Elliot Severn’s Photo of StarTalk All-Stars Live at Awesome Con, showing, from left to right, Eugene Mirman, Hari Kondabolu, Dava Newman, Bill Nye, David Grinspoon, Jo Firestone.
Elliot Severn’s Photo of StarTalk All-Stars Live at Awesome Con, showing, from left to right, Eugene Mirman, Hari Kondabolu, Dava Newman, Bill Nye, David Grinspoon, Jo Firestone.

Live at Awesome Con – To Mars and Beyond

L to R: Eugene Mirman, Hari Kondabolu, Dava Newman, Bill Nye, David Grinspoon, Jo Firestone. Credit: Elliot Severn.
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About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio we travel to Mars and beyond. Recorded live at Awesome Con 2017, we had a fantastic line-up to discuss getting humans to the red planet and more. Hosted by the one and only Bill Nye the Science Guy, with comic co-host Eugene Mirman, astrobiologist Dr. David Grinspoon, former Deputy Administrator at NASA Dava Newman, and comedians Jo Firestone and Hari Kondabolu. 

It was Awesome Con,though, so before we make our way to the Martian surface, Bill wants to know the answer to a very important question from our panel: who’s your favorite superhero? You’ll learn why David’s is Planet Girl/Boy. Dava explains why she would combine Elastigirl, Spider-Man, and Batman. This leads us into a discussion on the advancements of space suit design. 

Then, we investigate the effort to get humans to Mars. You’ll learn about the Space Launch System, the gigantic rocket that will blast us into the stars. Dava weighs in on the relationship between government and private companies who are responsible for the success of the space program. Discover more about planetary protection. We talk about the mysterious methane on Mars. You’ll also learn what instruments our panel would bring if they were studying the surface of Mars. 

David tells us why he’s not optimistic that we will find current life on Mars. Find out more about the differences in Earth’s biosphere and the Martian biosphere. You’ll hear about the Viking 1 and 2 landers and their impact on Martian exploration today. Investigate the dangers of radiation and how we can protect astronauts from being over-exposed during long-term space travel. Can water be used as a radiation shield? All that, plus, David shares why it’s not true exploration without risk.

Thanks to our Patrons Justin Adamson, Forrest Shepard, Andrew Wood, William Price, and Kynan Woodford for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

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