or that psilocybin is being taken to ease the anxiety of late stage cancer patients? In government-sanctioned studies.

Psychedelic substances have been used for ceremony and as medicine for millennia. Such properties were being cultivated and studied in the US in the 60s and early 70s until widespread and careless use of psychedelics and sensational media reports produced a backlash. I will talk with CHARLES GROB MD about the latest scientific research, including his own ground-breaking studies. And with JAMES FADIMAN about the vision, ideas and advice in his book, PSYCHEDELIC EXPLORERS: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys.

CHARLES S. GROB, M.D, Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine, conducted the first government approved psychobiological research study of MDMA, was the principal investigator on a research project in the Amazon studying the visionary plant brew, ayahuasca, and investigated the efficacy of psilocybin to treat anxiety in terminally ill patients. A founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, devoted to fostering research on psychedelics, he is the editor of Hallucinogens: A Reader and co-editor with Roger Walsh of Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics.

JAMES FADIMAN did his undergraduate work at Harvard and his graduate work at Stanford, doing pioneering research with the Harvard Group, the West Coast Research Group in Menlo Park, and Ken Kesey. A former president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and a professor of psychology, he currently teaches at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA, which he helped found in 1975. He is the author of PSYCHEDELIC EXPLORERS: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys.

Q&A: ROKO BELIC’S, documentary – HAPPY

Written on February 2nd, 2012



Aired 01/29/12

HAPPY. Are you happy? What makes you happy? Does money make you happy? Kids and family? Your work? Do you live in an environment that values and promotes happiness and well-being? Do you expect you’re going to get happier? How?

ROKO BELIC’S documentary HAPPY explores these sorts of questions. It weaves the latest scientific research from the field of “positive psychology” with stories from around the world of people whose lives illustrate what we’re learning.

The basic approach to the pursuit of happiness taken by many of us and by society in general isn’t delivering. We know more than we ever have about what science can tell us about happiness. And we have access to more diverse models and worldviews than ever before. This is a good time to ask some basic questions.


Q&A: CHRIS MOONEY, Author – The Republican War on Science

Written on June 24th, 2011



Aired 06/19/11

Chris Mooney is senior correspondent for The American Prospect magazine, and author of The Republican War on Science; Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming; and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored with Sheril Kirshenbaum, with whom he also writes "The Intersection" blog. You can find the intersection blog at discovermagazine.com. In 2005 Chris was named one of Wired magazine's ten "sexiest geeks."