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The Star Spot

The Star Spot, with Justin Trottier, is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration. Episodes feature timely news along with fascinating interviews with guests of wide-ranging background: scientists, engineers, artists, politicians, and entrepreneurs. Topics are broad, from the latest space mission to how the universe began to why humans explore.

Jun 1, 2015

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.