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.
Welcome To Mars, Percy. It’s Time To Do Science.
After a seven month journey hundreds of millions of miles through our solar system, NASA’s Perseverance rover safely landed on the surface of Mars.
The dune buggy-sized rover was dropped off in Jezero crater using a supersonic parachute and a rocket-powered hover crane and all of that harrowing maneuver was captured on video.
Since landing, Percy has beamed back incredible images from the surface — bringing us to its rust colored, desolate home on the red planet. Percy also sent back the first sounds of Mars captured by a dedicated microphone bolted to the rover.
Now, the science campaign begins. Percy’s on the hunt for ancient signs of life on the red planet. We’ll talk with author and journalist Nicholas Booth about the long road to astrobiology on Mars and University of Florida’s Dr. Amy Williams, a participating scientist on the mission, about the hunt for evidence of life outside our own planet.
Percy’s science campaign. That’s ahead on Are We There Yet? here on WMFE, America’s Space Station.
The Long Road To Mars
Getting to Mars isn’t easy, but so far this month two space agencies have delivered payloads to the red planet’s orbit — China and the United Arab Emirates. A NASA mission is also on course for Mars. The UAE’s Hope mission was the first to arrive, sending an orbiter to monitor the global weather on Mars. We’ll talk with the head of the UAE’s space program Sarah Amiri and Hope orbiter program manager Omran Sharaf about the UAE’s first mission to the red planet and the path ahead for Hope.
And, NASA’s Perseverance rover will land on Mars later this week after a 7 month mission. The Martian dune buggy launched from Cape Canaveral back in July on ULA’s Atlas V rocket. Getting the buggy to a planet tens of millions of miles from earth required pinpoint accuracy. We’ll speak with ULA CEO Tory Bruno about the challenges of a mission and ULA’s long history of sending spacecraft to the red planet.
The journey to another world, that’s ahead on Are We There Yet? here on WMFE, America’s Space Station.
First Of Mars Mission Trio Arrives At Red Planet
The first of three robotic missions has arrived at the red planet. The United Arab Emirates’ Hope probe successfully entered the orbit of Mars Tuesday, marking the UAE’s first mission to the red planet.
Hope will continue to finalize its orbit before carrying out its mission — mapping the complex weather on Mars.
It’s not the only mission to head to the red planet. Two more missions from NASA and the Chinese space agency are en route.
To talk about this new fleet of Martian explorers and what questions they seek to answer, we speak with Jake Robins, host of the WeMartians podcast and has been following these missions since before their launch last summer.
The Hunt For Planet 9
On the outer edges of our solar system, beyond the orbit of Neptune, objects cluster in weird ways. This clustering led some scientists to search for something that could be acting as a gravitational shepherd, moving and modifying their orbits.
That something could be Planet 9, a hypothetical planet at the edge of our solar system that could be tugging and clustering these far-out objects. So far, scientists only have mathematical evidence to support the existence of Planet 9, but work continues hunting this elusive object in our solar system.
We’ll talk with UCF scientists and hosts of the podcast Walkabout the Galaxy Addie Dove, Jim Cooney and Josh Colwell about this mathematical discovery and the controversy in the scientific community about its existence.
Then, NASAspaceflight.com assistant managing editor Chris Gebhardt is here to discuss the efforts to spot this thing using optical telescopes — and how the discovery of planets around other stars in the universe can help us better understand where Planet 9 might live.
As Bridenstine Says Goodbye, What’s Ahead For NASA?
NASA’s administrator Jim Bridenstine stepped down last week as a new presidential administration took office. After serving in the position for about three years, Bridenstine led the agency during its return to human spaceflight from U.S. soil, saw the launch of a new Mars rover and expanded the public-private partnership of NASA and the commercial industry into deep space.
President Biden will now select the next leader of the civilian space agency — could that mean a new direction for NASA? To look back on Bridenstine’s tenure and the trajectory of NASA under a Biden White House, we’re joined by Christian Davenport, Washington Post’s space reporter and author of The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos.
Speedy Space Delivery
After spending about a month on the International Space Station, SpaceX’s new Cargon Dragon capsule splashed down off the coast of Florida. It’s a departure from previous versions of the vehicle which splashed down in the Pacific.
The new splash zone means scientists can get their hands on their returning equipment faster, meaning they can make critical observations of experiments quicker and opening up more opportunities for space-based science.
The new cargo spacecraft is also bigger and has more power for space-based experiments — a boon for researchers conducting science on the ISS. To talk more about these new capabilities and what that means for space research we speak with Jennifer Buchli, Deputy Chief Scientist for the space station.
Then, SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon isn’t the only spacecraft opening up research opportunities for space-based science. New vehicles and more astronauts are helping bulk up the research capabilities on the orbiting lab. We’ll talk with space policy and research analyst Laura Forczyk about how the commercial sector is helping with research in space.
That’s ahead on Are We There Yet? here on America’s Space Station.
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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.