49 episodes

The National Air and Space Museum contains the largest and most significant collection of air- and spacecraft in the world. Behind those amazing machines are thousands of stories of human achievement, failure, and perseverance. Join Emily, Matt, and Nick as they demystify one of the world’s most visited museums and explore why people are so fascinated with stories of exploration, innovation, and discovery.

AirSpace National Air and Space Museum

    • History
    • 4.6 • 137 Ratings

The National Air and Space Museum contains the largest and most significant collection of air- and spacecraft in the world. Behind those amazing machines are thousands of stories of human achievement, failure, and perseverance. Join Emily, Matt, and Nick as they demystify one of the world’s most visited museums and explore why people are so fascinated with stories of exploration, innovation, and discovery.

    The Long Way Home

    The Long Way Home

    About 82,000 American service members are listed as Missing in Action – 72,000 from World War II alone. Many of these MIAs were lost at sea when their aircraft were shot down over open water. Recent technologies like robotic submersibles, advanced sonar, and DNA matching are making it easier for recovery operations to find the downed airplanes, and identify the remains of service members. In this episode, Emily, Matt, and Nick tell the story of one of those service members, from an aerial battle in the Pacific in 1944, to recovery and repatriation more than 70 years later. And we hear from the head of one of these recovery organizations who describes the herculean effort and coordination that goes into each recovery operation, all with the goal of providing an honorable homecoming to the fallen.

    • 14 min
    VOYAGES TO MARS: Crossing Lunar Orbit

    VOYAGES TO MARS: Crossing Lunar Orbit

    We’re back this month with the second installment of our side project, Voyages to Mars!

    Leaving Earth on your way to Mars, the first pit stop you might make is the Moon’s orbit. In this episode, we follow three Mars-bound space travelers from Mark Wicks’ novel, “To Mars via the Moon.” We see the Moon through the eyes of two Englishmen and a Scotsman as they explore the lunar surface with a combination of stretched scientific speculation and science fiction imaginings.  

    About Voyages to Mars: On July 30, 2020 NASA’s Perseverance rover launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida to Jezero crater, Mars. To accompany Percy on its seven-month journey, we’re compiling a literary mixtape of Martian-themed sci-fi set to music by DJ Kid Koala.

    Voyages to Mars is made possible by the support of the Secretary of the Smithsonian and the Smithsonian Orlando Regional Council.

    • 16 min
    Me and the Sky

    Me and the Sky

    If you’re a Broadway fan (or have been ANYWHERE near a theater in the last couple years), you’ve likely heard about Come From Away—the Tony-award-winning smash hit musical with a story firmly rooted in generations of aviation history. On September 11, 2001, 38 commercial airliners were diverted out of US air space to a small town with a big airport called Gander, Newfoundland. Come From Away puts a spotlight on Beverley Bass, American Airlines’ first woman Captain who commanded one of the aircraft. Nick sits down with Beverley to hear the story of her incredible career firsthand, and Emily talks to Come from Away’s writers, Irene Sankoff and David Hein, to learn how they were inspired to write an entire musical about the biggest aviation hub you’ve likely never heard of. Early aviation history, pioneering pilots, and one community’s story of unity on a day of infamy—there’s a lot going on in this episode (but still no intermission).

    • 31 min
    The Greatest Discovery

    The Greatest Discovery

    If you had $500 MILLION dollars to spend going anywhere in the solar system (rocket not included), where would YOU go? That’s exactly what NASA asks scientists in its Discovery Program – a (relatively) low budget, but influential, class of missions designed to increase our understanding of our stellar neighborhood through creative concepts that don’t quite fit anywhere else.  Think of them as the indie movies of space exploration…they may cost less, but they more than make up for it with bold ideas and chutzpah. Emily, Matt, and Nick discuss the four potential missions currently under consideration, and Emily speaks with Dr. Louise Proctor, the principle investigator of the proposed Trident mission to Neptune’s moon Triton.

    • 15 min
    VOYAGES TO MARS: Launch

    VOYAGES TO MARS: Launch

    And now for something a little different. On July 30, 2020 NASA’s Perseverance rover launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida to Jezero crater, Mars. To accompany Percy on its seven-month journey, we’re compiling a literary mixtape of Martian-themed sci-fi set to music by DJ Kid Koala.

    In this first installment of Voyages to Mars, we hear launch stories from two famous science fiction novels written long before the invention of modern rockets. From Percy Greg’s 1880 novel, Across the Zodiac, we get a detailed account of one of the first imaginary ships ever to travel from the Earth to Mars in literature. In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel, From the Earth to the Moon, we find one of the first descriptions ever written of what it might be like to witness a launch. Strap yourself in and come along for the ride.

    Special thanks to Lizzie Peabody of Smithsonian’s Sidedoor podcast.

    Voyages to Mars is made possible by the support of the Secretary of the Smithsonian and the Smithsonian Orlando Regional Council.

    • 17 min
    Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs

    Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs

    With everyone quarantining, it’s like spring cleaning never ended this year—and as important as cleanliness is here on Earth, it’s really, really important when you’re headed for outer space.  We’ve talked about planetary protection on the pod before, but it’s never felt closer to home than now, so we’re digging a little deeper into what it takes to keep our planet safe from space germs and keep space safe from Earth germs. On today’s show Emily, Matt, and Nick get into the (dirty) details of how we ensured that our astronauts didn’t bring home bugs from the Moon with our Apollo curator Teasel Muir-Harmony, and look at the (squeaky clean) ways we make sure terrestrial microbes aren’t hitchhiking their way to Mars with NASA Planetary Protection Officer Lisa Pratt. Wash your hands and enjoy!

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
137 Ratings

137 Ratings

rocketaholic ,

Love the podcasts

Great PODCASTS and just AWESOME and TERRIFIC 🚀👍🏼😊

Mrs. Buttercup ,

Me and the Sky

Was interesting, about Gander divert on 9-11, until the part where some men were searched, because pax and crew were uncomfortable about them . Podcaster call it unfortunate, terrible xenophobia. This happened the day after terrorists crashed airplanes into buildings. I think it might better be called cautious self preservation. The men were allowed on board.

N2AL ,

Incorrect Information Regarding Race

The latest podcast with the pilot who landed in Newfoundland was a good listen, up until the point where a show host began spouting off incorrect claims of racial injustices.

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