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Moon Shots & Mars Rovers: What You Missed At IAC 2019 from Are We There Yet?

From Are We There Yet? - The International Astronautical Congress was last week in Washington D.C. It's a global assembly of movers and shakers in the space industry — from government agencies to private partners. We'll chat with the host of the We Martians podcast Jake Robins who attended the conference about the big news in space exploration. Then, NASA has its sights set on the moon — the south pole of the moon specifically — because of the evidence of water. But just how much water is there? And how do we know? We'll ask our panel of expert scientists.


Are We There Yet?
When it comes to human space exploration, we're on the brink of something big. Join host Brendan Byrne as he explores the advances in human space exploration. From conversations with the engineers and scientists building the technology one day heading to Mars, to talks with visionaries and leaders who want to take humankind to deep space, the Are We There Yet? podcast reveals the next chapters in human space exploration.

Moon Shots & Mars Rovers: What You Missed At IAC 2019
2019-10-29 03:02:18
The International Astronautical Congress was last week in Washington D.C. It's a global assembly of movers and shakers in the space industry — from government agencies to private partners. We'll chat with the host of the We Martians podcast Jake Robins who attended the conference about the big news in space exploration. Then, NASA has its sights set on the moon — the south pole of the moon specifically — because of the evidence of water. But just how much water is there? And how do we know? We'll ask our panel of expert scientists.
26 minutes, 45 seconds


Astronaut & Spacewalker Nicole Stott Talks Gender Equality, Art In Space and Efforts To Inspire The Next Generation Of Explorers
2019-11-12 15:30:22
Nicole Stott: Spacewalker, artists and advocate for all explorers. Last month, Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch  made history by conducting the first all-female spacewalk. While women have been space walking since 1984, this marks the first time a team has been made up of an all female crew. Koch and Meir penned a Washington Post op-ed from space applauding NASA’s efforts for equality and calling on leaders to continue to include all humans as exploration efforts move forward. There have been 221 spacewalks at the ISS and 37 have included women. But overall, there have only been 15 female spacewalkers. Retired NASA astronaut Nicole Stott is one of them and we chat with her about the historic milestone and what that means for gender equality in the astronaut corps. Stott is also an artist, one of the first to paint from space. We'll talk about her efforts to inspire the next generation of space explorers through art and outreach. I’d Like to Know: An interstellar comet is about to visit us. An interstellar comet is zooming through space and it's about to make a pass through our solar system. It is only the second identified space rock to visit us from interstellar space — so what can we expect? And why are scientists so excited about it? Josh Colwell and Addie Dove — planetary scientists at the University of Central Florida and hosts of the podcast "Walk About the Galaxy" — help answer Brendan’s simple question: What the heck is this thing? \ **Got a question for “I’d Like to Know”? Send it in! Shoot us an email at arewethereyet@wmfe.org.** Space News Headlines Commercial Crew Tests Ramp Up Boeing completed a critical test of its Starliner capsule designed to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. It's part of a partnership between NASA and private companies to launch astronauts to the International Space Station from Florida — a first since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011 — and paves the way for an uncrewed test flight to the ISS December 17. SpaceX is also planning for a critical safety test of it’s abort system later this year.  SpaceX has already completed an uncrewed test mission to the ISS earlier this year and NASA said the company could send the first human astronauts early next year. Starlink Ends Three Month Launch Draught SpaceX launched 60 of its Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Monday on a Falcon 9 rocket. The company wants to blanket the globe with high-speed, broadband internet access. It's the first round of thousands of satellites needed to complete the constellation. SpaceX isn't alone. Another company One Web plans to start launching 30 satellites a month starting next year — and that has some worried about orbiting traffic and the potential for collisions. SpaceX said the network can operate safely. Each satellite is equipped with systems to steer it away from potential crashes. And if a satellite dies, it will fall out of orbit and burn up safely in the atmosphere. Whether or not other companies will play nice and how satellite regulation might change is yet to be seen. What’s Ahead? Next week, we’ll explore NASA’s Voyager 2 mission. The probe launch 42 years ago. Last year, the spacecraft punched through the boundry of the solar system into interstellar space.


