About This Episode
In July 2015, the New Horizons space craft completed a flyby of Pluto – a journey that lasted nine years – and gave us the first up-close scientific glimpses of the icy dwarf planet we’ve come to love. Astrobiologist David Grinspoon, comic co-host Chuck Nice, and New Horizons Co-Investigator and planetary scientist John Spencer are ready to answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about what we’ve discovered. Before the Cosmic Queries, you’ll hear John discuss what it was like working on the New Horizons mission, how the team dealt with the main computer crashing ten days before the flyby, and what he felt emotionally when the flyby finally happened. Investigate the surprising similarities between Pluto and Mars. Explore Pluto’s relationship with Neptune and the possibilities of Pluto being forced out of the solar system due to its weak gravity. You’ll learn about the surprising ways Pluto interacts with its surface, the constant convection of nitrogen ice, what Pluto’s “heart” actually is and why it’s still mysterious. All that, plus, our trio ponders whether humans will ever make it to Pluto, whether Pluto could be used as a base to refuel during interstellar travel, and whether any creature besides tardigrades could survive on its surface.
In This Episode
All-Stars Host, Astrobiologist; Senior Scientist, Planetary Science Institute
New Horizons Co-Investigator, and Planetary Scientist, Department of Space Studies, Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.