Archive for the 'Planetary Science' Category

This episode is full of plenty of rockets and missions going up....and one that went down explosively.

On this episode, we begin with two crew launches. First the Soyuz MS-18 mission and why an American astronaut was added only a few months before launch. Plus a quick look ahead to Crew-2 aboard a Crew Dragon, and a possible new tradition started by the crew.

Next it's on to Mars, where the Ingenuity helicopter is set to take off. This isn't just significant for future Mars exploration. We go into the potential historical impact of a mini helicopter flying on another world.

Then it's onto the nominee for NASA's next administrator, former Senator Bill Nelson (D) Florida. Former administrator Jim Bridenstine thinks it's a good pick, but what does the panel think?

Then it's onto SpaceX. First, the farewell to Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief, the fairing recovery ships. What does this mean for reusability.

Last but no least, it's all about SN-11, the Starship test flight from Boca Chica (or Starbase depending on your preference) Texas. The mission went up under heavy fog before exploding before landing. What does this mean for the program? Can you still get enough data from just telemetry as opposed to visuals? What led to the decision to fly on that day and how is the FAA somehow involved? Also, is SpaceX learning from these test flights or is it just for show? We look at all these questions and more.

Show recorded 4-7-2021

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman,

 

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One week, three crafts, one planet. On this first episode of Season 13 we're aiming for Mars.

We discuss three successful missions arriving at the red planet within one week of each other, the "Hope" mission from the United Arab Emirates, China's Tianwen-1 Mission, and the most discussed mission of the three, NASA's Perseverance Rover. We go into all of the amazing firsts so far, and what the mission should accomplish during its time on the red planet. Also, find out why Mark doesn't like calling the rover "Percy".

Next, we discuss the future for RocketLab, including their CEO literally eating their hat as they announce the design of a new rocket.

Finally we discuss the Inspiration 4 mission, which will send ordinary people to space along with helping a good cause...but is it really giving anybody a chance to go, or is it favoring certain people more than others?

Show recorded 3-1-2021

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Dr. Kat Robison

 

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Better late than never, so here's an episode full of launch and landing audio!

We begin with the launches Talking Space was fortunate to be at, including the first launch of the upgraded SpaceX Cargo Dragon, the much delayed Delta IV Heavy carrying NROL-44, and a launch and Return to Launch Site (RTLS) landing of a Falcon 9 booster from NROL-108.

We also discuss the recent launch and landing attempt for SpaceX's Starhopper SN-8 mission, and why ending in an explosion isn't necessarily a bad thing. They're not the only ones doing tests. Virgin Galactic is as well, and we've got the latest on their tests to get back into flight.

Finally we take a look at the NASA Authorization Bill, which looks at where the money will go for NASA's budget...and it definitely leaves a little to be desired...or does it? Listen to find out all the details.

Show recorded 12-4-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

 

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From the Earth to the Space Station to the Moon, Talking Space is proud to be a part of history!

On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss the successful launch of the Crew-1 mission, sending four astronauts to the International Space Station.

We discuss all of the major historical achievements made during this mission. We also discuss what the atmosphere is like at the press site for a crew launch, in particular during a pandemic, and if the fan fare and unique feeling of a crew launch still exist.

We also end up discussion fashion and whether the public was really interested in this launch.

Next we discuss Rocket Lab's foray into reusability, and discuss the one thing we wish we knew to determine if reusability, especially from a company like SpaceX, is feasible.

We also discuss China's successful landing on the moon and the scientific and cultural significance of this mission.

Finally we say farewell to the Arecibo Radio Telescope, which has collapsed since this was recorded. We look into the main factors that led to the crash, since we believe it wasn't just storms or wear-and-tear behind the damage.

Show recorded 11-25-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison

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On this episode of Talking Space, we tackle two major stories, the launch of Mars 2020 and the landing of Crew Dragon Endeavour.

We start with the launch of the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter. We look at some of the unique items onboard, as well as listen to the launch audio we recorded from a few miles away. In addition to the mission, we talk about what it's like to cover a launch during a pandemic (with special thanks to the 45th Space Wing) and how a Mars spacecraft sterilizer is helping in the fight against COVID-19.

Then it's onto SpaceX and the successful return of the Crew Dragon capsule from the ISS. We look at the successes and some of the items they found need to be improved, including stray boats and possibly toxic hypergolic fuels.

Finally, we debate a tweet by President Donald Trump about the state of NASA. Mark and Gene get into an interesting debate over the state of the space program and who we can thank for where we are today.

Show recorded 8-10-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

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On this episode of Talking Space, the main focus is on Mars as three countries send missions to the red planet.

We discuss the United Arab Emirates first mission to the red planet and the implications it has for the country and that part of the world.

We then discuss China's mission which was also launched, their first solo mission to Mars, and discuss where their space program stands right now and if they could become a major player again in space.

Finally NASA is up with their Mars 2020 mission and the Perseverance rover.

We discuss some launch successes and one failure unfortunately for Rocket Labs of their Electron rocket and what it means for their future. We also discuss another delay of the James Webb Space Telescope and what you can do to see Comet NEOWISE before it disappears.

