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Blue Dot: NASA's MSI Accelerator Program and celebrating 25 year anniversary of Mars Pathfinder


Host Dave Schlom visits with grant winners from a NASA program designed to boost and accelerate science and engineering programs with potential space applications at Minority Serving Institutions (MSI).

Guests include NASA program director Tom Cwik who provides an overview, and some of the winners of this year's competition from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina: Dr. Sambit Bhattacharya and two of his students, Khali Crawford and Grace Vincent.

Then, Dave is joined by JPL's Doug Ellison to talk about the very appropriately named Mars Pathfinder Mission 25 years ago. Pathfinder, now known as Carl Sagan Memorial Station on Mars, had the very first Mars rover -- Sojourner. Aside from being featured in the movie The Martian, Pathfinder was one of the very first missions that utilized the relatively new experience of sharing images and information on the internet -- setting the stage for everyone that enjoys following missions virtually now.

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.