About This Episode
We will soon travel to the outermost reaches of our solar system, our galaxy, and beyond, so, we might as well knowledge up on deep space and what lies waiting for us in the great cosmic realm. Astro Mike Massimino, two-time space shuttle veteran and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia, or, as he’s called in this episode, “the man who ripped Hubble Space Telescope to pieces so he could fix it,” is back to host alongside comic co-host Chuck Nice and Matt O’Dowd, astrophysicist and host of PBS Space Time. Together, they answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about deep space and the engrossing mysteries of the cosmos. You’ll find out if the starscape we see when we look up has measurably changed at all during humanity’s time on Earth. Discover more about the expansion of the universe and how long it would take to reach trillions of light years across. Investigate the impact of dark energy and “the big rip.” Mike shares his experiences physically and mentally training to become an astronaut, why he failed the application process the first two times, and how the requirements to become an astronaut have changed over time. He also tells us what constitutes a good astronaut movie, at least according to his simple personal standards. He also explains why people assume he can stitch himself together if he’s ever stabbed in the gut by a broken antenna. The conversation turns to what snacks our trio would bring on an intergalactic mission, and Mike tells us how he ate and drank in space, including drinking espresso. We ponder whether the future of the International Space Station will be private, public, or abandoned, left to burn up in our atmosphere. We also discuss how property ownership will work if we inhabit Mars: whether it will be the “whoever gets there first, owns it” mentality or if it will be more of an international effort like the explorations of Antarctica. You’ll learn more about space tourism and how we can make it a reality sooner rather than later. Lastly, we ask, “If we search the universe for life and find none, what does that mean for us?” Matt helps us answer this deeply cosmic question by looking at the Fermi paradox and “the great filter,” Chuck tells us about his “Nero syndrome,” and Mike reminds us not to lose hope in ourselves.
NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Deep Space, with Mike Massimino & Matt O’Dowd.