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Rank #60 in Natural Sciences category

Science
Astronomy
Natural Sciences

Are We There Yet?

Updated 5 days ago

Rank #60 in Natural Sciences category

Science
Astronomy
Natural Sciences
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The Space Exploration Podcast

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The Space Exploration Podcast

iTunes Ratings

282 Ratings
Average Ratings
172
72
18
11
9

Great

By banditobanditobandito - Jan 31 2018
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Awesome show for space and aeronautics nerds.

My favorite new listen

By NGP123 - Feb 28 2017
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Definitely on my short list of shows to not miss every week!

iTunes Ratings

282 Ratings
Average Ratings
172
72
18
11
9

Great

By banditobanditobandito - Jan 31 2018
Read more
Awesome show for space and aeronautics nerds.

My favorite new listen

By NGP123 - Feb 28 2017
Read more
Definitely on my short list of shows to not miss every week!
Cover image of Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

Latest release on Jan 21, 2020

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The Space Exploration Podcast

Rank #1: How To Survive On Mars

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When the first Martians arrive on the red planet, not much awaits them. There’s no food, no breathable air, no fuel. All they’ll have is what they brought with them — not much. That’s why researchers and engineers are developing the technology that will take what’s on Mars and turn it into much needed food, water and life-saving oxygen.

Listen back to WMFE’s Speak Series “How To Survive on Mars” with a panel of experts researching the tech that goes into making vital resources on a mission to Mars. Recorded in front of a live audience May 10, 2017 at the studios of WMFE in Orlando, Florida. 

Panelists: 

Nicole Dufour, NASA, Project Manager, VEGGIE
Dufour oversees the VEGGIE experiment, a garden of vegetables on the International Space Station. Astronauts are growing lettuce and cabbage thanks to Dufour and her team, and they’re learning vital lessons in plant growth in microgravity.

Annie Meier, NASA, Chemical Engineer, Exploration Research & Technology Programs
Meier is transforming trash into vital gases like methane, oxygen and water. Her trash-to-gas technology can be used to recycle dinner scraps, wrappers and packaging (and even poo!) into gases that can be used for life support on long duration missions. Meier tested the tech on NASA’s HI-SEAS mission, a simulated 6-month stay on a Martian base-camp.

Dan Batcheldor, Florida Institute of Technology, Department Head, Physics & Space Science

The physics department at FIT is working with NASA to develop dirt that is similar to Martian regolith. The goal is to figure out how to grow crops at a Martian base camp. Researchers at FIT are also trying to grow plants in the Mars-simulant. Batcheldor is an advocate for science literacy, and wrote the book “Astronomy Saves the World: Securing our Future Through Exploration and Education.”

May 12 2017

1hr 16mins

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Rank #2: Meet The Leader Of “The Mars Generation”

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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.

Jan 11 2019

23mins

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Rank #3: Chasing Triton: A Night On NASA’s SOFIA Aerial Observatory

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When it comes to taking a clear picture of the sky it helps to be isolated. That’s why astronomers have telescopes in remote locationsaway from light pollution and at a high altitude.

But sometimes ground based telescopes aren’t enough. There’s a handful of space-based telescopes, but resources on those machines are limited. Somewhere in the middle is SOFIA. It’s a modified 747-SP jumbo jet that hauls an 2.5 meter telescope into the stratosphere.

Host Brendan Byrne got a chance to hitch a ride with the SOFIA crew as they chase the shadow of Triton, Neptune’s moon.

Oct 13 2017

23mins

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Rank #4: Searching For Alien Worlds

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A new space telescope will help scientists identify alien worlds.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, launches on a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Space Coast. Once in space, it will look for planets outside our solar system by observing nearby stars.

Sara Seager is an astrophysicist at MIT and the Deputy Science Director of the TESS mission. She hopes the discoveries of these planets, called exoplanets, can help us find other Earth-like planets and eventually the evidence of life outside our world.

Apr 10 2018

18mins

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Rank #5: Life On The HI-SEAS

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Before we send humans to Mars, it’s probably a smart idea to do a few test runs first, right? That’s what analogs are for. They’re a great way to test the human aspect of space exploration.

HI-SEAS is one of those analogs. The ‘Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation’ is a habitat on an isolated Mars-like site on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The habitat is about 1,200 square feet and has a small sleeping quarters for a crew of six, as well as a kitchen, laboratory, simulated airlock and of course a bathroom.

The location also has a geology similar to Mars, so a crew can perform similar ‘outside’ tasks as if they were on Mars. They have to suit up in an air lock and use space suits to step outside.

Each mission in HI-SEAS looks to test the human factors of a Mars mission. The last mission, HI-SEAS V, was an 8 month stay for 6 test subjects.

One of those test subjects was Brian Ramos. He’s a Portuguese-American pursuing a life of exploration. He grew up in Rhode Island and holds dual engineering degrees in biomedical and electrical engineering.

Dec 15 2017

19mins

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Rank #6: Scott Kelly’s Year In Space

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If we’re going to go to Mars, we’re going to have to figure out how to live in space for a really long time.

NASA ran an experiment on astronauts and twins Scott and Mark Kelly. They sent Scott up in space for nearly a year, and kept Mark on earth to see how bodies change in microgravity.

What they found was Scott suffered from bone loss and new allergies to things like his own bed sheets. Back on earth, Scott Kelly spoke about some of the strange ways his body changed while up in space .and what’s ahead for figuring out long-duration space flight.

Nov 02 2017

13mins

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Rank #7: On The Way To An Asteroid

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OSIRIS-REx is zooming towards the asteroid Bennu. It’s on a mission to collect a sample of asteroid “dirt” and send it back to Earth. Scientists hope to uncover the building blocks of life in the solar system. The spacecraft launched last summer, so what’s it up to these days?

The mission’s principle investigator Dante Lauretta joins the podcast to update us on the mission so far, tell us what’s ahead this summer for OSIRIS-REx and explains how social media and board games are building interest for planetary science.

Jun 02 2017

29mins

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Rank #8: A Mission To Touch The Sun

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A spacecraft is about to launch on a mission to the sun, coming closer than any other spacecraft has ever come before and zooming through the solar system with mind-boggling speed.

The Parker Solar Probe is being sent to our star to study its corona. Scientists hope they can uncover some of the mysteries of the corona and help better predict space weather. And because we probably won’t get to any other stars anytime soon, scientists say they’ll use the data from the mission to better understand the other stars in our universe.

Parker launches from Kennedy Space Center August 11 on a ULA Delta IV Heavy. Ahead of the launch, we spoke with Alex Young, Associate Director for Science, Heliophysics Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Aug 03 2018

23mins

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Rank #9: Farming In Space

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Astronauts on the International Space Station are growing their own food. NASA’s Veggie experiment is figuring out how space travelers can have some of the comforts of home, like lettuce and cabbage, while also working to create a sustainable food source in space.

So how do you grow plants in space? NASA plant biologist Gioia Massa explains. 

Jan 27 2017

18mins

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Rank #10: I’m Gonna Be Sick

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John French wants to make people throw up. But don’t worry, it’s for science!

He’s a professor of Human Factors at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach Florida. He’s studying motion sickness, and the effects it has on astronauts. To do that, he makes his subjects sick by placing them in an optokinetic drum: a cylinder with a chair in the middle. The inside is painted with black and white stripes. The cylinder, or drum, then rotates around the subject and in a few minutes they start to feel the symptoms of motion sickness.

So how does this apply to space travel? And what other physiological challenges do humans still have to overcome to spend a long time in space? We take a trip to John’s lab to find out.

Nov 18 2016

29mins

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Rank #11: The Everyday Astronaut

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It started with a space suit, a bit of imagination and a near-death experience.

After photographer Tim Dodd impulsively bought an old Russian space suit, he became the everyday astronaut. Now, his photo series brings the magic, humor and human aspect of space-flight to the masses. And he’s getting to visit some cool places along the way.

Find Tim’s photography online at www.everydyastronaut.com and check out his online store

Dec 09 2016

27mins

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Rank #12: Web Series Explores What It Takes To Become An Astronaut

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What does it take to become an astronaut? That’s the question Loren Grush asked ahead of the production of the new web series “Space Craft.” Loren is The Verge’s space reporter and host of the new web series that explores the tech and training taking humans into deep space.

We spoke earlier this month about the series and what she learned while producing the show.

Watch all the episodes online. 

Sep 26 2017

19mins

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Rank #13: Talking To Aliens

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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.

