Planetary Radio • Mar 15, 2016

Neil Gehrels and WFIRST—A Space Telescope for the 2020s

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On This Episode

20160315 Neil Gehrels thumbnail

Neil Gehrels

Chief, Astroparticle Physics Laboratory for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA has given the go-ahead for creation of the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope. It might help reveal the nature of dark energy and point the way to life among the stars. Europe and Russia are celebrating the ExoMars spacecraft now headed for Mars. Emily Lakdawalla tells us why. Spacewalks, re-entry...traveling in space is hard and dangerous! Bruce Betts tells a harrowing tale or two on this week’s What’s Up. Bill Nye is on the road this week.

WFIRST Telescope
WFIRST Telescope Artist's concept of NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).Image: NASA / GSFC / Conceptual Image Lab

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This week's prizes are a lovely Planetary Radio t-shirt, a 200-point astronomy account, and an OK Go! t-shirt signed by Damian Kulash and Tim Nordwind.

This week's question:

How many science instruments does the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter carry?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Tuesday, March 22nd at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

Who made the second longest spaceflight, and how long was he or she up there on that single flight?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

Who was the first person to do an EVA (extravehicular activity) in a spacesuit that did NOT have life support coming from an umbilical (but still had a safety line)?


Cosmonauts Yevgeny Khrunov and Aleksei Yeliseyev were the first to use portable life support systems in space, beating Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweikart by days.