The 9pm Big Long High-Gravity Konstantin Tsiolkovsky Lovefest with Dr Alice Gorman

Dr Alice Gorman. (Photo: Simon Royal/ABC)

The Spring Series of the Edict continues with space archaeologist Dr Alice Gorman aka Dr Space Junk and a conversation that covers many curious possibilities.

We talk about many things, including some unusual ways of launching things into space, the destruction of Cosmos 1408, Percy Grainger, inter-species romance, the Family D’Alembert science fiction series, telepresence, whether humans will become a multi-gravity society, and the theremin.

This podcast is available on Amazon MusicApple PodcastsCastboxDeezerGoogle PodcastsiHeartRadioJioSaavnPocket CastsPodcast AddictPodchaserSoundCloud, Spotify, and Speaker.

You can also listen to the podcast below, or subscribe to the generic podcast feed.


Dr Gorman was previously on the pod in 2018 and 2020.

Thank you, Media Freedom Citizenry

The 9pm Edict is supported by the generosity of its listeners. Please subscribe for special benefits or throw a few coins into the tip jar. Please consider.

This episode it’s thanks once more to all the people who supported The 9pm Spring Series 2021 crowdfunding campaign.

CONVERSATION TOPICS: One person who chooses to remain anonymous.

THREE TRIGGER WORDS: Adam Baxter, Benno Rice, Crispin Harris, Julia Drake-Brockman, Peter Lieverdink, and Sheepie.

ONE TRIGGER WORD: Brenton Realph, Colgo, Dave Gaukroger, Drew Mayo, Frank Filippone, Gavin C, Joop de Wit, Mark Newton, Martin Gribben, Michael Cowley, Mick Fong, Paul Williams, Peter Blakeley, Peter Sandilands, Peter Viertel, Peter Wickins, Phillip Merrick, Ric Hayman, Scott Reeves, Shane ONeill, Stephen Holmes, Syl Mobile, Tim Johns, Wade Bowmer, Wyld, and five people who choose to remain anonymous.

FOOT SOLDIERS FOR MEDIA FREEDOM who gave a SLIGHTLY LESS BASIC TIP: Andrew Kennedy, Bob Ogden, David Heath, Garth Kidd, Katrina Szetey, Kimberley Heitman, Matt Bowden, Peter Blakeley, Peter Blakeley again, Peter McCrudden, Regina Huntington, Stephanie Papworth, Susan Rankin, Tony Barnes, Wolf Cocklin, and three people who choose to remain anonymous.

MEDIA FREEDOM CITIZENS who contributed a BASIC TIP: Errol Cavit, Michael Harris, Ron Lowry, Sam Spackman, Steve Turner, and one person who chooses to remain anonymous.

And another eight people chose to have no reward, even though some of them were the most generous of all. Thank you all so much.

