Ep. 707: What Goes Into Sample Return Missions for the Moon and Mars?

Ep. 707: What Goes Into Sample Return Missions for the Moon and Mars?

We’ve sent robots to other worlds, but the amount of science we can deploy to another planet can’t compare with the vast science labs we have on Earth. That’s why more and more missions are for a sample return, bringing pieces of alien worlds back to Earth, were we study them with proper equipment.

Ep. 706: China’s Space Program

Ep. 706: China’s Space Program

We’re so familiar with NASA’s exploration efforts in space, but you might be surprised to learn that China launches almost as many rockets as the US. They’ve got their own space exploration program that could soon bring humans to the surface of the Moon. Let’s give a brief overview of China’s space exploration plans.

Ep. 704: NASA’s Juno Releases New Images

Ep. 704: NASA’s Juno Releases New Images

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has completed dozens of flybys of Jupiter, seeing the planet from many angles and delivering some of the most beautiful images we’ve ever seen of the Jovian world. Now it’s focusing in on Io, sending home images of the tiny volcanic world from just 1,500 km away. And the best is yet to come.

Ep. 702: Moonshot 2024 – Go or No Go?

Ep. 702: Moonshot 2024 – Go or No Go?

With Artemis 1 completing its robotic flight around the Moon, we know that the SLS works. Next comes Artemis 2, with a crew of astronauts flying past the Moon. If that’s successful, we could see humans set foot on the Moon in December 2025. But there is a long list of challenges to consider that could delay things considerably. Go or no go for launch?

Ep. 694 – Mission Roll Call Part 3: Sun, Mercury, and Venus

Ep. 694 – Mission Roll Call Part 3: Sun, Mercury, and Venus

Our journey through space missions continues. Now we move away from the Earth to the rest of the solar system. What’s out there orbiting, roving and flying on other worlds and in interplanetary space. Today we look inward and we’ll talk about the missions studying the Sun, Mercury and Venus.

Ep. 693 – Mission Roll Call Part 2: Looking Outward from Earth

Ep. 693 – Mission Roll Call Part 2: Looking Outward from Earth

Last week, we brought you up to speed on the spacecraft which are helping to study Earth from above. Many of our missions are in Earth orbit but looking outward to study the Universe. Today, we’ll talk about the missions close to home, helping us understand our place in the cosmos.

Ep. 692 – Mission Roll Call Part 1: Orbiting Earth

Ep. 692 – Mission Roll Call Part 1: Orbiting Earth

It’s time for another series. This time we’re going to look at the missions that are currently in place across the Solar System. Today we’ll start with the key missions here on Earth, studying the planet from above and looking out into the Universe.

Ep. 690: Climate on Mars – From Ice Caps to Dust Storms

Ep. 690: Climate on Mars – From Ice Caps to Dust Storms

We’ve looked at Earth’s changing climate, now let’s see what it’s like for another world: Mars. Much looks familiar, but some of it is totally alien, from ice caps of frozen carbon dioxide to planetary dust storms that can obscure the entire world from view.

Ep. 688: What’s Next? Looking Ahead to Season 17

Ep. 688: What’s Next? Looking Ahead to Season 17

Once again, we’ve reached the end of a season here on Astronomy Cast, and it’s time for the summer hiatus. But the Universe never takes a break. What can we expect to happen over the summer while we’re catching up on our reading, building our gardens and planning for Season 17

Ep. 687: Prepping for the Moon

Ep. 687: Prepping for the Moon

We’re going back to the Moon. In the next few years humans will set foot on the Moon again, ideally this time to stay. But this will be different than the Apollo era, going to the scientifically fascinating, and difficult southern pole of the Moon. What needs to be done to prepare the way back to the Moon?

Ep. 686: Ice in the Shadows

Ep. 686: Ice in the Shadows

The permanently shadowed craters on the Moon are the focus of so much research. That’s because they seem to contain vast reserves of water ice. Water we could use for oxygen, propellant and so much more, but also, to help us understand where the Earth’s water came from.

Ep. 685: Manufacturing in Space

Ep. 685: Manufacturing in Space

Launching satellites from Earth is counter-productive. You’ve got to make a satellite that can handle Earth gravity, then the brutal flight to space, then deployment in orbit. What if you could build your spacecraft in space?

Ep. 673: How to See Satellites (or Avoid Seeing Them)

Ep. 673: How to See Satellites (or Avoid Seeing Them)

If you’re in dark skies and look up, you’re certain to see a satellite. Lots of them. But how can you know which one you’re seeing, and how can you improve your chances of a sighting? Today we’ll talk about how to see satellites, or avoid seeing them.

Ep. 672: Space Debris Removal

Ep. 672: Space Debris Removal

We’ve talked about the rising problem of space junk. Okay, we know it’s an issue. So what can be done about it? Today we’ll talk about ideas to remove space junk, making sure space is open to use for the centuries to come.

Ep. 671: The Consequences to Breaking Space Laws

Ep. 671: The Consequences to Breaking Space Laws

Last week we talked about the laws that govern space exploration. This week the rubber hits the road. What are the consequences for actually breaking these rules? Are they really going to stop anyone?

Ep. 670: Governing Space – The Outer Space Treaty of 1967

Ep. 670: Governing Space – The Outer Space Treaty of 1967

The Universe was inaccessible for most of human history, but the first tentative steps to space in the 20th century made humanity realize that science fiction was becoming science reality. New rules would have to be written to govern how we used this limitless expanse. Today we’ll talk about the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

Ep. 667: JWST First Science Results

Ep. 667: JWST First Science Results

Astronomers came together in January to present their newest research, and not surprisingly, the Winter AAS meeting was heavy on news from JWST. What were some of the new results that were announced?

Ep. 661: Looking Back on the Missions That Ended

Ep. 661: Looking Back on the Missions That Ended

It’s always sad to say goodbye, but when we send our robotic emissaries out into the cosmos, it’s just a matter of time before they shut down. Today we’re going to say goodbye to a few missions which have reached the end of their lives. But they were very good robots.

Ep. 659: Clear Skies, Bright Satellites

Ep. 659: Clear Skies, Bright Satellites

Light pollution is a big problem, and it’s only getting worse — not just near cities but everywhere thanks to increased satellite constellations. How bad is the problem, and how can we fix it?

Ep. 658: Space Exploration Horror Stories

Ep. 658: Space Exploration Horror Stories

We’re recording this episode on Halloween, so how could we resist but take advantage of this opportunity. Space is already terrifying enough, you know, with the vast endless emptiness, incomprehensible mysteries, and uncaring coldness. But here are some scary stories to spook it up a notch.

Ep. 655: 65 Years of Space: Sputnik 1 Anniversary

Ep. 655: 65 Years of Space: Sputnik 1 Anniversary

It’s been about 65 years since the Soviets launched the first orbital satellite into low Earth orbit: Sputnik 1. Now there are thousands of satellites in orbit, with tens of thousands on the way. Let’s look at the impact that Sputnik had on the history of spaceflight.

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