A 305-meter radio telescope in Puerto Rico collapsed after sustaining damage earlier this year — sending 900 tons of radio equipment crashing into the dish.
The National Science Foundation announced last week a planned decommissioning of Arecibo Observatory after engineers said repairing the damage safely was impossible.
For nearly 60 years, Arecibo surveyed the sky, searching for alien life, far-away planets and tracking near-Earth asteroids.
We’ll talk with planetary radio astronomer Alessondra Springmann about her connection to the dish and what the end of Arecibo means for the scientific community.
Then, SpaceX is set to launch a shipment of supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station. We’ll talk with the ISS National Lab’s acting chief scientist Michael Roberts about some of the experiments heading to space and what it takes to conduct science from the orbiting lab.
Dec 01 2020
For nearly six decades, a 1,000 foot dish in a Puerto Rican forest has led the charge in searching for far away planets, alien life and tracking near-Earth asteroids. It’s also had cameos in television and film including the 1995 James Bond movie Goldeneye. Now, that dish is going dark.
So what does this mean for radio astronomy? First, we’ll talk with Arecibo Directory Francisco Cordova about the move to decommission the radio telescope and what work still lies ahead for Arecibo.
Then, we’ll talk with planetary scientists Paul Byrne about Arecibo’s lasting legacy and what facilities are currently available to help fill the void left by the end of this massive radio dish.
Exploring Arecibo’s impact — that’s ahead on Are We There Yet? here on America’s Space Station.
Nov 24 2020
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A New Era In Human Spaceflight
Four astronauts successfully launched and docked to the International Space Station this week, flying on the first commercially designed and built spacecraft — SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.
The three NASA astronauts and one Japanese astronaut now join three already on board the station, bringing the total crew to seven. It’s the most crew for a long-duration operational flight.
So how did we get here? And what’s to come with NASA’s commercial partnerships? We’ll talk with Florida Today’s senior space reporter Emre Kelly about Commercial Crew and the future of public-private partnerships.
Then, as more and more astronauts head into orbit, what do we know about the impact of space travel on the human body? We’ll speak with Florida Space Institute associate scientist Dr. Esther Beltran about the impacts of microgravity on the human body and what those seven ISS astronauts are doing to keep healthy in space.
That’s ahead on Are We There Yet?, here on America’s Space Station.
Nov 17 2020
The Path Ahead In Space Policy & A “Black Hole Survival Guide”
All eyes have been on the Presidential race, but the 2020 election will also have an impact on the U.S. space program. From Congressional funding to NASA leadership — what’s ahead? We’ll talk about the political science behind the rocket science with Space Policy Online founder and editor Marcia Smith.
Then, black holes have captured the attention of the masses with breakthroughs in imaging, gravitational wave detection and Nobel Prize recognition. What’s spurring this new dawn of black hole discovery? And how can scientists communicate such complex phenomena to a general audience? We’ll chat with Janna Levin, professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University about her new book: Black Hole Survival Guide.
Nov 10 2020
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A Space For Comedy & SLS Testing
Before astronauts travel to places like the moon or Mars, they train for the isolation and exploration here on Earth. They’re called mission analogues and are important for understanding how humans will live for extended periods of time off-planet.
A moon analogue is also the scene for a new comedy show from Showtime and A24. Moonbase 8 chronicles a trio of astronauts working to prove to NASA they’re worthy of a mission to the moon.
We’ll speak with co-creators, writers and stars of the new show, John C. Reilly, Tim Heidecker and Fred Armisen about the inspiration and research behind the series.
Then, An active tropical storm season in the Gulf has delayed a critical test of SLS, NASA’s next moon rocket. The Green Run is a critical test campaign of the core stage booster, culminating with a firing of the rocket’s four main engines.
We’ll speak with Boeing Engineer Kristine Ramos about the test…and what’s ahead for NASA’s next moon-shot.
Nov 03 2020
Searching For Aliens
We’re on the hunt for aliens. NASA astrobiologists are scanning the skies for signs of life. But will extraterrestrials look like the little green humanoids from science fiction movies, books or TV?
We’ll take a look at the efforts to find signs of life outside our universe with two scientists. First, NC State associate professor of planetary science Paul Byrne brings us up to speed on the current methods to look for alien life on other worlds — and what those life-forms might look like.
Then, NASA astrobiologist Laurie Barge talks about the importance of habitability and why the search for alien life actually starts here on Earth.
And later in the show, we’ll talk with science fiction author Jeff VanderMeer about the evolution of aliens in fiction and how science fact has shaped our imaginative speculation about aliens.
We’re talking aliens this week on Are We There Yet? here on America’s Space Station.
Oct 27 2020
Terry Virts & The Space Toilet: Exploring The Human Side Of Space Exploration
There’s a lot about space travel that doesn’t get talked about — like how do astronauts shower or go to the bathroom? Retired NASA astronaut Terry Virts is hoping to shed some light on the often unmentioned things about space travel that are uniquely human in his new book How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth. We’ll speak with Virts about the lifetime of training that goes into becoming an astronaut and the lessons we all can learn about space travel.
Then, speaking of toilets, the International Space Station just got a brand new commode. We’ll talk with NASA engineer Melissa McKinley about the upgraded toilet and how it will help astronauts on future missions to the moon.
That’s ahead on Are We There Yet? here on WMFE – America’s Space Station.
After launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida back in 2016, OSIRIS-REx is about to execute one of its most critical mission objectives — suck up some dust on a far away asteroid.
The spacecraft has been orbiting the asteroid Bennu since arriving back in 2018, uncovering all sorts of interesting things about this ancient space rock. On October 20th, it will perform a TAG maneuver, sucking up a small sample of dust to send back home.
This dust, once back here on Earth, could help us understand how life formed in the solar system. It’s a question scientists like NASA’s Jason Dworkin have spent their careers unpacking. We’ll speak with Dworkin about this mission and how he hopes to unlock the secrets of life here on Earth.
Then, NASA’s gateway is a mini space station set to orbit the moon. But what’s a space station without supplies? Kennedy Space Center’s Mark Wiese heads NASA’s deep space logistics program. We’ll talk about the plan to ship food, water and space suits to the moon ahead of astronaut missions in the next few years.
Oct 13 2020
Mars Opposition & Worried Astronomers
This week Mars is set to come closer to Earth than it has been in more than a decade. The Mars Opposition is when the red planet becomes a visible bright red spot in the night sky. We’ll talk with Seminole State College planetarium director Derek Demeter about the opposition and how to experience it from home.
Then, SpaceX launched another batch of its Starlink Satellites this week — but the orbital constellation is causing some worry in the observational astronomy community. How are these tiny satellites impacting the future of night-sky observations? Our panel of expert scientists from UCF weigh in.
And, we speak with NASA Astronaut Shannon Walker ahead of her mission to the International Space Station, hitching a ride on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.
Oct 06 2020
Inclusion And Diversity In Space Exploration
NASA and other space and science agencies are striving to diversify their workforces, but there’s still a long way to go. As the country grapples with racial inequality, so do these organizations. Are We There Yet’s Nelly Ontiveros speaks with NASA scientist Geronimo Villanueva during Hispanic Heritage month to talk about efforts to get a more diverse group of STEM students and professionals and what the future corps of deep space explorers might look like.
Then, when talking about future exploration ambitions, language matters. The Atlantic’s Marina Koren writes about the language of space policy leaders, and how it shapes the direction of programs and the perception of space exploration. We’ll talk with Koren about her latest piece which examines the Trump administration’s language of ‘manifest destiny’ and its effects on space policy.