Beer 'n' Rockets with Hans Fredrick Haas

Purpose:We discuss beer and the rocket industry with Hans, a brewery owner who also conducts public astronomy outreach as an industry enthusiast.

Hans Fredrick Haas: Beer brewer and brewery owner, Hans owns the Wavelength Brewing Company in Vista, California. A science-themed brewery, he hosts star parties and science talks in cooperation with OPT and other esteemed associates.

This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • A behind-the-scenes insight on Hans’ brewery
  • What’s going on with the privatized rocket industry
  • The troubled history and future of NASA
  • Arguments for and against space exploration and colonization

Notable Quotes:

“Without science, you cannot make good beer.” - Hans Haas

“Developing the ability to accomplish spaceflight leads to massive tangible benefits for society.” - Tony Darnell

“You don’t know of these great benefits until they actually happen.” - Tony Darnell

“Terraforming a planet seems a lot harder than changing the habits of people here.” - Dustin Gibson

Main Topics:

2:39 -History of Hans and His Brews

His mission is to make great, science-themed beer and promote astronomy to the public through various means. In downtown Vista, you’ll never find a screen with sports or the news, and instead, view space and rocket footage or listen in on a live science talk. Telescopes are even set up outside for brewery attendees and passing pedestrians to get a close look at the celestial bodies above. Due to the massive success of this sidewalk astronomy, Wavelength and OPT have cooperated in building a remote observatory intent on streaming its images to the big screen in the main room.

10:40 -The Beer Behind the Brewery

Full spectrum brewing is the motto. Wavelength does not discriminate in its brewing practices, producing all types of beers including reds, sours, IPAs, and many, many more. The nerd culture is strong here and if it wasn’t obvious upon walking into the place, their beers are named after things like Lord of the Rings, Rick and Morty, and various astronomy terms. Hans gives us an in-depth look at his brewing process and the differences in brewing types. Do people come for the science and stay for the beer or vice versa?

19:28 -Hans the Rocketeer

While the brewery is his day job, Hans has extensive knowledge of space flight and the rocket industry as well. He acts as a moderator for a prominent Facebook group full of engineers and scientists from various backgrounds discussing the industry. Hans gives us background on the most iconic and progressive companies advancing the rocket and space sciences. We may think we’ve got an idea on who the companies are and what they’re doing, but there’s more going on than the average person can keep up with.

34:05 -The Current State of NASA

When talking about the rocket and space industries, we have to talk about where it all started: NASA. Hindered by Congress and the whims of politicians, NASA has been pigeonholed into several practices neither prudent nor cost-efficient. For the sake of jobs, Congress has passed limiting resolutions for NASA to maintain outdated rocket and engine models and literally bar the scientists from making innovations. Jobs instead of progress, whereas progress would bring more jobs but to a less immediate degree.

39:32 -Why Go To Space?

A basic reason is simply human nature. Why do we climb Everest? Because something within us drives us to do it--to explore where we aren’t necessarily meant to survive. Dustin, Hans, and Tony discuss the many arguments for and against space exploration. They talk of Jeff Bezos, the benefits of past innovations, the new era of privatized spaceflight, and much more. Where do you stand in all of this? What do your views line up with? You won’t want to skip this.

48:36 -The Socio-Technical Complications of Innovation

What does it mean for us on a social, geographical, national, and political scale when private industries are making massives strides in technology? The government must be a part of everything going in terms of national defense, but what about releasing innovations to society for public use? The intricacies of these interactions and the implications of what’s being done are not easily understood, but at the same time cannot be understated. The messy business behind patents, company competition, worldwide cooperation is explored in this segment.

54:48 -The Mars Endeavour

Terraforming a planet seems pretty tough. Eventually, hopefully, we will get there, but what are the current realities of going to Mars? We can create some incredible habitats already for human survival in harsh environments and there have been initiatives proposed to do so in space. We could set up something of a rest stop in space and base a lot of our operations out of it. This is just one of a bunch of cool ideas when looking to Mars exploration.

60:49 -Final Thoughts and Wrap-up

Like what you listened to? Hate what you’ve heard? Let us know in the comments below!

Next Podcast - The Universe is Trying to Kill You with Phil Plait:

The Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait, joins us for some discussions on the demise of humanity. We've almost been wiped out already a few times, but you probably haven't heard about that. See what almost killed you here.

Previous Podcast - Is Astronomy Dead? With Alize Shilling:

Alize Shilling, OPT's Marketing Manager joins Dustin and Tony to talk public perspective and the opportunities for astronomy provided for astronomy. What does the general citizen really know about the universe? Let's findout.

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