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Best Planetary Science podcasts we could find (updated August 2020)
Best Planetary Science podcasts we could find
Updated August 2020
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Billions of years ago, life may have gotten started at hydrothermal vents, cracks in the sea floor where hot fluids from inside our planet mix with colder ocean water. Laurie Barge, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, studies how plant-looking mineral structures called chimneys grow from chemicals found at the deepest depths of t…
 
As we explore Mars and other places in the solar system that might have life, scientists who work in Planetary Protection are busy making sure that we don’t contaminate them. While engineers prepare the Perseverance Rover for launch, Lisa Pratt, NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer, is making sure that it’s not carrying too many spores — cells that …
 
So far we’ve talked about life in terms of its chemistry and telltale signs of biology. But what if there’s intelligent life out there in the universe that has created technologies just as good, or even more advanced, than our own? Some scientists are thinking about how we would detect the signals that would come from distant civilizations, if they…
 
Without our Sun, there would be no life on Earth. The Sun gives us exactly the amount of heat we need to survive. But our Sun represents only one type of star in the universe. Smaller, fainter stars called K stars are more common in our galaxy and also have planets, but we know far less about them. Giada Arney, astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Spac…
 
With more than 4,000 planets known that orbit other stars, scientists have discovered that many of these exoplanets are quite unlike our own. NASA has a whole fleet of spacecraft that look at different aspects of these planets. Currently TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is checking out nearby stars for possible planets. It is helpin…
 
We now know there are more planets than stars in the galaxy. Many of them are very different from ours. How would we know if any of them had life? Shawn Domagal-Goldman, astrobiologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, discusses these strange and wondrous worlds beyond our Sun. He and others at NASA are working on concepts for future space tel…
 
From diving in Antarctica’s ice-covered lakes to exploring Mexico’s Cave of the Crystals, NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay has been searching for life in a wide variety of extreme environments on Earth. He’s also working on an idea to send a probe called Icebreaker to the polar caps of Mars. Beyond merely finding life on another planet, he’s excited…
 
Some of the most fascinating targets in the search for life in our solar system are moons of giant planets. Did you know If you had wings, you could fly on Titan, a moon of Saturn? Did you know that Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is thought to have more water than Earth under its icy shell? NASA is planning to send spacecraft to both of these places in…
 
When Earth was just a baby, meteors and asteroids rained down, delivering all sorts of chemicals to our developing planet. These small objects could have delivered the chemicals needed to spark life on Earth for the first time. The OSIRIS-REx mission will collect and return a sample from asteroid Bennu, a 4.5-billion-year-old fossil of the early so…
 
Imagine a future where the Perseverance Rover actually found definitive evidence of life on Mars. What would happen next? The Explore Mars Society recently held a virtual discussion on this topic with NASA’s chief scientist Jim Green and astrobiologist Penelope Boston from NASA’s Ames Research Center. Hosted by Mat Kaplan of the Planetary Society’s…
 
Mars has long been the subject of fascination among those who have ever wondered if there is life beyond Earth. NASA’s upcoming Mars Perseverance rover, scheduled to launch in July, is bringing a set of technologies to explore the Red Planet in new ways. The rover will search for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars in the astrobiology portion o…
 
When we search for life beyond Earth, we have to figure out what we could measure that would tell us that life was, or is, there. And the starting place for that search must be Earth itself, the only place where we know for sure that life has lived. Every rock tells a story, and so does each fatty acid called a lipid. Your cholesterol, which is par…
 
To study the history of life on Earth and look for it beyond our planet, scientists in the field of astrobiology look for signs called “biosignatures.” NASA Goddard researcher Heather Graham discusses some of the oldest evidence of life on Earth and what scientists are searching for when they look for biosignatures in ancient rocks. By looking at w…
 
How did life originate and evolve here on Earth? What form could life take elsewhere – and where else could life survive beyond our planet? These are questions that scientists called astrobiologists tackle every day. By using space telescopes, doing laboratory experiments and studying extreme environments on Earth, astrobiologists hope to uncover n…
 
Besides learning how to live in space, astronauts training for Artemis missions to the Moon will need to become experts in geology, so they know what to look for when they're scoping out rocks and other features. Kelsey Young of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center describes her experience of teaching astronauts through analog sites, places on Earth …
 
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed far from where they had anticipated because, 50 years ago, we didn't have a complete understanding of the Moon's gravity. Recent maps of the Moon's gravity have taught us a lot about its overall shape, and have been invaluable for lunar exploration. Maria Zuber, principal investigator of NASA’s Gravity Recovery…
 
Just like earthquakes help scientists figure out what's going on inside our home planet, moonquakes have taught scientists a lot about the interior of the Moon. NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission has also given us a clearer picture of the Moon beneath its surface. Seismic activity on the Moon is one area of scientific i…
 
Early in its history, the Moon was molten, with “fire fountains” erupting from its surface. Astronauts have found tiny beads of glass on the Moon that preserve this history. How did the Moon cool down and become the quiet, cratered world we know today? NASA’s Chief Scientist Jim Green chats with NASA’s Deputy Chief Scientist Dave Draper about the M…
 
From lunar samples brought back in the Apollo program, scientists have figured out that the Moon once had a shield around it called a magnetosphere, just like the Earth has today. As NASA prepares to send humans to the Moon, and eventually on to Mars, scientists are exploring the Moon's magnetic past.…
 
Back in August, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe to study the Sun’s corona—its very outer edge. Parker will sail as close as 4 million miles from the Sun—a record for any space agency in the world—and survive temperatures up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. In this week’s episode of Gravity Assist, Thomas Zurbuchen, the Associate Administrator of N…
 
NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers were only supposed to rove around Mars for 90 days. Although NASA ended communications with the Spirit rover in 2011, Opportunity continued its mission and still operates today. Listen in with Steve Squyers from Cornell University as he recounts the amazing discoveries we’ve made about the Red Planet because of …
 
What lurks beneath Mars’s surface? How did the rocky, Red Planet form? What can Mars teach us about our own planet Earth? Soon, these questions will start getting answered by NASA’s newest Mars lander, the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport, or InSight. With its seismometer and heat probe instruments, InS…
 
After making history by flying by Pluto in 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is speeding toward a New Year’s Day 2019 flyby of a mysterious world in the outer realm of the solar system. In this episode of Gravity Assist, Jim Green talks with New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern about what we’ve learned about Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU6…
 
Pluto -- which is smaller than Earth’s Moon -- has a heart-shaped glacier that’s the size of Texas and Oklahoma. Fascinating Pluto also has blue skies, spinning moons, mountains as high as the Rockies, and it snows—but the snow is red! In this episode of Gravity Assist, Jim Green talks with New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Sout…
 
Beyond Saturn are two of the most misunderstood and bizarre planets in our solar system—the “ice giants” Uranus and Neptune. Did you know that Uranus has rings and appears to spin on its side? And that windy and intensely blue Neptune once had an Earth-sized Great Dark Spot? In this episode of Gravity Assist, NASA’s Jim Green and Amy Simon discuss …
 
Did you know the Moon is slowly moving away from Earth and that the Moon has water? Jim Green is joined by lunar expert Sarah Noble to discuss how the Moon was formed, lava tubes and moonquakes, the “dark side of the Moon,” and mysteries we have yet to solve about Earth’s nearest neighbor.By NASA
 
We start our “Gravity Assist” virtual tour of the solar system with – where else – the Sun! How hot is the Sun, what are solar flares, and how does space weather affect us here in Earth? Jim is joined by Project Scientist Dr. Nicky Fox of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab to talk about our fascinating star and NASA’s upcoming Parker …
 
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