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Spacepod

Hear stories about alien moons, cold stars, and the future of space exploration. Hosted by Dr. Carrie Nugent, it's the only show that gets NASA experts to try unusual drinks.
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All Episodes
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Now displaying: Page 1
May 19, 2024

Prof. Sabine Stanley, author of "What's Hidden Inside Planets," tells us how the interior of Earth helps make this planet a nice place to live. She tells us that the Earth's mantle is actually solid rock, not liquid rock. She also explains what the Earth's interior and birthday balloons have in common.

Spacepod listeners can get a 30% discount on "What's Hidden Inside Planets" with the code HPLAN if you order through Hopkins Press at press.jhu.edu. (This code is shared as a courtesy, Spacepod does not receive compensation if you order a book.)

Apr 22, 2024

Dr. Jon Merrison talks about the Mars Simulation Laboratory. Here, scientists study what happens in low temperature, low pressure, windy environments.  He says visiting scientists often "come to our lab with some idea based on the conventional model and go away with data which makes no sense to them."

Mar 24, 2024

Dr. Morgan Cable returns to the show after nine years!  She tells us how she creates new minerals in her laboratory. She explains how this work helps shape NASA's Dragonfly mission. She encourages listeners to have confidence in their results.

Feb 19, 2024

Dr. Geronimo Villanueva tells us about solar system discoveries with JWST. He talks about several projects, including observing water plumes from Saturn's moon Europa and looking for rings around Mars. He shares what it feels like to use this incredible space telescope. 

Jan 21, 2024

I was sick for a few weeks this month and had to delay the scheduled interview. In the meantime, I've got a bonus episode for you. In this episode I talk about FindPOTATOs, which is software written by Nicole Tan and me, Carrie Nugent, to find asteroids and comets. I share some challenges we faced and how we overcame them. We hope that findPOTATOs can help astronomers find more asteroids, comets, and trans-Neptunian objects in their images of the sky!

Dec 24, 2023

Professor Bill McKinnon, 2023 recipient of the Kuiper Prize, reflects on his career as a planetary scientist. He tells us about a theory of his that was proven right, one that was proven wrong, and what he thinks might be proven wrong in the future.

Nov 19, 2023

Dr. Gareth Williams tells us about asteroid names. He explains the rules around naming asteroids and tells us how an asteroid name lead to a surprise trip to meet one of his heroes.

Oct 27, 2023

Dr. Brett Denevi talks to us about the planned Artemis missions to the moon's South Pole. There, astronauts will collect rocks and other samples. She describes how geologists are working with the astronauts to ensure that the best, most interesting samples are collected. These samples will create a legacy set that scientists will study for decades.

Sep 12, 2023

Loren Grush talks about her new book, "The Six: The Untold Story of America's First Women in Space." She explains why Sally Ride was chosen to be the first American woman to go to space, and how the resulting attention was difficult for her. Loren also tells us how she researched and wrote the book during the pandemic.

Aug 20, 2023

We hear from Dr. Diana Blaney, the principal investigator of the mapping imaging spectrometer on Europa Clipper. Europa Clipper will travel to Jupiter to see if its moon Europa is habitable. She describes how they tested the spectrometer in special rooms to make sure it will work at Europa.

Aug 6, 2023

Professor Lamiya Mowla tells us about an exciting JWST discovery. She describes gravitational lensing as "nature's magnifying glass." She also explains why she likes calling telescopes time machines. We discuss pretty and shiny things, and why prettiness might indicate something is scientifically interesting.

Jul 24, 2023

A quick bonus episode about the April 8th, 2024 total solar eclipse in Mexico, the US, and Canada! I talk about the difference between a partial and total solar eclipse, and share some tips in case you want to travel to see it.

Jun 27, 2023

Professor Raman Prinja talks about his new book, "Wonders of the Night Sky."  He tells us how we are lucky to live on a planet with a transparent atmosphere. He also shares stargazing tips for city dwellers as well as long-haul truck drivers.

The book is available at Simon and Schuster's website.

Note: I received a free copy of the book. 

May 21, 2023

Dr. Olivier Witasse tells us about the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer, or JUICE mission, which is currently traveling through space. JUICE will conduct 34 flybys of Jupiter's moons before orbiting Ganymede. Ganyemede may have significant liquid water, and perhaps the elements needed for life. 

Apr 23, 2023

Dr. Andrés Plazas Malagón tells us about a field of astronomy called cosmology. He explains that either our universe is mostly made of mysterious stuff called dark energy, or the laws of physics are wrong. He also explains the difference between dark matter and dark energy.

Mar 26, 2023

Dr. Richard Cartwright tells us about the moons of Uranus and explains why we should visit Uranus with an orbiting spacecraft. This mission would take decades to design, build, and travel to the planet. He also shares what he thinks about Uranus jokes. 

Feb 19, 2023

Dr. Peter Veres talks about asteroids, comets, and meteors. He describes how the Minor Planet Center keeps track of observations and orbits. This data is publicly available, and non-scientists make valuable contributions. He also tells us about the AMOS meteor network, and how meteors connect to asteroids and comets. 

Jan 22, 2023

Dr. Parvathy Prem tells us about lunar ice. She says, "the moon records the history of our solar system neighborhood in a way that the Earth doesn't." Her simulations show that rocket landings can change lunar ice. We discuss different perspectives on the moon, and how those perspectives might change how we explore.

Dec 25, 2022
Kelly Beatty shares easy things we can do to reduce light pollution. He tells us how artificial night light can harm humans, birds, and insects. He shares the five principles of good lighting, and explains how addressing light pollution can save money.
Nov 28, 2022

Dr. Nancy Chabot returns to the show to talk about the DART mission, which changed the orbit of an asteroid moon. This was the first demonstration of asteroid deflection technology. She explains how the mission worked, what scientists are discovering, and why a small nudge is all you need when it comes to moving an asteroid out of Earth's way. 

Oct 23, 2022

Professor Myriam Telus shares how she studies atmospheres using meteorites. These experiments can teach us about exoplanet atmospheres and planet formation. She says science feels like a playground, with so much to explore. 

Sep 18, 2022

International space law expert Cordula Panosch explains what is and is not legal when it comes to deflecting an Earth-bound asteroid. Although much depends on the individual circumstances, she explains how existing laws govern what countries can and cannot do when it comes to outer space.

Aug 21, 2022

Dr. Kirby Runyon shares his definition of "planet"-- a round celestial body that was never a star. Using this definition, there are over 150 planets orbiting our sun. He explains why the word planet matters, and why little planets might be the most common planets in our universe.

Jul 24, 2022

Professor Lawler discusses why planet nine might not exist.  She explains why reporting not finding something is as important as reporting a discovery. She tells us how satellite internet is getting in the way of astronomical observations. 

Jun 19, 2022

Dr. Zibi Turtle is the Principal Investigator of NASA's Dragonfly mission. She tells us what it is like to design and build an octocopter that will roam the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. She also tells us about Titan's exciting chemistry.

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