About This Episode
The fun continues from StarTalk All-Stars Live! at Awesome Con as we rejoin Bill Nye and Eugene Mirman on their quest to find life beyond Earth along with their “awesome” guests, former NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, astrobiologist David Grinspoon, and comedians Jo Firestone and Hari Kondabolu. Discover which NASA-developed space technology has also been helpful for people back on Earth. Delve into rocket propulsion: its chemical past, its solar electric future, and the pros and cons of using xenon fuel and ion drives. You’ll hear why “cross-disciplinary” trained explorers may be useful for finding life on the red planet. The panel ponders also the possible psychological impact of long term-space travel and why having comedian astronauts is not out of the question. Learn why radiation is a main concern of astronauts both traveling long distances and colonizing Mars, and explore the protective measures that are in development now, including why water is a good radiation shield and what the possibilities are for colonizing underneath the red surface. You’ll also hear how bringing tools that have helped us understand the ancient story of Earth will help us understand the ancient story of Mars. Get details on the Juno spacecraft and its mission to understand hydrogen’s behavior on Jupiter. Find out about the “panspermia” theory, the idea that life on Earth began with microbes traveling from another part of the galaxy (possibly Mars), which then begs the question, are we the Martians we’re looking for? All this, plus, the Breakthrough Starshot program and live Cosmic Queries from fans in the crowd in Washington DC.
NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: StarTalk All-Stars Live! at Awesome Con (Part Two): To Mars and Beyond.