Have you ever wanted to go to space, but lacked the… everything… to be an astronaut? A whole new industry of space tourism will take you where you need to go. There are new companies offering zero-G flights, sub-orbital flights, and there have even been paying customers who have gone into orbit. Is this going to be space travel for the rest of us?
We don’t like to cover news on Astronomy Cast, but sometimes there’s a news story that’s interesting, complicated, and rapidly unfolding – and it happens to cover an area that we haven’t talked much about. So today we thought we’d talk about the discovery of arsenic-based life, and exotic forms of life in general. Maybe we need to redefine our definition of life. Or maybe we just got introduced to some distant cousins.
Last week we talked about fusion, where atoms come together to form heavier elements. This week, everything comes apart as we talk about nuclear fission. How it occurs naturally in the Universe, and how it has been harnessed by science to produce power, and devastating weapons.
When the Universe formed after the Big Bang, all we had was hydrogen. But through the process of fusion, these hydrogen atoms were crushed into heavier and heavier elements. Fusion gives us warmth and light from the Sun, destruction with fusion bombs, and might be a source of inexpensive energy. We’ll also look into the controversy of cold fusion.
Now we’re going to answer a question that a 4-year old might ask – what is temperature? Why are things hot and why are they cold? How hot or cold can they get? And how is this all important for astronomy?
In this special live Dragon*Con 2010 episode of Astronomy Cast we welcomed special guest Les Johnson, Deputy Manager for NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office to talk about the state of human space exploration. And then we opened up the show to some amazing questions from the audience. Listen to the first live show ever done with both Fraser and Pamela in the same room.
Astronomy is one of the scientific fields that have been completely shaken up by new media. The Internet has enabled communication between researchers in a dramatic new way, creating new collaborations, removing obstacles, and drawing in an army of enthusiastic volunteers to help with research. Let’s take a look at how new media is helping change astronomy, and how you can get involved.
For those non-scientists trying to get their original ideas accepted by the scientific community, you’ve got to have thick skin. It might seem like there’s a vast conspiracy, or a general attitude that drives away original, but unorthodox ideas. But that’s not true, the reality is that great ideas in science come from everywhere, even amateurs. In this episode we’ll help you understand what scientists will be looking for, and the best ways to be taken seriously.
Have you ever wondered how astronomers do their research? How do they go from idea or question, to gathering their data, to publishing the research. What are all the hoops they have to jump through, the paperwork to fill out, and the cool toys they get to use along the way?