Categories: Weekly Space Hangout

Weekly Space Hangout – Sept 18, 2015: Planet Hunter Prof. Sara Seager

Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain)

Special Guests:
Dr. Sara Seager, whose research focuses on computer models of exoplanet atmospheres, interiors, and biosignatures. Her favorite projects involve the search for planets like Earth with signs of life
on them.

Paul Sutter ( / @PaulMattSutter)
Morgan Rehnberg ( / @MorganRehnberg )
Pamela Gay ( / @cosmoquestx / @starstryder)

This Week’s Stories:

Yet another billionaire makes a rocket company
Yet another icy moon gets a global ocean
First crewed Orion mission delayed until 2023
International Observe the Moon Night and upcoming Eclipse (not yet live)
Cassini Clocks Wind Speeds on Saturn
Stellar Discovery by Queen’s Researcher
Misplaced Volcanoes on Jupiter’s Moon Io
Globally Unique Double Crater Identified in Sweden
Curiosity Investigates Petrified Martian Sand Dunes, Contemplates Next Drill Campaign
The Space Review: Back from the brink: Akatsuki Returns to Venus
Astronomers Peer into the “Amniotic Sac” of a Planet-Hosting Star
Global Pluto Mosaic From New Hi Res Imagery Reveals Bewildering Diversity and Complexity
Rocky Planets may be Habitable Depending on their “Air Conditioning System”
SDO Catches an Earth-Moon Double Photobomb
What happens to astronaut poop? NASA finally has an answer
Mercury Rotates Faster than Expected
Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne to utilize a dedicated aircraft
United Launch Alliance Picks US Rocket Engine Over Rival Russian One
US Military Foresees Robot-Run ‘Transportation Hub’ in Space
NASA 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge
ESA Moon challenge
Philae’s Descent: The Director’s Cut
Andreas Mogensen Controls Ground Rover from Space
Cassini Finds Global Ocean in Saturn’s Moon Enceladus
LRO discovers the Earth is “massaging” the Moon!
Nearby red dwarves could reveal planet secrets?
ROSETTA MISSION: Ptolemy sniffs next piece of the comet puzzle
SOHO’s 3000th comet
A Shy Galactic Neighbour
The MARS Generation Website/Project/Non-Profit Organization Launches; Brainchild of 18-Year-Old Student Abigail Harrison (aka Astronaut Abby)
Watching an exoplanet in motion around a distant star
SEN is building a network of video cameras for spacecraft, primarily CubeSats, to create a space television network
Funky Light Signal From Colliding Black Holes Explained?
Blue Origin to Resurrect LC-36, Will Build & Fly Rockets & Spacecraft from Cape Canaveral
First Weld of Orion Exploration Mission-1 Crew Module
New support for converging black holes in Virgo constellation?
Pluto ‘Wows’ in Spectacular New Backlit Panorama
Big Iron gets technology boost
Living in space—and on Earth—is a balancing act
First manned flight of NASA’s Orion may be delayed to 2023
A Peek Inside the Pluto Public Relations Machine
NH PROCESSED IMAGES on Twitter: “All in one #NewHorizons #PlutoFlyby #Pluto #NASA “
NASA Seeks Big Ideas from Students for Inflatable Heat Shield Technology

We record the Weekly Space Hangout every Friday at 12:00 pm Pacific / 3:00 pm Eastern. You can watch us live on Google+, Universe Today, or the Universe Today YouTube page.

You can join in the discussion between episodes over at our Weekly Space Hangout Crew group in G+, and suggest your ideas for stories we can discuss each week!

Fraser Cain

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

View Comments

  • I was so excited to see Dr. Sara Seager on the Weekly Space Hangout! I'm a huge fan of her work, I can't wait for the star shades! Thanks and great job Fraser.

  • Great guest!

    One of the issues Dr. Seagar did NOT delve into was how to resolve the problem of getting two objects (in this case, an orbiting telescope and the star shade) that are tens of thousands of kilometers apart to orbit in perfect synchronization while observations are being made. (See my related comment on Matt William's article here: )

    To my knowledge, the only real long-term solutions to the problem involve distant solar orbits, tiny observation windows, and LOOOOTS of delta-vee (which in fairness was mentioned). In other words, the missions using those shades are either going to be super-limited in scope, or else super-expensive in cost, and very likely both unless they've managed to figure out a clever trick or two to get around the problem.

    If Dr. Seagar does come back on, I hope someone remembers to ask her about the orbital dynamics side of the implementation. I'd love to hear what they've worked up for it, because the basic telescope/sunshade concept sounds like it has amazing potential.

  • Unfortunately, on the audio podcast that appears here, and on the one which shows up on itunes, the audio cuts out just as Dr. Seager begins her explanation of how the telescope and sun shade must line up, at around 14:00. Please check!

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