Moon Shots & Mars Rovers: What You Missed At IAC 2019
2019-10-29 03:02:18
The International Astronautical Congress was last week in Washington D.C. It's a global assembly of movers and shakers in the space industry — from government agencies to private partners. We'll chat with the host of the We Martians podcast Jake Robins who attended the conference about the big news in space exploration. Then, NASA has its sights set on the moon — the south pole of the moon specifically — because of the evidence of water. But just how much water is there? And how do we know? We'll ask our panel of expert scientists.


3D Printers On Mars? One Company's Plan To Establish Manufacturing On The Red Planet
2019-10-22 08:29:20
Private company Relativity Space is designing and manufacturing 3D printed rockets to launch from Cape Canaveral but one day hopes to see the technology building parts on places like the moon or Mars. We'll talk with Relativity Space's Jordan Noone about the prospects of 3D printing on other worlds — and what his company is doing here on Earth to support that goal. Then, different telescopes see in different wavelengths. What's the difference between ultraviolet, infrared and microwave — and how do different wavelengths help us uncover the mysteries of the universe? We'll ask our panel of expert scientists on this week's installment of "I'd Like to Know".


Dealing With Moon Dust
2019-10-15 02:30:37
NASA is going back to the moon but before it does, it has to figure out how to work with the dirt on the lunar surface. Moon dust is nasty stuff. It's sharp, sticky and can really mess up your equipment. But it also has valuable resources in it. So how do robots and humans work on the lunar surface and exploit its precious resources? That's up to the team at Swamp Works — a group of scientists and engineers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. We'll visit NASA senior technologist Rob Mueller’s lab to learn about the work they do learning how to live and work on the lunar surface. Then, what is light? It's a simple question with a complex answer. We'll talk with our expert scientists about the science of light.


Space News Roundup: Commercial Crew, SLS & Elon's Stainless Steel Starship
2019-10-08 02:50:37
Hardware for SpaceX's Commercial Crew program and NASA's SLS rocket have arrived at Kennedy Space. Elon Musk continues work on his Starship rockets. It's been a busy few weeks in space news. We'll talk with space reporters Emre Kelly and Emilee Speck about the latest in getting astronauts to the International Space Station, the moon and beyond. And later, a recent discovery by exoplanet hunters claims that a distant planet has an atmosphere filled with water vapor. Why is water so important in the search for life in the universe? We'll talk to our panel of experts on our weekly segment "I'd Like To Know." But first, SpaceX's commercial crew hardware arrives at Kennedy Space Center along with a key piece of SLS hardware and Elon Musk gives an update on his stainless steel Starhopper. It's time this month to speak with WKMG’s Emilee Speck and Florida Today’s Emre Kelly.


Black Holes & Gravitational Waves: Shedding Light On The Darkest Places In The Universe
2019-10-01 08:57:56
Scientists have captured an image of a black hole swallowing a star. The findings are shedding light on the mystery of black holes. How does this event help us better understand our universe? We'll speak with NASA scientists Knicole Colon about the mysteries of black holes and what this discovery means for the future of black hole research. Then, we'll chat with our panel of expert scientists about black holes and gravitational waves in our weekly question segment called "I'd Like to Know."


Martian Colonists Will Have To Eat Bugs
2019-09-24 01:38:40
If you want to live on Mars, you'll have to eat bugs. That's according to new research published by a team of University of Central Florida scientists in the journal New Space. Companies like SpaceX are looking to send the first colonists in the next decade. For that, UCF planetary scientist Kevin Cannon said they'll have to produce much of their own food. Agriculture like grain, wheat and corn require a lot of land and additional resources like soil, water and fertilizer. Bugs require a lot less resources. We speak with Cannon about his findings and the future of a new food source — cellular agriculture. Then, we’re asking about space exploration and the movies in our new segment “I'd Like To Know”  where we take your questions and pose them to a panel of expert scientists. We're joined by University of Central Florida Planetary Scientists and hosts of the podcast Walk About The Galaxy: Addie Dove, Jim Cooney and Josh Colwell.


Why Is It So Hard To Land On The Moon?
2019-09-17 14:29:02
India's attempt to land a rover on the moon appears to have ended in failure. The Indian space agency lost contact with the lander during a touchdown attempt earlier this month. It follows the landing failure of another mission — SpaceIL's attempt to land the Beresheet spacecraft on the moon earlier this year. So what makes these lunar missions so hard? The two recent failures highlight just how difficult lunar missions can be. Joining us to talk about the engineering challenges of such a mission is Dan Batcheldor — head of aerospace, physics and space sciences at Florida Tech. And, we’re asking our expert panel of scientists about gravity waves — what are they and how are they helping scientists better understand the universe. UCF planetary scientists and hosts of the podcast Walkabout the Galaxy Addie Dove, Jim Cooney and Josh Colwell unpack the mysteries of gravity waves.


Space Force, The Politics Of Exploration & Tiny Stow-Aways On Israel's Moon Mission
2019-09-09 10:50:43
Last week, the Space Command came online. It's what's known as a combatant command group within the U.S. military and serves as a way to streamline the nation's space military assets. It's also seen as the precursor to the Space Force — a brand new military branch dedicated to all things space. We'll talk with Republican Congressman Mike Waltz who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. We talk about the space command and the politics of exploration as NASA again looks to return to the moon. And speaking of the moon — a recent report in Wired uncovered tiny little stow-aways on Israeli's lunar lander. Should we be worried about microscopic bugs taking over the moon? We'll ask a panel of planetary scientists in a brand new segment on this show called "I've Always Wondered." But first — the politics of space. We began the conversation talking about space command and I asked the Congressman, why now?


The Mysteries At Asteroid Bennu
2019-08-20 05:24:17
A spacecraft the size of a passenger van is orbiting an asteroid nearly 100 million miles away and will soon snag a sample of dirt from the surface and send it back to Earth. OSIRIS-REx launched from Cape Canaveral three years ago. The mission is NASA's first asteroid sample return. Scientists hope the ancient asteroid Bennu will hold signs of early life in the solar system — but since arriving, scientists are learning Bennu is full of surprises. We welcome back the mission's principal investigator Dante Lauretta to give us an update on the mission and the surprises uncovered at the asteroid Bennu.


Space News Round Table: Starship, Exoplanets & Human Space Flight
2019-08-05 13:55:29
It's been a busy few days for space news. We're unrolling a new segment on the podcast this week — a round table of space journalists based here in Florida to break down the latest headlines and offer insight and analysis of all the top space news stories. The Orlando Sentinel’s Chabeli Herrera, WKMG’s Emilee Speck and Florida Today’s Emre Kelly join the podcast to talk about SpaceX’s Starship development, the search for exoplanets and NASA’s missions to launch humans to the International Space Station and the moon. This conversation was recorded Monday, August 5th at 9:00 a.m. By the time you get to listen to this episode, some details might have changed.


NASA's TESS Space Telescope Uncovers Hundreds Of New Worlds Outside Our Solar System
2019-08-01 11:43:01
NASA's planet hunting satellite has completed its first year of science in space. The spacecraft searched the southern sky for signs of so-called exoplanets. The mission seeks to answer one of science's age-old questions: are we alone in the universe? The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, identifies planets outside our solar system by staring at the stars. When a planet passes between the star and the spacecraft, the light of that star dims. TESS measures the dip in light — and scientists can use that data to determine what kind of planet is causing the dimming. This week, NASA announced TESS has found a new planet about 31 light years away that exists in the so-called habitable zone — meaning it's the right distance away from its host star to have liquid water. The observations will help future telescopes, both on the ground and in space, make even more detailed observations of these planets and search for signs of life. To talk about the spacecraft's first year of science, we're joined by Mark Clampin. He's the Director of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.


Apollo Then & Now: Photo Series Captures Space Coast Change Fifty Years After Moon Missions
2019-07-20 13:53:30
In the 1960's, NASA's Apollo program spurred growth and development on Florida's SpaceCoast. Fifty years later, the lasting impact of the program can still be seen. Photographer Jim Hobart set out to document those changes for a special photo project for WMFE. He recreated photos found from the 1960’s and you can compare his new photos with the old using a slider tool. We speak with Hobart, along with Ben Brotemarkle from the Florida Historical Society to talk about the project  and the impact Apollo had on Florida's Space Coast.


