This Week in Space

Dec 15th 2023

This Week in Space 91

2023 Holiday Special!

Hosted by Rod Pyle, Tariq Malik

The Year in Review With Leonard David

New episodes posted every Friday.
Guests: Leonard David
Category: News

This holiday special episode of This Week in Space covers a wide range of space topics from 2023, including asteroid sample return, China’s space achievements, commercial lunar landers, Mars sample return challenges, UFO disclosure, and more.


  • The asteroid Bennu sample return mission delivers intriguing early findings, including organic molecules and “cauliflower” textured particles that may provide insights into the early solar system.
  • Speculative ideas on “dark life” forming from dark matter shortly after the Big Bang prompts discussion on expanding definitions of life.
  • Congress orders UFO records released within 25 years but allows military to withhold information threatening national security, disappointing those seeking full disclosure.

Main Topic: The Year in Review

  • Recap of major SpaceX milestones in 2023 with Falcon 9 reuse and Starship testing advances, though the lunar landing variant and orbital refueling still need work.
  • India bounces back from previous lunar landing failure with successful Chandrayaan-3 orbiter and Pragyan rover mission.
  • Mars sample return mission faces criticism for ballooning costs now exceeding $11 billion and delays pushing to 2030 or beyond.
  • OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return hailed as a major success story for 2023 despite minor parachute issue on re-entry.
  • Psyche and Lucy asteroid missions yield early surprises on unique asteroid properties.
  • China’s 2023 space achievements and future plans make it a program to watch with possible Mars sample returns, an increased pace of lunar landings, and more... maybe even sample sharing with the US!
  • ULA readies new Vulcan Centaur rocket for a January launch — it's a critical path to the moon with the first commercial lunar lander onboard.
  • Artemis delays provide cover for missing elements like SpaceX's lunar lander, orbital refueling tests, and lunar surface EVA suits.
  • Guest Leonard David covers latest intrigue around government UFO briefings and disclosure efforts.

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