The Star Spot

Feature Guest: Gil Holder

Have you heard of the Great Attractor or the Great Wall? The universe evolved from a hot dense not quite perfectly uniform state to now contain galaxies in sheet-like structures separated by huge voids. These clusters and superclusters of galaxies make up the largest scale structure in the observable universe. How exactly did they emerge, what role does dark matter and dark energy play in the evolution of structure and just where is our universe headed? To help us answer those questions today we’re joined at The Star Spot by cosmologist Gil Holder.

Current in Space

With the building of the James Webb Space Telescope coming along quickly, Anuj explains how the successor to Hubble will open a new window on the universe? And following the recent 40th anniversary of the Apollo 1 disaster, Tony reflect on three major tragedies in the history of space exploration and reflects on why it’s still worth the risk. Finally Dave reports on the groundbreaking discovery of gravitational waves via one of the most powerful phenomena in the universe: binary black hole mergers. 

About Our Guest

Gil Holder is Canada Research Chair in Cosmological Astrophysics at McGill University and a Scholar at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Dr. Holder received his PhD from the University of Chicago and was a Keck Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study from 2001 to 2004. His research focuses on unique methods of studying structure formation in the universe.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_95_-_Galaxy_Clusters.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Feature Guest: Don Lincoln

Humanoid... grey in colour… almond shaped eyes. You all know exactly what I’m describing, but have you ever wondered just how the public’s perception of aliens came to be? Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Professor Don Lincoln, renowned particle physicist and author of Alien Universe: Extraterrestrial Life in Our Minds and in the Cosmos. Does our conversation and beliefs about aliens tell us more about us than them, and how might first contact with an alien intelligence change everything.

Current in Space

Star Trek-like alien interactions might be possible after all... if you live at the centre of a globular cluster. Then, we look at a conspiracy theory that's no longer so out there, because Planet X is back, with a vengeance. And gardening arrives at the ISS, meaning astronauts may eventually enjoy the fruits of their labour. Extremophiles are also heading to the space station, as we test their habitability in Mars-like conditions.

About Our Guest

Don Lincoln is a senior physicist at Fermilab, America’s flagship particle physics laboratory, and adjunct Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame. He is co-discover of the top quark and was part of the team that discovered the Higgs boson in 2012. Professor Lincoln is the author of several public science books, including Understanding the Universe: From Quarks to the Cosmos, The Large Hadron Collider: The Extraordinary Story of the Higgs Boson and Other Things That Will Blow Your Mind and Alien Universe: Extraterrestrials in our Minds and in the Cosmos.

 

 


Feature Guest: Les Johnson

In our last conversation, Pekka Janhunen, inventor of the electric solar sail, joined Denise at The Star Spot to explain the science and engineering behind this advanced spacecraft propulsion technology. Now as we dive into Part 2, it’s time to ask, just how far into deep space will the electric sail take us and will it truly open up a path to the stars? To answer those questions, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Les Johnson, Deputy Manager for NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office.

Current in Space

Death from above. If an object from outer space is going to kill you, Tony tells you which one it's likely to be. And did you know some stars are in a big hurry? Anuj explains the newly discovered phenomenon of runaway stars. 

About Our Guest

Les Johnson is Deputy Manager for NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He is co-investigator of NASA’s Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS), an electric-solar-sail study and development project. Johnson is also a science fiction author whose latest novel, Rescue Mode, describes the first human mission to Mars.


Feature Guest: Pekka Janhunen

The electric solar wind sail, or electric sail for short, is an advanced spacecraft propulsion technology that just might revolutionize space travel, making deep-space exploration at high speeds a reality. Or not. To help us separate fact from fiction today our guest host Denise Fong is joined at the star spot by Dr. Pekka Janhunen, the inventor of the electric sail.

Current in Space

Everyone knows Apollo 11 was the first spaceflight to land humans on the moon. But as Anuj helps us celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8, we remember why this mission changed everything. Kicking yourself for having missed that recent supernova explosion? Not to worry. Dave explains how some events in the cosmos get re-played over and over again. And can Mars look forward to its very own ring system? Tony explains.

About Our Guest

Dr. Pekka Janhunen is a space researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. He received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Helsinki in 1994. Since then Dr. Janhunen has focused his research in various areas of planetary science. He is best known for his 2006 invention of the Electric Solar Wind Sail. This innovation took place at the Kumpula Space Centre, a collaboration between the Finnish Meteorological Institute,the Department of Physics of the University of Helsinki and the School of Electrical Engineering of Aalto University.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_92_-_The_Electric_Solar_Sail.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT