Archive | Missions

Spitzer Space Telescope

Ep. 208: Spitzer Space Telescope

Last week we talked about Lyman Spitzer, and this week we’ll take a look at the orbiting observatory that bears his name: the Spitzer Space Telescope. Designed to see into the infrared spectrum, Spitzer has returned images of objects that were previously hidden to astronomers by thick shrouds of gas and dust. (more…)

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Mariner 10

Ep. 200: The Mariner Program

The first interplanetary series of missions was the American Mariner program. 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. (more…)

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Voyager 2 at Neptune

Ep. 199: The Voyager Program

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 […]

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Cassini at Saturn

Ep 198: How is a Space Mission Chosen?

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 […]

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Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Ep. 192: Chandra X-Ray Observatory

The Chandra X-Ray Observatory is the third of NASA’s Great Observatories, sent into space aboard the space shuttle to view the Universe in high energy X-ray radiation. This is the territory of supernovae, supermassive black holes and neutron stars; some of the most extreme places in the Universe. (more…)

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Kepler Mission. Image credit: NASA/JPL

Ep. 190: Kepler Mission

Last week we studied Kepler the man, and this week we take a look at Kepler, the mission. Launched in March, 2009, this is a spacecraft designed to search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. Let’s take a look at the history this mission, the launch and the science gathered so far. (more…)

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Herschel Space Observatory

Ep. 173: Herschel Space Observatory

Last week we talked about Herschel the people – William Herschel, his sister Caroline, and his son John. This week we look at the Herschel Space Observatory, a mission launched in 2009 to reveal the coldest and dustiest regions in the Universe. (more…)

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