Episode 156: The Do-It-Yourself Spacesuit, with Cameron Smith

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Cameron Smith

One of the challenges in building a future where humans are able to explore other worlds are the massive, clumsy and expensive spacesuits currently in use. Now enter into the picture Pacific Spaceflight. They’re a grassroots team with a do-it-yourself attitude and they’re busy perfecting the next generation space suit technology. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by their leader, Professor Cameron Smith, an anthropologist and archaeologist who’s research on humanity’s deep past now fuels his determination to take us into the future.

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Current in Space

Could we have missed one of our closest galactic neighbours, asks Dave. Then Tony explains how humans aren’t the only animals effected by a solar eclipse. Simon freaks us out with news that worms are being sent to the International Space Station. And finally, in her big debut, Amelia reports first views of supermassive black holes colliding in galaxy mergers.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

Cameron Smith is a Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Portland State University, author of the book Emigrating Beyond Earth: Human Adaptation and Space Colonization  and founder of the thinktank Pacific Spaceflight.

Links

Principles of Space Anthropology: Biological and Cultural Evolution Beyond Earth (technical report)

Emigrating Beyond Earth: Human Adaptation and Space Colonization

Cameron Smith’s website

How to Listen to the Show

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The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 155: Artificial Photosynthesis: Taking the Sun on the Road, with Katharina Brinkert

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Katharina Brinkert

On Earth, we can thank the sun for making life possible. Now what if we could harness the power of the sun to make life possible on long duration space missions. Introducing the concept of artificial photosynthesis. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by chemist Katharina Brinkert, whose pioneering experiments on the International Space Station turning sunlight into fuel and breathable air might just pave the way for human exploration of the solar system.

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Current in Space

Water World. No, not the awful movie, but according to Dave, the most common kind of exoplanet in our galaxy. Then Tony and Simon share tributes to NASA missions which ended within days of one another. Tony reflects on Dawn, the first mission to orbit two bodies in the asteroid belt. And Simon discusses the triumphs and legacy of the Kepler Space Telescope.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

Katharina Brinkert is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.

Links

Efficient solar hydrogen generation in microgravity environment (scholarly article in Nature)

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
* Subscribe for free with itunes
* Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 154: The Vatican Observatory: Astronomy and Faith in the Modern World, with Cosette Gilmour

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Cosette Gilmour

The proper relationship between science and faith is a core question for the modern age. At the centre of this debate has often been the Vatican observatory. The fascinating history of the Vatican Observatory stretches from the 18th century up to today, controversially combining scientific scholarship and religious tradition. In the last few decades the Observatory hosted a conference exploring the search for alien life and another aimed at a scientific understanding of divine action.

Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Cosette Gilmour, an alumni of the Vatican Observatory Summer School program, to find out what goes on in this unique institution and whether the Vatican Observatory still has relevance in the modern world.

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Current in Space

Simon says we’ve found the oldest (so far) massive galaxy supercluster in our universe.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

Cosette Gilmour is a PhD student in Earth and Space Science at York University. Her research interests include the physical and chemical analysis of meteorites, remote sensing of asteroids, and in-situ resource utilization. In 2016 she participated in the Vatican Observatory Summer School program, on the them of water in the solar system and beyond.

Links

Do aliens exist? Pope Francis tackles this (and other things) in new interview (Catholic News Agency)

About the Vatican Observatory

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The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 153: A Reality Check on Terraforming Mars, with Bruce Jakosky

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Bruce Jakosky

Don’t shoot the messenger. The terraforming of Mars has been the dream for many of us who long for a future where humanity has colonized the Red Planet. But is it time to rethink those plans? Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Bruce Jakosky, Principal Investigator of the Martian MAVEN Mission, and he’s got some bad news.

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Current in Space

Dave spotlights the first confirmed detection of an extrasolar moon, and its a whopper. Then Tony shares new research suggesting that a key component of life may have originated in space before landing on Earth. And Simon delivers a tribute to NASA in honour of the agency’s 60th anniversary.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

Bruce Jakosky is Principal Investigator for NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission, which has been studying the Martian atmosphere from orbit. He is Professor of Geological Sciences and Associate Director for Science at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado.

Links

Inventory of CO2 available for terraforming Mars (Scholarly article in NatureAstronomy, referenced in this interview)

Previous episodes of The Star Spot on the subject of Terraforming Mars
Episode 101: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 1: The Science, with Paul Delaney
Episode 102: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 2: The Biology, with Olathe MacIntyre
Episode 103: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 3: The Ethics, with John Rummel 
Episode 104: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 4: The Dream, with Chuck Black 

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
* Subscribe for free with itunes
* Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 152: Alien Viruses, with Ken Stedman

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Ken Stedman

They aren’t pleasant, but viruses are the most common form life on our planet. So why aren’t the world’s space agencies taking viruses seriously in their search for alien life. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by astrobiologist and astrovirologist Ken Stedman who has a plan to change and that and put viruses front and centre as we explore our solar system and beyond.

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Current in Space

We’re roving around our first asteroid, reports Simon. And if its heading into oblivion, just why is matter falling into a black hole in such a big hurry, asks Dave.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

Ken Stedman is Professor of Biology at Portland State University and a self-described “extreme virologist” because of his passion for studying viruses in extreme environments. He received his PhD from the University of California Berkeley and is the recipient of the Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. His outstanding teaching has been recognized with a John Eliot Allen Teaching Award.

Links

Astrovirology: Viruses at Large in the Universe (scholarly article in the journal Astrobiology, 2018 Feb;18(2):207-223. doi: 10.1089/ast.2017.1649. Epub 2018 Jan 10.)