Apollo Missions Inspired Generation Of Engineers, Scientists
2019-07-19 13:44:37
When Niel Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, millions tuned in live to watch the event. The moon landing inspired many to pursue an education and career in aerospace in what is now called the Apollo effect. Phil Metzerger was one of those kids who grew up around the Apollo program on Florida's Space Coast and went on to study engineering and eventually work at NASA. He was nudged by his dad, Theodore Metzger, who worked on the Apollo program. Now, Metzger works at UCF's Florida Space Institute as a planetary scientist. Phil rejoins the podcast to talk about growing up in the era of Apollo.


Apollo Flight Controllers: The People Who Made Moon Missions Happen
2019-07-18 13:42:35
After launching from Kennedy Space Center, controllers in Houston, Texas took over the operation of the Apollo missions — keeping a watchful eye on the crew and vehicle as it made the nearly quarter-million mile trip to the moon. One of those flight controllers was Gerry Griffin. We spoke about the role controllers played during the Apollo program and how the team handled the challenges and triumphs of the first moon missions — including the famous "SCE to AUX" fix that saved Apollo 12.


The Bills: What Does NASA's Leadership Shakeup Mean For Moon Plans?
2019-07-12 12:38:16
Two senior NASA officials have been ousted from their positions. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said associate administrator Bill Gerstenmaier and deputy associate administrator Bill Hill have been reassigned within the agency. Bridenstine said the move is meant to help meet the challenge of landing humans on the moon by 2024, a deadline set by the Trump administration. Will this streamline the effort or cloud the mission with uncertainty? To unpack the news of the shakeup, we're joined by Tim Fernholz. He's a senior reporter at Quartz and the author of “Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and The New Space Race.” 


Cosmic Couple Takes Space "On Tour"
2019-06-10 10:44:14
MaryLiz Bender and Ryan Chylinski didn't know it at the time, but they were both embarking on a similar mission — selling all their stuff, hoping in a camper and touring the country documenting the latest space events. The two met and once they realized they were doing the same thing, they joined up to criss-cross the nation in their modified campers collecting videos and photos from rocket launches, composing music inspired by the energy at these events, and leading the outreach effort to get more people interested in space. The couple is launching their latest project, Guidance Internal: Lessons From Astronauts, a Kickstarter campaign for a book and documentary looking at how astronauts are inspired by the cosmos.


NASA Needs New Space Suits
2019-05-24 12:56:59
Astronauts on the International Space Station use a specialized suit called the Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or EMU, to work outside the space station safely. The suits were delivered to the station in the 1980s and are in need of an upgrade. The suits made headlines earlier this year when what would be the first all-female spacewalk was postponed due to a lack of sizing for the innards of one of the EMUs. Florida Today space reporter Antonia Jaramillo took a look at the history of the suit, the challenges NASA faces upgrading the equipment and what the agency is thinking about for moon or Mars suits in a piece published earlier this month.


When We Leave This Planet
2019-05-10 11:35:43
As opportunities grow, space philosopher Frank White says it’s time to starting thinking about issues arising out of the human expansion into our solar system. White is the author of "The Overview Effect" which chronicles the cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space. But now more and more humans will leave this planet, thanks to private companies like Blue Origin & Virgin Galactic — and other thinkers and innovators like Elon Musk foresee a future where people live on other planets. In his new book "The Cosma Hypothesis," White challenges us to think about broad, philosophical issues that relate to human spaceflight and to outline some ground rules for all of humanity to follow.


Private Landers And Human Astronauts: A New Focus On The Moon
2019-04-18 10:57:34
It has been a busy few weeks for moon news. Just last week, the Israeli non-profit SpaceIL attempted to land on the surface on the moon — a first for a private group. While the landing wasn't successful, the attempt garnered the support of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe watching the event unfold in real time. Last month, the Trump administration charged NASA with putting humans on the moon in the next five years. NASA's administrator Jim Bridenstine has been busy lining up the details — from securing funding from Congress to figuring out what rockets to use to get there. So to make sense of all this moon we’re joined by Alex Stuckey, space and science reporter at the Houston Chronicle.


