Congratulations to Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay on Astronomy Cast podcast #200! This week’s podcast is about the Mariner program, the first interplanetary series of missions. These successful spacecraft visited Mercury, Venus, and Mars, and laid the groundwork for the US missions to the outer planets. Let’s take a look at the program and their incredible accomplishments.
Launched in 1977, the twin Voyager spacecraft were sent to explore the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Because of a unique alignment of the planets, Voyager 2 was the first spacecraft to ever make a close approach to Uranus and Neptune. Let’s take a look back at this amazing program, and see where the spacecraft are today.
Space missions are expensive to build and launch, so there’s a lot of planning that goes into choosing exactly what’s going to be shot into space. Space scientists and engineers recently went through the process of deciding on their science goals, so we thought we’d spend an episode explaining how this works, and how the next generation of spacecraft and telescopes will be selected.
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.
Today we tackle more thrilling mysteries of the Universe. And by tackle, we mean, acknowledge their puzzling existence. Some mysteries will be solved shortly, others will likely trouble astronomers for centuries to come. Join us for part 2.
What if our universe was just one in an infinite number of parallel universes; a possible outcome from the specific predictions of quantum mechanics. The idea of multiple universes is common in science fiction, but is there any actual science to back this theory up?
You know how a police siren changes sound when it passes by you? That’s the doppler effect. It works for sound waves and it works for light waves. Astronomers use the doppler effect to study the motion of objects across the Universe, from nearby extrasolar planets to the expansion of distant galaxies.
You might know the name “Hubble” because of the Hubble Space Telescope. But this phenomenal observatory was named after one of the most influential astronomers in modern history. Hubble discovered that galaxies are speeding away from us in all directions, leading to our current understanding of an expanding Universe. Let’s learn about the man behind the telescope.
Launching a rocket into space requires a big effort on the ground. Space agencies have built up huge infrastructures to store, prepare and launch rockets. Let’s take a look at what’s involved on the ground at a place like Cape Canaveral. What happens before, during and after a launch.
Every now and then, the Moon destroys the Sun. Okay, not destroys, covers. Well, not really covers, but from here on Earth, sitting inside the shadow of the Moon, that’s what it sure looks like. These events are called eclipses, or more precisely, transits and occultations. They occur whenever one object passes in front of another from a 3rd perspective. They’re beautiful and exciting, and deliver a tremendous amount of science as well.