Kat Robison brings us a special piece on a space pioneer you may not have heard of, Ed Dwight. You can read the original article by clicking here.

Finally we remember U.S. Representative John Lewis and his surprising connection to the International Space Station.

 

Show recorded 7-19-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison

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On this episodes we may be mentioning routine launches but it's anything but routine as we return for a news round-up.

On this episode we begin our launch round-up with some past and present SpaceX launches, including the Telstar-18V launch and the upcoming first RTLS mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. We also check in on our rover friends on Mars, Opportunity and Curiosity. One remains silent while the other deals with a data glitch.

We then move on to the ISS to discuss the recent Japanese cargo vehicle launch, the HTV, aboard an H-IIA rocket. This HTV vehicle, however, has a unique return capability. Hear all about it in the episode. Then, it's what we're calling "hole-gate". A look at the history behind the hole discovered on a Soyuz, how NASA and Russia handled it, and who really could be behind it. We also congratulate Japan on their first successful landing on an asteroid, and why members of the OSIRIS-REx team are watching closely.

Then we get into the big announcement from SpaceX of design changes to the BFR as well as the first private citizen to pay to fly aboard it. Elon Musk is saying 2023 but is that realistic or is it just "Elon Time"? We give our opinions and our thoughts on where the program should go.

Lastly it's a story you'll only hear on Talking Space, about NASA 502. The research plane flying in and out of the airport in Gainesville, Florida, where our own Mark Ratterman works. Find out why a NASA plane from California is in Florida and studying Hurricane Florence and why it has an odd disk underneath it.

For more information on the UAVSAR instrument, visit https://uavsar.jpl.nasa.gov/. 

[An image gallery was inserted here. To view it visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 9-23-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

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It's not just about getting to the sun, it's about the people behind the mission making it all happen. That's what this episode of Talking Space is all about.

We speak with four integral members of the Parker Solar Probe team. The mission launched successfully in early August. To hear more about the mission along with the spectacular Delta IV Heavy launch audio, be sure to check out Part 1 in Episode 1007.

In this episode, we begin speaking with Dr. Adam Szabo, the mission scientist for Parker Solar Probe. From him we learn more about the mission objectives, how the gravity assist will be different from those in the past, and how PSP fits in with the host of solar observing missions already in orbit.

Next, we speak with David McComas of Princeton University who is in charge of the ISʘIS experiment. We discuss more about the role of the instrument, along with his excitement, plus a person "struggle" so-to-speak that's he's used to his advantage and hopes to share with others.

Then, we hear from two of the mission's leads immediately following the successful liftoff. That includes project scientist and soon to be head of Heliophysics at NASA Nikki Fox and Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen about the status of the mission and what's next for the spacecraft as it nears its first Venus encounter to help slow it down.

Stay tuned for Part 3, following our normal news episode, featuring a Q&A which you can only hear in high quality in its entirety here with Dr. Eugene Parker. The session was held for a very limited audience before launch and has never been aired in its entirety, so stay tuned!

Show recorded 8-19-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka with special guest interviews recorded on location at the Kennedy Space Center.

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On part one of this extremely special three-part Talking Space, hear the sound of a Delta IV Heavy launching a mission to the sun and hear from the scientists behind it!

We begin with the successful launch of the Parker Solar Probe mission, which is set to "touch the sun". This mission will set many records, and you'll hear all about them. You'll hear about the delays and the successes, including the launch audio as the Delta IV Heavy roared into the early morning sky and continued to rumble for minutes after launch. Hear from some of the science heads on the mission, as well as the new NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green. 

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 coming out over the next three weeks where you'll hear more interviews from scientists, some exclusive behind-the-scenes access and a rare Q&A that you may never hear elsewhere in its entirety.

[A photo gallery was inserted here. To view it visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 8-19-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka with special guest interviews recorded on location at the Kennedy Space Center.

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What do you get after one month away? A boat load of news and some amazing interviews for our return from spring break.

We begin looking at the launches of the last month from all corners of the globe. We check out many of the major launch providers and their most recent missions. We also discuss the recent improvements in the quality of their webcasts and our thoughts on what that means for outreach.

We also discuss the announcement of two new NASA managers. First, NASA's new head of science and of course, the recently confirmed NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. We discuss our opinions so far on both of them and what we hope for the future.

Of course we discuss NASA's next Mars lander which is now on its way, Mars InSight, however we get some "insight" from one of the people who worked on it at this year's Northeast Astronomy Forum, or NEAF.

At NEAF, we also hear from the authors of "Bringing Columbia Home" about the recovery efforts after the 2003 Columbia disaster. Plus we bring you an amazing story of a young girl from Cosovo who's taking the US by storm promoting astronomy outreach.

We also have to give a special shout-out to the ESA team working the Bepi Colombo Twitter account, @ESA_Bepi, on taking our wacky suggestion of needing a cute mascot. Make sure to check it out and tweet them if you love it.

Show recorded 5-2-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Kassy Tamanini

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