Archive | Planetary Science

Ep. 422: Geysers

We’re going to talk about geysers on Earth, and where they might be in the solar system. We usually record Astronomy Cast every Friday at 1:30 pm Pacific / 4:30 pm Eastern. You can watch us live on AstronomyCast, or the AstronomyCast YouTube page. If you would like to join the Weekly Space Hangout Crew, […]

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Ep. 353: Seasons on Saturn

You think we’re the only place that experiences seasons? Well, think again. Anything with a tilt enjoys the changing seasons, and that includes one of the most dramatic places in the Solar System: Saturn, with its rings and collection of moons. Download the show [MP3] | Jump to Shownotes | Jump to Transcript (more…)

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This artist concept illustrates how a massive collision of objects, perhaps as large as the planet Pluto, smashed together to create the dust ring around the nearby star Vega. New observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope indicate the collision too

Ep. 333: When Worlds Collide

Just take a look at the surface of the Moon and you can see it experienced a savage beating in the past. Turns out, the whole Solar System is a cosmic shooting gallery, with stuff crashing into other stuff. It sure sounds violent, but then, we wouldn’t be here without it. Download the show [MP3] […]

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Ep. 309: Creating a Scienc-y Society

Our modern society depends on science. It impacts the way we eat, work, communicate and play. And yet, most people take our amazing scientific advancement for granted, and some are even hostile to it. What can we do to spread the love of science through education, outreach and media? (more…)

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Ep. 308: Climate Change

When it comes to carbon dioxide, just a little goes a long way to warming the planet. Unfortunately, we’ve been dumping vast amounts into the atmosphere, recently passing 400 parts per million. Let’s look at the science of the greenhouse effect, and how it’s impacting our global climate. (more…)

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ring of fire

Ep. 307: The Pacific Ring of Fire

The Pacific Ring of Fire wraps around the Pacific Ocean, including countries like Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Chile. And the inhabitants within those countries are prone to… oh… killer earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. Let’s chat about the history of this region and the kinds of risks they face. (more…)

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Ep. 305: The Spacecraft That Wouldn’t Die

Last week we explored the various ways spacecraft can die. But this week, we explore the spacecraft (and the scientists) who never give up, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. We’ll look at clever solutions to potential spacecraft catastrophes. (more…)

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Ep. 304: Death of a Spacecraft

In the end, everything dies, even plucky space robots. Today we examine the last days of a series of missions. How do spacecraft tend to die, and what did in such heroes as Kepler, Spirit, and Galileo (the missions… not the people). (more…)

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The Viking Orbiter, releasing the lander. Image credit: NASA

Ep. 257: Viking Orbiters

Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity get all the news now, but it was NASA’s Viking Missions that gave us our first close up view of the surface of Mars. These twin missions, both made of orbiter and lander set the stage for the exploration of Mars, demonstrating that we could actually reach the surface of Mars, […]

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Surface of Io

Ep. 221: Geomorphology

When we look around our planet, we see a huge variety in landforms: mountains, valleys, plateaus, and more. Continents rise and fall over the eons, providing geologists with a history of the planet’s evolution. The study of these changes is known as geomorphology, and the lessons we learn here on Earth apply to the other […]

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