Astronomy & Space

Rainbows, Halos & other special things – John Ventre, Cincinnati Observatory

John VentreRainbows are gorgeous! But there are better times and places to look to increase your chances of seeing them. In this episode we go onsite at the historic Cincinnati Observatory with John Ventre, where he discusses the beauty & causes of phenomena such as rainbows, halos and sun dogs.

For more information, visit https://www.cincinnatiobservatory.org

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MARS INVASION: 80th Anniversary of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds radio broadcast – interview with Erika Dowell

80 years ago, Orson Welles caused a panic with his broadcast of “War of the Worlds”. This broadcast, on Sunday evening, October 30, 1938, was realistic enough that some listeners actually thought the Earth was under attack by Martians.  Erika Dowell, the associate director and curator of modern books and manuscripts at Indiana University’s Lilly Library joins us to discuss the impact of this broadcast. Recently the Lilly Library used cutting-edge technology to digitize the original recording of Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast.

For more information, visit https://orsonwelles.indiana.edu

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Lady Astronaut Sci-Fi Series Writer – Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal is a writer, professional puppeteer and an incredible narrator. She is also cast member of the award-winning podcast Writing Excuses and a three-time Hugo Award winner. Mary Robinette is with us today to discuss the Lady Astronaut novels, an amazing science fiction series that takes us on an alternate timeline after a meteor strike in the 1950s threatens the future of humanity.

In this interview we also discuss Mary Robinette's experience as she joined me for the launch of the Parker Solar Probe in August 2018 and how this will impact her future writing.

For more information, visit https://www.maryrobinettekowal.com

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FIRST MAN: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong – Official Biographer Dr. James R. Hansen

Dr. James Hansen
Dr. James R. Hansen is the writer of the book “First Man: The life of Neil A. Armstrong”. He was Neil Armstrong's one & only authorized biographer, obtaining 55 hours of audio recordings and 800 emails during his interviews with Neil (plus a few rounds of golf along the way). First Man has been adapted into a movie, with Dr. Hansen serving as a consultant, releasing October 2018 by Universal Pictures. The movie is directed by Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle and stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong.

Dr. Hansen is the Professor Emeritus of History at Auburn University in Alabama. He’s an expert in aerospace history and the history of science and technology.

For more info about Dr. Hansen, visit http://www.auburn.edu/~hansejr/

For more info about the movie, visit https://www.firstman.com/

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Behind the Sun with Dr. Nicky Fox, Heliophysics Division Director at NASA HQ

Dr Nicky Fox

Dr. Nicky Fox is the Heliophysics Division Director at NASA Headquarters. She earned her PhD in Space Physics from the Imperial College of Science in London and has worked for both APL and NASA over her 20 year career. She’s worked  on such projects as the NASA Polar spacecraft and the International Solar Terrestrial Physics Mission. Most recently Dr. Fox is heavily involved with the Parker Solar Probe, which launched on August 12, 2018. In this episode she describes the goals of the probe, as well as her advice to parents for encouraging their children to pursue a career in the science field. We also feature video and hi-fidelity sound from 4 miles away from the launchpad as the Solar Probe lifted off on its way to study the Sun.

“Behind the Sun” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers used with permission from Warner Bros. Records.

For more information on the Parker Solar Probe visit http://parkersolarprobe.jhuapl.edu/

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ECOSTRESS – Monitoring Plants from Space – Dr. Joshua Fisher, JPL

Dr. Joshua Fisher

Dr. Joshua Fisher is the Science Lead for the ECOSTRESS Mission, a mission designed to study the Earth’s climate. Dr. Fisher is a Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I was fortunate to first meet Dr. Fisher recently at Cape Canaveral to witness the launch of ECOSTRESS aboard the SpaceX CRS-15 resupply mission to the International Space Station. The ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) will measure the temperature of plants and use that information to better understand how much water plants need and how they respond to stress.

For more information about ECOSTRESS, visit: https://www.ecostress.jpl.nasa.gov

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Dr. Eugene Parker – The Mysteries of the Sun & NASA’s Parker Solar Probe

Dr. Eugene Parker is the solar astrophysicist who developed the theory of the supersonic solar wind and predicted the Parker spiral shape of the solar magnetic field in the mid-1950s. In this episode Dr. Parker joins us by phone to discuss his incredible theories about the Sun and NASA's Solar Parker Probe mission. Dr. Parker was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1967 and has received numerous honors throughout his career.  Most recently he was awarded the Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research by the American Physical Society for his fundamental contributions to space physics, plasma physics, solar physics and astrophysics for more than 60 years. NASA recently renamed the Parker Solar Probe after him, the first time in history that a spacecraft was named after a living person.

For more information about the Parker Solar Probe, visit: https://www.Nasa.gov/solarprobe

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(Photo of Dr. Parker courtesy University of Chicago)

From Coffee Shop to Space Station – Death Wish Coffee

The amazing story of Death Wish Coffee – how it went from the basement to Space. In this episode, we speak with The Incredible Jeff and The Amazing D-Man, hosts of Death Wish Coffee's weekly podcast series “Fueled by Death Cast” as they tell the amazing story of how founder Mike Brown's idea of making the world's strongest coffee led to its recent launch to the International Space Station. We were at the launch firsthand of SpaceX Falcon 9 as CRS-15 blasted off, along with a supply of Death Wish Coffee, to the ISS.

For more information, visit https://www.deathwishcoffee.com

Check out our appearance as a guest on the Fueled by Death Cast:

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How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the World – Bret Greenstein, IBM’s Global VP for Watson IoT Offerings

Bret Greenstein, IBM Watson IoTArtificial Intelligence (AI), IoT, Machine Learning & IBM’s Watson are changing the world. In this episode, Bret Greenstein, IBM's Global Vice President for Watson IoT Offerings, discusses the future of AI as well as the capabilities and impact of Watson, IBM's supercomputer.

I had the pleasure of meeting Bret recently at Kennedy Space Center for the launch of the SpaceX CRS-15 resupply mission to the International Space Station. On board the spacecraft was CIMON, an orb-shaped device with a digital face that was jointly developed by IBM, Airbus and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). CIMON uses the power of IBM’s Watson to provide Artificial Intelligence aboard the space station. In today's episode Bret also discusses how Watson helps CIMON provide AI for the astronauts and what the future of AI looks like.

For more information about Watson, visit www.ibm.com/watson

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Andy Weir, Bestselling Author of The Martian, Releases Artemis, a story of science and suspense on the Moon

Andy WeirAndy Weir built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the enormous success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time. Andy is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics and the history of manned spaceflight. In this episode Andy discusses his background as well as his latest novel, Artemis, an adventurous and suspense story which takes place on the Moon.

For more information, visit http://andyweirauthor.com/

Artemis: A Novel

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