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Playlist: Space

Compiled By: PRX Editors

 Credit: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-1310758p1.html">Maria Starovoytova</a>
Image by: Maria Starovoytova 
Curated Playlist

To infinity and beyond! A playlist about the cosmos curated for the curious.


How we pick the pieces in this list.

Orbital Path (Series)

Produced by Public Radio Exchange (PRX)

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.

Most recent piece in this series:

Episode 22: Journey to the Sun

From Public Radio Exchange (PRX) | Part of the Orbital Path series | 18:00

Solar_flare_image_small Remember the myth of Icarus? He and his dad were trying to escape from prison. Locked up on the Greek island of Crete, they made wings out of  beeswax and bird feathers. They soared to freedom — but Icarus got cocky, flew too close to the sun, and fell into the sea.

A few thousand years later, NASA is ready to do the job right.

The Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to fly in 2018. The spacecraft has a giant heat shield, tested to withstand 2,500-degree temperatures.

For something so basic to all of our lives — and fundamental to the science of astronomy — the sun remains surprisingly mysterious. To learn more, Michelle meets up with Nicky Viall, a NASA heliophysicist working on the mission. She describes how direct measurements of the sun’s super-hot plasma, and solar wind, may dramatically enhance our understanding of the star at the center of our lives.



Episode 10: The Ultimate Wayback Machine

From Public Radio Exchange (PRX) | Part of the Transistor series | 20:31

Looking through a telescope is like being inside a time machine -- you are seeing light from the past. And some space telescopes allow astronomers to see light that is billions of years old and existed before there was an Earth or sun. Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller introduces us to scientists who started two of the most powerful telescopes, the Hubble, which launched 25 years ago, and the James Webb Space Telescope, being built right now.

Shutterstock_171205715_small Looking through a telescope is like being inside a time machine -- you are seeing light from the past. And some space telescopes allow astronomers to see light that is billions of years old and existed before there was an Earth or sun. Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller introduces us to scientists who started two of the most powerful telescopes, the Hubble, which launched 25 years ago, and the James Webb Space Telescope, being built right now.

Episode 5: Venus and Us: Two Stories of Climate Change

From Public Radio Exchange (PRX) | Part of the Transistor series | 17:32

Space scientists are acutely aware of what can happen when climates change in other parts of our solar system. Take Venus, where it rains sulfuric acid and is 900°F on the surface, but it wasn’t always that way. Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller talks with a NASA expert on Venus about how the planet became a hellscape. And she talks with the Library of Congress’ inaugural chair of astrobiology about how to grasp this new geologic era where humans cause rapid change.

Image__1__small Space scientists are acutely aware of what can happen when climates change in other parts of our solar system. Take Venus, where it rains sulfuric acid and is 900°F on the surface, but it wasn’t always that way. Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller talks with a NASA expert on Venus about how the planet became a hellscape. And she talks with the Library of Congress’ inaugural chair of astrobiology about how to grasp this new geologic era where humans cause rapid change.

Episode 1: We Are Stardust

From Public Radio Exchange (PRX) | Part of the Transistor series | 16:20

We're closer than ever before to discovering if we're not alone in the universe. The host for this episode of Transistor, astrophysicist Michelle Thaller, visits the NASA lab that discovered that comets contain some of the very same chemical elements that we contain. Then, Michelle talks to a Vatican planetary scientist about how science and religion can meet on the topic of life beyond Earth.

Michelle_thaller_headshot-1_small We're closer than ever before to discovering if we're not alone in the universe. The host for this episode of Transistor, astrophysicist Michelle Thaller, visits the NASA lab that discovered that comets contain some of the very same chemical elements that we contain. Then, Michelle talks to a Vatican planetary scientist about how science and religion can meet on the topic of life beyond Earth.

Moon Graffiti

From The Truth | 15:21

What if Apollo 11 had crashed?

Playing
Moon Graffiti
From
The Truth

Moongrafitti_prx_image_small “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.” We all know the quote, the triumphant story. It seems written in stone. But Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong came within inches of tragedy when they landed Apollo 11. Moon Grafitti imagines what it might have sounded like if things had gone a little differently. Based on a contingency speech written by William Safire for Richard Nixon titled “In the Event of Moon Disaster.”

We're still experimenting with how to best format our series. If you would like to air this piece without our host intro, credits, or sonic ID, we are more than happy to make a different version that would better suit your needs (and we'll do it quickly!). Please let us know what you think, we are always looking for ways to make our show better.

 

Muhammad Ali Goes to Mars: The Lost Interview from 1966

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 07:20

It was the summer of 1966 when a persistent 17-year-old with a high school radio show near Chicago got the interview of lifetime: Muhammad Ali. But only a handful of people ever got to hear this time capsule. Until now.

“There were so many fellows ranked over me I couldn’t just whoop them all. I had to out-shadow them by talking.” - Muhammad Ali, 1966

Interview by Michael Aisner. Read the backstory below.

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It was in the summer of 1966 when a star-struck 17-year-old set out to interview his idol: Muhammad Ali. Twenty miles from the South Side of Chicago, in Winnetka, Ill., Michael Aisner was calling repeatedly to the gym where the boxing champ was training. Finally, a man named Mr. Shabazz — Jeremiah Shabazz, he suspects, the man who introduced Ali to Islam — picked up.
“Where are you from?” Shabazz asked the boy.

“I’m from WNTH, a high school radio station,” Aisner said.”The champ doesn’t have time to talk,” he said.

Aisner called back two days later. And then two days after that.

“Can I interview the champ?” he asked again.

Finally, Shabazz relented.

“Ok,” he told him. “The champ will meet you.”

Later that week, with a suitcase-sized tape recorder in a back seat, Aisner and his best friend Pat were driving from the northern suburbs of Chicago to the South Side of  Chicago, where Ali’s fan club was headquartered. It was two years after Ali had trashed talked his way into a victory over Sonny Liston; a year before he would refuse to go Vietnam. At the time, many black Muslims, led by Malcolm X, were advocating for “total separation” of the races. And so, for a scrawny white boy from the suburbs, heading to the heart of Chicago’s gritty South Side was no small thing.

“We parked as close as we could to the building,” Aisner, now 63, laughs. “White Jewish boys from the suburbs did not go to the south side of Chicago.”

The Muhammad Ali fan club was housed in a small brick building on X street, a gold foil sign announcing itself out front. Next door was “Muhammad Speaks,” the black Muslim newspaper. From inside the club, Aisner and his friend watched out the front window as Ali screetched up in a red Cadillac convertible, parked in front of a fire hydrant, and jumped over the car door.
For the next 20 minutes, Ali talked boxing, footwork, why he wanted to fight — and launched into an epic, unprompted riff about traveling to Mars and fighting for the intergalactic boxing title. All went smoothly — until Aisner realized he’d forgot to turn on the tape recorder.

“I was mortified,” he says. “I said, ‘Champ, do you think you could do that again?’”

The champ obliged.

The interview aired a few weeks later, and Aisner went on to produce a radio show and a documentary in the decades since. But he’s never quite forgotten that first interview with his childhood icon. For 25 years, he kept the original reel-to-reel recording until he digitized it. But it sat. No one else ever heard it.

Then Aisner heard about Blank on Blank. And brought his interview of a lifetime back to life.

Zero G, and I Feel Fine

From Hearing Voices | Part of the Wandering Jew stories series | 06:01

Transmissions are from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions, with original music.

Nasa-240-gpn-2000-001040_small Transmissions are from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions, with music by Jeff Artnsen of Racket Ship.

One Way Ticket to Mars

From Roman Mars | 10:53

NASA is figuring out how to take the next great leap into space. The difficulty is, if we leap to Mars, we might not make it back. (produced Summer, 2009)

Mars_and_syrtis_major_-_gpn-2000-000923_small NASA is figuring out how to take the next great leap into space. The difficulty is, if we leap to Mars, we might not make it back. This piece was produced in Summer of 2009. Since then the Constellation project mentioned, but not explored in any great detail in the piece, has been scrapped. The technical challenges and existential quandry are still quite relevant.

Clever Apes: Apes in space

From WBEZ | Part of the WBEZ's Clever Apes series | 12:59

In this episode, host Gabriel Spitzer considers what science has to learn from flying saucers, what it might take for humans to colonize space in our lifetimes, and how a very clever ape helped launch the space race.

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Few things have changed humanity’s self-image in quite the same way as human space travel. Whether it’s seeing that famous image of the blue-green ball spinning through blackness or the rise of UFO sightings, reaching space has rejiggered how we imagine our place in the universe.

We begin this installment of Clever Apes with a remembrance of J. Allen Hynek, perhaps the best-known American ufologist … or at least, the best-known ufologist with an actual science background. He chaired the astronomy department at Northwestern University, and worked as a consultant on the Air Force’s official UFO investigation, Project Blue Book. Along the way, he transformed from skeptic to believer. As a debunker, he was the first person to write off UFO sightings as “swamp gas.” Later, as a full-throated UFO enthusiast, he invented the “close encounters” classification system. Incidentally, he consulted on Steven Spielberg’s movie, and even has a cameo. 

Next we consider what it would take to kickstart human settlement of space, and along the way we ask what it takes to get people to do big things. I mean really big. Like build a 10,000-person space colony within the next 10 years or so. Anita Gale is an engineer at Boeing who works on the space shuttle program, and she’s done some deep thinking about those questions. She also runs a contest for high school kids to design a plausible space settlement. We caught up with her at the International Space Development Conference in Rosemont, Illinois, to talk space real estate.

