Blue Dot

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

Blue Dot, named after Carl Sagan's famous speech about our place in the universe, features interviews with guests from all over the regional, national and worldwide scientific communities. Host Dave Schlom leads discussions about the issues science is helping us address with experts who shed light on climate change, space exploration, astronomy, technology and much more. Dave asks us to remember: from deep space, we all live on a pale, blue dot. 

The Weather Channel


Two of our favorite experts on weather and climate return for this special discussion moderated by Dave. Both of them were on the frontlines of the worst extreme weather disasters of 2018.



Blue Dot 127: Apollo 8

Dec 21, 2018
William Anders

Blue Dot continues its look back at the 50th anniversaries of the Apollo program with a look at the very first mission to the Moon -- Apollo 8. Considered by most space historians as the most dramatic and bold mission of the entire lunar program, astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders became the first human beings to leave ride the powerful Saturn V rocket, leave Earth's gravitational well and see the backside of the Moon with their own eyes.

Don Hankins

Dave learns about fighting fire with fire in this episode as he talks to CSU Chico Professor of Geography Don Hankins. Dr. Hankins teaches a course called "Pyrogeography" examining the role of fire on both landscapes and the communities that inhabit them. Hankins is a firm believer in the importance of using prescribed burning techniques to control fuel loads and enhance the native ecology of areas throughout California that evolved with fire as a natural element of their ecosystems.

Menno Schilthuizen

Evolution by natural selection is taking place everywhere on Earth. Or is it? As in "natural." In this episode Dave talks to Menno Schilthuizen, an evolutionary biologist from the Netherlands. His new book Darwin Comes To Town: How The Urban Jungle Drives Evolution examines how evolution is not only taking place, it is accelerating in our cities.


 Blue Dot teams with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to give you a taste of their new podcast series, On a Mission. Created by science journalist Leslie Mullen, the podcast chronicles the InSight lander mission to Mars, which lifted off from Vandenburg AFB in Southern California (the first planetary mission launched from California!) in May. The lander is going to probe the interior of Mars to try and learn more about how the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus Earth and Mars) evolved their differentiated interiors of cores, mantles and crusts. Sensitive seismometers aboard the lander will sense Marsquakes to learn how seismic waves travel through the interior.

Chris Hadfield

Not many modern astronauts become household names. Chris Hadfield's moustached countenance has become an iconic exception since his final spaceflight as Commander of the International Space Station in 2013. His autobiographical lessons on life, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, was a bestseller and amazing chronicle of why spaceflight matters to all of us. Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space and helped install the Canada Arm2 onto the ISS during his second spaceflight in 2001. 


Lost in a lot of the noise about climate change and sea level rise is the role that warming ocean currents are playing in the melting of ice. And perhaps nowhere on Earth is that role more dramatically playing out than on the giant glacial clad island of Greenland. Dave is joined by his longtime friend Josh Willis, the Principal Investigator for NASA's OMG mission -- Oceans Melting Greenland. The warming Atlantic ocean circulation system is demonstrably melting the ice shelves of Greenland which will accelerate the rate of sea level rise with global consequences.

In n the wake of Hurricane Michael, we thought it appropriate to revisit our show on climate and severe weather. Climate Change. It generates controversy as well as extreme weather. In this episode we talk to Josh Willis and John Morales, two atmospheric experts on the frontlines of communicating climate science. Willis won a Presidential Early Career award from Barack Obama in 2009.

Blue Dot 121: Apollo 7

Oct 19, 2018

This week we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first test flight of the Apollo spacecraft in October of 1968 -- Apollo 7 -- with the last surviving crew member, Walt Cunningham. After the tragic fire that took the lives of Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee in January 1967, NASA had to completely redesign the Apollo spacecraft. Just over a year and a half later, the crew of Cunningham, Commander Wally Schirra and Donn Eisele took the spacecraft into earth orbit for an 11 day shakedown mission that tested all of the spacecrafts systems.

Blue Dot 120: The Great San Francisco Earthquake

Oct 12, 2018

In this episode we look back at what was once known as, "The Great San Francisco Earthquake." But it isn't the famous disaster from 1906. On October 21 an estimated magnitude 6.8 temblor rocked the Bay Area when the Hayward Fault ruptured. Dubbed "the most dangerous fault in America," by seismologists, the tectonic boundary is an extension of the more famous San Andreas Fault and passes below the densely populated East Bay from Fremont through Hayward, Oakland and Berkeley before ending in San Pablo Bay.