What's New At Bennu? Latest Findings Raising More Questions About Asteroids
2019-04-09 13:58:14
An asteroid some 50 million miles away is spewing pebble and rock-sized debris — and scientists don't know why. The findings are the latest from a robotic spacecraft on a mission to visit the asteroid. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft took images of the surface of asteroid Bennu spewing particles into space and some are raining back down on the rocky surface. The spacecraft is set to fly close to the surface of the asteroid, collect a sample of the particles and send it back to Earth. Planetary scientists hope findings from Bennu can uncover how our solar system formed. But the initial findings, especially the observations of the asteroid spewing debris into space, are raising even more questions about asteroids. Joining us in the studio is University of Central Florida's Humberto Campins. He is co-investigator on the mission and joins us to talk about the newest findings and what questions investigators still have.


Just How Close Are We To Putting Humans On Mars?
2019-03-21 11:13:57
UCF’s Phil Metzger, WMFE’s Brendan Byrne and WKMG’s Emilee Speck For the past three years, WMFE’s podcast Are We There Yet? has asked “when it comes to putting humans on Mars, are we there yet?” As the program reaches its third year, host Brendan Byrne asks the question to planetary scientist Phil Metzger and journalist Emilee Speck. From lunar beer to Martian architecture, there’s still a lot of challenges to overcome before humans can step foot on another world. UCF’s Phil Metzger joins the show to talk about those hurdles and the work being done here on Earth to put humans on Mars. And WKMG’s Emilee Speck recaps the past three years in spaceflight news — from robots dying to Dragons launching — and what’s on the horizon for human deep space exploration. This episode was recorded live from the WMFE studios in Orlando, Florida, and live-streamed on YouTube. You can look back at the taping here.


What's Next For NASA's Commercial Crew Program?
2019-03-15 12:41:36
SpaceX successfully launched its Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, docked it to the orbiting outpost, and returned it safely to Earth. While the capsule didn't have a crew — just a test-dummy named Ripley — It was a huge milestone for the private space company which is working with NASA on a contract to send humans to the space station from US soil for the first time since the end of the shuttle program in 2011. That could happen as soon as this summer. NASA is also working with Boeing on its Starliner capsule to accomplish the same goal. The Starliner will launch uncrewed on a similar mission this spring, and would send astronauts soon after. The program has faced multiple delays due to Congressional funding, but with SpaceX's successful mission, all signs point to 2019 being the year of the so called Commercial Crew Program. To talk more about the milestone and missions ahead we're joined by Chris Gebhardt, he's the Assistant Managing Editor at NASA Spaceflight dot com and joins us from Cape Canaveral.


Farewell, Opportunity
2019-02-15 10:45:46
After 15 years, NASA has declared Opportunity's mission complete. Earlier this week, the agency tried to contact the Mars rover one last. The rover had been radio silent since June. Designed to only spend 90 days exploring, the mission far exceeded expectations, clocking in at a decade and a half while traversing 28 miles across the red planet. The mission captivated more than just the science community. The photos beamed back from the red planet gave everyone here on Earth incredible views of another world. Opportunity’s end was grieved by many online in the form of comic strips, obituaries and remembrances from the people that spent their careers working on the mission. To look back at Opportunity's legacy, we're speaking with Dan Batcheldor. He's the head of Aerospace Physics and Space Sciences at Florida Tech.


Meet The Leader Of "The Mars Generation"
2019-01-11 10:31:41
Abigail Harrison wants to be the first person on Mars, and she’s on a mission to inspire others to help with those efforts. That's why she stated The Mars Generation, a non-profit dedicated to getting young people involved in STEM and space exploration. The group hosts various outreach events and offers a scholarship for low-income students to attend space camp. Abigail Harrison, otherwise known as Astronaut Abby, joins us from her home in the Twin Cities, to talk about these efforts.


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