Episode Links

  • Alice Gorman (born 1964) FSA is an Australian archaeologist, heritage consultant, and lecturer, who is best known for pioneering work in the field of space archaeology and her Space Age Archaeology blog.
  • Russia is drawing international condemnation after it test-fired a missile to destroy one of its own older satellites. The defunct satellite's destruction dispersed an estimated 1,500 pieces of shrapnel into earth's orbit, threatening some of the 3,400 active satellites that surround the planet.
  • Russia’s anti-satellite missile test has heightened the risk of dangerous collisions between objects in space. International norms are urgently needed to prevent future tests like this and to keep Earth’s orbits as safe as possible.
  • The failure to manage Earth orbits as a commons undermines safety and predictability, exposing space operators to growing risks such as collisions with other satellites and debris.
  • Earlier this week, astronauts onboard the International Space Station rushed to seek shelter. The near-evacuation was not caused by an unpredictable space weather event or the millions of pieces of remains of existing space objects and rocket launchers left there since the beginning of the Space Age.
  • On 11 January 2007, China conducted an anti-satellite missile test. A Chinese weather satellite—the FY-1C polar orbit satellite of the Fengyun series, at an altitude of 865 kilometres (537 mi), with a mass of 750 kilograms (1,650 lb)—was destroyed by a kinetic kill vehicle traveling with a speed of 8 km/s (18,000 mph) in the opposite direction.
  • As the number of artificial satellites in earth orbit increases, the probability of collisions between satellites also increases. Satellite collisions would produce orbiting fragments, each of which would increase the probability of further collisions, leading to the growth of a belt of debris around the earth. This process parallels certain theories concerning the growth of the asteroid belt. The debris flux in such an earth-orbiting belt could exceed the natural meteoroid flux, affecting future spacecraft designs. A mathematical model was used to predict the rate at which such a belt might form. Under certain conditions the belt could begin to form within this century and could be a significant problem during the next century. The possibility that numerous unobserved fragments already exist from spacecraft explosions would decrease this time interval. However, early implementation of specialized launch constraints and operational procedures could significantly delay the formation of the belt.
  • The Kessler syndrome (also called the Kessler effect, collisional cascading, or ablation cascade), proposed by NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978, is a scenario in which the density of objects in low Earth orbit (LEO) due to space pollution is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade in which each collision generates space debris that increases the likelihood of further collisions.
  • The SETI Institute is a not-for-profit research organization incorporated in 1984 whose mission is to explore, understand, and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe, and to apply the knowledge gained to inspire and guide present and future generations.
  • The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a multilateral treaty that forms the basis of international space law. Negotiated and drafted under the auspices of the United Nations, it was opened for signature in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on 27 January 1967, entering into force on 10 October 1967. As of February 2021, 111 countries are parties to the treaty—including all major spacefaring nations—and another 23 are signatories.
  • n economic science, the tragedy of the commons is a situation in which individual users, who have open access to a resource unhampered by shared social structures or formal rules that govern access and use, act independently according to their own self-interest and, contrary to the common good of all users, cause depletion of the resource through their uncoordinated action.
  • SpinLaunch is an innovative new space technology company that has created an alternative method for putting 200-kilogram class satellites into low earth orbit. Unlike traditional fuel-based rockets, SpinLaunch uses a ground-based, electric-powered kinetic launch system that delivers a substantially less expensive and environmentally sustainable approach to space access. On October 22nd, 2021, the Suborbital Accelerator came to life. Comprised of the key components needed for the Orbital Launch System, the Suborbital Accelerator is a critical stepping stone in SpinLaunch's path to orbit.
  • [Scott Manley] I talked about Spinlaunch a few years ago, they wanted to reduce space launch costs by throwing the launch vehicles out of a spinning launcher at hypersonic speeds. I was somewhat skeptical as to the chances of solving the engineering problems inherent in this, but recently they demonstrated a mach 1 launch using their 1/3 scale launcher, so they're already making progress on developing a viable launch system.
  • SpinLaunch plans to use its kinetic launch system to put small satellites into orbit rapidly and cheaply, and the Pentagon is interested.
  • A CubeSat (U-class spacecraft) is a type of miniaturized satellite for space research that is made up of multiple cubic modules of 10 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm size.
  • Fireball XL5 is a 1960s British children's science-fiction puppet television series about the missions of Fireball XL5, a vessel of the World Space Patrol that polices the cosmos in the year 2062. Commanded by Colonel Steve Zodiac, XL5 defends Earth from interstellar threats while encountering a wide variety of alien civilisations.
  • A rocket sled launch, also known as ground-based launch assist, catapult launch assist, and sky-ramp launch, is a proposed method for launching space vehicles. With this concept the launch vehicle is supported by an eastward pointing rail or maglev track that goes up the side of a mountain while an externally applied force is used to accelerate the launch vehicle to a given velocity. Using an externally applied force for the initial acceleration reduces the propellant the launch vehicle needs to carry to reach orbit.
  • A rockoon (from rocket and balloon) is a solid fuel sounding rocket that, rather than being immediately lit while on the ground, is first carried into the upper atmosphere by a gas-filled balloon, then separated from the balloon and ignited. This allows the rocket to achieve a higher altitude, as the rocket does not have to move under power through the lower and thicker layers of the atmosphere.
  • Project Horus is an amateur high altitude balloon project based in Adelaide, Australia. The aim of the project is to build and fly low cost weather balloon payloads into the stratosphere, capturing photographs, recording sensor data and providing a reliable launch platform for high altitude experiments. Launches attain altitudes in excess of 35,000m (115,000ft), passing through regions of extremely low pressure and temperature - temperatures frequently reach as low as -55 degrees Celcius. Payloads are tracked by GPS and radio communications - once the balloon has burst, the payload descends to Earth and is retrieved.
  • The AREG is proud to assist the Project Horus team with its High Altitude Balloon launches. Many of the AREG members have been actively supporting this project from its very inception. Our members enjoy building payloads, in car tracking systems and honing their hunting skills. Balloon hunting is an action packed event where the wind, weather and conditions reign supreme. It has certainly taken our members to many different locations through out South Australia.
