Archive for the 'Cosmology' Category

In a departure from our usual fare of space news and policy, this week we took some time to contemplate the skies. Danielle Adams, a doctoral candidate at The University of Arizona in the School of Middle East and North African Studies with a minor in the School of Anthropology stopped by to discuss her current project with us. Two Deserts, One Sky is a project in cultural astronomy connecting the present day desert sky in Arizona across time to the desert skies observed by Arab cultures between the 9th and 12th centuries CE. Danielle weaves the stories recorded by these past cultures in with instructions on how to view the asterisms in the night sky with naked eye observing. In this episode, we speak with Danielle both about Two Deserts, One Sky and how her interest in astronomy and Arab culture led her to the pursuit of this project. 


We often speak about the importance of NASA in the community on our show, and this episode provided us with an opportunity to showcase how NASA supports not only those in the STEM fields, but important social science research as well. Two Deserts, One Sky is funded as an outreach project by NASA through the Arizona Space Grant Consortium, along with The University of Arizona’s School of Middle East and North African Studies and the School of Anthropology.

Show Recorded 2-29-16

Host this week: Kassy Tamanini

Special Guest: Danielle Addams 

Panel Members: Gene Mikulka and Kat Robison

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This week we take a journey from the halls of Congress out through our solar system, and then journey out to a point 1.3 billion light years away from home. On February3rd, the Space Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology met to discuss the current status of NASA’s Journey to Mars, and how it may survive past the current presidential administration. We examine the winners and losers in the 2017 NASA budget proposal. NASA announces the Exploration Mission 1 Launch Director and we discuss the Cygnus OA-6 Mission launch delay.

The Year In Space increment on board the International Space Station is coming into the home stretch, while back on Earth, the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is completed.

European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission continues, but without the Philae lander that made landfall on Comet 67P in November. There has been no response from Philae since July and ESA has announced they will stop trying to contact the spacecraft. We discuss some of the highlights and lessons learned from this milestone mission.  NASA releases  a terrain map of Pluto’s ‘heart’ region, based on New Horizon’s spacecraft data , revealing a few big surprises.

The final story: the discovery of gravitational waves from the collision of two massive black holes. These waves reached our own planet this past September and were detected by the freshly-upgraded advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), providing the first proof of parts of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. What does this mean and why is it so exciting? We break it down for you

The LIGO comic by Talcott Starr discussed in the episode can be found here and make sure to give it a like if you enjoy it.

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini

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On this episode of Talking Space, we return from a long hiatus to recap some of the space news of the last few weeks that was important to us. We begin with a look at the 2015 NASA Budget proposal and what that means for some NASA programs and what we think of the cuts and gains. Next, we talk about the ISS, including the release of a record 33 CubeSats and the return of the Expedition 37/38 crew from the station. On our second trip around the table, we discuss some launches, including GPS 2F-5 which involved a lot of possums, and the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission or GPM which launched from Japan. On our final trip around the table, we talk about raining iron on a brown dwarf, and lastly review the first episode of the Cosmos reboot, Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

We want to hear from you about Cosmos. Send us your thoughts via email, tweet us @talkingspace, or post it on our Facebook wall

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gina Herlihy, Mark Ratterman and the Spaceflight Group's Jason Rhian

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On this episode of Talking Space, the ship runs a little light, as Gene and Sawyer start with the wake-up of Rosetta after 31 months of hibernation, and we talk about the ambitious goals this mission has set. We then talk about the newest approved NASA budget and is it really a "hip hip hooray" like some are saying? We then start round two with a look at ESA's service module for Orion and rumors of a possible delay. We give the facts and weigh in our thoughts. We finish off with an interesting topic and one almost certain to cause debate: Should NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center have been renamed after Neil Armstrong, and should any others be renamed. We finish off with a special segment from Mark who interviewed ULA TDRS-L Mission Integrator Bryan Bauerlin.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Gene Mikulka with Mark Ratterman and his guest ULA TDRS-L Mission Integrator Bryan Bauerlin 

Show Recorded 1/20/2014

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On this episode of Talking Space we discuss ATV4 (named Albert Einstein) which departed the ISS on 28 October. Burning up on re-entry is only part of the final objectives to be met by this cargo carrier launched by ESA on 5 June 2013. Sawyer has a Washington Post story about research and papers published by the Principal Investigators indicating the real prominence of the research done at our International Space Station.
Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser ETA (Engineering Test Article) flips while landing during its maiden free flight drop test. Gene talks about this the rest of the otherwise successful test flight. The NASA Orion capsule has been powered on for the first time continuing to prepare for Exploration Flight Test-1 mission targeted to launch in 1 year.
SpaceX works toward a summer 2014 test of the SuperDraco launch escape system from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 73 seconds into its flight. NASA Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) completes first test laser data communication link via earth ground stations to the LADEE spacecraft in orbit around the moon.

"Defending Earth from Asteroids" gets our attention thanks to Neil deGrasse Tyson and a panel of 5 Astronauts.
Gene hits the highlights of this American Museum of Natural History and Association of Space Explorers (ASE) co-hosted event. In addition to moderator Neil Tyson were 5 former Astronauts: Tom Jones, Rusty Schweickart, Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, Ed Lu and Soichi Noguchi. To see the video of this presentation follow this B612 Foundation link

A cartoon in a national newspaper compares the Affordable Care Act launch to loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger. We call it beyond distasteful, wrong and hope you'll read an article by Emily Carney from SpaceFlight Insider to hear her reactions,

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded 10/28/2013

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On this episode, we begin with STS-134 and the Flight Readiness Review setting the launch date and time as April 29th at 3:47pm EDT. Endeavour will be launching on her final mission carrying the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) and a special payload which survived the Columbia disaster in 2003. We then move on to NASA's CCDev, or the Commercial Crew Development Agreement, and who will be getting money supporting their concepts ranging from $22 million to $92 million. Lastly, we get into a heated argument about an editorial posted online and in the New York edition of the New York Times calling the space shuttle Enterprise, which will soon be housed at the Inrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York city, a pile of garbage and a hand-me-down.

The article to which is referenced from the New York Times is available online at

Don't forget to tune in to at 3pm EDT on April 29, 2011 for LIVE STS-134 launch coverage! Even if you can't make the live launch, check out the site, which replays our podcasts throughout the week, but the difference is, you can chat with other fans live in their chatroom.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gina Herlihy, Gene Mikulka, and Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded - 4/24/2011

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On this special episode, Gene sits down with Mark to discuss his recent expedition to the Kennedy Space Center for the arrival of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer 2 (AMS02). Mark discusses its purpose aboard the ISS as well as talks with some of the members of the AMS02 team and the crew of STS-134 who will be bringing AMS02 to the ISS aboard space shuttle Endeavour on the final space shuttle flight.

For more information on AMS02, visit their website at

Two images were inserted here. To view them, please visit

Panel Members this week: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded - 9/18/2010

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