On This Episode
Professor Emeritus for University of Geneva and 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics Co-recipient
Senior Systems Engineer for SpaceIL
Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society
Senior Communications Adviser and former Host of Planetary Radio for The Planetary Society
Astronomer and astrophysicist Michel Mayor has just been awarded the 2019 Nobel prize for physics. Listen to Mat’s 2016 conversation with this revered scientist, the first to discover an exoplanet. The Beresheet mission’s Yoav Landsman recently visited Planetary Society HQ and spent a few minutes catching up with Mat. And Society Editorial Director Jason Davis introduces The Downlink, our weekly digest of planetary news. Bruce Betts takes us to a moon of Uranus to find the melancholy Dane.
- The Downlink: Planetary exploration news for busy people
- The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019
- 51 Pegasi b—The First Exoplanet Discovery
- How to Search for Exoplanets
- Radial Velocity
- The Beresheet Lunar Lander Mission
This week's prizes:
A handy KickAsteroid rubber asteroid and a 200-point iTelescope.net astronomy account.
This week's question:
What is the diameter of the Curiosity rover’s wheels?
To submit your answer:
Complete the contest entry form at http://planetary.org/radiocontest or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, October 16th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.
Last week's question:
What spacecraft are ACTIVE on the Moon’s surface?
The winner will be revealed next week.
Question from the September 25 space trivia contest:
Where in the solar system is the crater named Hamlet?
Verily, a crater called Hamlet is on Uranus’ moon Oberon.
NOTE: This automated transcript is currently being edited by a human. Check back soon for updates.
[00:00:00] 2019 Nobel Prize winner Michelle my or this week on planetary radio.
Welcome. I'm at Kaplan of the planetary Society with more of the Human Adventure across our solar system and beyond it was in April of 2016 and I sat across from dr. My or. For a conversation about the very first discovery of an exoplanet a world revolving around a distant star now. He's been named a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for physics.
We'll bring back that great conversation, and we'll add a brand new one with you of landsman Senior Systems engineer at space IL and the deputy Mission manager for the bereshit lunar lander Mission, you'll have was in Southern California this week to pick up a million dollar check from the X prize Foundation.
Then we'll visit a moon that pays Tribute to The Bard as we visit with Bruce Betts [00:01:00] first though a very welcome announcement for my colleague planetary Society at. Toriel director Jason Davis. Jason if listeners to planetary radio find this new service as useful as I think I'm going to then we have a lot to be grateful to you for tell us about the downlink.
Yeah, the downlink is a new Planetary Exploration news Roundup from the planetary Society the motivation behind it. You know, there's a lot that happens each week in planetary news, you know either new discoveries on worlds or just regular Old Mission News, you know, we have like 20 different spacecraft more than 20 actually Alex.
Solar system so there's a lot to keep up with and we have such a small team here as you know, and we can't keep up with all the news and you know, there are a lot of good websites out there that already covered the news. So what we want to do is just offer a quick Roundup of all the things that you might have missed during the week and just kind of run them down every Friday and say here's some links if you want to go learn more here's some resources maybe the planetary Society has [00:02:00] and just kind of offer this little service to get everybody caught up another great thing about this.
Is that you are linking out to follow up on other sites, you know, either going to the source of a story or to some of those other places that may have covered this story that we can't. Yeah. Yeah, and you know a lot of it sometimes it's just on Twitter, you know, we I follow a lot of space reporters as you do that you might have a little tidbit here and there that they've discovered so it's just kind of crowd sourcing from everywhere.
We get it these little general updates on anything. Involving what planetary Society is interested in which is, you know Planetary Exploration. While it is going to focus on planetary science apparently were not afraid to include things that are relevant. I'm looking at the very first the premier edition of this and you've got something about the Discover climate satellite and something about the space launch system an update on on the development of that big rocket.
