Space

Sky And Telescope


Even casual observers of the night sky are familiar with the winter constellation Orion. It's two brightest stars, Rigel and Betelgeuse and its three belt stars make it an easy one to spot. But one of them has dimmed dramatically in recent months, the red supergiant star Betelgeuse. 

NASA


Dave talks with two of the Deputy Project Scientists deeply involved with the Curiosity Rover, which has been exploring Gale Crater since 2012, and the new, yet to be named, Mars 2020 Rover that will be launching this July. 

 

Abigail Fraeman is the DPS for Curiosity and explains how the mobile science laboratory has furthered our understanding of how Mars was once a planet that was suitable for primitive microbial life. 

NASA

 

Blue Dot looks back at 51 years 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.

NASA


Longtime listeners to Blue Dot know that Dave has a lifelong fascination with the Moon from its exploration to its role in eclipses. But how did our companion world come to be? 

 

Since the Apollo missions brought back lunar samples, the most accepted idea is called the "Giant Impact Hypothesis" but the notion has its flaws -- mainly that if a Mars-sized object actually did hit the Earth and create the Moon, where is the evidence in the Moon rocks which are isotopically identical to Earth's?

NASA

In this very special episode, we pay tribute to two legends: Dr. Christopher Columbus Kraft Jr. and NASA's historic Mission Operations Control Room number 2 (aka MOCR 2). Dr. Kraft passed away on July 22, two days after America celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Kraft was the man who literally invented the concept of flight control for NASA from the first American space flights of Project Mercury from 1961-63 through Project Gemini and Apollo culminating with the nine lunar missions from 1968-1972. 

Dave talks to Gideon Bradshaw and Andrew Cohen, the BBC filmmakers behind the new NOVA series The Planets on PBS. Part of the "Summer of Space" on PBS, the series features state of the art science combined with cinematic effects featured on major Hollywood films from the special effects artists who created The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Captain America: The First Avenger -- LOLAVFX.

Blue Dot 135: Apollo 9

Mar 1, 2019
NASA

In our third installment of Blue Dot's look back at Project Apollo for the 50th anniversaries of the missions, we examine perhaps the most overlooked of all, Apollo 9. Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 Lunar Module Pilot, joins Dave to talk about the ambitious test flight that paved the way for Neil Armstrong's one small step, just over four months later.