Podcasts in Natural Sciences
Will man ever walk on the surface of Mars? While in some ways, a trip to the Red Planet may not seem all that different from a trip to the Moon, the factors and contingencies that have to be planned for and calculated are far greater and vastly more complex.
In previous podcasts we discussed the modern dark matter problem and how we search for this mysterious substance. But what exactly is dark matter and where will future research take us?
One of the defining characteristics of dark matter is that it does not interact with light. But these electromagnetic interactions are how we traditionally conduct astronomical research – which begs the question, how do we search for dark matter?
Ever since astronomers began to grasp just how massive the cosmos really is, the question of whether there might be life beyond Earth has fascinated scientists and captured the popular imagination. Yet, while the staggering vastness of our universe may increase the chances that there could be life out there somewhere, it also makes the search for alien life akin to looking for a needle in a cosmic haystack.
How did Earth form? For centuries, this question has both puzzled and inspired astronomers. But as we have begun to understand the nature of stars and their formation, we’ve also developed and explored theories about how this process gives rise to planets.
When most people think of a black hole, they tend to envision it as sort of cosmic vacuum cleaner, slowly sucking in and devouring everything in its vicinity. But are black holes really like this? And what would happen if you fell into a black hole? What about a cockroach? What would happen if our Sun suddenly turned into a black hole?
Only a couple decades ago, the mere idea of supermassive black holes – those that are millions or billions of times more massive than our sun – seemed unthinkable to most astronomers. Now, however, we believe that these enormous objects lie at the center of nearly every galaxy in the Universe.
In 1998 scientists measuring the expansion of the Universe made a startling discovery: the expansion is actually accelerating. Prior to this point, researchers had long believed that the influence of gravity would eventually cause the expansion of the Universe to slow down.
In this special edition of redOrbit’s Your Universe Today podcast series, we’re making a minor departure from our usual talks about the frontiers of space exploration. Instead, we’ve decided to take a look back at the history of our world – from outer space of course.