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Blue Dot #237: Sounds From Mars and Exploring the Heliosphere


Host Dave Schlom talks to two scientists studying the solar system but in very different ways. First, he visits with Los Alamos National Laboratory planetary scientist Nina Lanza about the recent recordings made by the Perseverance Rover on Mars. Lanza is a science team member for the NASA/JPL rover's SuperCam instrument.

One of the cool things that Rover engineers and scientists did was to equip Perseverance with microphones to record the sounds from another world for the very first time. From wind to the crunching of the rover's wheels -- sounds on Mars sound, well, otherworldly!

In the second half of the show, Dave visits with Dave McComas, Princeton astrophysics professor and world-renowned expert on the heliosphere, the huge bubble of charged particles emanating from the Sun that surrounds and protects our planetary environment from high energy radiation coming from interstellar space.


McComas is the Principal Investigator for the upcoming IMAP (Interstellar Mapping And Acceleration Probe) that will study the boundary between the Sun's influence and that of our galactic neighborhood.

Dave Schlom is the longtime host and creator of Blue Dot. From surfing to Voyager in interstellar space, rock guitar to orcas in our imperiled oceans, the topics on Blue Dot are as varied as the host’s interests and connections -- which are pretty limitless! An internationally respected space history journalist, Dave is also deeply fascinated by all aspects of the grand workings of nature’s awesome machinery on scales ranging from galactic to subatomic. And topics take in all aspects of the arts and sciences.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.