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NASA’s 7 Minutes of Terror


Wanda harding

This week we speak to a NASA veteran Wanda Harding about the future of space exploration, human boots on Mars (and back on the moon, and educating people to be passionate about the universe and exploring our solar system. Will Musk beat NASA to Mars? This week on the Futurists.

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this week on the futurists if anything i think covet probably gave us permission to say stopwe have got to do things differently here in america and by different it's getting away fromthat industrial model of coming into class teaching by rote and more of thatstructured getting them ready for the typical nine to five which we now know there is notypical nine to five the types of skills that are required now believe it or notare what they consider the soft skills and that's why i emphasize the teamwork and it's going to have to becompetent in areas that you are going to be different than what artificial intelligence can do[Music] well welcome back you're listening to the futurists i'm your host rob trisikWelcomewith my co-host brett king king i'm great to be back yeah enjoying a steamysummer another lovely week in the hosting chair it is it is warm here in in raleigh where i i just come back frombangkok and you know it's funny because bangkok is really well equipped for the the whole heat stuff you know and comingback here you realize you just take for granted that infrastructure that they have there but anywayit's still nice weather out i was over in europe and they do not have infrastructure for high heat andthey're going through another heat wave of 100 degrees fahrenheit that's brutal when there's four percent of um uk homes have airconditioning like that at the moment that's brutal i remember growing up as a kid in australiain in melbourne i i remember on days where because you we didn't have aircon back then you know this is like ummid-70s i remember sleeping on the tiles in the kitchen floor to try and get coolso um that's what people are probably doing in the uk right now i feel for them but this is uh this is the world ofclimate change you know that's right and it takes uh it takes a certain aptitude to deal with exchangingworld and that's our mission here at the futurist we're always trying to get people to think differently maybe think a littlemore athletically about the future you know brad sometimes people say you don't have to be a rocket scientist tobe a futurist and generally that's true but on the other hand it doesn't hurt tobe a rocket scientist if you're trying to shape or guide to the future and this week we have somebody really special onour show a rocket scientist an actual guest this week is a bonafide rocket scientist we are really thrilled to havesomeone who is a former nasa senior mission manager in the flight project's office and that's thebridge from ground to to space now today for the last 10 years she's actually been an educator so she's leftrocket science and has gone into education we're going to learn a little bit more about thatour guest this week is wanda harding wanda welcome to the futurists hi thankyou so much it's a pleasure to be here thank you for joining us we're excited to have you here and we're excited toget right into this topic you know brett is a gigantic space geek and he's constantly talking about bringing it upand between us we're quite impressed you know the idea that you can put a little representative huma of humanconsciousness on a planet that's hundreds of millions of miles away is kind of an astonishingfeat perhaps the most astonishing thing that humans have done and yet we don't even pay attention to it most of the time but right now i think that there'slike some four different uh robots on the planet on the planet mars is that right not if you count the orbiters yeahoh there's more well yeah you have them and if you count the landers so rightyes nasa has been very busy the first rover was sojourner which was about the size of a skateboard uh we advanced backin 2003 when we sent up the twin rovers spirit and opportunity andthose were kind of what you call trailblazers they were proof of concepts and so by thetime you get to curiosity which is about the size of a small car you have a very robust i called it itwas like a roving geologist with its own mobile laboratory just able to explorethe planet and it was so cool being a part of the team that was responsible for getting it from earth to spacegetting it from earth to mars if we did our job right then once curiosity landedit would be able to do some fascinating things and that's what it's been doing for the past 10 years so well that'swhat's so astonishing is that the original mission was only planned to be about two earth years or maybe one fullmartian year which on its own is a pretty amazing feat but here we are celebrating the10th anniversary of that achievement and it's still going i read that they just extended the mission another threeyears is that correct that is correct i'm going to let you in on a little secret too because when you think about opportunity right it was only supposedto be about 90 days and it was almost what 14 years later yeah exactly sowhen it came to curiosity i mean even though that's the mission design life that they budgeted for and that's whatthey planned for um the robustness of the rover itself i'm notsurprised that we're 10 years later and sometimes i almost forget that it has been 10 years but i'm not surprisedthat it's 10 years later and it's still giving us great data back and it served as a model for perseverance and sosimilarly i imagine you know 10 years down the road we'll be celebrating the 20th