Nov 26 2019

28mins

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Rank #14: NASA’s Next Generation Of Astronauts

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Last week, NASA announced Commercial Crew mission assignments. The Commercial Crew program will launch astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011. NASA is doing it with private companies SpaceX and Boeing.

In this episode we’ll meet the astronauts flying on Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner: Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson and NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, Suni Williams, Josh Cassada and Eric Boe.

Also, SpaceNews.com’s senior staff writer Jeff Foust brings us up to speed on the latest developments of the Commercial Crew program ahead of a launch later this year.

Aug 10 2018

17mins

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Rank #15: Oh My: George Takei Talks Science Fiction, Technology, And Interplanetary Equality

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George Takei is best known for his role as Sulu, helmsmen on the USS Enterprise during the show Star Trek. While the show only lasted 3 seasons, its legacy lives on, spawning multiple shows and movies within the franchise.

Today, Takei is an advocate for equality, space exploration and science education. And later this month, he’s visiting Rollins College.

But before he makes the trip to Florida, George took some time to chat with “Are We There Yet?” about Star Trek, science fiction, and equality in the 23rd century.

Jan 06 2017

24mins

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Rank #16: How To Land A Rocket Booster

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SpaceX successful launched and landed a “flight proven” rocket booster, the second time this particular booster has seen action and making space flight history.

It’s an important step in the company’s effort to utilize rocket re-usability to lower the cost of access to space. Long term, however, it’s an imperative skill necessary to colonize Mars as outlined by SpaceX’s founder Elon Musk.

On an episode earlier this month, we spoke with NASASpaceflight.com’s assistant managing editor Chris Gebhardt about what this means for Musk’s Mars plans.

How SpaceX lands boosters. Click to enlarge.

But just what goes into the engineering feat of landing a 180 foot tall booster that’s rocketing through the sky? How does SpaceX guide the booster back to land or the barge? And what keeps aerodynamic and thermal forces from ripping apart the thin-skinned booster? Fellow space podcaster Anthony Collangelo, host of the “Main Engine Cut Off” podcast joins us to talk about just what goes into bringing the booster safely back to earth.

Apr 27 2017

21mins

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Rank #17: Piecing Together A Rocket Inside The Vehicle Assembly Building

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Before NASA can launch its next big rocket, the Space Launch System, it has to put it together.

That happens in the Vehicle Assembly Building. The VAB is this gigantic building that towers over everything at Kennedy Space Center. It’s been home to the assembly of the Apollo rockets, as well as decades of shuttle assembly and processing.

Engineers and workers had to transition the building from the shuttle program to SLS — a pretty big task. Overseeing that effort is Jose Perez Morales. He takes us through the VAB to talk about the changes being made and how you actually put together a rocket.

Aug 02 2017

19mins

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Rank #18: The Interstellar Travels Of The Twin Voyager Spacecraft

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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 cosmic ray detector on the International Space Station’s exterior that needs repair.

The $2 billion instrument is searching for antimatter and dark matter. It was designed to operate only for three years, but upgrading the instrument’s cooling system can keep it running an additional 10 years.

Another spacewalk is scheduled for this week to attach plumbing to the new cooling system.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour delivered the instrument to the space station on the next-to-last shuttle flight back in 2011.

What’s Ahead?

Next week, we’ll speak with Daniel Oberhaus, journalist and author of Extraterrestrial Languages on the efforts to make first contact with alien civilizations. Oberhaus recounts early efforts to speak to intelligent life in the universe and the debate among scientist about what we should say — or if we should even say anything at all.

Elizabeth Gondar is a WMFE intern and provided production assistance for this ‘Are We There Yet?’ episode. 

Nov 20 2019

28mins

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Rank #19: The Glass Universe: How Harvard Women Measured The Stars

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‘The Glass Universe’ explores how the women of Harvard Observatory in 1890 broke through the gender barrier and revolutionized the way astronomers observe the night sky.

Dava Sobel is a former New York Times science reporter and longtime contributor to The New Yorker. Her latest book, the Glass Universe, looks at the women at Harvard Observatory and how they were breaking ground not only because of their gender, but because of the scientific observations they were making in the field of astronomy.

Dec 16 2016

17mins

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Rank #20: Martian Farmers

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Ralph Fritsche is a lot like Mark Watney. He’s growing potatoes in Martian regolith. And as we’ll find out, it’s harder than it looks.