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
* Subscribe for free with itunes
* Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 151: New Moons of Jupiter, with Scott Sheppard

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Featured Guest: Scott Sheppard

On the hunt for the solar system’s elusive Planet X, a team of astronomers accidentally stumbled upon the discovery of 12 new moons of Jupiter. Oops. But it gets even better, because one of these things is not like the others and the way that moon just doesn’t belong might just solve the mystery of lunar origins. To help us understand how one very happy accident is shedding light on the formation of our solar system, today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by the discovery team leader Scott Sheppard.

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Current in Space

Is the universe just a simulation? Simon says maybe. Then Tony settles the question of the habitability of potential water worlds. And speaking of water, Dave ponders the origin of our own planet’s H20.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

Scott Sheppard is faculty member in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science. He received his PhD from the University of Hawaii. A Hubble Fellow, Sheppard is credited with the discovery of many small moons of the gas giant planets. He has also been part of teams that have discovered comets, asteroids and Kuiper belt objects.

Links

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
* Subscribe for free with itunes
* Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 150: At the Birth of Our First Newborn Planet, with André Müller

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Thank you for listening to our special 150th Episode of The Star Spot!

Featured Guest: André Müller

Astronomers have taken their first image of an infant planet still developing around a newly formed star. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by André Müller, whose team is busy studying this baby world and has already discovered evidence of an atmosphere and possibly even moons, astounding knowledge of such a tiny speck 370 light years from Earth.

On a personal note, I want to dedicate this special 150th episode of The Star Spot to my amazing wife Denise and to our own newborn wonder, Lara Fong Trottier. Thank you for being the stars in my universe.

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Current in Space

What secrets are hiding in the darkness on the moon? Tony sheds some light. And have you ever wondered just how we arrive at the mass of those thousands of extrasolar planets astronomers are busy studying?

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

André Müller is a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. He has also conducted research at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. His interests revolve around young stellar objects and extrasolar planets.

Links

Science Release: First Confirmed Image of Newborn Planet Caught with ESO’s VLT

Discovery of a planetary-mass companion within the gap of the transition disk around PDS 70 (Scholarly article)  

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
* Subscribe for free with itunes
* Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 149: The Question of Life on Mars, with David Hamilton

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: David Hamilton

The recent discovery of a lake of liquid water beneath the Martian south pole culminates a series of stunning discoveries that are forcing us to rethink the question of habitability on the Red Planet. Now two space missions are underway aimed at sites on Mars that may be the best candidates yet for life and boasting the most advanced bio detection instruments ever sent into space. To help us prepare, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by space physicist David Hamilton.

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Join us at Solar System Social this Thursday, August 23rd

The Star Spot will be live on location at an upcoming event hosted by Solar System Social, a prominent Toronto speaker series. Join us for a provocative discussion entitled Who Deserves to Explore Space on Thursday, August 23rd at 6pm at Burdock pub.  Visit solarsystemsocial.com for details.

Current in Space

Our solar system has been playing host to a foreign tourist and now something is scaring it off. Then great ball of fire! Simon prepares us for a revolutionary new spacecraft that will shine new light on everyone’s favourite star.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

David Hamilton is a professor at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. His research background is in the detection of life signs on Mars. He is also the leading force behind Social System Social, a series of public events aimed at connecting the dots between science, entertainment and storytelling.

Links

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
* Subscribe for free with itunes
* Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 148: Does Canada Have a Vision for Space Exploration?, with Chuck Black

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Chuck Black

The Canadian Space Advisory Board was tasked with developing a plan to rejuvenate Canada’s declining world standing in space exploration. In 2017 the Board made a bold proposal that Canada designate space a national strategic asset and increase funding necessary for the “revitalization of Canada’s space capacity.”

But when in March 2018 the federal government released its annual budget, these calls were entirely ignored. The chair of the Canadian Space Advisory Board was so disappointed that she took the unusual move of publicly critiquing a government which seemed to be neglecting Canada’s space sector.

With little progress following years of industry consultation, where do we go from here? To help us understand how we got to this point and what can be done to reestablish Canada’s vision for space exploration, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Chuck Black, the Editor of the Commercial Space Blog.

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The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

After the most extreme test yet of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, Dave reports on the amazing results that will not surprise you in the least. Then Maya dazzles with news that a long-held theory about black holes has been disproved, leaving a black hole in our understanding of black holes. And Tony shares his joy at the birth of an endearing infant planet.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

After the most extreme test yet of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, Dave reports on the amazing results that will not surprise you in the least. Then Maya dazzles with news that a long-held theory about black holes has been disproved, leaving a black hole in our understanding of black holes. And Tony shares his joy at the birth of an endearing infant planet.

About Our Guest

Chuck Black is a journalist, technology advocate, public speaker and activist. He edits and contributes articles to the Commercial Space Blog, the Canadian Aerospace News, and the Space Conference News. He organizes events focused on the commercialization of space-derived technologies which bring together industry experts for detailed in-person discussion, collaboration and networking.

Links

The Commercial Space Blog

Canadian Space Advisory Board

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
* Subscribe for free with itunes
* Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 147: Postcards From Home

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Today we turn our telescopes back around to study ourself. Our own solar system is undergoing a conceptual revolution. From its chaotic birth to its fiery end, our solar system is no longer seen as static and isolated. It is now understood to change and evolve, to offer great environmental diversity across its many worlds, and it now seems our solar system even interacts with the rest of the galaxy. In this special interregnum here at The Star Spot, today our news team of Tony, Maya and Dave take us on a journey across the history and the destiny of our solar system.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

We’ve had interstellar asteroid tourists, but Tony wonders if we just found the first interstellar immigrant. Then Maya tackles the existential question of the sun’s ultimate demise. And finally Dave explores how the Earth-Moon love affair has profoundly changed us during our long years together.

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
* Subscribe for free with itunes
* Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca