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190 – SOFIA Part 2, The Flights

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(average: 4.69)
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SOFIA is an airborne observatory, a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a 2.7m infrared telescope in the back of the fuselage. In late October 2015, I had the opportunity to fly on SOFIA during science missions 248 and 249. This episode captures these two flights. The episode is a mix between interviews with scientists and aircrew, recordings from the intercom system and some narration by me. The list of guests can be seen on the episode page – it is too long for the abstract.

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189 – SOFIA Part 1, Basics

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(average: 4.74)
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SOFIA is an airborne observatory, a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a 2.7m infrared telescope in the back of the fuselage. In the context of the preparation for my SOFIA flights, I visited the DSI in Stuttgart several times during this summer to record interviews with various DSI people about SOFIA. This episode covers these interviews, plus a recording of the visit of the instrument labs in Palmdale. The guests and topics are Alfred Krabbe, Head of the DSI, on the history and some of the science; Thomas Keilig, CEO of DSI, on the airplane and the modifications; Christian Fischer, Project Engineer of FIFI-LS, on the instrument and some of the science; Dörte Mehlert, Education and Public Outreach, on education and the flying teachers programme; and Zaheer Ali, head of the science and mission operations laboratory, on that lab.

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150 – The European Extremely Large Telescope

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(average: 4.75)
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In this episode we talk with Jochen Liske from the European Southern Observatory about the E-ELT Telescope for which construction is about to start. We discuss the engineering challenges of building a 40m mirror and the associated telescope, as well as the science that is planned to be addressed with the E-ELT once it is finished. We also discuss a number of issues around optical astronomy in general that were not covered in our episode about the LBT.

Joe Liske is also the host of both the HUBBLEcast and the ESOCast, two video podcasts about astronomy you may want to check out.

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135 – High-Energy Neutrinos and the IceCube Neutrino Observatory

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(average: 4.67)
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This episode covers the discovery (strictly speaking, “strong evidence”) for high-energy (astrophysical) neutrinos. The discovery was announced on 22 November 2013. In this episode we talk with DESY‘s Markus Ackermann about the the evidence for astrophysical neutrinos and why they are important. We also discuss how the the IceCube Neutrino Observatory works, which opened up this new field of astronomy. We conclude with a brief conversation about traveling to, and living at the south pole, where IceCube is located.

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113 – The (creation of the) Moon

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(average: 4.65)
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This episode covers the moon, and in particular, its creation. We talk to the two scientists who came up with the theory of the moon’s creation that is still prevalent today: Don Davis and Bill Hartmann In the episode we discuss in detail their theory that the moon has been created by an impact event into earth, as well as some of the history of this theory. We also discuss other space related topics such as water on the moon, human vs. robotic space flight, and flights to Mars.

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112 – Planetary Science and Comets

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(average: 4.56)
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This is the first of two episodes recorded at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. This episode has two interviews. The first one, with Mark Sykes, the director of PSI, is about the PSI and planetary science in general. The second interview is with Beatrice Mueller about her research area, comets.

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111 – Optical Astronomy and the Large Binocular Telescope

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(average: 4.90)
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This epsiode covers my visit at the Large Binocular Telescope near Tucson, Arizona. The episode is mostly a conversation with the telescope’s director, Richard Green. We talk about optical astronomy in general and the LBT in particular. I also talk to a scientist who is currently observing at the telescope as well as a telescope operator.

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110 – Curiosity’s Landing on Mars

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(average: 4.71)
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This episode is a conversation with JPL‘s Anita Sengupta about Curiosity’s landing on Mars. We first discuss the landing process itself and then focus on various aspects of the landing, in particular, the parachute. Next we discuss the development and test of that parachute. We conclude the episode with a general discussion about Mars Science Lab, Curiosity and space flight in general.

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063 – The Cassini Mission to Saturn

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(average: 4.49)
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This episode is about the Cassini Mission to Saturn. We talk with Nora Kelly Alonge, a Project Science System Engineer and Science Planning Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In the episode we cover the Cassini spacecraft’s structure and sensors (and its lander, Huygens), some of the relevant science, as well as the challenge of coordinating science and engineering requirements on the mission.

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031 – The Millennium Simulation

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(average: 4.26)
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This episode is a conversation with Volker Springel about the Millenium Simulation, which at the time was the largest simulation of the growth of cosmic structure, including a detailed model for the formation of galaxies and supermassive black holes. In the episode we talk about the physical/cosmological background, the simulation process and approach as well as some details about the hard- and software.

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