Last episode, we learned about NASA’s Veggie experiment. Another experiment, the Advanced Plant Habitat, is heading up to the International Space Station in March. It’s a self-contained unit that allows even greater tweaking of space farming on the station and it’s the next step in unlocking the secrets to growing plants in space. In true NASA fashion, you’ll hear it referred to in acronym form during this episode: APH.

While engineers and scientists get ready to launch that experiment, Fritsche is busy working on the next steps – growing food on other worlds. He works with botanists here on earth to figure out what martians will plant, grow and eat when they get to the red planet.

Feb 06 2017

21mins

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Asteroid Return Mission Spacecraft OSRIRIS-REx Picks A Sample Site

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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.”

Jan 21 2020

28mins

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Can Your Gut Leak In Space? Probably. Here’s What That Means For Astronatus

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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.

Jan 14 2020

28mins

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Booze In Space? The Storied History And Bright Future Of Alcohol In The Final Frontier

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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.

Jan 07 2020

28mins

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A Decade of Commercial Space Innovation

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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”.

Dec 31 2019

28mins

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Interstellar Comet Visits Our Solar System, Awes Astronomers

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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.

Dec 17 2019

28mins

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Designing The Next Spacesuit

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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.

Dec 10 2019

28mins

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From Cave To Cosmos: A History Of Human Exploration

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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.”

Dec 03 2019

28mins

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Talking To Aliens

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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.

Nov 26 2019

28mins

Play

The Interstellar Travels Of The Twin Voyager Spacecraft

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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 cosmic ray detector on the International Space Station’s exterior that needs repair.

The $2 billion instrument is searching for antimatter and dark matter. It was designed to operate only for three years, but upgrading the instrument’s cooling system can keep it running an additional 10 years.

Another spacewalk is scheduled for this week to attach plumbing to the new cooling system.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour delivered the instrument to the space station on the next-to-last shuttle flight back in 2011.

What’s Ahead?

Next week, we’ll speak with Daniel Oberhaus, journalist and author of Extraterrestrial Languages on the efforts to make first contact with alien civilizations. Oberhaus recounts early efforts to speak to intelligent life in the universe and the debate among scientist about what we should say — or if we should even say anything at all.

Elizabeth Gondar is a WMFE intern and provided production assistance for this ‘Are We There Yet?’ episode. 

Nov 20 2019

28mins

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Astronaut & Spacewalker Nicole Stott Talks Gender Equality, Art In Space and Efforts To Inspire The Next Generation Of Explorers

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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.

Astronaut Nicole Stott preps for a spacewalk. Photo: NASA

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. Scientists are now publishing findings from the mission’s voyage into interstellar space. We’ll speak with New York Times science reporter Kenneth Chang about how the mission is changing our understanding of the solar system.

Nov 12 2019

36mins

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Moon Shots & Mars Rovers: What You Missed At IAC 2019

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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.

Oct 29 2019

26mins

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3D Printers On Mars? One Company’s Plan To Establish Manufacturing On The Red Planet

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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”.

Oct 22 2019

29mins

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Dealing With Moon Dust

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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.

Oct 15 2019

29mins

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Space News Roundup: Commercial Crew, SLS & Elon’s Stainless Steel Starship

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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.

Oct 08 2019

26mins

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Black Holes & Gravitational Waves: Shedding Light On The Darkest Places In The Universe

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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.”

Oct 01 2019

21mins

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Martian Colonists Will Have To Eat Bugs

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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.

Sep 24 2019

28mins

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Why Is It So Hard To Land On The Moon?

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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.

Sep 17 2019

23mins

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Space Force, The Politics Of Exploration & Tiny Stow-Aways On Israel’s Moon Mission

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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?

Sep 09 2019

24mins

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The Mysteries At Asteroid Bennu

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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.

Aug 20 2019

19mins

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Space News Round Table: Starship, Exoplanets & Human Space Flight

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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.

Aug 05 2019

30mins

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iTunes Ratings

282 Ratings
Average Ratings
172
72
18
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Great

By banditobanditobandito - Jan 31 2018
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Awesome show for space and aeronautics nerds.

My favorite new listen

By NGP123 - Feb 28 2017
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Definitely on my short list of shows to not miss every week!