Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Multimedia IconMultimedia

Earth Microbes! Welcome to Mars

Mars from Hubble

Air Date: 02/07/2017
Run Time: 33:41

Listen to the full show:

Or Download mp3


Topics: Space Policy, events and announcements, human spaceflight, Planetary Radio, life, the Moon, Mars, Bill Nye

Support Planetary Radio

University of Arkansas grad student Rebecca Mickol and her team have demonstrated that some Earth bacteria can survive in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars. Could Martian bacteria thrive under the same conditions? Jason Davis looks at the Mars vs. moon debate among some space explorers. Bill Nye says former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is concerned about at least one area of activity conducted by the agency. Mat visits during Bruce Betts’ live astronomy class for this week’s What’s Up.

Rebecca Mickol with her University of Arkansas mentor Timothy Kral

University of Arkansas

Rebecca Mickol with her University of Arkansas mentor Timothy Kral
Bacterial samples in the Pegasus Mars chamber

University of Arkansas

Bacterial samples in the Pegasus Mars chamber
Bacterial samples in the Pegasus Mars chamber

University of Arkansas

Bacterial samples in the Pegasus Mars chamber

Related Links:

Trivia Contest

This week's prizes are a lovely Planetary Radio t-shirt, now available in both men’s and women’s styles. Also, a 200-point astronomy account, and a Planetary Society rubber asteroid.

This week's question:

What was the first star to be photographed besides the Sun? It has been used to define zero magnitude on the stellar brightness scale.

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Tuesday, February 14th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

Who sculpted the Fallen Astronaut statue left on the moon by the Apollo 15 astronaut Dave Scott?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What solar system moon is closest in size to Mercury?


Callisto is the moon that is closest in size to Mercury.


No trivia contest spoilers please!

Arbitrary: 02/07/2017 02:34 CST

It's time to get rid of Bill Nye! His using the Planetary Society as a platform for his personal extremist political propaganda, which is totally irrelevant if not in direct conflict with the interest of planetary science, has become a big liability. He used to visit the loser Obama, right? But he always failed lobbying for planetary science. NASA's budget priorities is a defeat for him. Bill Nye is NOT a science guy but a political lobbyist, and his political position has gone from failed to a huge negative!

Earl Green: 02/08/2017 09:30 CST

I love that this study was practically conducted in my back yard. Razorbacks represent! Now I find myself wondering if Mars could be terraformed microbially.

sepiae: 02/09/2017 10:09 CST

@Arbitrary: rrright, and you're *so not* lobbying, Arbitrary... While Bill Nye is actually bringing arguments about an issue that is indeed of concern, i.e. Earth Science and its necessity for the study of climate change, this in the context of climate change-deniers in the White House, you're just ranting. Time to get rid of *that*, not Bill Nye.

sepiae: 02/09/2017 10:11 CST

...anyway, great show once again, grateful for the Rebecca Mickols of this world!

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Planetary Radio Search

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.


Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!