Finally, we honor the contributions of one very clever ape to the space program. Fifty years ago, HAM the Astrochimp became the first ape in space. 

NASA - A Generational Perspective

From Phil Mariage | Part of the Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow series | 29:01

NASA's Chief historian, Bill Barry discusses the impact each generation has had on the space program.

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The Mikie Show #73, Alessondra

From Michael Carroll | Part of the The Mikie Show series | 28:02

Join us for an interesting and fun conversation with planetary astronomer, Alessondra Springmann. She’s working on NASA’s Osiris project and could be one of the first to confirm an asteroid is on a trajectory to hit Earth. Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine. Plus, we have more guests from outer space! And the news and a quiz of striking not-difficulty. All you have to do is click the little play arrow and blast off!

Asteroid_small

Join us for an interesting and fun conversation with planetary astronomer, Alessondra Springmann. She’s working on NASA’s Osiris project and could be one of the first to confirm an asteroid is on a trajectory to hit Earth. Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine. Plus, we have more guests from outer space! And the news and a quiz of striking not-difficulty. All you have to do is click the little play arrow and blast off!

Space Archaeology

From Big Picture Science | Part of the Big Picture Science series | 54:01

Why modern archaeologists forsake digging in the dirt in favor of a satellite view, and how we might track extraterrestrials from the trash they leave behind.

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Indiana Jones meets Star Trek in the field of space archaeology. Satellites scan ancient ruins so that scientists can map them without disturbing one grain of sand. Discover how some archaeologists forsake their spades and brushes in favor of examining historic sites from hundreds of miles high.

Also, if you were to hunt for alien artifacts – what would you look for? Why ET might choose to send snail mail rather than a radio signal.

Plus, the culture of the hardware we send into space, and roaming the Earth, the moon, and Mars the Google way.

Guests:

   Alice Gorman – Archaeologist at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

   Christopher Rose – Professor of Computer and Intellectual Engineering, Rutgers University, New Jersey

   Robin Hanson – Economist at George Mason University, Virginia

   Tiffany Montague – Engineer, and Intergalactic Federation King Almighty, Commander of the Universe, at Google, Inc.

   Compton Tucker – Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Guardian Science Weekly podcast: Sounds of the space shuttle - an acoustic tribute

From Jason PJ PHIPPS | 16:46

As the programme draws to a close, Piers Sellers and Scott Altman describe what it was like to fly on the space shuttle - and we recreate the sounds

Science_300_small As part of the Guardian's coverage of the final mission of the shuttle Atlantis, STS 135, Science Weekly hitches an oral and acoustic ride on the shuttle. Ian Sample spoke to two shuttle veterans, the Anglo-American meteorologist Piers Sellers and former US army test pilot Scott Altman.

Both men discuss the visceral experience of a shuttle launch and the day-to-day experience of entering orbit, docking with the International Space Station and finally re-entering the atmosphere on the shuttle's return to Earth.

The Guardian's Science Weekly: Requiem for the space shuttle

From Jason PJ PHIPPS | 29:53

In an extended interview, former Nasa astronaut Jeff Hoffman reflects on 30 years of the space shuttle

Hoffman240_small

On the 12 April 1981, Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral. It was the first shuttle to go into space.

Thirty years on, the shuttle fleet is finally being taken out of service. The three remaining shuttles - Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour - each have one mission left.

At the time of recording, Nasa has scheduled STS-133 for 24 February: Discovery is destined for the international space station.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Dr Jeffrey Hoffman flew five times on the shuttle - he was the first astronaut to log more than a thousand hours of flight time on board and travelled more than 20 million miles in space.

But as this era of spaceflight comes to a close, what is the shuttle's legacy and what's next for human spaceflight?

We spoke to Jeff from his new workplace, the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT.

He has presented a new documentary on the BBC World Service, The Last Chance to Fly the Space Shuttle.

Don't forget to listen to our regular Science Weekly podcast.

Subscribe for free via iTunes to ensure every episode gets delivered. (Here is the non-iTunes URL feed).

Meet the Guardian's crack team of science bloggers:

The Lay Scientist by Martin Robbins
Life and Physics by Jon Butterworth
Punctuated Equilibrium by GrrlScientist
Political Science by Evan Harris

Follow the podcast on our Science Weekly Twitter feed and receive updates on all breaking science news stories from Guardian Science.

Email scienceweeklypodcast@gmail.com.

Guardian Science is now on Facebook. You can also join our Science Weekly Facebook group.

We're always here when you need us, listen back through our archive.