Yeah. Yeah. We're still trying to figure out [00:03:00] where we draw the line for what is exactly Planetary Exploration news. That's a whole deep discussion to have it our communication spent Department ice. Was through enough. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, but you know the space launch system NASA wants to use that to take us to the Moon.
They have a date set for 2020 for whether or not that ends up panning out the way they planned it to is another discussion again, but yeah, so we cover a little bit of things like that the International Space Station they're doing research up there for human exploration of the solar system. So we kind of cover that as well discover, you know, it takes those beautiful pictures these full Globe pictures of Earth every day and.
It's just hard to pass up something like that when it's so relevant to our own Planet. That's your introduction. I think it's going to be extremely valuable Jason and already has become a popular offering from planetary dot-org the planetary Society website. I look forward to reading it every Friday.
Thanks. Thank you. Man. Jason [00:04:00] Davis is the planetary Society is editorial director. And yes, that's his new title that first edition of the download. Teachers eight stories including an update on the Juno Mission still orbiting Jupiter the spacecraft completed a 10 and a half hour Thruster burn to avoid what would have been a 12-hour trip through the gas giant shadow that Eclipse would have drained the solar-powered spacecraft batteries without heaters to keep it warm.
It likely would have succumbed to the cold. On the moon our moon China's you to to Rover is wrapping up its 10th lunar day exploring The Far Side the Rover survives those chilly nights, but it must hibernate as lunar temperatures plunge below - a hundred and seventy degrees Celsius. You can read more about you too.
And the Chang you Lander on their mission page at planetary dot-org remarkably Chang a fours predecessor the Chang you three Lander was. Still active on the [00:05:00] moon as of a few days ago Michelle my or was a professor at the University of Geneva in 1995. When his team announced its discovery of 51 Pegasi b a giant world found very close to its star.
They had used the radial velocity or Doppler technique detecting subtle changes in the velocity of the star caused by the tug of the planet now nearly 25 years later and after the. Discovery of thousands of exoplanets professor emeritus my or will be awarded the Nobel Prize. That's why I've decided to reprise my April 2016 conversation with him.
He had come to San Diego to participate in the Kyoto prize Symposium. I met him on the beautiful Campus of Point Loma Nazarene University overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You'll hear him mention the tpf for terrestrial planet finder. Now cancelled space based system that might have allowed us to find life [00:06:00] on one of these worlds doctor my or thank you very much for joining us on planetary radio and congratulations on this.
Latest recognition of a truly tremendous world or world's changing Discovery. Thank you very much. I'm very proud to be here. This is the first time I mean Saint Diego, well, it's a nice place to visit, isn't it? I this is my home away from home. My grandparents lived about two miles from here. I fully agree.
This is unique this Symposium that has brought you here. Along with your colleagues the fellow awardees who have received the Kyoto prize this year the recognition that you have received over the last now almost 21 years for this discovery of the first extrasolar planet. I think it has been absolutely Justified.
I don't know if you feel the same. It's difficult to me. What I can say is that I'm very happy to do to receive ogc [00:07:00] cognition and. In some sense. This is so unfair because you see that you have so many people working in science in their lab in the office and so doing uncredible. Nice research but without any impact for the general public may be having a huge impact on science, but not on General Public and these people will never be recognized for such and so I'm very happy to but I feel as though.
Okay a little bit. I'm not been by this question and I understand but I think it is in recognizing these most visible accomplishments that we also generate greater support for those scientists who may never be celebrated as you have with I. Evidently understand that the question of extrasolar [00:08:00] planet is so old question for more than 2000 years people are dreaming discussing of the possibility of with the old terminology of the plurality of worlds in the universe and more than the possibility of pillar reality of intubated words.
So it's evident. I'm completely. Sensitive on the subject, but also I'm also extremely. Concerned by the fact that I just arrived at the good times at the why is it technology allows to answer this question? So because it's evident discovery of extrasolar planet is really the result of the technology development development of instrumentation.
Is it ideas was already existing from decades, but now we have the tools to do it. But even having said that when you were doing your work and developing these revolutionary Optics you and your team we [00:09:00] should say in the mid-1990s. It was still very much Cutting Edge and I sometimes wonder I mean, I'm sure someone some other team would have reached this point, but your team was the first.
Yes you have in the 90s. The number of people working in the tree was very low and I can recognize maybe three four teams of two people always very small teams working in different place in California. But as well as a place in and it was not considered probably as the highest. Topics in astronomy due to bad experiences in the past.
We have several claims in the last 50 years of the illness detection. And so so the domain was not really promoted as a very big issue and and suddenly we [00:10:00] just have this new tools new spectrograph having the capability to detect extremely small wobble of the velocity. Of star due to the gravitational influence of planets.
So this was a dramatic change system. And because at the time in the 90s, the Paradigm was that giant planet could only exist with the paired Lodgers and ten years because they have been to be formed with from their agglomeration for ice particles and ice particles. Do not exist close to the star.
So when we discovered 51 Peg with four point two days. So it's a factor of 1,000 too small. So it was not a small error is not a small problem. It was a big problem. So we have been extremely perturbed by the possibilities that we were we were sure of the quality of the oil measurements. [00:11:00] But what was really the physical interpretation it looks it was a planet.
But with completely crazy parameters so with this was a really the first impact for us or this discovery and it was the reason why we have decided not to publish immediately this discovery. But to postpone the analysis and publication by the to the next season and in we have the first ends of something interesting in foal of 94 winter 94, but we did some new measurement in July 95 to be sure that we have a stable period stable amplitude stable.
Is of the phenomena or signature requested for if it is a planet and it's only when we got [00:12:00] this confirmation, okay, we decide we okay. We just publish and okay. We were quite sure that was interesting because if we decided to publish in nature. It was not because we are it was not considered to be interesting.
So so we rush to publish the paper but we did the announcement a little bit before the official publication what called the Cambridge Workshop it was in fluorosis friends in the north of Italy know firstly the winner was Florence yesterday. So it's this was the time of the announcement and we have a big.
Yancy's was more than 300 astronomers working on low mass stars until the room. So it was a big idea question for me to see what could be the the answer of the or colleagues and it was within the as many case a [00:13:00] mixed answer because some some was very convinced something. Oh, no, it's only position of the start so you.
With this first discovery right from the start you overturned a lot of the existing theory about planetary system development, right? I love these kind of because you see is it already in I believe it was at Caltech in 1980 Peter gold rice and Scott Tremaine. Two big names of astronomy studied what happened to a small body embedded in the disk of a large system.
It could be a small galaxies is embedded in the disk of the Milky Way or it could be a new planet embedded in the disk caching discovered a star. The answer of this paper was that you have a strong Capital migration and the last sentence. Of the [00:14:00] abstract of this paper was you have Equity the phenomena is so efficient that Jupiter was not born where it is today.
So a lot of people. Read this paper, but mostly with interest for Galactic frame which you were also working. Yes, exactly insane because I write this space is paper at the time because I was working in spiral galaxies, but I do not have any remembrance of the extrasolar planet impact of this. And it's only after the discovery of 51 Peg that you have people here Darlin from Santa Cruz.
Mmh arson by the dimer immediately jump say oh this is the good explanation is the presence of orbital my creation and today. This is one of the largest impact on this first discovery on the [00:15:00] theory of EX our planet today old scenario. Of planetary formation F to take into account orbital miseration.
You said something so interesting during your lecture in Kyoto when you receive the prize something in all of the other planetary scientist, I've talked to her never thought to ask that were really not in the business anymore of discovering more of these. Exoplanets extrasolar planets, we of course know about thousands now, but you said we've really moved beyond that.
Yes. At the beginning or the team working in the event was extremely happy when they have a new planet discovered her new planet. Okay today, we still have this but I believe this is not what is more important? I believe what is really important today is to add good statistics statistical view.
