Blue Dot

Fridays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Each week Blue Dot takes you to curiosities across our universe. Featuring interviews with leading scientists, authors, filmmakers and journalists from around the world, Blue Dot examines our home from a planetary perspective. Whether it’s a discussion about our life-giving oceans, the imperiled climate systems, the depths of space, or how a rock guitar works, Blue Dot is an adventure of discovery.

Hosted by Dave Schlom, and co-produced by North State Public Radio, Blue Dot digs deep into conversations about earth and space. For the past 12 years, Schlom has adorned the airwaves with his warm, relaxed style. His extensive scientific and journalistic background and his gift for engaging natural and thought-inducing conversations make Blue Dot a program you don’t want to miss.

Original Theme Music by Matt Shilts, Engineer and Producer Matt Fidler, Associate Producer Ellie Johnson.

SpaceX via NASA


After spending the last two years looking back at the Apollo Program, Dave looks ahead to the Commercial Crew flight program and Project Artemis. We hear first from Daniel Huot, a NASA spokesperson who is doing commentary during the historic first flight of the Crew Dragon Demo 2 mission with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley set to put America back in space from US soil for the first time since the retirement of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.

NASA


In this episode, inspired by our good friend Alan Stern, the Principal Investigator for the New Horizons Spacecraft, we examine a question that has vexed astronomers, planetary scientists and 5th graders, for decades: "What exactly is a Planet?" And more importantly, why should we care about definitions like this in science.

Science History


Dave visits with legendary United States Geological Survey volcanologist Donald Swanson in this look back at the eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980.

 

Preceded by weeks of earthquakes and minor eruptions, Mt. St. Helens exploded in violent fury on that fateful spring morning in the Pacific Northwest, taking 57 lives and devastated millions of cubic meters of timber, killed thousands of big game animals, destroyed 250 homes and wiped out hundreds of miles of highway. 

The Telegraph

 

 


In this episode, we explore the amazing story of the Western Flyer, the fishing boat immortalized by John Steinbeck in his 1940 book The Log From The Sea of Cortez. Fresh off the success and controversy surrounding The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck and his best friend and mentor in the newly emerging science of ecology, marine biologist Ed Ricketts (the model for the character of "Doc" in the novel Cannery Row) set off to explore the Baja California coast and the Gulf of California (more romantically referred to as "The Sea of Cortez") in 1940. 

NASA

 


 

Dave talks to retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. She holds records for the most time in space for any American, any woman and commanded the International Space Station TWICE! Peggy shares her out of this world experiences by giving very down to Earth advice about how to deal with living in a confined space with your crew -- which for many of us, is our family. 

NASA


In the conclusion of our look back at the Apollo 13 mission 50 years ago, Dave is joined by Barbara Lovell Harrison, John Aaron, and Andrew Chaikin. Barbara Lovell was 16-years old when her father's lunar mission, which was supposed to be the third Moon landing, was abruptly aborted by an oxygen tank explosion that crippled the spacecraft Odyssey and led to a life and death race against dwindling power.

NASA

Dave revisits a conversation with two of the Deputy Project Scientists deeply involved with the Curiosity Rover, which has been exploring Gale Crater since 2012, and the new, yet to be named, Mars 2020 Rover that will be launching this July. 

Abigail Fraeman is the DPS for Curiosity and explains how the mobile science laboratory has furthered our understanding of how Mars was once a planet that was suitable for primitive microbial life. 

NASA


In the conclusion of our look back at the Apollo 13 mission 50 years ago, Dave is joined by Barbara Lovell Harrison, John Aaron, and Andrew Chaikin. Barbara Lovell was 16-years old when her father's lunar mission, which was supposed to be the third Moon landing, was abruptly aborted by an oxygen tank explosion that crippled the spacecraft Odyssey and led to a life and death race against dwindling power.

NASA


In a time of global crisis, it's good to look at the lessons of history, to help us understand that we do have the ability to overcome terrible adversity. The story of the near loss of Apollo 13 in April of 1970 is filled with amazing leadership, problem solving and heroism that led to the survival of astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert.

 

In part one of our two episodes dedicated to this tale of overcoming seemingly insurmountable problems, Dave interviews one of the four flight directors, Gerry Griffin, Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise, Flight Dynamics Officer Jerry Bostick and Apollo journalist/historian Andrew Chaikin as we look inside the story of a week 50 years ago when we came precariously close to the first loss of an astronaut crew in space. 

USC

For scientists in the fields of chemistry, medicine, and physics, there is the Nobel Prize and all the accolades that come with it. But for scientists in the environmental sciences, the Tyler Prize was created by Ann and John Tyler in 1973 to recognize scientists making world-class contributions to the fields of science that most impact our understanding of the Earth's ecosystems.

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