  • An Iced VoVo is a wheat flour biscuit topped with 2 strips of pink fondant flanking a strip of raspberry jam and sprinkled with coconut. It is a product of the Australian-based biscuit company Arnott's (now American-owned). Previously known as Iced Vo-Vo biscuits, the brand was first registered in 1906.
  • A space elevator is a proposed type of planet-to-space transportation system. The main component would be a cable (also called a tether) anchored to the surface and extending into space. The design would permit vehicles to travel along the cable from a planetary surface, such as the Earth's, directly into orbit, without the use of large rockets. An Earth-based space elevator would consist of a cable with one end attached to the surface near the equator and the other end in space beyond geostationary orbit (35,786 km altitude). The competing forces of gravity, which is stronger at the lower end, and the outward/upward centrifugal force, which is stronger at the upper end, would result in the cable being held up, under tension, and stationary over a single position on Earth.
  • Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky (Russian: Константи́н Эдуа́рдович Циолко́вский; 17 September [O.S. 5 September] 1857 – 19 September 1935) was a Russian and Soviet rocket scientist who pioneered astronautic theory. Along with the Frenchman Robert Esnault-Pelterie, the Transylvanian German Hermann Oberth and the American Robert H. Goddard, he is one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry and astronautics.
  • Herman Potočnik (pseudonym Hermann Noordung; 22 December 1892 – 27 August 1929) was an Austrian officer, electrical engineer and astronautics theorist. He is regarded as a pioneer and visionary of modern space flight and is chiefly remembered for his work addressing the long-term human habitation of space.
  • Hermann Julius Oberth (German: [ˈhɛrman ˈjuːli̯ʊs ˈoːbɛrt]; 25 June 1894 – 28 December 1989) was an Austro-Hungarian-born German physicist and engineer. He is considered one of the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics, along with the French Robert Esnault-Pelterie, the Russian Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, and the American Robert Goddard.
  • Opportunity, also known as MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover – B) or MER-1, and nicknamed "Oppy," is a robotic rover that was active on Mars from 2004 until mid-2018. Opportunity was operational on Mars for 5110 sols (5250 days; 14 years, 136 days).
  • Telepresence refers to a set of technologies which allow a person to feel as if they were present, to give the appearance of being present, or to have an effect, via telerobotics, at a place other than their true location.
  • The theremin (/ˈθɛrəmɪn/; originally known as the ætherphone/etherphone, thereminophone or termenvox/thereminvox) is an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the thereminist (performer). It is named after its inventor, Leon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928.
  • There is a surprising connection between sci-fi films and the technological policies of Soviet Russia.
  • The Theremini® is a re-imagination of one of the oldest electronic musical instruments, and Bob Moog’s first love – the Theremin. Its design guarantees musical success to anyone regardless of age or physical ability.
  • Theremin and classical music are the starting point of a broader project. Visit my website to learn more about my activities ( I'm happy to share some some of my work on this channel.
  • Performed by Clara Rockmore (1911-1998), the first performer to bring complete musical artistry to the theremin. This song from suit "The Carnival of the Animals"
  • The Grainger Museum—the only purpose-built autobiographical museum in Australia—is home to a diverse collection of art, art, photographs, costumes, music scores and instruments acquired by Percy Grainger, an icon of twentieth century Australian musical culture.
  • Percy Aldridge Grainger (born George Percy Grainger; 8 July 1882 – 20 February 1961) was an Australian-born composer, arranger and pianist who lived in the United States from 1914 and became an American citizen in 1918. In the course of a long and innovative career he played a prominent role in the revival of interest in British folk music in the early years of the 20th century.
  • Val Plumwood (11 August 1939 – 29 February 2008) was an Australian philosopher and ecofeminist known for her work on anthropocentrism. From the 1970s she played a central role in the development of radical ecosophy.
  • The Sokal affair, also called the Sokal hoax, was a demonstrative scholarly hoax performed by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University and University College London. In 1996, Sokal submitted an article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies. The submission was an experiment to test the journal's intellectual rigor, specifically to investigate whether "a leading North American journal of cultural studies—whose editorial collective includes such luminaries as Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross—[would] publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions."
  • The Voyager program is an ongoing American scientific program that employs two robotic interstellar probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. They were launched in 1977 to take advantage of a favorable alignment of Jupiter and Saturn, to fly near them while collecting data for transmission back to Earth. After launch the decision was taken to additionally send Voyager 2 near Uranus and Neptune to collect data for transmission back to Earth. As of 2021, the two Voyagers are still in operation past the outer boundary of the heliosphere in interstellar space. They both continue to collect and transmit useful data to Earth.
  • The Voyager Golden Records are two phonograph records that were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. The records contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form who may find them. The records are a sort of time capsule.
  • A multimedia presentation of the contents of the Record.
  • The Pioneer plaques are a pair of gold-anodized aluminum plaques that were placed on board the 1972 Pioneer 10 and 1973 Pioneer 11 spacecraft, featuring a pictorial message, in case either Pioneer 10 or 11 is intercepted by intelligent extraterrestrial life. The plaques show the nude figures of a human male and female along with several symbols that are designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecraft.
  • The Family D'Alembert series is a set of science fiction novels by Stephen Goldin, the first of which was expanded from the 1964 novella The Imperial Stars by E. E. "Doc" Smith. The series later served as the basis for Goldin's series Agents of ISIS.
  • Edward Elmer Smith (May 2, 1890 – August 31, 1965), publishing as E. E. Smith, Ph.D. and later as E. E. "Doc" Smith, was an American food engineer (specializing in doughnut and pastry mixes) and science-fiction author, best known for the Lensman and Skylark series. He is sometimes called the father of space opera.
  • The date and program of the first interracial kiss on television is a much debated topic. In many parts of the world social stigma and legislation (such as anti-miscegenation laws) have hindered relations between people from different groups (races). The first kiss on television has been discussed in the context of this social stigma. As there is no agreement on what constitutes a race there is also no general agreement on when the first interracial kiss occurred and a number of claims exist.
  • The dog or domestic dog, (Canis familiaris or Canis lupus familiaris) is a domesticated descendant of the wolf which is characterized by an upturning tail.
  • Just days after the race that stops a nation, Australia’s largest online wagering company Sportsbet has been convicted again of gambling advertising breaches following investigations by Liquor & Gaming NSW.

If the links aren’t showing up, try here.

Series Credits