What is the frequency of occurrence of [00:16:00] Lomax planet of Big Planet? If they are coming in hockey and gaseous Planet, what is the distance between the limits of hockey Planet? What and a noticing if we want to we have discovered the theory of the formation of planets planetary system is much much more complicated than believed at first and know we need to have constrain coming from.
And this kind of statistical discussion are absolutely necessary to give this constraint to the development of the theory to understand the formation of planetary system. So this is the meaning of my it's not one object in addition, but is to have a global view and the second Point evidently is to try to push the the instrumentation to detect Earth's twin.
Because always evidently [00:17:00] everybody having in mind the possibility to set up with the small catalog of bright stars being good candidates to have planets with a mass of about one else Mass with a good temperature and so on because any kind of experiment we will have in the future we need. To know in advance where to look for them because if you have let's say a space interferometer like tpf or Darwin type instrument.
You cannot search forces of let you know that you need to have nowhere to live exactly and so at least for me today, this is my first interest is to to try to contribute a little bit to to set the list of the. You have different possibility. You have a lot of people interested in low mass stars.
They didn't leave [00:18:00] the habitable zone of low mass stars. Is extremely close to the star like the so-called Red Dwarf star and let their Destiny of exactly so it's much easier to detect good good candidates good hockey Planet orbiting this kind of style. But are you sure that life could be on this kind of low mass panic because it's extremely close to the star.
So you have different kind of phenomena you can have difficulty with big atmosphere and recently have papers showing that or maybe you have carbon within a bit ability to undisciplined. So personally, I'm more interested to try to detect rocky planet orbiting. Salah type Stars mmm just to to offer the possibility if low mass stars are not good object.
Maybe we have [00:19:00] also a list of few candidates and I'm just talkin the and with my colleague in Geneva to explore this possibility when you work with your spectrograph in the mid 90s, it was cutting edge. When you look at the technology that is being used in these searches and characterizations of planets today, like Harps and the things that are happening with space-based astronomy.
Do you see this technology continuing to progress to the point where finding Earth analogs will become commonplace finding a method of I believe. Is already possible today, but sometimes this kind of our twins extremely at very remote distance. So the follow-up of the subject to determine the mass because we have Maybe by.
[00:20:00] Does it imply that it's only have the ideas so to get the mask could be already difficult, but after two separate the planet from the Star it would be almost impossible personally. I'm more interested into de Texas kind of rocky planet orbiting extremely close down. And so we'll see if we succeed but it's cause that we have apps type instrument.
Already have the possibility to get super meter per second Precision better than one meter per second today. We have a new kind of spectral graph building the same kind of principle rather than presently developing Geneva with with the frame of a big con Scioscia with to be connected to four eight meter telescope, but the real difficulty will be.
The Jitter [00:21:00] of the velocity of stars or the due to the magnetic magnetic activity of the of the star. So despite the Precision of you have with your instrument. You still have the problems of the difficulty due to the star itself. And this is also at the level of one meter per second. And what you are looking for is open one meter per second.
So. I believe it's what is very important is effort pleasantly than to try to to correct velocity of the star using some kind of physical information on due to the magnetic activity. Okay. This is a little bit for the future, but we have some teams working on that line. And okay. I'm quite confident.
When you mention even one meter per second to say nothing of one tenth of a meter per second. [00:22:00] Our ability to measure that kind of exquisitely small nearly infinite testable change in the velocity of the star. I'm still left in in. Awe. Yes up here up here. It looks impossible to measures it's so small and you have to maintain this position during several years sometimes.
Because if you are looking period of one year, let's say you need not to have only one period. But maybe two or three to be sure so you need to maintain the stability of the instrument on several years and it's extremely is it correspond to few atoms of psyllium in the plane of the spectrograph. So it's literally this is this is a beauty of science now you can do this kind of things.
You asked a question. Also during your lecture in Kyoto that I want to ask you knowing that you're an [00:23:00] astrophysicist. Not a biologist. One of your slides said is life a cosmic imperative. And of course, this is also leading us toward. Is there intelligent life out there? I'm sure you're familiar with the Drake equation yet, which is more of a statement than an equation.
Yes, but we are filling in those variables. If I asked you that question is life a cosmic imperative. Do you have any sort of an answer? Yes, and that's typical of a politician's so so you have to way to answer this question. You have the scientific answer that you don't know. Because you know that you have a lot a lot of Buzz of Planet convenient forces development of life.
No question of what is and so it's a Drake equation is certainly completely not necessary. If do that. We observe today that we have a lot [00:24:00] of llamas Planet. It's a good distance. No problem. The real question. What is the probability of emergence of life when? You have olds a good conditions. I'm not a biologist and in any case biologists have never given any probability.
You don't have any prediction coming from a biologist no database down. So one of my friends gave some lectures on this and the title was Infinity product with zero. What is the answer so okay, it's a scientific answer to a question is you have to do measurements. Look if you life exists. So after you have the second possibility to answer what is my own feeling perfectly absolutely not offended to be a byproduct of the evolution of the universe.
So some can okay life [00:25:00] is the normal development. That's marvelous. Aspect of this because it sometimes you are disturb it you see the complexity of what is life. So I understand that people have some difficulty with a scan of God statistical top not evolutionarily predictions. But okay. I don't know we have to do measurements.
I share in that statement of faith. You have such a busy day lined up today. I just have one other. Question for you more of a comment because in your lecture you trace some of your early life and you had an image from 1968 at least at that time. Maybe you still do like to participate in somewhat dangerous activities.
We almost lost you apparently in 1968 and therefore might have lost the discovery of 51 pegasi. I'm glad that they managed to pull you up that [00:26:00] precipice. I don't think so because okay, maybe I will not have discovered another planet, but the general tendency of the technology in the 90s was moving in the good direction the.
Do I have been really competitive was a group of of Canadian people Gordon Walker and Bruce Campbell and they have not be Kodiak doubly happy because everything is quite a small amount of telescope time six to eight nights per year. So I discovered relatively recently this fat. So these people have been working during 10 years.
With so small amount of telescope time. So is exactly confirmed that it was not considered to be a soul highest topic of science. But in any case I believed that maybe a few months or a few years after I'm [00:27:00] sure that the NASA team would have discovered and now as you said before we started recording.
This community of colleagues that you have has grown and the public interest is is quite obvious. You must be gratified. Yes. I'm and I'm always amazed because I was in a big conference on extrasolar planet in Hawaii in November 360 people and due to the location many people from Europe and Asia was not able to.
So it's only a small fraction of the people working in system and some of them are young people extremely good at the beginning 20 years ago. I knew almost everybody who are killed and today. I don't know it's more than 1,000 people and some of them young people aren't credibly good. So I'm looking for big [00:28:00] podcasts in the domain.
Doctor my or thank you so much for joining us on planetary radio. It has been a pleasure and an honor to speak with you and congratulations. Once again on reception of the Kyoto prize. Thank you very much University of Geneva professor emeritus Michelle my or speaking with me in April of 2016. He was just announced as a co-recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize for physics.
I'll be right back with you. I've landsman of the bereshit mission. Hi, I'm Jason Davis. Real director for the planetary Society did you know there are more than 20 planetary science missions exploring our solar system. That means a lot of news happens in any given week. Here's how to keep up with it.
All the downlink is our new Roundup of Planetary Exploration headlines. It connects you to the details when you want to dive deeper from Mercury to Interstellar space. We'll catch you up on what you might have missed. That's the downlink every Friday at planetary dot-org. [00:29:00] Planetary radio continues I'm at Kaplan.
It was just a couple of days ago that we received a distinguished visitor at the planetary Society many of you will remember my earlier conversations with you of landsman. We talked before his team attempted to land bereshit on Earth's Moon. You'll have returned after that spacecraft was lost and after it had worked almost perfectly till it was just a handful of kilometers above the lunar surface yoav was.
