There’s a lot going on up there. Join space reporter Brendan Byrne each week as he explores space exploration. From efforts to launch humans into deep space, to the probes exploring our solar system, Are We There Yet? brings you the latest in news from the space beat. Listen to interviews with astronauts, engineers and visionaries as humanity takes its next giant leap exploring our universe.
Tracking a changing climate on Earth and the robots exploring Mars
NASA is focusing on climate change — specifically, observing our changing climate from space. The agency named a new head scientist who will also serve as senior climate advisor. But NASA’s focus on climate isn’t new. It has been observing the Earth’s climate for decades.
What is new is a renewed focus on missions aimed at tracking climate-related data from space and inspiring action down here on Earth. Four missions are set to launch just this year with that goal in mind.
To talk more about NASA’s past and future efforts to monitor and mitigate climate change, we’ll speak with NASA’s Karen St. Germain, the director of NASA’s Earth Science division.
Then, from Earth to Mars. Almost a year ago, three missions arrived at the red planet. What have we learned from our robotic explorers? We’ll check in with Jake Robins, host of the WeMartians podcast, for the rundown on the red planet robots.
Another year of space exploration
It was a very busy year for space exploration. In 2021 we saw the arrival of three missions to Mars, multiple human launches — from suborbital space flights to commercial NASA missions — two missions to asteroids and a massive space telescope took flight. And there’s no signs of slowing down in 2022. From moon missions to a busy launch schedule, there’s a lot to look forward to when it comes to space exploration.
To talk about the excited science of 2021 and the year ahead, we’ll speak with our panel of physicists from the University of Central Florida — Josh Colwell, Addie Dove and Jim Cooney — about the flagship missions of last year like NASA’s Perseverance Rover and the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. We’ll also look ahead at the cool and interesting things happening in 2022.
Then, we’ll check in with a panel of space journalists: Fox Weather’s Emilee Speck and Florida Today’s Emre Kelley recount a very busy year from the Florida Space Coast and the push to have another record year of launches from Florida.
Inside NASA’s Mission Control Center with its longest-serving flight director Paul Dye
NASA’s Mission Control Center is responsible for the safety of its astronauts and space hardware. It takes a special kind of person to take on that responsibility. NASA’s flight controllers and directors are there in the MCC 24 hours a day, 7 days a week keeping our astronauts safe and helping them conduct on-orbit science and maintenance.
When he retired from NASA in 2013, Paul Dye was the longest serving flight director, tallying 39 missions during his tenure.
His new book Shuttle, Houston: My Life in the Center Seat of Mission Control chronicles his four decades in aviation and takes us behind the scenes to NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas.
We’ll talk with Paul about his career and what it takes to be a flight director.
The James Webb Space Telescope takes flight
After decades of development, the James Webb Space Telescope takes flight. Scientists have been thinking about this moment since the 1990s — a new set of eyes that will see father into our universe than ever before.
The James Webb Space Telescope launches this week, an event that has astronomers and scientists on edge. Hundreds of things could go wrong during deployment with this massive machine. And there’s no chance we can fix it if something happens.
In its complexity comes its power. We’ll talk with NPR science correspondent Nell Grenrenfield Boyce about the secrets it aims to unlock and the things it might see once fully deployed.
* This new space telescope should how us what the universe looked like as a baby (NPR, Nell Greenfieldboyce)
* We have one shot to see the universe like never before (The Atlantic, Marina Koren)
* Shadowed by controversy, NASA won’t rename its new space telescope (NPR, Nell Greenfieldboyce)
* Why astronomers are “crying and throwing up everywhere” over the upcoming telescope launch (Slate, Jaime Green)
New astronauts, new rockets
NASA announced the selection of 10 new astronaut candidates, who will begin their training at Johnson Space Center in Houston next month. The group — four women and six men — come from wide-ranging backgrounds. They were selected from nearly 12,000 applications
One of those candidates is Luke Delaney. Most recently, he was a pilot for NASA Langley Research. Now, he’ll train for future missions to the International Space Station or even the moon. We’ll talk with Delaney about his childhood watching Space Shuttle launches from Florida and dreaming of becoming an astronaut, and what’s ahead for his next chapter as a NASA astronaut candidate.
Then, we’ve got a handful of new rockets coming online. From SpaceX’s massive Starship to a new vehicle from RocketLab with a unique nose cone, there’s a lot happening in the commercial space world. We’ll talk with Main Engine Cut Off host Anthony Colangelo about this busy time in commercial space.
Biden’s space agenda & the ethics of exploration
The Biden administration held its first National Space Council meeting last week. Chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris, the group of cabinet members and space policy stakeholders helps steer the White House’s space policy aspirations.
This first meeting in Washington, D.C. focused largely on space junk and climate change. We’ll speak with Space Policy Online editor Marcia Smith about the administration’s space agenda and the path forward for President Biden’s space program.
Then, space junk caused by a Russian anti-satellite missile test forced space station astronauts to shelter in their docked spacecraft. While Russia downplayed the risk of the test, the U.S. government condemned the action.
It’s the latest space-based event highlighting important ethical issues when it comes to the use of space and militarization of low-Earth orbit. To talk more about these questions we’ll speak with Brian Green, director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University and author of the book Space Ethics.
This show is awesome! Are We There Yet?offers an awesome blend of technical and non-technical topics that are broken down so that anyone can understand. I HIGHLY recommend this show to anyone with an inkling of interest in the science of space and the latest and greatest news of the space industry.
Wow!! After listening to this podcast everything just “clicked”. Now i am much more aware of what it takes to do these things and to make humans finally interplanetary.
This “space exploration” podcast has so far only talked about teaching, astronomy, Millennials, and sci-fi.