February 22, 2013 10:10 pm

This Sunday’s Podcast – Exploring Our Funky Solar System

Exploring our Funky Universe - Dawn spacecraft orbiting vesta

Artist rendition of Dawn spacecraft orbiting Vesta
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A couple of weeks ago some of our fans commented that our “new” podcast “StarTalk Live! Satisfying Our Curiosity about Mars(Part 1)” had most of the same content as a StarTalk Live episode on The Nerdist Channel. Of course it did. It’s taken from the same StarTalk Live performance. But the video is also only 35 minutes long. If you’ve ever been to a StarTalk Live, you know that they’re much longer than 35 minutes. And that means that we record much more content than ever makes it into our videos.

This week’s episode is a perfect example of this. There’s plenty of territory covered in this week’s show that wasn’t in the Nerdist video: millions of miles worth, in fact.

That’s because in this episode, the StarTalk Live crew leaves Mars behind to explore the rest of our solar system. Led by navigator Dr. FunkySpoon (astrobiologist Dr. David Grinspoon), Captain Neil deGrasse Tyson and First Officer Eugene Mirman, our intrepid explorers take us where no one has gone before.

No one human, anyway. You’ll hear about the Messenger spacecraft’s surprising discovery of ice on Mercury and Venus Express’ mission to monitor the runaway greenhouse atmosphere on Venus… as well as how that spacecraft got its unusual name. You’ll travel by ion thruster to Ceres and Vesta in the asteroid belt with the Dawn spacecraft, and catch a ride with Cassini as it explores Saturn and its moons Titan and Enceladus, where cryovolcanoes shoot jets of water out into space. Last but not least (although in this crowd, that’s up for discussion), there’s the New Horizons probe on its way to Pluto and beyond.

Oh, and did I forget to mention the rest of the StarTalk Live crew? I’m not saying comedians Sarah Silverman and Jim Gaffigan are red shirts, because they’re definitely not expendable, but they are definitely there to provide comic relief. (And if you think I’m straining this metaphor, all I’ve got to say is that Sarah Silverman actually guest starred on a 2-part episode of Star Trek Voyager, so there.)

The podcast will be available on our website and iTunes this Sunday, February 24th, at 7:00pm ET.

That’s if for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons