Extended Classic: Cosmic Queries: Space Probes with Dr. Amy Mainzer

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • Free Audio
  • Ad-Free Audio

This episode is audio-only

About This Episode

NEW: Now extended with a 13 minute “Venusian Update” from Dr. FunkySpoon and Chuck Nice about how studying Venus’ climate, clouds, and runaway greenhouse effect is improving our understanding of climate change on Earth.

JPL astrophysicist Dr. Amy Mainzer is back as guest host for this week’s podcast, and together with comic co-host Chuck Nice she answers your questions about space probes, from WISE to New Horizons and everything in between. Discover how different propulsion systems like ion drives work, why the nuclear fuel on spacecraft like Cassini and Curiosity is safe and why “slingshotting” is so vital to space exploration. Find out how expensive it is to get into space in the first place, why it’s so hard to come back from Mars, and why it’s just easier to use robots than people. You’ll get to explore the asteroid belt, Venus, Europa, Titan and the nearest solar system 4 light years away, and learn about asteroid sample return missions like Japan’s Hayabusa probe and NASA’s pending OSIRIS-Rex mission. Plus, Amy and Chuck ponder warp drives and welcoming our robot overlords.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Extended Classic: Cosmic Queries: Space Probes with Dr. Amy Mainzer.

In This Episode

  • Guest Host

    Amy Mainzer

    Amy Mainzer
    Astrophysicist, WISE Deputy Project Scientist, NASA JPL
  • Guest Host

    David Grinspoon

    Dr. David Grinspoon
    aka Dr. FunkySpoon, Astrobiologist, former Baruch S. Blumberg/NASA chair of astrobiology at the Library of Congress
  • Co-Host

    Chuck Nice

    Chuck Nice

Get the most out of StarTalk!

Ad-Free Audio Downloads
Ad-Free Video Episodes
Stickers & Mugs
Live Streams with Neil
Priority Cosmic Queries
Early-Access Videos
Learn the Meaning of Life
...and much more

Episode Topics