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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.


26 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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People have dreamed of making this trip for millennia. Next year, NASA launches the first ever voyage to the sun.

  • Added: Sep 15, 2017
  • Length: 18:00
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NASA astronomer Andrew Booth joins Michelle in the hot tub to drink a glass of chardonnay, and talk weird science.

  • Added: Sep 01, 2017
  • Length: 11:27
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Michelle visits a Nobel Prize winner who took a “baby picture” of the universe — NASA cosmologist John Mather.

  • Added: Aug 18, 2017
  • Length: 22:53
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A NASA mission probes mysteries of a planet very much like our own....

  • Added: Aug 04, 2017
  • Length: 20:49
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The big one is coming! That is, the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21. Dr. Thaller shares her wisdom on how best to view the eclipse and its larger im...

Bought by KUFM - Montana Public Radio and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 20, 2017
  • Length: 11:16
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/images/index.html">Jupiter from the Juno mission</a>
Recently, we’ve started to get the first images back from Juno, which is on a mission to Jupiter. Host Dr. Michelle Thaller walks us through the re...

Bought by XRAY.fm


  • Added: Jun 30, 2017
  • Length: 06:47
  • Purchases: 1
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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...

Bought by XRAY.fm


  • Added: Jun 20, 2017
  • Length: 16:55
  • Purchases: 1
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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...

Bought by KVSC


  • Added: Apr 21, 2017
  • Length: 26:21
  • Purchases: 1
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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 WJFF, KISU, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 15, 2016
  • Length: 17:38
  • Purchases: 3