Dr Joe Masiero returns to the podcast to talk about asteroid families, which are groups of asteroids that astronomers think are fragments from ancient collisions. He describes how he identifies these families, and how this work can help us understand how the solar system used to be millions of years ago.
Dr. Varoujan Gorjian thoroughly debunks a misconception he hates— the idea that black holes suck. Find out what would happen to the Earth if our Sun was suddenly replaced with a black hole of the same mass, and why is is so challenging to send a probe to Mercury.
The New Horizons mission revealed Pluto's jaw-dropping vistas and geophysical mysteries. One listener wanted to know why the spacecraft didn't go into orbit around Pluto. Tom Spilker, interplanetary travel expert, tells us the answer.
Tom made some slides to accompany this podcast! You can download them here:
Dr Paddack, one of the discoverers of the YORP effect, tells some funny stories from his time at NASA. Here he shows an element from his famous experiment; a simplified spacecraft model with uniform color. When placed in a vacuum attached to a friction-less bearing, this element started spinning when a light was shone on it.