Space

Smithsonian

 


In this episode, we look back in space and time to examine the life of an extraordinary pioneer of the space race and literally our place in space -- the pale blue dot image. First Dave talks to Clayton Turner, the Director of the Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia as we examine the life of the late Katherine Johnson. 

SpaceX via NASA


After spending the last two years looking back at the Apollo Program, Dave looks ahead to the Commercial Crew flight program and Project Artemis. We hear first from Daniel Huot, a NASA spokesperson who is doing commentary during the historic first flight of the Crew Dragon Demo 2 mission with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley set to put America back in space from US soil for the first time since the retirement of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.

NASA


In this episode, inspired by our good friend Alan Stern, the Principal Investigator for the New Horizons Spacecraft, we examine a question that has vexed astronomers, planetary scientists and 5th graders, for decades: "What exactly is a Planet?" And more importantly, why should we care about definitions like this in science.

NASA


In a time of global crisis, it's good to look at the lessons of history, to help us understand that we do have the ability to overcome terrible adversity. The story of the near loss of Apollo 13 in April of 1970 is filled with amazing leadership, problem solving and heroism that led to the survival of astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert.

 

In part one of our two episodes dedicated to this tale of overcoming seemingly insurmountable problems, Dave interviews one of the four flight directors, Gerry Griffin, Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise, Flight Dynamics Officer Jerry Bostick and Apollo journalist/historian Andrew Chaikin as we look inside the story of a week 50 years ago when we came precariously close to the first loss of an astronaut crew in space. 

NASA


In this episode, we look back in space and time to examine the life of an extraordinary pioneer of the space race and literally our place in space -- the pale blue dot image. First Dave talks to Clayton Turner, the Director of the Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia as we examine the life of the late Katherine Johnson. 

 

Made famous in the book and movie, Hidden Figures, Johnson's mathematical computations paved the way to put the first Americans into space including Alan Shepard and John Glenn and the lunar missions of the Apollo Program. Johnson passed away on February 24 at the age of 101. We also visit with Katrina Young, a NASA Public Relations specialist who got to know Johnson well during her many return visits to Langley.

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?

Alan Bean Gallery


Blue Dot's "Apollo at 50" series continues with this look back at Apollo 12 which took place in November of 1969. Dave often says that "Apollo 12 was one of my favorite missions -- it paved the way for the scientific exploration of the Moon and had the crew that can definitely be called 'A band of brothers!'

 

While none of the Apollo 12 astronauts are with us on Earth, they are certainly with us in our collective memory and we take a look back at the epic mission to explore the Ocean of Storms 50 years ago with Lead Flight Director Gerry Griffin, Flight Controller John Aaron and astronaut Alan Bean's daughter Amy Bean.

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