Alan Stern is the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, leading
NASA’s exploration of the Pluto system and the Kuiper Belt. Today he joins us
to discuss New Horizon’s upcoming close approach to Ultima Thule this New
Year’s Day. Ultima is an object in the Kuiper Belt about 4 billion miles away,
the most distant object yet ever to be explored by a spacecraft.
In this episode we also feature a sneak preview clip of “New Horizons”, a new song to be released on New Year's Day commemorating this mission by legendary Queen lead guitarist & astrophysicist Brian May. Brian will join us on our next episode Part 2.
In this episode Dr. James Rice, the senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, discusses Apollo 8—the first manned mission to the Moon, which occurred 50 years ago in December 1968. Dr. Rice talks about what led up to this historic mission, and how close the space race really was with several lesser-known facts about NASA's competition.
Dr. James Rice is the senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona. He is also the geology team leader on the Mars Exploration Rovers Project (which includes Spirit and Opportunity), as well as Co-Investigator on the Athena Science Instruments onboard these rovers. Dr. Rice is joining us today to discuss the recent landing of Mars Insight, provide an update on the status of the Opportunity Rover, and examine why the Jezero Crater was recently selected as the landing site for the Mars 2020 rover.
Casey Dreier is the Chief Advocate & Senior Space Policy Adviser at The Planetary Society, the world’s largest independent space outreach organization. In this interview we discuss season 2 of National Geographic’s Mars TV series, as well as The Planetary Society’s Lightsail 2 project and the United States Space Force.
As Chief Advocate & Senior Space Policy Adviser, Casey leads the strategic planning and implementation of The Planetary Society's policy and advocacy efforts. This includes working closely with other policy representatives in the space community, educating legislators and congressional staffers and organizing Planetary Society members to become active space advocates. He also educates the public about space policy and history through writing, his monthly Space Policy Edition podcast and unique online course offerings such as Space Advocacy 101.
In 2015, Dreier led The Planetary Society’s Humans Orbiting Mars initiative, which explored the potential for a step-wise, long-term mission to send humans to the surface of Mars. The report provided important information and analysis for NASA’s Mars planning and helped influence thinking for lunar and Mars exploration efforts.
Dreier is a trusted source for space policy analysis for journalists and has been featured as a source in many general interest publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Scientific American, Vox and The Verge, to name a few. He is committed to demystifying the politics and policy of space for all audiences and has been an invited speaker at conferences such as The Atlantic's Washington Ideas Week and Politicon.
He is also an instructor at Western Washington University, where he teaches the occasional class on space history and policy.
Casey is one of the “Big Thinkers” for National Geographic's Mars series, along with Elon Musk, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Andy Weir, Robert Zubrin, and more. Season 2 premiered on November 12, 2018 and shows what life in a Mars colony will be like after human settlement.
The Opportunity Rover, which has been surviving on Mars since January 2004, is struggling for its life during the dust storms on the red planet. In this episode, Dr. Jim Rice, the senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, discusses the current dust storms (the worst ever recorded) and how Opportunity is being affected. Dr. Rice is the co-investigator and geology team leader on the Mars Exploration Rover Project, which includes Spirit and Opportunity. He also has mission experience working on the Mars Odyssey Orbiter and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Projects.
The Time has come to go to Mars! Dr. Robert Zubrin is the founder and President of the Mars Society, as well as a member of the organization's Board of Directors. Dr. Zubrin is also President of Pioneer Astronautics, an aerospace R&D company located in Lakewood, Colorado. Formerly a Staff Engineer at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, he holds a Masters degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Washington.
Dr. Zubrin is the inventor of several unique concepts for space propulsion and exploration. He's known internationally as one of the most creative engineers working in the aerospace industry today. He helped design the “Mars Direct” mission architecture, and was a co-inventor of the magnetic sail, as well as a nuclear rocket engine that can use CO2 as propellant, allowing a vehicle so powered to have virtually unlimited mobility on Mars.
If you wanted to design and fly a robotic spacecraft on a 9-year voyage 3 billion miles from Earth, the farthest journey of exploration our species has ever attempted, HOW WOULD YOU DO IT?
Dr. Alan Stern is the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, leading NASA’s exploration of the Pluto system and the Kuiper Belt. A planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant and author, he has participated in over two dozen scientific space missions. Dr. Stern is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2016 Carl Sagan Memorial Award of the American Astronautical Society, and has twice been named to the Time 100.
In this episode, Dr. Stern discusses his new book, “Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto”, including details on both successes and struggles during the mission, and upcoming plans to awaken the New Horizons spacecraft from hibernation in June through preparations for its rendezvous with Kuiper Belt object MU69 on New Year's Day 2019.