Tag Archives: Planets

Science Podcast: Dire Wolf Extinction, Pluto’s Blue Haze & Mice Empathy

DNA clues point to how dire wolves went extinct, and a round-up of the main impacts of Brexit on science.

In this episode:

00:45 Dire wolf DNA

Dire wolves were huge predators that commonly roamed across North America before disappearing around 13,000 years ago. Despite the existence of a large number of dire wolf fossils, questions remain about why this species went extinct and how they relate to other wolf species. Now, using DNA and protein analysis, researchers are getting a better understanding of what happened to these extinct predators.

Research Article: Perri et al.

11:43 Research Highlights

The secret to Pluto’s blue haze, and the neural circuitry underlying mice empathy.

Research Highlight: Ice bathes Pluto in a blue haze

Research Highlight: Brain maps show how empathetic mice feel each other’s pain

13:31 Post-Brexit science

In December, a last minute trade-deal between the UK and EU clarified what the future relationship between the two regions would look like, after Brexit. We discuss the implications of this trade-deal for science funding, the movement of researchers, and data sharing.

News Explainer: What the landmark Brexit deal means for science

23:18 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, concerns about contaminating water on the moon, and the spy satellites that spied out environmental change.

Nature News: Will increasing traffic to the Moon contaminate its precious ice?

The New York Times: Inside the C.I.A., She Became a Spy for Planet Earth

Astronomy: ‘Skywatching Tips – January 2021’ (Video)

What are some skywatching highlights in January 2021? Mark Earth’s closest approach to the Sun for the year, called perihelion, at the start of the month, then spot a couple of elusive planets: Uranus on Jan. 20th and Mercury throughout the second half of the month. Additional information about topics covered in this episode of What’s Up, along with still images from the video, and the video transcript, are available at https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/whats-up….

Astronomy: ‘The Outer Planets’ From Hubble Space Telescope (Video)

What is OPAL? OPAL (Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy) is a project to obtain long time baseline observations of the outer planets in order to understand their atmospheric dynamics and evolution as gas giants. The yearly observations from OPAL throughout the remainder of Hubble’s operation will provide an important legacy of time-domain images for use by planetary scientists. Viewers might notice that some of the images of the same planets appear to be different colors. This is due to the fact that over the years, from Voyager to Hubble, many different instruments, and many different filters have been used.

Astronomy: Saturn’s Moon ‘Titan’ (Nasa Video)

Earth is not the only place in the solar system with rain, rivers, lakes and seas. Saturn’s moon Titan has them, too — not of water, but of liquid methane and ethane. This Earth-like world even hides an ocean of liquid water deep beneath its surface! Find out what you need to know about Titan.

Video Trailer: ‘A Perfect Planet – BBC Earth’ With David Attenborough

A Perfect Planet is an awe-inspiring exploration of Earth’s power and fragility.

PERFECT PLANET

Planet Earth is perfect. It orbits at the perfect distance from the sun; it tilts at just the right angle and has a decent sized moon to hold it in place. On top of that, the day-to-day workings of the planet naturally serve to nurture animals and plants.

This five part series will show how the forces of nature – weather, ocean currents, solar energy and volcanoes – drive, shape and support Earth’s great diversity of life. In doing so, it will reveal how animals are perfectly adapted to whatever the environment throws at them.

Future Housing: “Mars Habitat” By Hassell Studio

We set out to design the perfect habitat for space explorers on the red planet as part of NASA’s international 3D Printed Habitat Challenge.

Our team, in collaboration with structural engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan (EOC), was shortlisted to design the world’s first human home on Mars. In our design, an external shell made from local Martian regolith would be built in advance by autonomous robots before exploration teams arrived to construct the interior – a series of inflatable ​‘pods’ containing everything for work and life on Mars.

Our aim was to bring a more human element to space design, typically all about maximum efficiency and performance. Our habitat goes far beyond just ticking the boxes for safety and survival. It’s a home away from home where astronauts can carry out the most important work in the history of space exploration.

Website

Top New Science Podcasts: Pluto’s Dark Side Yields Dwarf Planet’s Secrets

Nature PodcastsIn 2015, after a nine-and-a-half-year journey, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft raced past Pluto, beaming images of the dwarf planet back to Earth.

Five years after the mission, researchers are poring over images of Pluto’s far-side, which was shrouded in shadow during New Horizon’s flypast. They hope that these images will help give a better understanding of how Pluto was born and even whether a hidden ocean resides beneath the world’s icy crust.

This is an audio version of our feature: Pluto’s dark side spills its secrets — including hints of a hidden ocean

Space: UAE, China And USA Launch Missions To Mars – How Long Will It Take?

Why are there so many attempts to get to Mars at the moment? The United Arab Emirate’s Hope satellite was despatched last week and now China has launched its first rover mission to the red planet. Nasa’s Perseverance Rover is scheduled to take off on 30th July. Well, summer 2020 is a popular time for missions to the red planet because of the way the planets align – but how long does it take to get there? Landing on Mars is known as the “seven minutes of terror”, and there are lots of reasons why. Here BBC Science Correspondent Laura Foster explains how long it takes to get there and why it’s so difficult. Video by Megan Fisher, Terry Saunders and Laura Foster

Top New Science Podcast: UAE’s New Mars Mission, ‘Enhanced Weathering’ & Mexico’s Deep Caverns

Nature PodcastOn this week’s podcast, an ambitious Mars mission from a young space agency, and how crumbling up rocks could help fight climate change. 

In this episode:

00:46 Mars hopes

In a few weeks the UAE’s first mission to Mars is due to launch. We speak to the mission leads to learn about the aims of the project, and how they developed the mission in under six years. News Feature: How a small Arab nation built a Mars mission from scratch in six yearsNews Feature: Countdown to Mars: three daring missions take aim at the red planet

09:53 Research Highlights

Pluto appears to be losing its atmosphere, and solving the mystery of a pitch-black prehistoric mine. Research Highlight: Goodbye, Pluto’s atmosphereResearch Highlight: Why ancient people pushed deep into Mexico’s pitch-black caverns

12:12 Climate rocks

Researchers have assessed whether Enhanced Weathering – a technique to pull carbon dioxide out of the air – has the potential to help battle climate change. Research Article: Beerling et al.

18:41 Briefing Chat

We take a look at some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time we talk about an outbreak of flesh-eating bacteria in Australia, and how flatworms can regrow their nervous systems. The Atlantic: Australia Has a Flesh-Eating-Bacteria ProblemThe New York Times: A Worm’s Hidden Map for Growing New Eyes