Are We There Yet?
The Space Exploration Podcast
Just How Close Are We To Putting Humans On Mars?
UCF’s Phil Metzger, WMFE’s Brendan Byrneand WKMG’s Emilee Speck For the past three years, WMFE’s podcast Are We There Yet? has asked “when it comes to putting humans on Mars, are we there yet?” As the program reaches its third year, host Brendan Byrne asks the question to planetary scientist Phil Metzger and journalist Emilee Speck. From lunar beer to Martian architecture, there’s still a lot of challenges to overcome before humans can step foot on another world. UCF’s Phil Metzger joins the show to talk about those hurdles and the work being done here on Earth to put humans on Mars. And WKMG’s Emilee Speck recaps the past three years in spaceflight news — from robots dying to Dragons launching — and what’s on the horizon for human deep space exploration. This episode was recorded live from the WMFE studios in Orlando, Florida, and live-streamed on YouTube. You can look back at the taping here.
What’s Next For NASA’s Commercial Crew Program?
SpaceX successfully launched its Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, docked it to the orbiting outpost, and returned it safely to Earth. While the capsule didn’t have a crew — just a test-dummy named Ripley — It was a huge milestone for the private space company which is working with NASA on a contract to send humans to the space station from US soil for the first time since the end of the shuttle program in 2011. That could happen as soon as this summer. NASA is also working with Boeing on its Starliner capsule to accomplish the same goal. The Starliner will launch uncrewed on a similar mission this spring, and would send astronauts soon after. The program has faced multiple delays due to Congressional funding, but with SpaceX’s successful mission, all signs point to 2019 being the year of the so called Commercial Crew Program. To talk more about the milestone and missions ahead we’re joined by Chris Gebhardt, he’s the Assistant Managing Editor at NASA Spaceflight dot com and joins us from Cape Canaveral.
After 15 years, NASA has declared Opportunity’s mission complete. Earlier this week, the agency tried to contact the Mars rover one last. The rover had been radio silent since June. Designed to only spend 90 days exploring, the mission far exceeded expectations, clocking in at a decade and a half while traversing 28 miles across the red planet. The mission captivated more than just the science community. The photos beamed back from the red planet gave everyone here on Earth incredible views of another world. Opportunity’s end was grieved by many online in the form of comic strips, obituaries and remembrances from the people that spent their careers working on the mission. To look back at Opportunity’s legacy, we’re speaking with Dan Batcheldor. He’s the head of Aerospace Physics and Space Sciences at Florida Tech.
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