Home in Israel, when we recorded those interviews. Thank you for dropping by the planetary Society. It's wonderful to see you in person. Thank you eat with my it is my pleasure. I plan to be here at the next time. I'll be in LA and I had this opportunity opportunity. So. I'm happy to be here and you're going from here out to see Space Shuttle Endeavour the California Science Center.
Yes. I'm trying to see all the space shuttles. This would be my third. I think that's a great goal. That's a great thing for a bucket list [00:30:00] since you're here. I mean we've done the tour you got to see the planetary Society you and your guests by can't miss the opportunity to do a little follow-up.
The last time we talked as you know was after the end of the bereshit mission. I'm just wondering what has happened. Stan because you guys did such amazing work and came so close but the technology that you developed the way you were able to put together this Mission at remarkably low cost. What's the legacy is there more that has happened since then that you can say about how.
This effort is going to help us help somebody else get back to the Moon. Well, first of all, I hope that we can manifest what they said before currently. I have to remind you and the audience that we are space a hill is an educational organization. So the educational part will continue. So this is the first thing in this is what we've done since our last interview and will continue doing a [00:31:00] couple of years at least.
We are still trying to raise the funds for the next mission. We still have to decide exactly what will be the next mission. It will be something about the moon but it's not decided yet. Whatever. It may be. I'm determined to to make this happen again in any way I can I can pull this. I didn't realize that you were that far along that there is a commitment to another mission.
Even if it doesn't look like bereshit. Well, there is such a commitment, but obviously it depends on funding and since we're a non-profit it's not investment its donations. It's very hard to you know, how that works. Yeah. Yes. It's it's quite obvious. But still we try good people that are willing to donate the money for that still our goal is education and inspiration for the younger [00:32:00] generation.
The people that in let's say ten years will be the next scientists and Engineers so they will have a legacy for us. A mission to the Moon. I hope as successful mission to the moon and that was where I was hoping to go next because in both of our previous conversations we talked about how that goal was met.
In fact met many times over the enthusiasm the excitement that was generated not just among Israelis and young Israelis, but really around the world and you see that continuing. Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm actually here at alive because of the X prize Vision earring Summit. We were invited to receive the moonshot award of $1,000,000 from the xprize foundation and which is very generous and it's a statement from them.
To show how they appreciate our effort, even though the competition ended about a [00:33:00] year before before even launched. We were very honored to get this prize even though it's not the the price of the competition. It will still be a good use in our educational programs. Even if we don't get the money for the next mission in the short term that is a great bit of recognition.
I you can tell Peter diamandis we say hello. I want to get to the other folks who also made it. Valiant effort to land on the moon our colleagues in India who like bereshit came. So close. How did it feel to see that happening again? But to some other people like a Deja Vu yeah, I really really wish they succeed in that.
And I've been there during the summer at the studies of the ICU the International Space University. We had a lot of people from [00:34:00] from India and some of them were part of that mission of the of the team that designed that mission some of them were even so at the videos the live videos from from the launch from The Landing attempt.
I think all of us will really rude. For them because in my personal view that this is what needed to be done to succeed in landing on the moon. It doesn't matter who does it first. I don't want to compete. I want to I want to succeed in doing that and it doesn't matter which group does it first when things started to look like it's not exactly as planned.
Then it felt exactly as I felt in the control room of the parachute Mission they were so close as were you yeah. Yeah, so it it shows out how hard it is. Their mission [00:35:00] was a governmental Mission much more people were in that mission crew and the made also a lot of investment a lot of effort to get this right and still that's something is it's not enough.
It's not enough. I can't. It seems that only the Chinese know how to land probes on the moon currently, but we're going to get there. We're not far away from many more attempts. Not just by the Chinese but there's there's more coming from the United States. We've talked to some of those people on this program may be as soon as a year or two from now.