anniversary for curiosity and the10th anniversary for perseverance that's so that's incredible that's okay tell me some of those voyagers voyagerspacecraft are still working and those things are as old as i am practically and they reallythink still going i remember as a child goingto disney world shortly after the viking missions uh reported back their landing on mars ithink you all probably are old enough to remember that as well but that was in the 70s and i'm looking at that missionas a child and i'm going wow that is so crazy but i never had any idea that iwould be a part of the team that would send something up some years later and it would actually be moving around themoving around the planet well tell us a little bit about how that happened tell us about your journey to the to theWandas Journeysenior mission manager yeah so as a child i wanted to be a concert pianist that was my goal i wanted to play forthe yeah the new york philharmonic and i attended a math and science highschool one teacher that's all it takes had one teacher that said you know what you might make a good engineer so i believedher and ended up majoring in engineering in college didn't put the music aside but i ended up with that path went on tohampton university for undergrad and georgia tech for master's and after about a year in constructionopportunity opened up to apply for a position with nasa and that's where i got my start down at kennedy spacecenter working with the international space station program and after some years as a systems engineer with thatprogram working with the italians on the logistics modules that they were providing for the space stationhad an opportunity to join our launch services program which is responsible and i sometimes forgetthat i'm not with them anymore so forgive me if i say we sometimes but they're responsible for sending all of the satellites to orbit and what madecuriosities launch so special is that in july of 2011when the booster the atlas 5 booster arrived at kennedy space center was also coincident with the same month of thelast space shuttle launch and so as we were closing out one era wewere still you know exploring and getting ready to send the most ambitious mars mission we had launched to date atthat time so you know for me my team of over you know 200 engineers acrossthe time period just responsible for the launch pieces this doesn't even include the team at jpl actually building the rover itself butwhat's required there to make sure that we provide that safe journey from earth to mars without damaging the spacecraftwith the launch environment making sure unlike sojourner anduh spirit and opportunity we had the mmrtg the nuclear power source yeah curiosity tooand that's also what it's all contributed to the longevity but saying all of that to say that wasthe path that we had that i had rather to the role of senior mission manager somsl the missions that i had the opportunity to work that was probably one of the most exciting ones for meMSLi can imagine okay so you kind of worked your way up they gave you responsibility you got introduced to new responsibilities and then you madeprogress within the organization and as you alluded to um jpl is jet propulsionand labs out here where i live in pasadena and that's the group that designs theactual robot craft that's going to be rolling around on the surface of the planet and so there's quite a lot ofcoordination i don't know if people realize just how much coordination there is a few years back i saw that film withnorman zeef about the launch and and how tense it was becauseone team after another has to hand over responsibility you know there's the group that's getting the rocket into space and then it's moving over to marsand then you're coming in and there's landing and then there's the will the parachutes open or whatever you know the landing process is and the balloons andso it's so it's so filled with tension it is very well orchestrated i mean as amatter of fact when you think about it for you know the mission concept for msl was back in 2003 and it was in 2011 when weactually launched so you may be asking well you know what were you doing during those eight years and as you are developing the missiongoing through the various design reviews from the launch perspective we're also very much a part of that uh there aresome constraints on size there are constraints on mass wanting to make sure when you're designing the trajectoryto minimize the number of correction maneuvers the spacecraft has to do once we separate it from the spacecraft weneed to make sure that our injection point is accurate and we wereexcited me and a few of my team members had a chance to go out to jpl august of 2012uh for the night that curiosity landed and i tell you it was tense but it was exciting at the same timethere's obviously a delay but when we got that signal that the touchdown had gone successfully everybody was excitedbut for me the best part was the picture curiosity sent back a picture ofits shadow on the surface of mars right that was like from our perspective we said yes wedid our part now curiosity is ready to go and do do its part that's quite a thrilling moment almost adecade of preparation to get that right get that to get that right yes and the orchestration is very key umno no i was going to say we call that the seven minutes of terror right well even and we've that percent landingstage yes that part was definitely they call it the seven minutes of terror and everything had to be done just right inorder for it to be successful well and it's quite perilous like as you pointed out uh if you don't get the insertionLanding on Marspoint just correct then the minimal atmosphere that's around mars can act like a