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Spacepod

Hear stories about the alien moons, of cold stars, and the future of space exploration. Dr. Carrie Nugent chats about an amazing part of our universe with a scientist or engineer. Spacepod is the podcast that gives you an inside look into space exploration and astronomy.
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Spacepod
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All Episodes
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Jul 25, 2021

Prof. Abel Méndez tells us about his Planetary Habitability Lab. He talks about the chances of discovering extraterrestrial life, explaining that we are "alone by isolation and distance." He also tells us about his team's Visible Paleo-Earth project, as well as the proposed plans to rebuild the Arecibo Radio Telescope.

Jun 20, 2021

Dr. Jessica Noviello tells us a story about the power of interdisciplinary science: the time geologists, physicists, archeologists, chemists, paleontologists, and petroleum engineers all came together to solve a big mystery. This story focuses on a layer of clay that divides the "dinosaur part of time" from the "non dinosaur part of time."

May 23, 2021

Kevin Gill explains how he transforms raw spacecraft images into stunning planet photos. He describes how he turns black and white images from the Juno spacecraft into full color mosaics of Jupiter. He also tells us about his experiences with the "King of Cameras" on Cassini.

Apr 18, 2021

Prof. Christopher Snead tells us how he is preparing a very clean laboratory. In this lab, scientists will store and study Hayabusa-2 mission asteroid samples. The samples will be photographed and manipulated without ever touching Earth's atmosphere.

Mar 21, 2021

Dr. Lan Jian talks to us about the solar wind, which is ionized gas from the sun. It transfers energy from the sun to the planets, and can impact astronauts and technology. She shares her research, which includes interpreting data from spacecraft and computer modeling.

Feb 21, 2021

Dr. Dylan Hickson talks about how he studies the surfaces of asteroids using reflected radio waves. By comparing the reflections to mathematical models and data from Earth, he tries to determine if an asteroid's surface is blocky, dusty, or both.

Jan 24, 2021

Dr. Rachel Smith tells us about her research into young stellar objects. These new stars are surrounded by a cloud of dust that may eventually become planets. Dr. Smith also explains why she thinks it is important to physically travel to telescopes when she makes her observations.

Dec 20, 2020

Casey Dreier, Chief Advocate of the Planetary Society, stops by to chat about space policy. He explains why human spaceflight is such a challenge, and talks about how scientists decide which planet to explore. He also explains how individual citizens from around the world can influence space policy.

Dec 3, 2020

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.

Oct 28, 2020

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.

Oct 25, 2020

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.

Sep 20, 2020

The tables are turned! Regular host Professor Carrie Nugent talks about her research with guest host Anthropology Professor Caitrin Lynch. We discuss near-Earth asteroids, and how Prof. Nugent is building open-source asteroid hunting software with a team of students.

Aug 23, 2020

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.

Jul 19, 2020

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.

Jun 21, 2020

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.

May 24, 2020

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.

Apr 26, 2020

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.

Mar 30, 2020

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.

Mar 15, 2020

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.

Feb 16, 2020

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.

Jan 12, 2020

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.

Dec 29, 2019

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.

Dec 15, 2019

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.

Dec 1, 2019

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.

Nov 17, 2019

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.

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