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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


The Rise Of The Space Age Millennials
2020-03-24 15:37:20
There's a new generation leading the charge when it comes to space exploration — millennials. These 20 and 30 year olds are entering the workforce and academia, driving innovation and pushing humanity farther into the solar system. So what's motivating these millennials? And what's different from the group of folks that came before them? We'll chat with space policy analyst and author Laura Forczyk about her new book "Rise of the Space Age Millennials." Then, can planets exist outside the orbit of a star? We'll talk with our panel of experts about the fascinating observations of rogue planets — how did they escape the gravity of their host star and how do we spot them?


A New Dawn For Sun Science
2020-03-18 06:19:28
There are now two new spacecraft zooming around the sun exploring our closest star. NASA's Parker Solar Probe is getting an up close and personal look at the sun and its corona — the wispy bits that radiate off the surface. And the recently launched Solar Orbiter will explore the poles of the sun. All eyes are on the sun. So is this a new chapter of sun science? Our guest this week Nicky Fox says it is. She's Director of the NASA Heliophysics Science Division and lead scientist on the Parker Solar Probe mission. We'll talk about the early findings of the mission and how all this sun science will help better life here on Earth. Then, the matter of antimatter. Our panel of expert scientists breakdown this fundamental piece of physics.


Discovering A New Star: Jocelyn Bell Burnell's Advice For Astronomers And Women In Science
2020-03-10 15:49:31
Back in 1967, Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell observed a curious set of radio pulses from a new type of telescope. Her findings would lead to a new type of star — a pulsar — and begin a new chapter of astronomical discovery. The findings were groundbreaking and paved the way for a new type of observation — radio astronomy. We'll chat with Burnell about the story of that discovery, where she sees the future of radio astronomy heading and her work to get more women and minorities involved in STEM. Then, Space is huge, but that doesn't mean you don't have to keep it clean. As we continue to venture into our solar system with robotic explorers and human missions, there's a greater need for good hygiene. On this week's "I'd Like to Know" segment, we'll chat with physicists  from the University of Central Florida about keeping our dirty Earth-germs off other planets and moons — and why the search for life depends on it.


The Race To Deep Space
2020-03-03 15:51:20
The race to deep space is on. NASA has its eyes set on the moon then Mars, and other private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin have ambitious plans to send humans into deep space. So just how close are we to breaking the bonds of Earth's gravity once more and exploring other worlds? We'll speak with Mary Lynn Dittmar, President and CEO of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration.  Then – astronomers are picking up a strange signal from somewhere in space. Fast Radio Bursts are puzzling scientists — where are they coming from and what's causing them? On this week's "I'd Like to Know" segment, we'll ask our panel of experts about these interesting new waves. 


Space: Marketing's Final Frontier
2020-02-25 15:35:17
Space is open for business. NASA is loosening restrictions on the use of the space station for commercial companies, paving the way for new business opportunities in orbit. From music videos to commercials, companies are now looking to the cosmos to tell their stories. So what will the future of space marketing look like? And what does NASA stand to gain? We'll talk with Space Marketing Group's Trisha Navidzadeh about the bold new future of space marketing. Then, a listener asks: How far away are we from having rotating ships that create artificial gravity? We'll put that question to our expert panel of scientists on this week's edition of "I'd Like to Know".


BONUS INTERVIEW: The History Of Civilian Space
2020-02-18 16:02:55
This week we're talking with Alan Ladwig about his new book "See You in Orbit." It chronicles the efforts to get regular humans, not just astronauts, into space. You probably heard us talk about those efforts after the Challenger disaster and into the era of commercial space tourism — but the story of civilians in space starts long before that. In this bonus interview for Are We There Yet?, Ladwig takes us back to the start...


The Future Of Ordinary People In Space
2020-02-18 15:32:45
Companies like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are on the brink of launching a new class of astronauts into space — ordinary people. The experiences promise to give space tourists a new perspective on the world and experience the feeling of weightlessness. How will space tourism change the way we think about space and our planet? We'll chat with Alan Ladwig — former NASA official and author of the new book "See You in Orbit" about the history of civilians in space and the prospect of ordinary citizens leaving this planet. 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 at the poles of the moon? And how do we know? We'll ask our panel of expert scientists this week.


Solar Orbiter Mission Heads To The Sun To Study Poles Of Our Closest Star
2020-02-11 15:22:50
A new mission to study the sun launched this week from Cape Canaveral. For the first time, scientists will get a look at the poles of the sun, thanks to the Solar Orbiter spacecraft. The mission is a joint venture between the European Space Agency and NASA and will join other spacecraft studying the sun like the Parker Solar Probe. So how will Solar Orbiter help better our understanding of the sun and its effects here on Earth? We'll speak with NASA scientist Alex Young about the new era of heliophysics. Then, a listener wants to know a little more about Tabby's Star — it's a star located in the constellation Cygnus. A space telescope captured some funky behavior of the star — so what's up? We'll ask our panel of expert scientists this week on our segment "I'd Like to Know".


