Blue Dot 221: VENUS REVISITED and ASTEROID IMPACT SCENARIOS
This show deals with some kinda scary places and potentially dangerous future events. Dave talks to astrobiologist David Grinspoon about two newly funded NASA robotic missions to Venus. Grinspoon is a team member of the DAVINCI+ mission that will drop a probe into the dense clouds of our sister planet which has the highest surface temperatures in the solar system due to a runaway greenhouse effect due to an overload of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere. Grinspoon will also describe a second mission, called VERITAS which will study the hellish world in detail from orbit.
In the second half of the show, Dave visits with NASA JPL's Paul Chodas, who is the Director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies which monitors the orbits of objects that have orbits that cross our own, thereby creating a potential for an impact.
Chodas was part of a team that did a simulated scenario of how the Earth's governments could and should respond to an asteroid impact if it was detected in time for a few months of lead time warning. The asteroid in the simulation would be big enough to cause massive devastation on a regional scale in western Europe. Much like the simulations of large earthquakes in California and the Pacific Northwest, the scenario gives governments a chance to plan for how to react to a disaster on a large scale.