The Star Spot (general)

Feature Guest: Chris Gainor

 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has forever changed the way we look at the cosmos. To help us understand how Hubble proved to be transformational, and for a brief history of the ups and down of our space program, today we're joined at The Star Spot by historian of science and technology Chris Gainor.

Current in Space

Anuj shares new insights into the emergence of the first galaxies in the universe. And Dave pushes the limits with discovery of a new exoplanet that if you were standing on it might feel a lot like home.

About Our Guest

Chris Gainor received his PhD in the history of technology from the University of Alberta, and has taught history at the University of Victoria. Chris worked for many years as a journalist, winning a National Newspaper Award. He is the author of four books, including Arrows to the Moon: Avro's Engineers and the Space Race, Canada in Space and Who Killed the Avro Arrow? He is currently writing a history of the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode83-ChrisGainor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Feature Guest: Anousheh Ansari

Her name is synonymous with private space travel. Anousheh Ansari’s $10 million donation enabled the Ansari X-Prize to catalyze the private space industry. And in 2006 Ansari herself became the first female private space explorer when she visited the ISS. Today Anousheh Ansari joins us here at The Star Spot to discuss her amazing life and how the Space Ambassador aims to use her unique experiences to improve life on Earth.

This will be the last episode featuring an interview conducted at the International Space Development Conference, hosted this past May 2015 in Toronto.

 

Current in Space

From a few pixels to bizarre and tantalizing surface features. Today's news features a special Pluto theme in honour of the arrival of the New Horizons space probe at the tiny world of rock and ice. First Dave offers an homage to the discoveries we have already made both regarding Pluto and its many neighbours, as data is only beginning to be analyzed. Then Anuj focuses on Pluto's biggest moon, Charon, a world unto itself.

About our Guest

Anousheh Ansari is an Iranian-American engineer who served as co-founder and CEO of Telecom Technologies. Her family were title sponsors of the Ansari X Prize, which was awarded to the first non-government company to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. Ansari became the first female space traveller when she visited the ISS in 2006. She is the author of the memoir My Dream of Stars and co-founder and chairwoman of Prodea Systems


Feature Guests: Isaac DeSouza

The distances and challenges we face in space exploration are daunting, but what if we could transcend our technological and even our human limitations? Meet the next generation virtual reality. Want to travel to far off worlds or even worlds of the past? Maybe visit the ISS or engage in a little space diving?

Today I’m joined by Isaac DeSouza who can help you explore anywhere and any when you want - on your cell phone. We’ll discuss a technology that promises to change everything, yet could there be dangers ahead?

Current in Space

The Large Hadron Collider is back to work. Anuj tells us how at double the energy the search is on to find supersymmetry, dark matter and other particle exotica. And will exotic new modes of transportation help us explore the solar system? Dave shares plans for a glider to fly over the skies of Mars.

About our Guests

 

Isaac DeSouza is Chief Technology Officer at the San Francisco based startup SpaceVR. He has previously worked at the Planetary Instrumentation Lab for projects with the Canadian Space Agency and NASA. While studying space engineering at the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University he was part of a Rover Team that won the NASA Lunabotics Challenge and the Mars Society's University Rover Challenge. He is now part of the Planetary Exploration Instrumentation Laboratory research team studying the formation of Near Earth Asteroids.

 

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_81.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Feature Guests: Robert Kerr and Jose Molina

Nestled in the mountains of northern Puerto Rico lies an icon of astronomy: the Arecibo Observatory, the largest radio telescope on Earth. It has been featured in the X-Files, James Bond’s Golden Eye and of course Carl Sagan’s Contact. To help us understand the history and the future of Arecibo we’re joined at The Star Spot by Observatory Director Dr. Robert Kerr. Also in today’s special double bill, Jose Molina explains his plans to make Puerto Rico a primary site for space tourism, scientific research and eventually a space port.

Current in Space

No longer merely theoretical, Anuj introduces us to our universe's first generation of stars - thousands of times the mass of the sun. And as our knowledge of exoplanets increase in detail, Dave explains what we're learning from studying the first stratosphere of a planet beyond our solar system.

About our Guests

Jose Molina is an engineer working in the aeronautical industry. He received a Master’s Degree in Space Studies at the International Space University, then brought his knowledge and excitement for commercial spaceflight back home to Puerto Rico. There is he is working to enhance the island’s space tourism industry through the development of spaceports and launch vehicles.

Robert Kerr is an upper atmospheric physicist who worked as Professor of Astronomy at Boston University and Program Manager at the National Science Foundation. He is the current Director of the Arecibo Observatory.

 

 

 

Direct download: TheStarSpot-AreciboTelescope-Episode80.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Feature Guest: Lorna Jean Edmonds

As our civilization moves out into the solar system and beyond, will we be ready to govern ourselves in a way better than we have here on Earth? Today we're joined at The Star Spot on location at the International Space Development Conference 2015 by space policy thinker and Vice Provost for Global Affairs at Ohio University, Lorna Jean Edmonds, who believes, “those who control the galaxy control the world.”

Current in Space

With a new discovery of a Kuiper-belt like phenomena around another star, Tony wonders just how unique is our solar system? And Dave explains why astronomers are rethinking what they thought about the oldest nova studied.

