I’ve always been interested in Space and the Universe, back since, as a child, learning of the Space Shuttle program.

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No, I’m not talking about the pretty amazing Atari game called Asteroids, which I do have fond memories of playing in my childhood.

Instead, I am talking about those orbiting rocky bodies in Space, that some call minor planets, some call planetoids, but in general, we refer to as Asteroids.

Why this sudden interest in Asteroids? Well, although I’ve already mentioned the game that I enjoyed, and there’s many other fun non-scientific things associated with that name, but real Asteroids?

Earlier, I told you how I’ve rekindled my long-time interest in Space.

The day after I wrote that post, I stumbled across a spacey podcast episode about Asteroids, which lead me to subscribing to the full podcast of course.

And the specific Asteroidy podcast episode in question? That would be "How many Asteroids are out there? With Dr. Mainzer."

The Chuckle

As I began to listen to the beginning of the episode, I was honestly reminded of something rather humorous and completely irrelevant (and slightly irreverent). The absolutely hilarious SNL (Saturday Night Live) skit called "Delicious Dish." Yes, it’s completely irrelevant, aside from the voice qualities of the two girls speaking – somehow soft and reserved, yet saying some fun and interesting things…

By the way – I apologize for the quality of the video. It’s not mine and is only a video pointing at a TV screen of the actual show. Horrible, yes. But in searching for a decent representation of the video on YouTube, I quickly realized that the lack of originals and sheer vast volume of re-makes was suggestive of copyright law. Anyway, moving along here. If you watch the video all the way through, you’ll get why I chuckled.

The Goods

The initial chuckling was a bit out of line, but it was probably a good thing; it kept me listening. And I’m glad I did.

I was able to actually learn quite a bit. Here we have two highly-educated professionals in their industries conversing in detail about not only about Asteroids in general, but also the work that goes into studying them. This sounds like a topic that us wee mortals could in no way fathom, however both the show host and Dr. Mainzer broke it down. A step-by-step approach of explanation in layman’s terms.

Dr. Mainzer and her NEOWISE team calculated how many Asteroids are out in space, waiting to be discovered. Now let that sink in for a minute…

The NEOWISE project is the asteroid-hunting portion of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. Funded by NASA’s Planetary Science Division, NEOWISE harvests measurements of Asteroids and comets from the WISE images and provides a rich archive for searching WISE data for solar system objects.

In short, if you’ve a slight interest in Space, like I do, you will love subscribing and listening to SpacePod.

In Dr. Nugent’s own words:

SpacePod

Visit SpacePod

Hear stories about the alien moons orbiting our Sun, of cold stars, and the future of space exploration. Every week, scientist Dr. Carrie Nugent chats about an amazing part of our universe with an expert guest. Spacepod is the podcast that gives you an inside look into space exploration.


The Resources

I hope you enjoyed reading about my learning experience and perhaps have found a new interest. To close out, let’s look at some scientific resources and those related to Asteroids but not so sciency. 😛

Asteroids – Sciency Stuff

Asteroids – Not Necessarily Science but Cool Nonetheless

Pluto in Space

Space has always held me in a bit of fascination.

I can remember even in elementary school, when we would watch the Space Shuttle launches. I remember the devastation of the Challenger and Columbia disasters. I remember one of my classmates who was super into the Space Shuttle program. I remember learning the conste
llations
in Boy Scouts.

Even though I’ve always been interested in Space, I knew that to really get into it, I’d need do some seriously in-depth study in a whole lot of subjects that not only don’t really interest me, but neither do I really have the aptitude for.

So I’ve always just had what I’d call a casual interest.

When I was in school and learning about Space, NASA was the only one I knew of going up into Space. Since then, there is no Space Shuttle program, there are public & private corporations doing Space activities, many other countries are in the game, Pluto has been a planet, not-a-planet and back and forth, we’ve landed things on Mars, we’ve got telescopes in Space and, so many other interesting things have happened.

Like so many other things that we learn in school, the collective activity, technology, progress, media and more regarding Space has changed, evolved, progressed. But when you are no longer in school, you don’t really just "hear" about these things.

At least you might hear a smidgeon of interesting news on the news. But TV is different these days.

For most, if you want to know some details about something, you have to go search for it.

So I have been quite clueless about progress in Space.

That being said, I’ve recently come across a very cool Space podcast that I would recommend for anyone to listen to.

It’s run by a couple of "regular guys" named Stephen Hackett & Jason Snell and, for the reasons stated above, makes it great for me. They are obviously much more educated about the topic than I am, and thus my continued desire to listen.

I learn so much from them on a regular basis and yet I don’t feel like I am being "talked down to."

Instead it’s like listening in on a highly-informative and interesting, yet light and fun conversation about Space and what them science-folks do about it.

Just today I learned about the CST-100 being named "Starliner" and about the Orion program. I learned of these awesome new photos of Pluto thanks to New Horizons and, the knowledge gleaned thus far from them. I learned of some really cool apps, like Did an astronaut enter space? Get a notification! and Luminos.

In short, if you’ve a slight interest in Space like I do, you will love subscribing and listening to Liftoff.

In their own words:

Liftoff

Visit Liftoff

Liftoff is a fortnightly podcast about space, the universe, and everything. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand the latest developments as explained by enthusiastic space fans Stephen Hackett and Jason Snell.