For every week since 2002, Planetary Radio has visited with a scientist, engineer, project manager, advocate or writer who provides a unique perspective on the quest for knowledge about our solar system and beyond. We also showcase regular features that raise your space IQ while they put a smile on your face.
Astrobiology is the discipline that explores the origin of life in the universe, and whether life exists anywhere other than Earth. It’s an increasingly exciting field according to University of Washington Research Associate Michael Wong. Mike reviews the current thinking and provides some of the chemical basis for life as we know it, and possibly as we don’t know it.
Pluto passed in front of a star on the evening of August 14. Mat Kaplan joined pro and amateur astronomers on a mountain to observe this rare event. It may reveal more about the dwarf planet’s tenuous atmosphere and other properties.
Are we alone? The nearly sixty-year effort to answer that question has gotten a big boost from the Breakthrough Initiatives, funded by Yuri Milner and led by former NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden, who is our guest this week.
We follow last week’s conversation with Ann Druyan about the $100 million funding of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by visiting with two of the scientists who will do the work: Dan Werthimer of UC Berkeley and Karen O’Neil of the Green Bank Telescope.
The Breakthrough Initiatives will pump $100 million into the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence in the next 10 years, vastly expanding humanity’s quest to learn if it has company in the universe. Among the leaders of this brave new project is Cosmos creator Ann Druyan. Join us for a special, extended conversation with Ann.
A burst of laser light could let humanity know it is not alone in the universe. Harvard’s Paul Horowitz and Curtis Mead will give us an update on the technological wonder of Optical SETI that watches the entire sky for billionth of a second pulses from the stars.
Carl Sagan’s longtime artistic collaborator, Jon Lomberg, designed the cover for the Voyager Interstellar Record. Now he wants to upload another message from Earth to New Horizons, the spacecraft on its way to Pluto.
“Starship Century—Toward the Grandest Horizon” is the new collection of fact and fiction assembled by Gregory and James Benford. The brothers are among the leaders of a renaissance in research and thinking about interstellar travel. They have returned to Planetary Radio to talk about this story of human destiny among the stars.
UC Berkeley SETI researcher Andrew Siemion and his colleagues have put an upper limit on the number of civilizations in our galaxy that are capable of giving us a call. He’ll explain their reasoning and provide other search updates.
Planetary Society experts review the challenges and triumphs of 2012 and look forward to a new and exciting year. You’ll hear Bill Nye the Science Guy, Emily Lakdawalla on new missions, Casey Dreier on “Saving our Science,” and Bruce Betts’ review of great projects, as well as a musical rendition of “Random Space Fact.”