John Sonntag / NASA

A few degrees of planetary warming may not sound alarming but it is. A few microseconds of error don't sound like much but they can mean the difference between navigating a spacecraft successfully to Mars, or not.



In this episode Dave talks to Drew Shindell about a web article called "A Degree of Concern: Why Global Temperatures Matter." Written by NASA Media Specialist Alan Buis, Shindell, a Duke University Atmospheric Physicist was the scientific collaborator on the project which explains how just a degree or two of average planetary warming can and most definitely will have dramatic consequences on ecosystems and the human civilization that depends on them.


Fred Haise was made famous by the movie Apollo 13, in which he was portrayed by Bill Paxton in the story of the most famous Apollo mission other than Apollo 11. But he was also a member of the Apollo 11 team, serving as back up lunar module pilot in case something happened to Buzz Aldrin prior to the flight. 


Dave talks to Fred about what it was like to go through all the training for the first moon landing as well as being the last person in the command module Columbia when he was responsible for setting all the lighting and switches before Neil Armstrong, Aldrin and Mike Collins climbed aboard to set off for their historic voyage on July 16, 1969.

Lisa Westwood

Dave meets with a kindred soul as Archaeologist and California State University Chico Anthropology Department Professor Lisa Westwood joins him in Studio C to talk about the archaeology of the space age.

She's the lead author of the book The Final Mission: Preserving NASA's Apollo Sites with co-authors Beth O'Leary and Milford Wayne Donaldson.

Blue Dot 136: Opportunity Rover Mission

Mar 8, 2019

We pay tribute to the Opportunity Rover mission, which was supposed to last for three months but wound up tooling around Meridiani Planum on Mars for nearly 15 years. A major dust storm finally knocked the plucky Mars Exploration Rover (nicknamed Oppy) out of commission when NASA lost contact with it on June 10, 2018.

Blue Dot 134: Alan Stern & Brian May

Feb 21, 2019
David Schlom

Dave is joined by two rock stars on this very special episode of Blue Dot. Brian May is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist for Queen and along with his band mate Roger Taylor, was a creative and musical consultant for the Academy Award nominated Bohemian Rhapsody. But May is also a serious scientist with a Ph.D in astrophysics from Imperial College.



The Dawn spacecraft is pretty cool (we've thought so for a long time). Using its ion propulsion system, it's studied Vesta and now Ceres, the two largest objects in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. The craft and its Earthbound crew are this year's winners of the Collier Trophy, awarded for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America. 

Blue Dot 19: Juno And Jupiter

Jun 30, 2016

In Greco-Roman mythology, Juno was Jupiter's wife (and sister... hmm). Jupiter would shroud his behaviors in clouds, but Juno could part them and see what Jupiter was up to. Launched five years ago, NASA's Juno spacecraft will be lifting the veil on Jupiter when it enters Jovian orbit on the Fourth of July. 

The craft, the fastest thing ever built by humans, will gather data on the gas giant's magnetosphere, its gravity and its very composition. This data could help provide insight on many of the exoplanets we've so far discovered, as a great number of them appear compositionally similar to Jupiter. 

Blue Dot 13: Astronaut Abby

Apr 28, 2016
Abigail Harrison

Abigail Harrison has always wanted to be an astronaut, and hopes to be the first person on Mars. The 18-year-old is a freshman at Wellesley College, and she shares her optimism and audacity through her nonprofit The Mars Generation. Whether or non she wears a NASA uniform one day, she is an inspiration to us all to work hard and dream big.

Blue Dot 08: Return To The Moon

Mar 24, 2016

This week on Blue Dot, we talk to Dr. Jennifer Heldmann about the surface, water, and rocket fuel on the moon, and how it might become a staging area to send humans to Mars. We hear from Dr. Pamela Clark about the versatile tiny satellites we’re sending to space — in particular, the ones that will go study the moon.

We also talk with Frank Sinatra biographer James Kaplan about a song that has a very Lunar history. 


Scientists have detected what may be remembered as the biggest discovery in our lifetimes: gravitational waves. The minute but unequivocal readings are further confirmation of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, and serve to deepen our scientific knowledge of the way the universe ticks.