Episodes

Ep. 435: The Butterfly Effect  

Small changes can have a big impact. But can a butterfly’s wingbeat in the Amazon really impact the weather halfway across the world? And where do small changes have no impact?

Ep. 434: Am I On An Alien World?  

Once again, science fiction television and movies has let you down. They try to recreate what it might be like on an alien world, but surprise surprise, they mostly get it wrong. That’s because a truly alien world would be different in so many ways, it would blow your mind. Today we’ll help you figure out if you’re on a movie set, or you’ve actually crashlanded on an alien planet.

Ep. 433: Volcanoes on Mars  

Mars is a world of extremes. This unassuming red world is home to the largest and tallest volcanoes in the entire Solar System. In fact, it’s not even a close contest, with Olympus Mons rising 22 km above the surrounding plains, more than twice as tall as Mount Everest. How did Mars get such big volcanoes, and how active is the planet today?

Ep. 432: Geoglogic Ages of Mars - From Wet and Wild to Desolate Desert  

Today, Mars is a desolate wasteland, with dusty red rocks and sand stretching out to the horizon. But billions of years ago, it was a vastly different world. It was blue, with oceans, rivers, lakes, and maybe life? Let’s tell the story of geology on Mars, and we got from that world to the one we see today.

Ep. 431: The Search for Life on Mars  

Enceladus and Europa are all the rage these days, but classic Mars is still a great place to search for life. In fact, ESA’s ExoMars is scanning the planet’s atmosphere for methane, evidence that there might be life there right now. Let’s talk about the search for life on the Red Planet.

Ep. 430: Coming Home from Mars  

Landing on the surface of Mars is very difficult. In fact, it’s probably the toughest planet to land on in the whole Solar System. Today we’ll talk about what it’s going to take to get to and return from Mars!

Ep. 429: Living on Mars  

When Elon Musk announced plans to send humans to Mars, he conveniently left out one important aspect. How are we supposed to survive on a place this hostile to life? Seriously, Mars sucks, and it's going to take some impressive techniques and technologies to make it on the Red Planet.

Ep. 428: The Moons of Mars  

We begin a miniseries on Mars. How many episodes will we do? Who knows? But we start today with a discussion of the two Mars moons, Phobos and Deimos.

Ep. 427: Click Bait vs Clear Science  

Did you hear that Dark Energy doesn't exist any more? Neither does Dark Matter? It turns out that NASA recalculated the Zodiac and now you're an Ophiuchan! Science is hard enough, but communicating that science out to the public when there are publications hungry for traffic is even harder! Here's how to parse the click-bait science titles.

Ep. 426: Confirmation Bias  

I hate to tell you this, but that meat computer in your skull is constantly betraying you. Don’t worry, we’ve all got the same, but fortunately, scientists have learned how this happens, and can help us make sure our science, and lives don’t suffer because of it.

Ep. 425: Naming Spacecraft  

Have you ever noticed spacecraft missions have some pretty cool names? How does anyone decide what to call these things?

Ep. 424: Lightning  

It turns out that nature figured out how to use electricity long before humans did. Lightning storms are common across the Earth, and even the Solar System. What causes this electricity in the sky, and how can science use it?

Ep. 423: Cyclones  

As Hurricane Matthew reminded us, cyclonic storms are a force to be reckoned with. What causes these storms, and how can they form across the Solar System.

Ep. 422: Geysers  

So if you’ve been to Yellowstone National Park, you’ve seen one of the most amazing features of the natural world – geysers. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about geysers on Earth, and where they might be in the solar system.

Ep. 421: Space Games!  

As you probably know, Fraser is an avid video gamer, especially if it has anything to do with space. Today we turn things around, as Fraser talks about the games he plays, and what he thinks you should be playing too.

Ep. 420: FIRE!  

One of the most dangerous things that can happen inside a spacecraft is fire. Seriously, it’s NASA’s worst nightmare, and for good reason. Fire acts differently in space, and astronauts are always on alert. Here’s why.

Ep. 419: DragonCon 2016 Live - Rocket Girls  

This episode is a special live show that took place at DragonCon 2016 in Atlanta, GA. Pamela hosted a panel of amazing scientists and engineers who all happen to be women, and they discussed the unsung women of NASA and the early Space Age and their roles as “human computers”, and the current climate at JPL for women scientists and engineers.

Ep. 418: Error 418 – I’m a Teapot!  

One of the most familiar asterisms in the night sky is the Teapot, in Sagittarius. Today we’re going to talk about that and have a bonus conversation about Bertrand Russell’s Teapot Argument.

Ep. 417: Error 417: Expectation Failed  

In all fields of science, sometimes more is learned when you fail at what you’re trying to do than when you succeed. So what new science discoveries have failed expectations given us in astronomy?

Ep. 416: Fireballs from the Sky!  

Every now and then we look up and see bright fiery balls falling from the sky. Don’t panic, these are just bolides. Sometimes they leave trails, sometimes they explode, and sometimes they survive all the way to the ground.

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