A Tale of Two Missions: OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons

OSIRIS-REx (starts at 1:00) IBennuNorthPolePassDec4n today’s first feature, we hear about OSIRIS-REx, NASA’s first mission to do a sample return from an asteroid.  Our guest is Dr. Vicky Hamilton, a Staff Scientist at the Southwest Reserarch Institute’s Boulder office, and a member of that mission.  She talks about the scientific goals of OSIRIS-REx, and how it plans to obtain and return a sample of the asteroid Bennu.


New Horizons (starts at 14:05) Year-of-KBO-artworkOur second spacey feature is about a mission that you might describe as exploring “beyond the beyond”. The piano-sized, nuclear-powered New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto over 3 years ago, and now has its sights set on an even more distant target named Ultima Thule. To talk about that, we have another local scientist from Southwest Research Institute, Dr. Cathy Olkin, Institute Scientist and also a New Horizons mission Deputy Project Scientist.  We hear about the flyby events that will take place on New Year’s Eve.


Host, Producer, and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

Listen to the show:


Titan Talk with Sarah Hörst

Headlines: Inheritance of mitochondrial DNA.  Coffee and Parkinson’s disease. Sending your name and a message to the New Horizons spacecraft.  Winds on Mars.  Water on Asteroids.

16278_PIA20016Feature: Titan (starts at 8:55) The solar system has so many different worlds that come in all shapes and sizes and histories, from boiling hot Mercury and Venus to icy Pluto and the Kuiper belt.  Such extreme alien worlds are exciting, but perhaps the places that catch our imaginations the most are the ones that are more familar – perhaps with the hope of humans one day visiting there and even living there.  So we think of places that have atmospheres and have – or once had – liquid water. But then there are those places that live in what you might call “the uncanny valley” between familiar and alien, and perhaps Saturn’s moon Titan fits into that category, with an atmosphere (but not one that you would want to breathe) and lakes (but not ones you would want to swim in).

Our guest today is Titan researcher  Dr. Sarah Hörst, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, where she also is a member of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute. She is a Co-Investigator in the proposed Dragonfly mission to Titan.  You can also follow her on Twitter as @PlanetDr.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Chip Grandits, Gretchen Wettstein
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Contributor: Beth Bennett

Listen to the show here: