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Meet Pillownaut Heather Archuletta

Walkabout the Galaxy

Release Date: 01/13/2021

Space Oddities in the Solar System show art Space Oddities in the Solar System

Walkabout the Galaxy

Water molecules have been observed on the surface of an asteroid for the first time, and new studies help explain some of the odd behavior of planetary ring systems, including why they even exist around small objects in the outer solar system. Join us for a clear and fun explanation, the latest from Mars, upcoming missions, space trivia and more.

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When Will We Walk on Mars? show art When Will We Walk on Mars?

Walkabout the Galaxy

In this special episode recorded live at MegaCon Orlando 2024, we are joined by NPR space reporter Brendan Byrne to take a close look at where we are in the mission to get people to the red planet. We take a look at the next steps in the Artemis program, and the history and future of robotic exploration of Mars. Find out when we will walk on Mars, where the best places to walk are, and we answer a listener question on the three body problem.

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Large Cosmological Structures and JWST Spies a Binary TNO show art Large Cosmological Structures and JWST Spies a Binary TNO

Walkabout the Galaxy

There's another claim for a violation of the cosmological principle - that all parts of the universe are basically the same on large scales - but Top quark Jim Cooney explains all is not lost for the standard model of the universe, and more observations are needed. The JWST is providing amazing observations near and far, and has now separately measured the composition of two orbiting trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), confirming that they are made of the same stuff. We explain the implications of this together with the latest space news, a time loop stumper, and walkabout trivia.

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Trojan Mysteries and Titan Snowbergs show art Trojan Mysteries and Titan Snowbergs

Walkabout the Galaxy

Strange disappearing islands in the hydrocarbon lakes of Saturn's giant moon Titan may be fluffy icebergs of hydrocarbon snow. If you're on Titan, definitely don't eat the snow, yellow or not. As the Lucy mission heads towards the Trojan asteroids, questions remain about how this strange population of objects formed. We catch up with all the space news, a time travel stumper, and lunar exploration trivia.

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Agents of Chaos and Iron Snow show art Agents of Chaos and Iron Snow

Walkabout the Galaxy

What role has Jupiter played in the existence of our warm and cosy home planet? Has it been bravely using its gravity to keep the inner solar system calm, or did we luck out and escape getting hurtled out of the solar system or dashed to bits in a giant collision? We’ll discuss new research that explores exoplanetary systems with multiple large planets and whether habitable planets can co-exist with them. And within our own planet we learn about iron snow at the core mantle boundary and its effects on our magnetic field. Join us for all this cool stuff, plus space news and trivia.

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Globular Clusters and Life in Enceladus show art Globular Clusters and Life in Enceladus

Walkabout the Galaxy

New analysis of Cassini data suggests more complex hydrocarbons are part of Enceladus's global sub-surface ocean. We discuss the prospects for life on this tiny moon. The JWST continues to deliver scientific bonanzas, now providing direct observations of globular clusters in very distant galaxies, helping us understand these enigmatic and ancient structures. Join us to explore these mysteries and for space news and special down quark holiday-themed space trivia.

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Pluto Cryovolcano and a Cosmological Supervoid show art Pluto Cryovolcano and a Cosmological Supervoid

Walkabout the Galaxy

At Pluto’s frigid temperatures, even what we breathe is frozen. This can give rise to unusual cryovolcanism, and new research suggests a super cryovolcano tens of kilometers across on the ninth planet (yes, we went there). Speaking of super things, we also review the argument that we are located in a cosmological supervoid and whether than can explain some of the mysteries surround the Hubble constant. Join us for all that, space news, trivia and more.

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Mysterious Cosmic Ray and Martian Airglow show art Mysterious Cosmic Ray and Martian Airglow

Walkabout the Galaxy

The second most energetic cosmic ray (really a particle) ever observed smashed into the Earth a couple of years ago, raising more questions about the origins of these incredibly energetic particles. Solar wind particles meanwhile smash into the planets, and now a green glow from Mars' atmosphere has been observed by one of the many spacecraft exploring the red planet. We also discuss a surprising exoplanet discovery, moon trivia, space news and more.

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Ethical Dilemmas in Space Exploration show art Ethical Dilemmas in Space Exploration

Walkabout the Galaxy

The astroquarks are joined by Dr. Erika Nesvold, astrophysicist and author of “Off Earth: Ethical Questions and Quandaries for Living in Outer Space” to explore some of the surprising problems people need to think about when going to space. We’re busy littering already, but that’s just the tip of the asteroid. Join us for a discussion of some of the trickier issues of space exploration, space news, and gravitational wave trivia. The only place you can find that lineup is on Walkabout the Galaxy.

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The Origin of Supermassive Black Holes show art The Origin of Supermassive Black Holes

Walkabout the Galaxy

JWST data confirm early formation of supermassive black holes, less than 500 million years after the big bang. This early formation suggests these monsters start off very large and form with the initial formation of the galaxy. We also take a closer look at the exciting results from the Lucy spacecraft's flyby of the asteroid Dinkinesh and its surprising moon. Join us for all this, space news, and top quark trivia.

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More Episodes

We welcome special guest Heather Archuletta, a NASA pillownaut, who tells us what it's like to spend weeks simulating space travel in a slightly inverted bed. While time may have seemed to slow down last year, the Earth has actually been speeding up a bit. We'll explain it all, along with news from our neighboring star, sleep trivia, and nerd news as we kick off the third annual Year of the Astroquarks.