Will Congress Steer NASA Away From The Moon?
2020-02-04 15:42:46
The House is moving through a new authorization bill. While these pieces of legislation are usually unremarkable, this one is getting a lot of attention. That's because this bill would significantly alter NASA's current plans to head to the moon in 2024 and establish a permanent presence there, instead focusing on a human mission to Mars in the 2030s. To unpack the politics of the plan, we'll speak with Casey Dreier, Chief Advocate & Senior Space Policy Adviser at the Planetary Society. READ: Casey Dreier’s Policy Analysis on Planetary.org Then, a listener asks "Where's the love for Neptune and Uranus?" There have been no science missions to the ice giants since the Voyager flybys of the 1980s? What gives? We'll ask our panel of experts on this week's segment "I'd Like to Know" about the prospects of a ice giant mission and the likelihood it will happen this decade.


Asteroid Return Mission Spacecraft OSRIRIS-REx Picks A Sample Site
2020-01-21 15:22:39
A spacecraft more than 160 million miles away is about to suck up some asteroid dust — then send it back to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx mission will collect the sample from Bennu this summer and mission managers are carefully planning the maneuver. Scientists hope to uncover the building blocks of early life in the universe when the sample arrives back here on Earth in 2023. We'll talk with mission scientist Humberto Campins about the final site selected by the team and the surprises OSIRIS-REx uncovered along the way. Then, the star Betelgeuse is causing quite a stir after astronomers observed the star brightening and dimming in the night sky. Is it going to blow up? We'll talk with our panel of experts on this week's segment "I'd Like to Know."


Can Your Gut Leak In Space? Probably. Here's What That Means For Astronatus
2020-01-14 15:17:33
Space travel could cause a leaky gut. A new medical study found that microgravity reduces an important barrier in the stomach which could mean nasty germs could get inside Astronaut's bodies on deep-space missions. We'll chat with UC Riverside medical researcher Dr. Declan McCole about the gut biomes of astronauts and how his research can all help our guts down here on Earth. Then, how do you count the planets?  The answer to how many planets there are isn't a simple one. On this week's "I'd Like to Know" segment, we'll talk to our panel of planetary experts about the task of counting the planets and the controversies surrounding their definitions.


Booze In Space? The Storied History And Bright Future Of Alcohol In The Final Frontier
2020-01-07 15:41:49
Alcohol has long been a staple of our cultures and civilizations but is there a place for it in space? Author Chris Carberry explores this history and future of booze in space in his new book Alcohol in Space: Past, Present and Future. We'll talk about how booze made its mark on the space program and just what type of drinks we might be toasting while orbiting the Earth or exploring Mars. Then, there's a black hole at the center of our galaxy. Should we be worried about falling in? This week on our segment "I'd Like to Know", we'll chat with planetary scientists about the possibility of being gobbled up by this black hole.


A Decade of Commercial Space Innovation
2019-12-31 15:43:30
Over the last decade, there's been a change in how things get to space. Since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, NASA has been looking to commercial companies to fill the void. We'll take a look at the "paradigm shift in the business of space" with The Verge's senior science reporter Loren Grush. Her recent piece for the online publication examines the commercial boom in the 2010s led largely by Elon Musk's company SpaceX. We'll talk about that growth and what's ahead for private space in the 2020s. Then, are we alone in the universe? Surely we're not and statistics can prove it. But why haven't we uncovered any evidence of life outside our planet? A conversation about the Fermi paradox with our panel of planetary science experts on this week's segment "I'd Like to Know".


Interstellar Comet Visits Our Solar System, Awes Astronomers
2019-12-17 15:34:04
Astronomers have their eyes on a rare comet zooming 100,000 miles per hour through our solar system. It's rare because it's coming from outside our solar system. The comet named 2I/Borisov is the first confirmed interstellar comet. The Hubble space telescope captured stunning images of the comet. Scientists are pouring through the data to figure out what it's made of and where it came from. That information can help us better understand our universe. We'll talk with planetary astronomer Heidi Hammel about what we know — and don't yet know — about this incredible discovery. Then, there's a lot of talk about life on Mars, but how do we actually find it? This week on "I'd Like to Know," we'll chat with our panel of planetary scientists about the likelihood of finding signs of life on the red planet and where else in the solar system we should be looking.


Designing The Next Space Suit
2019-12-10 15:45:14
For future missions to the moon or Mars, astronauts are going to need a new suit. Engineers like MIT's Dava Newman are hard at work — but it's a big ask. Designing a suit that protects astronauts while still allowing them the mobility to work in space or on another planet is tough. We'll speak with Newman about the design challenges of making a new suit and how the work done at her lab could help all of us here on Earth. Then, we know the speed of light, the speed of sound…but what about the speed of gravity? This week on "I'd Like to Know" we chat with our panel of experts on the intricate measurement of gravity and how colliding black holes are helping us understand its speed.


