July 19, 2018 10:53 pm

Find Out About the State of Space Exploration Now with Bill Nye and Iliza Shlesinger

Ever wonder what it’d be like to sail through the stars? You and your shipmates, lost in a sea of never-ending blackness, surrounded by the most beautiful sights the cosmos can offer. Then, a rum-soaked pirate with dreadlocks boards your ship and says he has a magical compass that points to what you want most in life…wait…that’s Pirates of The Caribbean.

On this episode of StarTalk Radio we look at a different kind of sailing amongst the stars. Bill Nye the Science Guy and returning comic co-host Iliza Shlesinger take a look at a few of the more exciting missions to explore our universe, including LightSail 2, soon to launch in the fall.

Ben Ratner’s photo of Bill Nye, Iliza Shlesinger, and Blanche in the Planetary Radio studio.

Bill Nye, Iliza Shlesinger, and Blanche in the Planetary Radio studio. Photo Credit: Ben Ratner.

In 2015, the Planetary Society launched the citizen-funded space project LightSail 1, which completed a successful shakedown cruise. This coming fall, the LightSail 2 will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket – once again we will watch the solar sails deploy and ride the sunlight. However, this time around it’ll be a much more capable ship, providing us with data and functionality that LightSail 1 did not have. You’ll hear about the development and plan for LightSail 2, including why we shouldn’t worry too much about the sail ripping during the mission.

You’ll also hear about another light sail mission when Bill and Iliza turn their sights on Breakthrough StarShot – a solar sail to be propelled into another star system by laser pulses – and how long it will take to reach its destination. We also explore the impact artificial intelligence will have on space travel.

We come back to Earth for a bit to explore the concept of a straw-less planet as Bill and Iliza ponder the future of plastics manufacturing and how we can keep our world as clean as possible.

All that, plus, Bill and Iliza talk about going back to the Moon. Speaking of the Moon, StarTalk fans, if you haven’t watched the trailer for First Man – the new film coming out about Neil Armstrong directed by Damien Chazelle – it’s right up your alley.

Please join us tomorrow night for The State of Space Exploration Now, with Bill Nye at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. 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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