It's obviously visible. I believe it 100% but it's still hot. So we tried that twice in the in the last year Well three times including the Chinese right because and and they got it [00:36:00] right and second and third attempt. Failed to land. This is very poor statistics. We need much more trials in order to to nail it to figure out exactly how to do that.
Reliably. Do you think that someday this will be no big deal that this will just be something that happens on a regular basis that we will see craft both robotic and maybe humans going to and from the Moon if not on a daily basis on a. The basis that you know, it will become an outpost of humankind.
Yeah. I'm actually I actually want to be part of the team or group that that make that happened and as I call it we want to try to make it look easy. It's like Landing a Boeing 747. It's not an easy thing to do hundreds. [00:37:00] Maybe thousands of people. Put on a lot of efforts in order to make that look easy and it looks easy we're going on the airplane without a lot of fear that something will go wrong.
And I think that we can make that happen in that way that it will look easy, but it takes a lot of. Trial and error in order to do that. That's the point as you did with airplanes best of luck as you pull together those funds for whatever form that next mission takes and I look forward to continuing our are two covering that one just as we did bereshit looking forward to a great success.
Thank you very much. You have landsman of Israel's space IL he served as Deputy Mission manager for the bereshit mission to the Moon. It is once again time for what's up on planetary radio and we are joined online in a virtual kind of way by the chief scientist of the planetary Society. That's [00:38:00] Bruce Betts.
How are you? I'm a little under the weather but not bad and you I'm fine. I'm concerned. I'm sorry, you're not feeling well, but glad that the miracle of Technology allows you to join me for what's up as you have for neither nigh on to 17 years. Hasn't been that long now. It's only been two and a half actually, but we used a time machine.
It's less than once attorney in year. That's true. Saturn's up there right Saturn's up there. You can see it and it's moving slowly and it's slow orbit. Yeah, I can see it in the southwest in the early evening looking yellowish and to its lower right is super bright Jupiter. Coming up just to get you excited your earnest will be an opposition towards the end of the month closest against Earth still really far away and barely visible from a really dark site.
But if you have binoculars or telescope, [00:39:00] the next few weeks would be a good time to check it. So somewhere on the infinite web is website that will be saying that Uranus won't be this close again for Forty-Eight thousand years and you can reach out and touch it and it'll be bigger than the Earth's moon in the sky.
No doubt. Maybe we should put that on first before someone else doesn't that's it doesn't really matter whether it's true. As long as you're the first wow, the new motto planter radio. This is going to open up so many possibilities that would never have had before next week. Seti success will be interviewing actual aliens.
All right, we move on to. This week in space history in 1964 voskhod one became the first time that three people were launched into space one time 1968 Apollo 7 was launched launching three people with the first successful [00:40:00] human launch of the Apollo program. I read that they really had to cram those poor cosmonauts into the voskhod one capsule.
It was not made. Or if they just wanted to beat Apollo for guys. All right, we move on and I hear you've got someone else to save my sick throat. Here's how ideas remember. We had a visitor for lunch yesterday and you are going to join Emily and me but then you had some stuff come up you had to be in a telecon.
You didn't get to go with us, which was a shame. But we do have this from the chief engineer of the jet propulsion lab. Hey Bruce, this is Rob Manning. I'm sorry I missed you today, but I've heard that you have a random space fact for me. Thanks, Rob. He's such a great guy. He is such a great everybody everybody.
Who knows Rob Manning says, he's such a great guy. Well, thanks indeed. I do [00:41:00] inappropriately for the guy who is one of the keys to masterminding landing on Mars. It's a curiosity fact. I didn't even plan it that way. But Curiosity Rover its mass is a little less than a smart car. And much less than most every other car on the road at around 900 kilograms.
And I'd rather drive curiosity than a smart car apologies through all your smart car owners on Mars. Of course, I'd rather drive with the location that makes it all worthwhile. You only have to refuel it every 25 years or so. I thought well, that's true. It's great view. All right, which move on to the trivia contest and I we were playing we're in the solar system and I asked you where in the solar system is the crater.
Hamlet how do we do Matt? We got such great responses to this and it's just a pleasure to read some of these let me start [00:42:00] with our winner manual or Manuel I bet it's manual McClure in Sacramento, California chosen by random dot org to tell us that Hamlet is a crater. On guess where your Anise is Moon Oberon.
You should be able to see it very soon with the naked eye. You're really embracing that as long as your first gonna have to be right with a big enough telescope. You might see it as a DOT. I mean you have a big enough telescope you will. Yeah, maybe a Space Telescope. Yeah, so it turns out. Hamlet is related to all sorts of things out there because even the moon's themselves like Oberon are named from characters mostly from the plays of that guy.
William. Shook Spang Shakespeare. I think it is. Yeah Shakespeare and also from Alexander Pope a wee bit of his stuff. So [00:43:00] indeed Oberon from one play Hamlet from. We have so much great stuff inspired by this beginning with Laura Dodd up in Northern California. She says yeah Hamlet crater. It is thought to be.
Though perhaps is not to be get it ha ha ha the largest greater on that Moon because only one side of her Oberon was imaged during Voyager 2 is flyby in 1986. Tony Knutson in Minnesota. Look no further than Uranus. Well, he says you Ernest for Oberon to find a Moon crater named Hamlet if you look way down in the bottom.
You might see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern digging away at the black base of the 204 kilometer wide divot. I think he's confusing the gravediggers with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern but that's okay. They probably would have been happy to be digging them rather than being won by the end of Hamelin Insider Shakespearean humor there.
I here's one [00:44:00] for Cinema lovers from Martin hajjah ski in Texas Hamlet definitely on Oberon, but in a way Oberon was definitely into. Let us the great actor Merle Oberon once played opposite legendary screen Hamlet Laurence Olivier as is doomed lover in Wuthering Heights, ah classic film not one, but two poems inspired by this question Greg Lewin Fairchild Air Force Base up in the state of Washington.
Cratered surface. That's I see hard each named for characters penned by The Bard Macbeth King Lear and Anthony alas. No Yorick twas not to be the largest carries Hamlet's name on Oberon this Prince of Danes nice. And finally this it could be verse day Fairchild our Poet Laureate to Moon. Or not to Moon that is the crater Whether tis nobler and overawed to suffer ejecta Isis of outrageous impacts or to [00:45:00] take arms against a sea of meteors and by opposing crush them with no apologies to the barn that seems so familiar but back to curiosity for our question for next time.
What is the diameter of Curiosities Wheels? Each with six wheels. What what is the diameter of one of those wheels go to planetary that org slash radio contest you've got until the 16th, October 16 at 8 a.m. Pacific time to get us the answer this time and let's go back because there was so much interested.
I got a couple of notes about this. Let's give away a rubber asteroid a rubber kick asteroid asteroid. Not just any rubber asteroid, but but a. Jerry Society kick asteroid for planetary defense and of course the 200-point I telescope dotnet account now, we're done. All right, everybody go out there look up [00:46:00] the night sky and think about what you could make from aluminum foil.
Thank you and good night. What else would you make a wonderful hat out of that's Bruce bats. He's the chief scientist of the planetary Society who joins us every week here for what's up? I almost forgot to mention. This week's winner will receive that gorgeous almost magical Earth globe from mova.
You can see their entire line of solar-powered wonders at mova Globes.com, but you won't see the one we're sending to manual McClure. Those special edition lightsail Globes are sold out. That's okay. I want Mars planetary radios produced by the planetary Society in Pasadena, California and is made possible by its Noble members.
You can join them everything you need to know. Is it planetary dot org slash? Membership Mark overdose or associate producer Josh soil compost our theme which was arranged and performed by Peter Schlosser. I'm at
[00:47:00] Kaplan Ad Astra.