February 9, 2020 8:00 pm

Monday, We Explore Mars and Beyond from Awesome Con

On this week’s episode of StarTalk Radio, we have a slew of special guests who took the stage for our live show at Awesome Con a little while back. Hosted by the one and only Bill Nye the Science Guy, Bill was joined by comic co-host Eugene Mirman, astrobiologist Dr. David Grinspoon, former Deputy Administrator of NASA Dava Newman, and comedians Jo Firestone and Hari Kondabolu.

Elliot Severn’s Photo of StarTalk All-Stars Live at Awesome Con, showing, from left to right, Eugene Mirman, Hari Kondabolu, Dava Newman, Bill Nye, David Grinspoon, Jo Firestone.

L to R: Eugene Mirman, Hari Kondabolu, Dava Newman, Bill Nye, David Grinspoon, Jo Firestone. Credit: Elliot Severn.

Before we head out on our journey to Mars and beyond, Bill has a question for all of our guests: what’s your favorite superhero? Find out why Dava likes a hybrid between Elastigirl, Spider-Man, and Batman and why David’s favorite is Planet Girl/Boy. (If you’re asking me, I always prefer having a whole family of superheroes over one single one, hence, The Incredibles.)

Then, it’s time to investigate our journey to Mars and beyond. How are we going to get there? You’ll hear about the Space Launch System, the gigantic rocket that will propel us to Mars. Find out what the biggest challenges will be for humans to become interplanetary. Who gets to own Mars? Our panel tells us why it will be a global approach.

You’ll learn more about planetary protection. We ponder the mysterious methane found on Mars. We debate the prospect of finding current life on Mars. David explains why he’s not optimistic that we’ll find something alive when we get to the red planet. Discover more about the differences between the biosphere of Earth and the biosphere of Mars.

You’ll also learn more about exoplanets. We ponder some ways to deal with the radiation during long-term space travel. Would surrounding the ship in water protect astronauts from radiation? Find out what instruments David would take to study the surface of Mars. All that, plus, we take a look at Viking 1 and 2 and the impact their experiments had on Martian exploration.

Please join us tomorrow for Live at Awesome Con – To Mars and Beyond at 3pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re a StarTalk+ Patron or an All-Access subscriber, you can listen to this episode ad-free at 3pm, too.

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

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