Designing The Next Spacesuit
2019-12-10 15:45:14
For future missions to the moon or Mars, astronauts are going to need a new suit. Engineers like MIT's Dava Newman are hard at work — but it's a big ask. Designing a suit that protects astronauts while still allowing them the mobility to work in space or on another planet is tough. We'll speak with Newman about the design challenges of making a new spacesuit and how the work done at her lab could help all of us here on Earth. Then, we know the speed of light, the speed of sound — but what about the speed of gravity? This week on "I'd Like to Know" we chat with our panel of experts on the intricate measurement of gravity and how colliding black holes are helping us understand its speed.


From Cave To Cosmos: A History Of Human Exploration
2019-12-03 15:37:17
Exploration is hardwired into our DNA. From early humans in sub-Saharan Africa to the Apollo moon walkers, humans have always had a thirst for knowledge and the need to understand the world around them.  Andrew Rader is a SpaceX mission manager. He's one of the many new-age explorers now reaching out to the stars. He's also an historian and author of a new book Beyond the Known: How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars. We'll speak with Rader about humanity’s storied history exploring our world and the efforts to expand into our solar system. Then, are we living in the only version of this universe? We explore the idea of a multiverse with our panel of expert scientists this week on our segment "I'd Like to Know."


Talking To Aliens
2019-11-26 15:39:03
Are we alone in the universe? Probably not. Scientists are hard at work looking for signs of life here in our solar system and beyond. But what will we say to those extraterrestrials when we find them? Author and journalist Daniel Oberhaus delves into the efforts to talk with alien civilizations in his new book "Extraterrestrial Languages." We'll talk with Oberhaus about the attempts to speak with other civilizations in the universe and why many scientists think it's a bad idea to reach out to them first. Then, as we continue to venture into our solar system, there's a greater need to keep it clean. On this week's "I'd Like to Know" segment, we'll chat with planetary scientist from the University of Central Florida about keeping our dirty Earth-germs off other planets and moons — and why the search for life depends on it.


The Interstellar Travels Of The Twin Voyager Spacecraft
2019-11-20 06:00:20
Ken Chang: Science From Beyond Our Solar System. Voyager 2 punched a hole through our heliosphere sending it into interstellar space. The space probe launched more than 40 years ago along with its twin, Voyager 1, on a mission to visit the outer planets. Now the two have exited the boundary of our solar system and are beaming data back to scientists here on Earth. We'll speak to The New York Times reporter Ken Chang who wrote about the science coming back from Voyager 2, which was launched 42 years ago from Cape Canaveral on a mission to visit the outer planets of our solar system.  The spacecraft, along with its twin Voyager 1, is now traveling in interstellar space at more than 35,000 mph. At that speed, it could travel around the world in less than an hour but, even so, it has taken four decades to leave the solar system all while continuing to transmit data back to Earth. Scientists are just now digging into that data and it's painting a new picture of the boundary of our solar system. I’d Like to Know: The Science of Space Junk. SpaceX's Starlink constellation is taking shape. The private company launched 60 satellites into orbit last week that will be part of a network of thousands of satellites to blanket the globe with global, high-speed internet.  However, some people are concerned that the constellation, along with other planned space-based internet networks, could add to the growing number of space debris and interfere with astronomical observations.  Josh Colwell, Jim Cooney and Addie Dove, planetary scientists at the University of Central Florida and hosts of the podcast "Walk About the Galaxy" talk about the science of these constellations and the risks so many satellites zooming around in space might pose. **Got a question for “I’d Like to Know”? Send it in! Shoot us an email at arewethereyet@wmfe.org.** Space News Headlines NASA OIG A report released by NASA's Inspector General says the agency's commercial crew program is facing additional delays and questions some $157 million awarded to one of those contractors: Boeing. According to the report, in 2016 Boeing was paid a so-called premium of $287 million to alleviate perceived delays to the program, but SpaceX wasn't offered a similar opportunity. The Inspector General criticized Commercial Crew managers for offering the additional money for Starliner missions, calling $157 million of that payment "unnecessary costs." In a statement, NASA disagrees with the inspector’s characterization. Boeing says the bidding process was quote fair and open and disagrees with the OIG's findings. The report outlines delays in developing the parachutes, propulsion and launch abort systems of the spacecraft. Because of those challenges, the space agency won't send Commercial Crew astronauts to the station until at least Summer 2020. Both companies are coming up on critical tests of their capsules that will help solidify human launch dates. Boeing is set to launch an uncrewed capsule to the station next month. And in just a few weeks, SpaceX will test the abort motors of the Crew Dragon Capsule mid flight after launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Complicated Spacewalk The latest spacewalks center around a co...


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."


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