Cosmic Queries: Venus with Dr. FunkySpoon

Post Date: 6 April 2014

Listen now:

Season 5, Episode 12

Mosaic of Venus created from Magellan radar data and color images from Soviet Venera Spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL

Mosaic of Venus created from Magellan radar data and color images from Soviet Venera Spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL

This week, astrobiologist Dr. David Grinspoon sits in while Neil is off working on the new COSMOS series for FOX. You might remember him as our guest planetary scientist from the Mars Curiosity Rover team at StarTalk Live! Satisfying our Curiosity about Mars and StarTalk Live! Exploring Our Funky Solar System, but he also works on ESA’s Venus Express mission. In other words, Dr. FunkySpoon is the perfect guide to answer your Cosmic Queries about Venus… with a little help from comic co-host Leighann Lord. You’ll hear theories on why Venus rotates so slowly (its year is shorter than its day), and in a different direction than Earth. Find out why exploring Venus has been so much harder than Mars, in spite of the long-lasting Soviet Venera program, and the challenges to creating rovers and space suits that can withstand Venus’ crushing pressure (90x Earth’s) and searing heat (nearly 900 °F). Learn about Venus’ runaway greenhouse atmosphere, how it got that way, why it has no plate tectonics, and even the possibility of life on this inhospitable planet orbiting so close to the Sun.

Guest:
Dr. David Grinspoon, aka Dr. FunkySpoon, Astrobiologist, Baruch S. Blumberg/NASA chair of astrobiology at the Library of Congress

Co-Host:
Leighann Lord, comedian

Music:
Venus” - Sleeping at Last
Fever” - Peggy Lee
Venus” - The Feelers
Venus” – Volor Flex
Gravity“ - No Doubt
Venus” – Lady Gaga
Venus Kissed the Moon” – Loey Nelson
Original Spin“ - Mother, Mother
Venus“ - Bananarama (Marc Almond’s HI NRG Showgirls Mix)

  • nocturnus

    very nice Master ..saludos desde Taringa ;)

  • Christina Vonthronsohnhaus

    so venus is saying look peeps on Earth this is your future

  • Jason

    I’m disappointed that no one made a Cow Bell joke when Dr. Grinspoon said Venus has a fever.

  • http://rosell.us Casildo Rosell

    I have never been so curious about our galaxy as I am now all thanks to you Neil.

  • Amy Newman

    An actually pretty decent part time replacement for Neil! Enjoyed this show very much so thank you Dr. FunkySpoon!

  • Dan Hindes

    You can’t call yourself “funky” and then not include the early Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Subway to Venus” in the music.

    • DrG

      I love that song!

  • http://economics-of-curiosity.tumblr.com/ rayhana

    Science is empirical magic.

  • Virginia

    Tardigrades could live in–on–around–Venus, right? Perhaps bacteria that could seed Venus might include blue-green bacteria? Perhaps spirogyra? Then you would have an energy-collecting and Oxygen-producing organism plus an energy-consuming, CO2 and H2O-producing organism to begin a cycle of life there. You would eventually have to add scavengers and other organisms to establish a more complex biome, or perhaps they would do something completely unexpected and create a biome of their own.

    We still don’t know all of the organisms that the Earth has. We can’t be cocky enough to know what will happen if we tried the terra-forming of Venus. It could be stranger and more wonderful than we could imagine!

  • Virginia

    I remember the news of the first successful landing of a U.S. probe on Mars: the probe was covered with cushioning balloons, and when it landed, it landed like a bouncing ball and rolled over and over with everybody watching holding their collective breath. When it finally stopped and it was found to be unharmed, there was much rejoicing–as much rejoicing as any time when an Apollo mission was successful.

    Apollo missions were fraught with so much danger that we didn’t have in the age of the Space Shuttle Program. It was a miracle when an Apollo mission was successful and the astronauts survived. In contrast, the space shuttles were so well-engineered that it was unusual for any accidents like the Challenger disaster to ever happen.

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  • Michael

    You talk about colonizing Venus, but you ignore the big issue, the lack of a magnetic field. How can you survive on Venus when you’re constantly bombarded by radiation?

    • DrG

      Venus has an induced magnetic field that deflects much cosmic radiation. Also there is less of a cosmic ray threat the closer you get to the sun…

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