February 28, 2017 1:38 pm

TONIGHT: Rejoin Bill Nye and Eugene Mirman on Their Journey to Mars and Beyond, Recorded Live in Washington DC.

Awesome Con did not disappoint. If you were lucky enough to be in the audience of StarTalk All-Stars Live! at Awesome Con: To Mars and Beyond in Washington D.C. you had the hot ticket for a fantastic discussion on science, superheroes, and space travel.

In Part Two of our podcast recorded live, rejoin Bill Nye and Eugene Mirman, former NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, astrobiologist David Grinspoon, and comedians Jo Firestone and Hari Kondabolu as they continue their conversation on journeying to Mars: how we’ll get there, what we’ll do there, and if we dare go any further.

Photo taken by Elliot Severn of The StarTalk All-Stars Live! backstage at Awesome Con.

The StarTalk All-Stars Live! backstage at Awesome Con: (L to R) Hari Kondabolu, Dr. Dava Newman, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Jo Firestone, Dr. David Grinspoon, Eugene Mirman. Credit: Elliot Severn.

David muses on what scientific instruments he would bring in order to study the Martian surface and search for physical fossils to uncover. It turns out that it might be frustratingly hard to figure out the chemical make-up of Martian fossils. The astrobiologist also explains why bringing possibly dangerous Martian microbes back to Earth is a small risk he’s willing to take in order to learn about more about Mars.

Find out about the Phoenix lander and its drilling work that led to the discovery of water ice on the poles of Mars. On a lighter note, Hari suggests drilling for Martian oil, or at least saying we will, in order to get more money from the government to continue discovery. In my opinion, not a bad idea.

When a fan asks about faster than light travel our panel is quick to explain that although there is no way to exclude that possibility, there is no promising technology that would make it even remotely, physically possible. However, you’ll hear about Breakthrough Starshot, the campaign to use laser light beams to shoot a “nanocraft” – a miniature space probe attached to light sails – out into space on a very long journey to reach distant points in the universe, traveling at a fraction of the speed of light.

You’ll also hear about the size similarities between the astronaut living quarters on a spacecraft to Mars and bathrooms in New York City. Even with the ability to float around and use all the volume of the space, I’d still say it’ll be a cramped journey.

Bill suggests that for those who really want to go to Mars, the first step would be to go to Antarctica and try and survive in that environment. He also reminds us that even though we have our sights set outwards, we must never forget to take care of the only planet we have ever called home.

If you want to join the journey to Mars then please join us tomorrow night for StarTalk All-Stars Live! at Awesome Con (Part Two): To Mars and Beyond at 7pm EST right here on our website, as well as on our new All-Stars channels on iTunes Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. And if you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen

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