In 2015, the New Horizons Spacecraft flew past Pluto. Because Pluto is so far away, it took nearly 10 years of travel for the spacecraft to reach that distant dwarf planet — and that was after a decade of work to get the spacecraft to the launch pad. Planetary scientists Alan Stern and David Grinspoon have written a new book, called: “Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto”. The book tells the story of developing and operating the New Horizon mission.
How on Earth’s own Joel Parker is also a scientist on the New Horizons mission, and he had a chance to chat with Alan and David about their book. Last week we heard the first part of this interview. In today’s show, we present Part 2 of that interview. You can also listen to the full extended interview.
Chasing New Horizons (starts 1:00) brings the reader Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto to hear the details and meet the personalities behind building, launching, and flying this audacious mission. How on Earth’s Joel Parker (also an astrophysicist on the New Horizons mission) speaks with authors and fellow scientists Alan Stern and David Grinspoon. (Booktalks at Boulder Bookstore and Tattered Cover). You can also listen to the full extended interview.
GoldLab Symposium (starts 13:00) This year’s symposium theme is Complexity: The Intersections Between Health and Policy. Boulder Entrepreneur and symposium founder Larry Gold speaks with How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender about this year’s annual symposium that explores the frontiers of science and health with an eye toward ideas that will inspire even the greatest world expert, with an ear toward being understandable to anyone in the room.
Host/Producer/Engineer: Shelley Schlender Add’l Contributions/Executive Producer: Joel Parker
The Cassini mission to Saturn launched 20 years ago, on October 15, 1997. It took seven years to reach Saturn, and has been orbiting and intensely studying Saturn ever since…until last week when the mission ended in a final dive into Saturn’s atmosphere. The mission studied Saturn, its famous rings, and its many moons using a suite of instruments that observed a broad range of wavelengths from ultraviolet, to visible, infrared, and radio as well as examining dust, charged particles, and magnetic fields. It also delivered the Huygens probe that descended through the atmosphere of Saturn’s giant moon, Titan.
Today’s show offers the following feature: Extraterrestrial intelligence? (start time: 6:30): It’s mid-summer, a time when many of us like to spend leisurely time outside at night, gazing at the stars and planets, and asking the big existential questions, such as, Are we alone? Is there intelligent life waaay out there? Our guest today, science writer Sarah Scoles, has pondered these questions for several years. She discusses with hosts Susan Moran and Joel Parker her just-published biography, Making Contact: Jill Tarter and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Tarter, an astronomer, directed the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research. Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel Contact” illustrates Tarter’s astronomical work. In the 1997 movie Contact (stemming from Sagan’s novel) actor Jodi Foster played a character who was loosely based on Tarter.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Alejandro Soto
Rosetta [feature starts at 5:27]
The Rosetta Space Mission has been in flight for ever 12 years and will be ending with a dramatic crash this Friday morning around 10:40 UT (4:40 am Mountain time) – it’s an event that will be watched and talked about by people around the world.
Rosetta is run by the European Space Agency, with contributions from NASA. The mission’s goals have been to study a comet to learn not only about how comets work, but what comets can tell us about the origins of the solar system, and perhaps connections to water and life. Rosetta was the first spacecraft to orbit and escort a comet as the comet approached and flew past the Sun, and Rosetta also carried a smaller spacecraft, named Philae, that performed the first landing on a comet.
The Rosetta mission has a very strong Colorado connection, since one of the instruments – an ultraviolet spectrograph called “Alice” – was operated from the offices of Southwest Research Institute right here in Boulder.We have three members of the Rosetta team here in the studio to talk about Rosetta, comets, and the rather exciting ending planned for the spacecraft in just a few days. Our guests are Andrew Steffl from Southwest Research Institute, John Pineau from Stellar Solutions, and John Noonan who is a recent astronomy graduate from the University of Colorado and is working at Southwest Research Institute.
There’s more information on the Rosetta Blog about how to follow the final events of the Rosetta mission.
Hosts: Joel Parker, Alejandro Soto Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Susan Moran Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender
What do Enzymes and photosynthesis have in common? Both are biological process that happen to rely on quantum mechanisims. That’s right, particles tunnling through walls, shifting between particle and wave states: The weirdness of the quantum world isn’t as isolated as we once thought. This past summer Life on The Edge, a book about the frontiers of quantum biology was released to US audiences. How on Earth corespondent Kendra Krueger caught up with one of the authors Johnjoe Mcfadden to talk more about the book and the weird science of quantum biology.
Science and Art with Monica Aiello
Monica Aiello is a visual artist who has worked with numerous scientific agencies to re-incorporate art into science. She and her husband work closely with earth scientists and NASA mission scientists, including scientists involved in NASA’s Voyager, Galileo, Messenger and Magellan missions. Their collaboration with scientists doesn’t just inform their art work, but is also part of their community outreach programs. Monica and Tyler Aiello’s work is featured in an upcoming exhibition called “Confluence” at the Space Gallery in Denver. Their work focuses on the Colorado River and the surrounding plateau.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Leslie Dodson Producer: Kendra Krueger Engineer: Kendra Krueger Headline Contributors: Susan Moran, Beth Bennett Executive Producer: Susan Moran
On today’s show we offer three feature interviews, including a short opening interview.
Alcohol and weight gain (starts at 3:34): Science journalist Jill Adams shares the latest science on the connection between alcohol and weight gain. The science is murky, as she states in her recent column in the Washington Post.
Climate Clues in Coral (starts at 9:02): Despite certain appearances and rumors to the contrary, global warming has not been on holiday for the past decade. But increases in temperature at the Earth’s surface have slowed down, prompting scientists to work hard to figure out why. It seems that a lot of heat that has been building up in our planet’s climate system due to greenhouse gas emissions has winded up deep in the Pacific Ocean. Why? Diane Thompson, a post-doctoral scientist at NCAR and lead author on a new study, discusses with HOE’s Tom Yulsman how a sample of coral from a remote atoll in the tropical Pacific revealed some important answers.
Tropic forests love CO2 (starts at 16:04) It’s been known for some time that tropical forests are not only rich in biodiversity, but they also absorb a lot of carbon dioxide that humans spew into the atmosphere. But just how much greenhouse gases—namely CO2–these forests take up, say, compared with temperate and boreal forests, has been eluding researchers. Britton Stephens, an atmospheric scientist at NCAR, discusses with HOE’s Susan Moran a new study he co-authored. It suggests that tropical forests may be absorbing far more CO2 than many scientists had previously thought.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Tom Yulsman Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Kendra Krueger