Visualizing Our Universe, with Dr. FunkySpoon – StarTalk All-Stars

Scene from “Dark Universe,” directed by Carter Emmart and narrated by our host, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Credit: The American Museum of Natural History.

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About This Episode

Astrobiologist David Grinspoon and his guest, Carter Emmart, Director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History, take us behind the scenes to see how Carter uses computer generated graphics, 3D, and virtual reality to bring the furthest reaches of the universe down to Earth. Plus, the pair answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries chosen by co-host Chuck Nice. You’ll learn how Carter and his army of high school students plumb NASA’s Planetary Data Service to visualize the surface of Mars down to 3 cm. Explore the difficulties in recreating the Big Bang, whose first, tiny but action-packed fraction of a second is still shrouded in mystery. David and Carter talk about their live, interactive coverage of New Horizon’s arrival at Pluto, where they were incorporating the data and updating their simulations on the fly as they received data sent back by the spacecraft on a 4.5 hour delay. Find out about “the gathering of the nerds” – the scientific symposium among the museum’s scientists that sets the stage for every project Carter creates. You’ll also hear about Carter’s own, personal “holodeck” – which is, sorry to say, for his close friends only. All this plus visualizing black holes, the future of space exploration, and much more.

In This Episode


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  • Host

    David Grinspoon

    David Grinspoon
    All-Stars Host, Astrobiologist; Senior Scientist, Planetary Science Institute

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  • Co-Host

    Chuck Nice

    Chuck Nice
    Comedian

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  • Guest

    Carter Emmart

    Carter Emmart
    Director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History

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