Rocketing Ahead

From Richard Paul | 01:01:05

How the Democrats rode Sputnik to the White House in a campaign that forever changed science, technology and academia in America.

Sputnik_small In 1969, humans landed on the Moon. But why? Why did we go? Look at anything with the perspective of decades and it can seem inevitable. How often do we ever stop, look the things around us and ask: How did it get that way? When it comes to the question: Why did we go to the Moon, the answer has a little bit to do with science and a lot to do with politics. In this program we learn how the Democrats rode Sputnik to the White House in a campaign that forever changed science, technology and academia in America.

Rocket Girls and Astro-nettes

From Richard Paul | 59:07

Women in the ultimate Man’s World – the labs and Shuttle crew cabins of NASA in the 60s and 70s.

Eileen_collins_nasa_photo_2_of_2_small This program is the story of women in the ultimate Man’s World – the labs and Shuttle crew cabins of NASA.  Told in the first person, these stories explore the experiences of NASA’s first woman engineers and scientists and its first astronauts.  It also tells the fascinating story of a group of women pilots who – in the early 1960s – were led to believe that they would be America’s first women astronauts and were given the exact same physical tests are the Mercury astronauts.  The program is narrated by Eileen Collins, the first woman commander of a Space Shuttle. 

Gravity's Engine -- Groks Science Show 2012-08-29

From Charles Lee | Part of the Groks Science Radio Show series | 27:27

Dr. Caleb Scharf discusses astrophysics and black holes.

Grokscience_small What can super-massive black holes tell us about the structure of our galaxy and the universe?  On this program, Dr. Caleb Scharf discusses astrophysics and black holes.

A Martian Curiosity

From Big Picture Science | Part of the Big Picture Science series | 54:14

The hard part is over: we landed on Mars (again!). Let the science begin. Here’s the latest in the hunt for evidence of life off Earth, and one man’s plan to set up a Martian colony. A show for the Curiosity-minded.

Martiancuriositymed_small

We dig the Red Planet! And so does Curiosity. After a successful landing, and a round of high-fives at NASA, the latest rover to land on Mars is on the move, shovel in mechanical hand.

Discover how the Mars Science Laboratory will hunt for the building blocks of life, and just what the heck a lipid is. Plus, how to distinguish Martians from Earthlings, and the tricks Mars has played on us in the past (canals, anyone?).

Also, want to visit Mars firsthand? We can point you to the sign-up sheet for a manned mission. The catch: the ticket is one-way.

Guests:

  • John Grotzinger – Geologist, California Institute of Technology, and project scientist, NASA Mars Science Laboratory mission
  • Jennifer Heldmann – Research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center
  • David Blake – Principal Investigator of CheMin, a mineralogical instrument that is included in the analytical laboratory of the Mars Science Laboratory mission
  • Rachel Harris – Astrobiology student at the NASAAstrobiology Institute
  • Stuart Schlisserman – Physician in Palo Alto, California
  • Felisa Wolfe-Simon – NASA astrobiology research fellow, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs
  • Bas Lansdorp – Founder, Mars One

Record Bin Roulette - Assignment Outer Space

From John Kessler | 03:51

Weekly 4 minute thrill ride through music history. This time we head into outer space with David Bowie, Elton John, Chuck Berry and Ludwig Von Beethoven.

Voyagergoldrec_small Weekly 4 minute thrill ride through music history. This time we head into outer space with David Bowie, Elton John, Chuck Berry and Ludwig Von Beethoven.

Record Bin Roulette-The Moon

From John Kessler | 03:54

This week we moon over some of our favorite lunar toons with Van Morrison, Marvin Gaye, Dean Martin and Julie London, among others.

Lunarsalute_small This week we moon over some of our favorite lunar toons with Van Morrison, Marvin Gaye, Dean Martin and Julie London, among others.

Travelers In The Night (Series)

Produced by Al Grauer

Travelers In The Night is your unique source of insider Information from the Asteroid Hunting and Space Communities.

It features an engaging and informative series of two minute, factual episodes about asteroids, comets, spacecraft, and other objects in space.

The music is "Eternity" by John Lyell.

Teachers, Students, and Kids of all ages:
The script for each program piece can be found on travelersinthenight.org. At the end of of each piece you can click for additional information.

The pieces are "evergreen" in that they are current but not dated.

Most recent piece in this series:

392-Dragon Delivers

From Al Grauer | Part of the Travelers In The Night series | 02:00

Logoasteroid-2012-da14_small Please see the transcript.

Star Wars Brought This Couple Together -- and it's Helping to Keep Them Together

From Syracuse University Broadcast Journalism | 02:58

The lovers get ready to welcome a new addition to their movie marathon dates.

1988902113_8d43b92735_m_small A pair of lovers get ready to welcome a new addition to their movie marathon dates.