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The Star Spot

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The Star Spot is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration. Episodes feature interviews with guests of wide-ranging backgrounds: scientists, engineers, educators, artists, politicians, and business people. Topics are similarly broad, from the latest space mission to how the universe began, from why humans explore space to how we can make space exploration economical. The show also includes a short news segment called Current in Space, bringing you reports on the latest happenings and developments that may be of interest to the space enthusiast.

The Star Spot is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration. Episodes feature interviews with guests of wide-ranging backgrounds: scientists, engineers, educators, artists, politicians, and business people. Topics are similarly broad, from the latest space mission to how the universe began, from why humans explore space to how we can make space exploration economical. The show also includes a short news segment called Current in Space, bringing you reports on the latest happenings and developments that may be of interest to the space enthusiast.
More Information

Location:

Toronto, ON

Description:

The Star Spot is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration. Episodes feature interviews with guests of wide-ranging backgrounds: scientists, engineers, educators, artists, politicians, and business people. Topics are similarly broad, from the latest space mission to how the universe began, from why humans explore space to how we can make space exploration economical. The show also includes a short news segment called Current in Space, bringing you reports on the latest happenings and developments that may be of interest to the space enthusiast.

Language:

English


Episodes

Episode 155: Artificial Photosynthesis: Taking the Sun on the Road, with Katharina Brinkert

11/11/2018
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Featured Guest: Katharina Brinkert On Earth, we can thank the sun for making life possible. Now what if we could harness the power of the sun to make life possible on long duration space missions. Introducing the concept of artificial photosynthesis. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by chemist Katharina Brinkert, whose pioneering experiments on the International Space Station turning sunlight into fuel and breathable air might just pave the way for human exploration of the solar...

Duration:00:37:49

Episode 154: The Vatican Observatory: Astronomy and Faith in the Modern World, with Cosette Gilmour

10/28/2018
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Featured Guest: Cosette Gilmour The proper relationship between science and faith is a core question for the modern age. At the centre of this debate has often been the Vatican observatory. The fascinating history of the Vatican Observatory stretches from the 18th century up to today, controversially combining scientific scholarship and religious tradition. In the last few decades the Observatory hosted a conference exploring the search for alien life and another aimed at a scientific...

Duration:00:21:11

Episode 153: A Reality Check on Terraforming Mars, with Bruce Jakosky

10/14/2018
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Featured Guest: Bruce Jakosky Don’t shoot the messenger. The terraforming of Mars has been the dream for many of us who long for a future where humanity has colonized the Red Planet. But is it time to rethink those plans? Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Bruce Jakosky, Principal Investigator of the Martian MAVEN Mission, and he’s got some bad news. Current in Space Dave spotlights the first confirmed detection of an extrasolar moon, and its a whopper. Then Tony shares new...

Duration:00:33:18

Episode 152: Alien Viruses, with Ken Stedman

9/30/2018
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Featured Guest: Ken Stedman They aren’t pleasant, but viruses are the most common form life on our planet. So why aren’t the world’s space agencies taking viruses seriously in their search for alien life. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by astrobiologist and astrovirologist Ken Stedman who has a plan to change and that and put viruses front and centre as we explore our solar system and beyond. Current in Space We’re roving around our first asteroid, reports Simon. And if its...

Duration:00:34:25

Episode 151: New Moons of Jupiter, with Scott Sheppard

9/16/2018
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Featured Guest: Scott Sheppard On the hunt for the solar system’s elusive Planet X, a team of astronomers accidentally stumbled upon the discovery of 12 new moons of Jupiter. Oops. But it gets even better, because one of these things is not like the others and the way that moon just doesn’t belong might just solve the mystery of lunar origins. To help us understand how one very happy accident is shedding light on the formation of our solar system, today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by...

Duration:01:25:45

Episode 150: At the Birth of Our First Newborn Planet, with André Müller

9/2/2018
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Featured Guest: André Müller Astronomers have taken their first image of an infant planet still developing around a newly formed star. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by André Müller, whose team is busy studying this baby world and has already discovered evidence of an atmosphere and possibly even moons, astounding knowledge of such a tiny speck 370 light years from Earth. On a personal note, I want to dedicate this special 150th episode of The Star Spot to my amazing wife Denise...

Duration:00:35:47

Episode 149: The Question of Life on Mars, with David Hamilton

8/19/2018
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Featured Guest: David Hamilton The recent discovery of a lake of liquid water beneath the Martian south pole culminates a series of stunning discoveries that are forcing us to rethink the question of habitability on the Red Planet. Now two space missions are underway aimed at sites on Mars that may be the best candidates yet for life and boasting the most advanced bio detection instruments ever sent into space. To help us prepare, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by space physicist David...

Duration:01:19:41

Episode 148: Does Canada Have a Vision for Space Exploration?, with Chuck Black

8/5/2018
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Featured Guest: Chuck Black The Canadian Space Advisory Board was tasked with developing a plan to rejuvenate Canada’s declining world standing in space exploration. In 2017 the Board made a bold proposal that Canada designate space a national strategic asset and increase funding necessary for the “revitalization of Canada’s space capacity.” But when in March 2018 the federal government released its annual budget, these calls were entirely ignored. The chair of the Canadian Space Advisory...

Duration:00:30:03

Episode 147: Postcards From Home

7/22/2018
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Today we turn our telescopes back around to study ourself. Our own solar system is undergoing a conceptual revolution. From its chaotic birth to its fiery end, our solar system is no longer seen as static and isolated. It is now understood to change and evolve, to offer great environmental diversity across its many worlds, and it now seems our solar system even interacts with the rest of the galaxy. In this special interregnum here at The Star Spot, today our news team of Tony, Maya and Dave...

Duration:00:12:18

Episode 146: Supernovae and the Evolution of Life on Earth, with Brian Thomas

5/27/2018
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Feature Guest: Brian Thomas We have this impression of our planet as isolated from the rest of the universe, our lives cut off from the drama unfolding elsewhere in our galaxy. But what if the course of life’s evolution on Earth was intimately connected to events well beyond our solar system. It now seems likely that supernovae hundreds of light-years away have profoundly affected our history and may even account for climatic changes just as our species was emerging. Today we’re joined here...

Duration:00:28:09

Episode 145: Can Sibling Rivalry Explain This Supernova?, with Stuart Ryder

5/16/2018
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Feature Guest: Stuart Ryder When a massive star explodes in a supernova, it tends to gobble up all the attention. But what happens when that star has a binary companion with its own story to tell? That’s exactly what happened last month when the Hubble Telescope captured the first image of the surviving stellar companion to a supernova, and it turned out to be more than just a passive observer. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by the discovery team leader Stuart Ryder to tell us how...

Duration:00:35:40

Episode 144: A Rough Upbringing: The Discovery of Stars in the Galaxy’s Core, with Farhad Yusef-Zadeh

4/1/2018
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Feature Guest: Farhad Yusef-Zadeh The gravity, radiation and tidal forces at the very core of the Milky Way is kind of intense. That’s why astronomers have long doubted the possibility of star formation in such a hostile environment. And then everything changed with the discovery last fall of 11 sun-like stars living closer to the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy then the distance between our sun and its closest neighbour. What does this breakthrough mean for our...

Duration:00:35:10

Episode 143: Planet Hunting Goes Extragalactic, with Xinyu Dai

3/18/2018
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Feature Guest: Xinyu Dai Last month astronomers announced the first ever discovery of extrasolar planets… in another galaxy! We’ve already confirmed almost 4000 planets beyond our solar system, but these have all been in a single galaxy, the Milky Way. But then last month a serendipitous discovery opened the door to a galaxy 3.8 billion light years away and it turns out it’s home to thousands upon thousands of planets. Today we're joined here at The Star Spot by co-discoverer Xinyu Dai to...

Duration:00:34:40

Episode 142: Jupiter Transformed, with Scott Bolton

2/18/2018
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Feature Guest: Scott Bolton It’s our cosmic backyard, and yet our own solar system is still full of surprises. Now it turns out we were “totally wrong” when it comes to just about everything we thought we knew about Jupiter. That’s not me speaking, it’s Scott Bolton, principal investigator for the NASA Juno mission to Jupiter. From its magnetic field and atmosphere down to its very core, Jupiter is being rediscovered and transformed. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Dr. Bolton to...

Duration:00:39:14

Episode 141: The Mysterious Origin of Superpowerful Radio Blasts, with Jason Hessels

2/4/2018
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Feature Guest: Jason Hessels The one thing we thought we knew about fast radio blasts was that these mysterious one-off phenomena must be associated with some of the most cataclysmic events in the universe. Then everything changed with last month’s announcement of the first ever detection of a source of repeating fast radio bursts. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by co-discover Jason Hessels to rule on an important question: are scientists back to the drawing board or did they just...

Duration:00:33:05

Episode 140: How Humans Are Healing the Ozone Hole… and Might Just Solve Other Environmental Problems, with Susan Strahan

1/21/2018
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Feature Guest: Susan Strahan While human activity is what created the ozone hole, scientists just announced direct evidence that human activity is now responsible for healing that damage. That makes the Montreal Protocol, which banned the emission of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, along with other ozone depleting substances, the most successful international environmental agreement to date. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Dr. Susan Strahan, who lead a team that studied the reduction of...

Duration:00:33:05

Episode 139: Can Alien Life Hitch a Ride on Space Dust?, with Arjun Berera

1/7/2018
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Feature Guest: Arjun Berera Many of you are familiar with the idea of panspermia, the theory that life spreads itself throughout the galaxy by travelling from one world to another. We often think of big objects like asteroids, comets or spacecraft. But a new idea has emerged, and it’s must smaller: dust. Astronomer Arjun Berera joins me here at The Star Spot to discuss his new study, which considers whether alien life can hitchhike between planets on streams of space dust and if life on...

Duration:00:29:33

Episode 138: Making Contact, with Jill Tarter

12/10/2017
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Feature Guest: Jill Tarter Alien hunting pioneer Jill Tarter often says the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is a way for us to hold a mirror to ourselves. Now in a recently released biography, that statement takes on personal significance and reveals the intimate connection between SETI and the life of its most famous icon. Today we’re honoured to have Jill Tarter return to The Star Spot to discuss her life; the tragedies and triumphs of youth, the moment when the alien...

Duration:00:53:51

Episode 137: An Alien Asteroid in Our Solar System, with Alan Stern

11/26/2017
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Feature Guest: Alan Stern There’s an intruder in our solar system. This fall we were invaded by the first interstellar space traveller, an elongated, cigar shaped alien asteroid. The mysterious object was ejected from its distant and unknown home, travelling for millions or billions of years before coming to pass between the Earth and the sun. On today’s episode of The Star Spot we’re joined by Dr. Alan Stern, principal investigator for the New Horizons mission to Pluto, to explain how the...

Duration:00:26:57

Episode 136: So You Want to Become an Astronaut?, with Cordell Grant

11/12/2017
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Feature Guest: Cordell Grant On June 17, 2016, the Canadian Space Agency launched the nation’s fourth astronaut recruitment campaign. 3,772 applications were received. One year later only two were chosen. Candidates have described the grueling selection process as the greatest challenge of their lives. To understand how we identify the best of the best, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Cordell Grant, who neared the finish line and was among the top 72 candidates to become Canada’s...

Duration:00:44:45