About Our Guest

Lorna Jean Edmonds is Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies, as well as Professor, College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University. She has held senior executive jobs with the Universities of Toronto, Ottawa, and Western, and she has a deep interest in space governance. She joined us at The Star Spot live on location at the 2015 International Space Development Conference in Toronto.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode79.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Feature Guest: Raymond Francis

Today’s robotic planetary explorers have little ability to make decisions for themselves. They follow orders, but often those orders take many precious minutes to arrive from Earth. Now imagine rovers that could recognize unusual features in their environment and make judgements about what to investigate. On today's episode Raymond Francis joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot for a look at the future of autonomous planetary exploration.

Recorded on location at the 2015 International Space Development Conference.

Current in Space

Galaxies are known to harbour supermassive blackholes at their core, but Anuj reports what happens at the centre of two merging galaxies? Then Tony shares the best evidence yet for a salt water ocean beneath the Europa surface. And Dave ponders what the US military is up to with a state-of-the-art space plane that’s now in orbit with a top secret classified mission. 

About Our Guest

Raymond Francis is a postdoctoral fellow in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University, specializing in robotic technology for space exploration. He is currently working in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and served as a member of the team for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, or Curiosity. Francis has a background that mixes space science and mechanical engineering. He is a former host of alma mater’s own podcast, Western Worlds. 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_-_Episode_78_-_Raymond_Francis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Feature Guest: Jo-Anne Brown

We all know the Earth has a magnetic field, but it might surprise you to learn that our galaxy has one too. To help us understand the origin of our galactic magnetic field and how cosmic magnetism effects the galaxies in our universe, today we're joined at The star spot by Professor Jo-Anne Brown

Current in Space

54.6 million kilometres to Mars. What could go wrong? A hell of a lot, Anuj tells us. Then Tony explains how an unprecedented image of an infant solar system may give us insights into the uniqueness of our home. And finally, Dave says we can learn about the origin of Earth's water... from a white dwarf?

About Our Guest

 

Dr. Jo-Anne Brown is Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary. She is involved in the Canadian contribution to the Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope project which when operational in 2020 will study cosmic magnetism with 50 times our current level of sensitivity. Dr. Brown was a member of the galactic and solar science team for the Planck satellite, a European Space Agency space observatory that was active from 2009 to 2013 and was made famous by its shockingly precise map of the cosmic microwave background.

 

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode77-Jo-AnneBrown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Feature Guest: Raymond Carlberg

When finally operational in 2018 the Thirty Metre Telescope will be the largest telescope ever built, three times larger than the best telescopes operating today. To help us understand how the Thirty Metre Telescope will revolutionize astronomy and cosmology, fuel the study of dark matter and dark energy, further our search for life beyond the solar system, and, simply put, allow us see the limits of the known universe, today we're joined at the star spot by Professor Raymond Carlberg.

Current in Space

We're all familiar with Jupiter's Great Red Spot. Now Tony tells us about Saturday's Great White Spot. And James Bond meets astronomy as Dave documents the transfer of two Hubble class space telescopes from spying on enemy nations to exploring the depths of space. 

About Our Guest

 

Raymond Carlberg is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Toronto, having previously held visiting faculty positions at Johns Hopkins University, Caltech, the University of Washington (Seattle), and the Carnegie Institution.  He is a member of the National Research Council Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics Advisory Board, a Senior Fellow for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.  Prof. Carlberg is working on the deepest sky survey yet using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode76-Thirty_Metre_Telescope.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Feature Guest: Marc Kamionkowski

When we study the cosmic microwave background we see our universe before its infancy. But we learn about today’s biggest mysteries, like gravitational waves and supersymmetric dark matter.

Professor Marc Kamionkowski has won a top prize in cosmology for showing us how to “read the subtle bumps and swirls in our images of the early universe” and he joins me at The Star Spot to share secrets from the dawn of time.

Current in Space

Anuj shares discovery of organics in protoplanetary disks of newly formed solar systems. Then following trailers for the upcoming Star Wars film, Tony explains that Tatooine like rocky worlds with twin suns may be out there in the galaxy. Dave shocks us with the possibility of moon caves deep under the lunar surface. And Laura reports that Chiron, a minor planet between Saturn and Uranus known as a centaur, was found to contain rings. 

About Our Guest

Marc Kamionkowski is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, previously at the The California Institute of Technology. He was awarded the US Department of Energy's 2006 E. O. Lawrence Award in High Energy and Nuclear Physics as well as the  the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics from the American Astronomical society and the American Institute of Physics. His research interests include particle physics, dark matter, inflation, the cosmic microwave background and gravitational waves.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Ep75-Marc_Kamionkowski.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Feature Guest: David Brain

When our solar system was young, newborn Earth and Mars were like siblings, similar in climate, water composition and atmosphere. But it turns out 4.5 billion years can change things between two planets.

Today I’m joined at The Star Spot by Professor David Brain to help us understand how Mars ended up so different from Earth, where the Red Planet is headed and what all this means for our search for life.  

Current in Space

A 345 year old mysterious stellar event could finally be solved, Anuj explains. Then Dave describes the influential role played by Jupiter when a time long ago Earth survived an attack from the giant.

About Our Guest

Professor David Brain is Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. He is co-investigator for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission science team. Scientists hope MAVEN, which arrived at the Red Planet September 2014, will explain where all the Martian atmosphere has gone.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Ep74-DavidBrain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT