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Orbital Path

Series produced by Public Radio Exchange (PRX)

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Orbital Path with Michelle Thaller takes a look at the big questions of the cosmos and what the answers can reveal about our life here on Earth. From podcast powerhouse PRX, with support from the Sloan Foundation.

About Our Host: Dr. Michelle Thaller is Deputy Director of Science Communcation at NASA. She is a research scientist who studies binary stars and the life cycles of stars. In her off-hours, Michelle often puts on about 30 lbs of Elizabethan garb and performs intricate Renaissance dances.


20 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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Dr. Michelle Thaller visits the NASA lab that discovered that meteorites contain some of the very same chemical elements that we contain. Then, Mic...

  • Added: Jun 20, 2017
  • Length: 16:55
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When the Cassini spacecraft blasted into space on October 15, 1997, even the most optimistic scientists would have had a hard time predicting the m...

Bought by KUER, KRZA, and PRX Remix


  • Added: May 23, 2017
  • Length: 22:30
  • Purchases: 3
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Nearly 100 years after Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves — huge undulations in the fabric of space-time itself — in 2015, det...

  • Added: Apr 21, 2017
  • Length: 26:21
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Listeners requested more episodes, so we present the first of our mini episodes. They’ll arrive two weeks after each monthly regular episode, and i...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh and Radio Newark


  • Added: Apr 03, 2017
  • Length: 06:28
  • Purchases: 2
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Space science can help track what’s happening on Earth. In this episode, Orbital Path talks landslides and the satellites that monitor them for the...

Bought by KWMR, KUER, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Mar 20, 2017
  • Length: 22:09
  • Purchases: 3
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Galileo discovered Europa, Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon, in 1610. In 1977, the Voyager spacecraft buzzed past and we realized it was covered in ic...

Bought by KWMR, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KVSC, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Feb 24, 2017
  • Length: 18:44
  • Purchases: 4
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In 1985, the British Antarctic Survey discovered something that shocked scientists around the world: the ozone layer had a hole in it. And the hole...

Bought by KRZA


  • Added: Feb 24, 2017
  • Length: 18:02
  • Purchases: 1
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Going to Mars is hot right now, just ask Matt Damon. But would you go if you knew your bones would turn into something called “pee brittle”? Forme...

Bought by Radio Newark and KWMR


  • Added: Feb 24, 2017
  • Length: 14:32
  • Purchases: 2
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An Orbital Path episode all about... an orbital path! Planet 9's, to be exact. The replacement for Pluto as our solar system's ninth planet is out ...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh and PRX Remix


  • Added: Nov 18, 2016
  • Length: 16:23
  • Purchases: 2
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Scientific discovery can happen in two ways: "Eureka!" moments of sudden understanding, where researchers glean unexpected insight into new phenome...

Bought by Radio Newark, KUAF Public Radio, and WOUB


  • Added: Oct 21, 2016
  • Length: 13:11
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: A coronal mass ejection, Credit: <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/sdo/potw603-brief-outburst/index.html">NASA</a>
The sun can seem like a friendly celestial body, keeping us warm and happy. But just as sun decided when life on Earth could begin, it will also de...

Bought by Radio Newark, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KUAF Public Radio, and WOUB


  • Added: Sep 30, 2016
  • Length: 13:44
  • Purchases: 4
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When Proxima b’s discovery appeared in Nature on August 24, the media breathlessly announced a new Earth-like planet just 4.2 light years away from...

Bought by Radio Newark, KUER, KUAF Public Radio, PRX Remix, KHNS and more


  • Added: Sep 02, 2016
  • Length: 12:03
  • Purchases: 7
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The asteroid belt is portrayed in movies as a crowded place with massive rocks bouncing each other like pool balls, capable of sending a mile-wide ...

Bought by Radio Newark, KUAF Public Radio, WOUB, and CHSR-FM 97.9


  • Added: Aug 22, 2016
  • Length: 15:28
  • Purchases: 4
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Michael Kentrianakis loves eclipses and has seen them from all over the world. Host Michelle Thaller and Mike talk about the stages of the eclipse ...

Bought by KISU and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 15, 2016
  • Length: 17:38
  • Purchases: 2
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From space, the view of earth has no boundaries for countries, no barriers to achievement. Michelle Thaller speaks with Aprille Ericcson, a senior ...

Bought by KUAF Public Radio, CHSR-FM 97.9, and KUER


  • Added: Jun 15, 2016
  • Length: 18:49
  • Purchases: 3
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In this special Mother’s Day episode, Michelle talks with her mom about what it was like raising a space-obsessed daughter in Wisconsin and watchin...

Bought by Radio Newark and KUAF Public Radio


  • Added: May 02, 2016
  • Length: 14:56
  • Purchases: 2
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Astronomer Michelle Thaller talks with Ashley Davies, a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, about the importance of volcanoes in t...

Bought by Radio Newark, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KUAF Public Radio, CHSR-FM 97.9, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Apr 07, 2016
  • Length: 16:33
  • Purchases: 5
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The most rare objects in the night sky are only visible in some extreme places. Dr. Michelle Thaller introduces us to Dr. Anna Moore, a scientist w...

Bought by KALW, Radio Newark, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KUAF Public Radio, CHSR-FM 97.9 and more


  • Added: Feb 18, 2016
  • Length: 15:59
  • Purchases: 7
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Host Dr. Michelle Thaller talks to Prof. Lisa Randall, a theoretical particle physicist at Harvard, about her new book, Dark Matter and the Dinosau...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh, KUAF Public Radio, CHSR-FM 97.9, KOWS, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 15, 2016
  • Length: 17:43
  • Purchases: 5
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In the first episode of Orbital Path, host Michelle Thaller talks with astronomer and author Phil Plait of Slate's Bad Astronomy blog about this co...

Bought by New Hampshire Public Radio, Radio Newark, KUAF Public Radio, WRST-FM Oshkosh, CHSR-FM 97.9 and more


  • Added: Dec 14, 2015
  • Length: 13:43
  • Purchases: 7