kind of shield that bounces thethe satellite in fact i think that happened a couple of times in the past actually you know historically it'sreally hard to land stuff on mars you know like the if you look at the russian missions and and even um you know the uhesa the the beagle um spacecraft that all got in because someone um didcalculations based on metrics versus imperial or vice versa i can't remember what it was and so yeahyou know historically i mean nasa's recent success with landing rovers and so forth on onmars has been quite exceptional given the history right wonder it is it has been quite exceptional and sowhen you think back for uh sojourner and opportunity you had i called it the bouncing bag there and sowith the sky crane for msl yes we were definitelythat's why they call it seven minutes of terror because one of the well i guess i can say that now but you know we wantedto make sure that that the scent stage and the uh sky crane didn't operatewhile it was sitting on the launch pad too so there are a lot of safety controls that you have to put into place there but yeah so precise landinglocation having that um operation in place like i said it served as a great proof of concept forperseverance and as you start ahead for what's next for the subsequent missions to mars iguess you know we're trying to get ourselves closer and closer to knowing enough about the planet so that when wefinally send a human expedition we know what we can exploiton mars what we need to bring with us the type of technology that would be required and that's what makes the discoveriesfor msl unique in the sense that from a scientific perspective you're gatheringenough information you're verifying the big question about water on mars so curiosity is to to answer that thequestion on habitability could life have existed given you knowthe presence of sulfur given the presence of nitrogen given the presence enough carbon could it have existedcuriosity is helping to answer answer that so then the next question becomes well if i send a human becauseright now earth is the only place in our solar system that we know of but we can gooutside without a spacecraft a spacesuit on we go anywhere else you're gonna you're basically replicating the environmentand the conveniences that you have here on on earth and so it's just exciting just to seewhat might be out there in the future which is why i love being a teacher because i am interacting day to day withthose people who will be making the decisions and designing the missions 20 and 30 years from nowLessons from NASAwhat kind of lessons do you impart to your students that are derived from your time at nasabelieve it or not the most important lesson has nothing to do with the technology it has more to do withteamwork and yes i want to stress to them the importance ofrecognizing that different people have different skill sets so like from our team you have mechanical engineers youhave aerospace engineers you have electrical engineers different disciplines coming together to solve aproblem recognizing the expertise that they bring and appreciating the big picturetotal buy-in on the mission the message that i'm giving to my students is no different there's teamwork each of youbrings a different stream and so putting those together is what drives you towards mission success thecontent we can get but if you can master that teamwork piece then you're going to be an asset to any team that you work onWhat age do you teachthat's quite that's quite a good thing to teach students what grade like what age are the students that you teach soi've had the opportunity of teaching 8th through 12th grade so i've i have middleschool experience and i have high school experience and it's interesting as youwork with each grade level just recognizing the maturity that comes along the receptiveness of the lesson umyou're you know at this stage of the game we're trying to encourage more of aconstructivist mode where we're allowing the students to discover on their own a lot of kids are sometimes a little bitfearful i have students that have said i don't like math and we talk about well why what makes itso challenging and as you go through and recognize how often you use it in everyday life you realize okay there'sreally nothing to be afraid of um i really can't do this so um you know weEmerging thinking in educationdo have some emerging thinking in terms of education you know one one of thethings you see when you observe the education system that we have in the us or the uk or australia where i'm fromis that um you know the the model of education we have in public schools today tends to be that that we we cameup with back in the industrial revolution it's a bit of a a factory line you know you you put them thestudents have to sit and obey the instructions from the teacher the manager at the the class to become sortof obedient factory drones you know that was sort of the design of the system um but it's sort of coming to you knowstandardized testing and all this seems like it's coming to a natural conclusion in that we need to rethink education forthe 21st century particularly for engineering and technology challenges that we haveum you know elon musk created his own school at astra um you have jack marrwho's you know a big proponent of the future of education saying we're going to have to um you know teach ourchildren to differentiate from machines and then we have like the nordics whohave done some really interesting approaches to learning they seem very successful at it but very unconventionalfrom a classroom perspective a lot of play a lot of storytelling immersion and experiencesand things like that which which is very different from the model that we have generally in the westso where do you where do you think we need to go to really engage students with um you know steam stem typestuff and make it sort of make education you know more 21st century relevantMaking education 21st century relevantif anything i think covet probably gave us permission to say stop we have got to do things differentlyhere in america and by different it's getting away from that industrial model of coming intoclass teaching by rote and more of that structured getting them ready for the typical nineto five which we now know there is no typical nine to five and one of the you know i've been followingsome of the articles from the national science council anda couple of things that they're they're pointing out is the fact that the types of skills that are required now believeit or not are what they consider the soft skills and that's why i emphasize the teamwork and it's going to have tobe competence in areas that you are going to be different than whatartificial intelligence can do and so it's that critical thinkingand decision making and being able to discern that not necessarily something automated orprogrammed will be able to do and so how do you prepare the future to do that it's also looking at you know solvingmany of the problems that the industrial revolution created and we're having toyou know find some cleanups on on that part so it's opening the door to some new problemsnew opportunities for innovation but the way we prepare our students can't be thesame way it was when i was in school 30 years ago absolutely one of the things we do atthe university of nebraska where i work i'm an advisor to the digital media program thereand some of the professors have developed a program where they're teaching writers how toCollaborating with technologywork with gpt3 so they're teaching um creative writers how to use the artificial intelligencenot as uh you know not as a way to automate writing personally but more as a way to enhance their own skilland and this fits in with that general notion of uh of race with the machines don't race against the machines so whenyou teach about collaborativity or working together uh or being a good teamwork teammateyou're not limiting that to being a good teammate with other humans it's also you're teaching people to have a more collaborative approach to technology iwould imagine and that and that is the case uh right now when you talk about technology and secondary education mostpeople you know link it to some digital asset whether it's a learning platformum something that helps with the assessment but you also want to make it such thatthe students are using it to be creative and not necessarily just reactive or just doing an assignment but kind ofmaking it a partner so that's something teachers have to learn how to do and soit's a whole when you're talking about the shift it's not just changing what happens in the classroom but it's alsochanging the teachers so that they are prepared to make those changes in the classroom yeah i mean i think part ofthat's part of it is if you're going to change the system and make it more effective you know we have to find a wayfor teachers to adapt and so forth as well and that's not necessarily how wetrain teachers either right one of the things that i am a proponent of is having teachers just invitetoday's experts in to talk to the students so that they can hear firsthandthis current technology this is where we're headed and this is whereyou know your leadership is going to come into play and when they're interacting with those experts in theirclassroom it starts to bring it to life because the teacher can't do everything but they can serve as a host and afacilitator and that's one of the things that i've been doing and want to do more of is expose mystudents not just to you know it was cool that i worked at nasa but not just to me but kind of getting them exposedto some other things that they could possibly pursue opportunities they don't even know exist showing the possibilities yeah when you talk aboutinviting the experts to share their wisdom with an audience that's exactly what we try to do here at the futuristswe're going to take a little break right now you've been listening to the futurists with brett king and myself robert tercekand our guest this week is wanda harding she is a rocket scientist who is now a high schoolteacher and we'll be coming back after a short break and you can hear more about that radio showi'm brett king and i'm jason henricks every week since 2013 we explored the personalitiesstartups innovators and industry players driving disruption in financial servicesfrom incumbents to unicorns and from cutting edge technology to the people using it to help create a moreinnovative inclusive and healthy financial future i'm jp nichols and thisis breaking bankswelcome back to the futurists this week uh we're talking to wanda harding a uhteacher who has uh previously of course worked as a mission manager for nasa senior mission manager for nasa and umyou know we have a great uh history of nasa um people leaving and becomingeducators even neil armstrong you know taught of course uh after he left so i that's a great legacy thatyou're carrying on uh wanda um tell me um you know you you mentioned briefly at the start it only takes oneWandas teacherteacher but tell me about that teacher for you in terms of the teacher that madethat made you understand the possibilities so the teacher that made me understandand her name is miss turner and we thought she was the hardest teacher there she taught calculus and apcomputer science um as a i didn't want to confess at the timethat i was a nerd but i guess looking back over it i probably was but i just appreciated the way thenumbers just kind of talked and i remember my one of my computer science projects it was actually an animation ofsuperman flying across a knight's skyline wow keep in mind this was prettywell yeah what what computer tech i'm getting ready to tell you now because i'm dating myself but this was on an apple ii using basic code so i'll justleave i learned to code on a vic-20 so we're about the same vintage there andLearning to codeyeah i learned to code using a card stacking machine with uh with graphite pencils so i might even be a little imight be dating myself a little bit older but uh right we're in the same general area okay yeah so needless tosay i enjoyed i enjoyed that and because the teacher was able to see how much ienjoyed working on those independent type projects she just casually mentioned one day you might want toconsider engineering and so you know at the time as i looked you know i was doing my research on colleges to pursue orcolleges to attend that might be of interest to me i kept that in the back of my mindand when i got to hampton one of my freshman professors was a retired ibmengineer and i just appreciated the depth and wealth of knowledge that hebrought to the class just by the mere fact that he had all that experience and i said you know if i ever teach iwant to be that kind of teacher i want to walk in my classroom with some experience because it allows my itallows the students to know there's a connection between what you're learning in the classroom and real lifeand so i initially wanted to do like him but on a shorter term i wanted to workthree to five years and then go back and teach and it turned out i lost track of time and i ended up working 20plus years with the fellowship program was able to find a bridge from industry into theclassroom and so i went back to school got a masters in teaching so that i could understand you know the thoughtprocess the pedagogy and all the appropriate concepts for modern 20th 21st centuryteachings it's really nice to hear that yes and it was very fortunate for me because i wanted to come back tomy hometown and not too far from where i grew up to actually teach so the fellowship program checked both of thoseboxes it was available in the state of georgia and i was able to have my initial placement in athensgeorgia which is about an hour outside of atlanta and the subsequent year i was able to get hired on at atlanta publicschools which is the district where i grew up and received my public education so it's just a thrill to be able to comeback home and you know kind of give my message to the children the students the scholars that you knowdream big and you know i try to be an advocate a cheerleaderand do what i can to provide that exposure so that they don't shy away from opportunities and think that it'sprobably not for them excellent i'm starting to see that one of the themes of your career and as youBridge builderpursued building the future in your own way one of those themes is that you're a bridge builder you're a person who makesconnections um you know when you were when you were managing um projects at the uh at flight projects office thelaunch services there that's the bridge from earth to space and in your career after that you werebuilding a bridge from the space and science industry to high schools into middle schoolsand you've done another way another kind of bridging i think i want to talk a little bit about your bookwhere you're building another kind of bridge and one of the things we've noticed is that sometimes when astronauts return to earth after they'vespent time either in orbit or on the space station is that they come backWandas bookwith a profoundly different spiritual perspective than they had before they left in other words the experience of beingin space actually transformed their sense of self yesis that what they call it the overview effect yeah apparently if you if you get far away enough from this planet you startto notice that it's a little glowing blue marble in this vast emptiness andit starts to seem a little bit more special in some profound ways tell us a little bit about your book andtell us a little bit about your faith and so the book is entitled when i consider god's amazing universe thetitle is a play on psalm 82 where david is talking about considering you knowthe the moon and the stars and as you mentioned you know the astronauts have the privilege of actually you knowleaving our surface and looking back and going wait this is incredibleand what i wanted my readers to understand as a woman of faithis you know fortunately we have some great images from hubble really excitedabout what we're going to get from james webb but the book is a biblical journey through space i've taken a few versesfrom the old testament that just talk about different aspects of space andhow it attributes the orderliness of everything and that there has to be some intentionbehind it we all want to know where do we come from why are we here you know what's thepoint and you think about how vast and large the universe is and then you scale in and go okay there's our milkyway galaxy and then you zoom in some more and there's our solar system you zoom in some more and there's earth youzoom in some more and there's your house and it gets smaller and smaller and smaller each time butit doesn't take away from the significance of each human life and so the book in my perspective isjust kind of taking yes look at everything that's there what's been created when you look up in the nightsky and beyond but don't take away from the fact of how special you areas an individual and as a woman of faith it's how special you are to our creatorand so that's the takeaway from the book it's written for small children intentionally um it's simplebut it's also the type of book as the adult shares and reads with the childthey're also getting a bit of faith assurance and what i want you know alsoto help people see is that science and your belief or science and your faithare not enemies science and your belief are not mutually exclusive if you look at science as you know how we describeand predict the process of nature so that we can exploit it to our benefit well where didnature come from it didn't just pop up and how do we knowthat it's so beneficial to us you walk outside and there are herbs you walk outside there's air to breatheand you know we're able to create rockets to take us to space we are able tocreate telescopes that allow us to explore and you know it all just seems it's notcoincidental and that's where you know on a very deep levelbut from a simplistic perspective that's what the book is intended to do so you're really trying to build aBridge between science and faithbridge there and i think um yeah there's two groups you're trying to reach you know and one on one hand thereare lots of people who are very focused on science many of them are listeners to this show um and those folks tend to bea little skeptical uh about religion particularly traditional religions on the other hand there's also a groupthat is faith-based that has become conditioned to being very skeptical about science and unfortunately we live in a verypolarized time so those divisions have gotten deeper and deeper in recent years so tell us a little bit about youreffort to bridge the gap between those two groups because i think this is quite an interesting topic for usit is and you know beyond the opportunity i've mostly spoken to faith-based groups soit's been a little one-sided on that scenario i've not had as much opportunity to speak toa group that may be more skeptical on the religious side andthat part is something i'm looking forward to i would love to have those discussions and you know i've oftenheard somebody you know not often but i have heard it say you know well one of us isgoing to be right and you're not quite sure either there is a creator or there isn'tand so some will say well which risk do you want to take because if there isn't a creator okay well i've still lived apretty good life but if there is a creator you're in trouble and trouble by you've missed out on so muchthat could have been a blessing or a part of of your life and so when you come to science andfaith and where they kind of bump heads what a lot of people i thinkmistake is that faith is not intended to constrain yourlife it is intended to enhance and provide purpose for your life and if you rely onscience to give you permission to just you know to live the lifethat's fine but you still don't need to necessarily deny the fact that you can't tell me when you look at a pine conethat that was just some random design pascal's wager that's what we call itnow there you go i mean and i'm you know teaching my students that we use mathematics to describe the patternswith the patterns we see in nature and it's no coincidence that sequence all of this wesee yeah yeah there so it's no coincidence that it's that it's there and it's repeatableand observable and it just has a language of its own that's been around for so long and we'reable to study it but you know the more you study you're able to make connections againso so we we have like one of nasa's greatest gifts to us has beenNASAs greatest giftopening our eyes to the universe helping us understand things that we we couldn'tyou know but prior to um you know the early luna luna landers on mars you knowwe had uh people looking up at the skies imagining that the martian canals wereplaces where near these huge populations lived and so forth and we get there and the first images that come back frommars show this crater cratered landscape and so forth butyeah we are getting we have made some phenomenal disgust discoveries i think it was curiosity that first photographedum water water on on the surface of mars right when it dug a trench and we sawsome ice crystals and they evaporated later that was curiosity right that wascuriosity and there was also a lander that we have near the polar regionright inside no it wasn't inside it was another one right yeah i remember i remember yeah hold on i can tell you injust a minute but go ahead and then i'll interrupt you without the mission no so i was going to ask you this question isthat you know we need it phoenix the phoenix lander of course thank you um uh so you know i mean thesediscoveries of course um you know support the the early wet mars theoryand and what you were talking about at the the opening of the show but um you know we have james webb whichyou've already mentioned and and exoplanets you know when you started at nasa you knowwell i don't know it depends on the timing but like you know when i was at high school the accepted wisdom was thatthe earth solar system was fairly rare and now we find that every star has aplanetary system so that's something that we've learned in my lifetime but you know we are now we can doatmospheric analysis uh you know of uh exoplanets even now i was reading in scientificamerican um the last month's issue that we're proposing there are exo moonsand we're trying to figure out ways to measure those um but so we've got that and and jameswebb may very well um you know say they've discovered um you know planetary life you know bymeasuring exoplanet atmospheres um we've got the europa clipper which is a mission um you knowthat maybe might launch in 2024 we've got the psych 16 mission going nextmonth you know all this continuing exploration but um whether it's those missions or whetherit's when we get boots on mars and maybe we discover some umyou know a bacterial life or fossils or something like that orSecond Genesis outside of the earthwe we find evidence of of you know a second genesis outside of the earth howdo you think that will change our view of like faith because some people but the bible doesn't explicitlyexclude that possibility but of course you know the the sphere or the domain of of the bible tends to be you know theearth and god's relationship with humans on on the earth um so how do you think that will changeour perception of the universe so i think it will i don't think it will diminishfaith and the reason i say that is because it still leaves room for a creator we're focused on what's here onearth we define life as we know it here and to find you know existence you talkabout the birth of stars and so we've ascribed life almostalready to other aspects of the of the universe and we have no idea whatthose discoveries will tell us i tell you one thing it will do is it will drive us to find out moreto try to understand and then if it's any indicator of you know either our more definition orclarity on our past or an indicator on future it's it's wide open andwhat again when i talk about the bridge and the faith that i have i still ascribe to thefact that it is discovering what already exists and from a faith-based perspective whatexists was created by by god and i am a firm believer that if we dodiscover something else it was because he wanted us to find it well science is all about unfolding theknowledge of the universe right so you know and so you know we we've gone fromthinking that the earth was the center and everything else revolved around it to the sun being the center of our solarsystem but you didn't have to change any of the wording in the bible right yeah yeah and so you know hubblehas opened up the doors to you know what's beyond our solar system with some clarity that we can kind of see what'sout there and some of those bright stars are we recognize now are galaxies they're not just singular stars but itdoesn't change anything that's being that's been written so you know as we explore get boots on mars and youknow understand well could mars have had some sort of pass send a human up there let's see if there's you know additionalexpeditions we can find but it's again i get back to preparing that next generation that's why i lovebeing in the classroom because we're having this discussion now but 20 30 years from now they will bethe ones making those discoveries make decisions about what do we do with that information why is it important whatproblems you know will be able to solve because we know this additional information you knowwhat new industries can we create because we now know this information that the possibilities are endlessSpaceX Starshipagain nasa's been a pioneer in in that respect as well creating all sorts of technologies that's that's been usefulum do you follow the um the starship test program that spacex is uh doing youknow because there's a possibility um that you know spacex could be actually instead of ainstead of nasa or in cooperation with nasa at least could be the first uh to put boots on the ground on marsand now how does that feel as someone who came up through that culture at nasa where when nasa had driven allof this space exploration for so long to now sort of think that maybe you knowwe've got a you know a billionaire and his his corporation going to be the first on the mars and so what'sinteresting during the latter part of my career with nasa commercial space was very bigand especially from our launch services perspective as wellbetween did you cross over with jim bridenstine uh let's seeuh charlie bolden was the last charlie yeah because uh because both of them bothcharlie well you know the obama administration and charlie pioneered that of course but um you know jim wassorry i'm getting into the nasa public no no you're fine you're fine but i mean it was you know it didn't just startwith him it was something in the works i mean even when we you know as i mentioned um2011 with the last shuttle launch i mean there was discussion of commercial space even before we concluded the spaceshuttle program so the thought has been here all along and you know whenuh spacex provided launch services that we could also use to launch our satellites and then they were able toprovide you know launch services to get the crews to the international space station which gave us an optionother than using the russian vehicles to get to the international space station so it's anintentional progression if you will to get that partnership and then to get private industry interested and somusk has taken that and run with it so it'll be interesting to see who puts the boots onthe ground first and also must learn to program on a commodore vic-20 i'll just point that out that's what we have incommon and now we're starting to see other countries get into it as well japan china even india you know the othernations are starting to at least try to make uh reach reach the moon uh so yeah it's a lively timecompetition's good because competition makes you you know up your game a little bit absolutelyand the international partnership again is it is intentional when you think about the international space station so it you know it's purposeful that theunited states yes lead but not by itself not a solo actdid you work with people at star city on the iss i did not i focused mostly on themulti-purpose logistics module which was developed by the italian space agency right andum had the opportunity we were at kennedy space center the did you have to learn to talk with your hands when youwere negotiating yes but i was glad that they were also able to speak english my italian was very