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24 minutes | 2 months ago
179: Not just a telescope with Dr. Virkki
Dr. Anne Virkki talks about the Arecibo Radio Telescope, which recently sustained severe damage. She talks about the discoveries made at the telescope and explains that it could be rebuilt, if there was enough public support.
5 minutes | 3 months ago
Bonus episode: Voting
A quick bonus episode for my American listeners. Voting is the keystone of our democracy, and your voice deserves to be heard. This episode goes over some common voting questions. For more, see www.ballotpedia.org.
39 minutes | 3 months ago
178: Light reverberations from supermassive black holes with Dr. Gorjian
Dr. Varoujan Gorjian returns to the show! He explains what supermassive black holes are and how they work. He also tells us about an elegant technique that astronomers use to determine the size of the debris cloud around black holes.
26 minutes | 5 months ago
176: Getting curious with Dr. Fraeman
Dr. Abby Fraeman returns to the show to talk about NASA's Curiosity rover. For the past eight years, Curiosity has been exploring Gale Crater on Mars. Dr. Fraeman talks about a discovery she made on the Vera Rubin Ridge, and we discuss how the Curiosity scientists and engineers have kept the rover running during the coronavirus pandemic.
31 minutes | 6 months ago
175: Three lunar water mysteries with Prof. Ehlmann
Prof. Bethany Ehlmann returns to the show to talk about the mission she's leading, Lunar Trailblazer. This low-cost mission will hitch a ride to the moon using the extra space in a large rocket. Once there, it will help scientists learn more about water on the moon.
15 minutes | 7 months ago
174: How NASA funding works with Dr. Throop
Many of the discoveries you've heard about on this show were funded by NASA. But how do scientists get money from NASA? Dr. Henry Throop returns to the show to explain how NASA program officers evaluate scientific proposals. This episode was recorded in September 2019.
20 minutes | 8 months ago
173: Last alert system with Dr. Denneau
Dr. Larry Denneau talks about the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, or ATLAS. He talks about how asteroid detection is a data processing problem. Every night ATLAS handles about a quarter terabyte of data. He describes how they find a few asteroids among a billion other sources, and tells us about a unique discovery by the program. This episode was recorded in June 2019, which explains the restaurant noises and the talk of air travel.
16 minutes | 9 months ago
172: The whole world to a microbe with Prof. Levy
Prof Joe Levy talks about his research in the dry valleys of Antarctica. These valleys are dry, irradiated, salty, and cold, which makes them similar to parts of Mars. He explains why planetary scientists get excited about naturally occurring perchlorate. He also describes the changes he's witnessed over several field seasons. This episode was recorded in February 2020, before social distancing measures were recommended.
25 minutes | 10 months ago
171: Astronauts on starship Earth with Dr. Gifford
Dr. Sheyna Gifford describes the experience of being a simulated Martian astronaut, as part of the HI-SEAS experiment. She talks about the experiment and gives us all tips for staying mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy while living in a confined space with limited contact with the outside world.
16 minutes | 10 months ago
170: Searching for outer solar system objects with Dr. Schwamb
Dr. Meg Schwamb tells us about the Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS). She explains why she doesn't just want to find these distant objects, she wants to figure out what they are made of. We also discuss recent interstellar visitors to our solar system.
26 minutes | a year ago
169: The flattest structures in the solar system with Dr. Tiscareno
Dr. Matthew Tiscareno tells us about Saturn's rings. He describes how scientists measured their mass, and how the rings got their colors. He also explains why scientists are currently debating the age of the rings.
15 minutes | a year ago
168: Meteorite strength with Prof. Cotto Figueroa
Professor Desireé Cotto Figueroa tells us about her research into the strength of meteorites. This research helps scientists understand the hazards from asteroids, and also will help engineers design asteroid-visiting spacecraft.
25 minutes | a year ago
167: Far out with Dr. Sheppard
Dr. Scott Sheppard tells us about the two most distant objects ever observed in the solar system. He describes the clever techniques he and his collaborators used to spot these objects, and explains why he is searching for an undiscovered planet.
17 minutes | a year ago
166: Why we went to the moon with Lillian Cunningham
Lillian Cunningham talks about her podcast Moonrise. Moonrise explores why the United States decided to send humans to the moon. She talks about the surprising power of science fiction in shaping policy, and she comments on what might motivate nations to send humans to other planets in the future.
20 minutes | a year ago
165: Exploring Titan with Dr. Soderblom
Dr. Jason Soderblom tells us about Titan, one of the largest moons in the solar system. He explains some of its geologic features, including dunes, probable cryovolcanos, and featureless plains that scientists nicknamed "the blandlands." He also tells us about Dragonfly, a new NASA mission that will explore Titan's surface.
34 minutes | a year ago
164: Postcards to the cosmos with Dr. Bannister
Dr. Michele Bannister talks about interstellar objects, including the recent discovery of 2I Borisov. Astronomers are observing this object with every available telescope to answer key questions, such as: what is Borisov made of? Is it like comets from our own solar system, or is it "really weird and different"? Dr. Bannister fills us in on the latest results. This episode was recorded on November 13th, 2019.
16 minutes | a year ago
163: Modeling millions of asteroids with Dr. Dotson
Dr. Jessie Dotson talks about her asteroid risk assessment research. She describes how she and her team create comprehensive models of asteroid impacts. Their research shows that the consequences of an impact depends on asteroid size and where it hits on Earth.
25 minutes | a year ago
162: Charon's surprises with Dr. Beyer
Dr. Ross Beyer talks about Pluto's companion, Charon. He describes how he derived a theory explaining how Charon's "wonky" plains formed. He compares being a planetary geologist with a crime scene investigator, and tells us the story about how Charon got its name.
22 minutes | a year ago
161: Dusty mysteries with Prof. Hartzell
Prof. Christine Hartzell tells us about the bizarre ways dust and rock behave on asteroids. She explains, "asteroids are complicated because our intuition fails." Tools like shovels become useless, forcing spacecraft designers to innovate.
21 minutes | a year ago
160: Going back in time with Dr. Bottke
Dr. Bill Bottke stops by the show to talk about ancient craters on the Moon and Earth. He tells us about how you can figure out crater ages by looking at the nearby rocks, and how that led him and his colleagues to figure out that the impact rate on Earth changes with time.
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