Summary: The WeMartians Podcast delves into all aspects of the exploration of Mars, including robotic/human spacecraft and rocket engineering, planetary science, astronomy and other upcoming technology. Our episodes are research-supported and feature topical audio clips and special guests.
Episode 31 - The Interplanetary Business Case (feat. Chantelle Dubois) by
Without GPS, keeping track of our Martian explorers is no easy task. Data management for the thousands of photos, especially their locations, is in fact a full time job. Fred Calef, JPL's "Keeper of the Maps" joins Jake to talk all about how we build a base map for Curiosity to help scientists get the right context for their geologic studies.
For over 13 years, NASA's Opportunity Rover has been exploring Meridiani Planum on Mars. The determined spacecraft has faced a lot of challenges through its mission, not least of which is continuing to operate in the harsh Martian environment. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mike Seibert joins Jake to talk about all the intricacies of operating a spacecraft another world away. WeMartians music is "RetroFuture", "Electrodoodle" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
It's been five years since NASA's Curiosity Rover touched down on the surface of Mars, and it's been doing all kinds of science as it climbs the slopes of Mt. Sharp ever since. Taking a step back, what have we learned from this flagship mission so far? The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla joins Jake to discuss how Curiosity has pushed the limits of spacecraft engineering, operations, and science.
Despite a growing influence of private organizations in the space industry, government still holds a lot of power in the direction of exploration. Space policy is a messy, complicated and mysterious affair. The Planetary Society's Casey Dreier, Director of Space Policy, joins Jake to talk about the current affairs of Mars exploration, from the robotic side to the human side.
Episode 26 - Remembering Pathfinder by
Europe's ExoMars program has already kicked off with the Trace Gas Orbiter, currently manoeuvring downward to its final science orbit. But ExoMars is not limited to a single mission. By 2020, ESA hopes to launch the first European rover to the Red Planet. Abbie Hutty, a Lead Spacecraft Structures Engineer, comes on to talk about what it takes to design, test and build a rover chassis, from wheels to mast, and what this rover means in the broader view of Mars exploration and international cooperation. WeMartians music is "RetroFuture" and "Electrodoodle" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
All the obstacles in spaceflight can theoretically be broken down in to subsets of risk. Whether personal risk, programmatic risk, financial risk or professional risk, these are the things holding back individuals and organizations from accomplishing goals. What does this mean for Mars and how can we overcome it? Jake sits down with award-winning journalist Leonard David to explore this topic and try to understand what steps must be taken next to continue towards the objective of putting people on the Red Planet.
On Earth, geologists are pretty familiar with the concept of an esker, a snake-like ridge formation left behind by a receding glacier. Across our planet they can be found in areas where glaciers once dominated the landscape. The same is true on Mars, but eskers also require a time when glaciers could melt. Frances Butcher, a PhD student from the Open University, talks with Jake about these special kinds of Martian eskers that indicate a warmer, wetter environment than we once thought. WeMartians music is "RetroFuture" and "Electrodoodle" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
In a mashup episode that combines the formats of The Orbital Mechanics, a great weekly spaceflight podcast, and WeMartians, Jake, Ben and David explore a variety of Mars topics. Delve in to history as we mark the 37th anniversary since Viking 2's batteries gave out and learn about the spacecraft and its mission. Ben walks us through NASA's new Road Map to Mars, a flight plan for SLS and Orion leading all the way to the 2030s. Then, we explore SpaceX's Red Dragon mission and learn about the four candidate landing sites being considered when the Hawthorne-based company makes its first landing on the Red Planet in 2021. You'll also hear some of the great segments from The Orbital Mechanics, like #ThisWeekSF, upcoming spaceflight events, and space news. Note: If you are already a subscriber of The Orbital Mechanics, their episode 104 will be mostly the same content with some different introductions, ie. the same episode appears in both feeds.
Every year, upwards of 2,000 planetary scientists descend upon a suburb of Houston to discuss the latest findings, share the work, and learn something new. A lot of Mars happens at these conferences, so WeMartians decided to attend it in person! Jake catches up with old friends, makes some new ones, and explores Mars like never before. WeMartians music is "RetroFuture" and "Electrodoodle" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Ahead of the science, the surface operations, the tricky landing, interplanetary cruise, & launch of a NASA flagship class rover like Mars2020, the difficult decision of where to send the mission must be made. For the successor of Curiosity, this process is nearing completion as the 3rd workshop has narrowed the remaining candidates to three. Jake takes a long look at the mission requirements, landing site criteria, and Mars mapping techniques before exploring Jezero Crater, North East Syrtis and Gusev Crater to see what secrets might lie beneath the regolith. WeMartians music is "RetroFuture" and "Electrodoodle" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
A surface mission to Mars will involve a lengthy stay in a harsh environment. Many have argued that this could be a psychologically draining experience as astronauts are forced into confined spaces with no light, perhaps underground away from harsh radiation. But architects Kelsey Lents and Jeffrey Montes don't believe that's necessary. They and their teams helped design the Mars Ice House, a 3D-printed ice dome that caught the eye of NASA and became a feasibility study to build a surface habitat. WeMartians music is "RetroFuture" and "Electrodoodle" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
The year 2016 was a big one for Mars, and 2017 might be even bigger yet. We're joined by two space reporters from Orlando to talk about the highlights of last year in Mars exploration, and look ahead to 2017, which promises to take us closer to the Red Planet. Brendan Byrne is a reporter from WMFE Orlando and the host of "Are We There Yet?", a podcast about space exploration. Emilee Speck is a reporter from WKMG with a passion for planetary missions.
NASA currently operates two rovers on the surface of Mars, but in the next five years that population could more than double as JPL prepares its third rover, and space agencies in Europe and China look to create their own footholds. That's why creating a pipeline of talent that can plan, target, drive and otherwise operate these rovers is so important. Enter CanMars - an anlogue mission run by the Canadian Space Agency using real rovers here on Earth. I caught up with Eric Pilles, the planning lead for CanMars 2016, to find out how he and his team of scientists from universities across Canada are learning the ins and outs of rover ops, and how the science drives their goals.