limited so ah that'sfunny but no it was great um and appreciating the fact that you know theworld seems smaller when you have an opportunity to work with somebody on a common project like that so it wasreally great so this stage of the program as we wrap it up i want to get a bit out there and you you can have anThe Futureeducation piece on this that lands on it or on space program but you know umlet's let's jump out 30 or 40 or 50 years into the future um what developments eithertechnologically or from a you know space exploration perspective do you thinkmight be the most exciting that might be the most um significant from a human developmentperspective what what excites you about the future you know i grew up watching the jetsonsand as far-fetched as that was i mean from my perspective i think it would be exciting if our future provided anopportunity for first of all anyone that wanted to pursue any particular dream regardlessof the feel that they would have the education and background to be able to do soi'm i'm looking forward to space travel as luxury so i would love to an affordableflight to be able to just take a quick swing around the moon i think me toothat would be nice maybe we can get together yeah you know stargazing trip as you ride outto the moon um you know as far as medical technology i wouldyou know it's it's interesting when you look back at those 1960s 70s images ofwhat the future would be like between star wars and jetsons and thinking you know why not i meanyeah we just did a show on the jetsons like two weeks ago in terms of what they predicted so it's funny you mentionedthat but and so you know why not that would be you know that would be nice and you know when it comesto senior care and elderly being able to you know allow them to and i say themi'll shoot if i'm living during that time i'll be one of them but being able to live comfortably and have a higherquality of life you know independent of the fact that i'm you know 80 or 90 years old stillable to just you know have that luxury of being able to enjoy and the conveniences that are available sosome of the probabilities are endless maybe let me ask you this question to finish up you know if if you wereConclusionspeaking to a young you a young african-american woman growing up in umyou know the united states with all this division and so forth that we have um but all of these possibilitieswhat would you say to them how would you inspire them don't let it hold you backsomeone asked recently you know what was it like being you know one of the few black womenand you know in the case of the mission director center on the day of launch and there there were three rowsof managers they're part of the launch countdown andyou know being the only black woman going by person in the room it's you know what did you think aboutit and i told them i didn't think about it until after the fact when somebody pointed it outand to me that's important because the focus is really being a part of theteam being able to contribute and you knowyes it's significant you want to see more people that look like you and so the young you know to the young me iwould say don't let that slow you down go ahead pursueyour dream do the work yeah well wanda harding thank you for joiningus this week on the futurist it's been a really interesting conversation we've covered a lot of ground but um you're aninspiration and um you know we love the mission you're on and let us know how we can help well i appreciate it and i wantto encourage your listeners um stay tuned for the book announcement you can follow my twitter wanda j harding andalso check out my website wandaharding.com and again i thank you for this wonderfulopportunity to hang out with you robert and brett this has been fantastic thanks it's been a pleasure meeting youand you're an inspiration for both of us we've enjoyed every every moment of this and again remind us the name of yourbook is when i consider god's amazing universe and it sold out the first printing so you're actuallycongratulations you're going into a second printing when will that be available so that will be available later this falland so that's why i say stay tuned we'll be making big announcements in the september time frame andum announcing pre-sales and then once the book is released we hope that it inspires and encourages all of thereaders and those that would care to take it in fabulous wanda harding engineer authormusician steam advocate educator and rocket scientist thank you very muchfor joining us on the futurist this week it's been a great pleasure to have you here if you if you like this episode don'tforget to give us a shout out on social media you know give us a five star rating on wherever it is that you listento the show download it tell your friends about it anything helps get theget the traffic up there but um you know of course you join us next week we'll be talking to more futurists our thanks tokevin hirschham elizabeth severance uh silvie and carlo who look after our social media um and you know the wholeteam at provoke media that help us put this show together um but we'll be back next week with anotherexciting guest talking about the future and until then we'll see youin the future [Music] well that's it for the futurists thisweek if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share it with people in your community and don'tforget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find the showand you can ping us anytime on instagram and twitter at futurist podcastfor the folks that you'd like to see on the show or the questions you'd like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we'llsee you in the future [Music]

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