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Master of the Moon Rocks: NASA Astromaterials Curator Francis McCubbin

Samples at the NASA JSC Astromaterials Office

Air Date: 01/12/2016
Run Time: 38:18

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Guests:

Topics: trans-neptunian objects, meteorites, Planetary Radio, the Moon, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), Bill Nye

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Francis McCubbin is the new Astromaterials Curator at NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the priceless collection includes the Apollo moonrocks. Join host Mat Kaplan's visit. Emily Lakdawalla reports on Curiosity’s busy and beautiful Mars trek. Bill Nye remembers David Bowie and remarks on the role of space in popular entertainment. Mat and Bruce learn on What’s Up that beer was invented just one year ago. One Sednan year.

Ceres (animation)

NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA

Ceres (animation)
These animations of Ceres rotating and a flyover of Occator crater are from photos Dawn took in its second mapping orbit at an altitude of 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). The false colors are used to highlight very subtle differences in color that your eye generally would not discern but which reveal differences in the nature of the material on the ground. As explained below, the bright areas tend to be slightly blue. Full animation and caption.
Samples at the NASA JSC Astromaterials Office

Mat Kaplan

Samples at the NASA JSC Astromaterials Office

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This week's question:

What and when was the first spacecraft flyby of a comet?

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Complete the contest entry form at http://planetary.org/radiocontest or write to us at planetaryradio@planetary.org no later than Tuesday, January 19th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

Hydrogen and helium are the most abundant elements in the Milky Way galaxy. What comes in a distant third by mass fraction?

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The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What is the orbital period (length of a year) for Sedna, the far distant object in a highly-elliptical orbit?

Answer:

One year on distant Sedna lasts about 11,400 Earth years.

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