Follow along as the InSight spacecraft crosses millions of miles to the red planet.
- NASA's new 8-episode podcast series, On a Mission, is a ride-along for its InSight mission to Mars.
- InSight will look beneath the Martian surface for a deeper understanding of its composition and history.
- Each episode makes for a compelling half hour of listening.
About InSight<p> Insight is an anagram for "Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport." Where previous Mar missions have explored the Martian surface, InSight is designed to go deeper, giving Mars "its first thorough checkup since it formed 4.5 billion years ago." Launching from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 5th, the plan is for the mission to last a little over a year, that is, 708 Martian days, or "sols." (That's 728 Earth days.) The craft carries the usual wealth of instrumentation, chief among them SEIS, HP<sup>3</sup>, and RISE. </p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc5NTQxNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NDMyMzU4MX0.x60Uzkt_SnxWJLtXuVRra6WgM-MnfNiR_x3RDT-IKkg/img.jpg?width=980" id="1e8a2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3b8f5d06fe985157ffafc8fa98e5d239" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
SEIS<p>The <a href="https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/spacecraft/instruments/seis/" target="_blank"><u>Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure</u></a> is a seismograph with accompanying wind, pressure, temperature, and magnetic field sensors to fine-tune its performance, contained in a dome-shaped housing. It sits on the ground measuring surface vibrations as a means of discerning what's deep down below, possibly including water and even active subterranean volcanoes.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc5NTQ2Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjI1NzQ3N30.jnZJRj_9WZsxfpfXv95_wlo-SDThZly7dUxIHKUFh30/img.jpg?width=980" id="0e819" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4ffc68d47bf2ae8b9f78a9235101c286" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
HP3<p>The <a href="https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/spacecraft/instruments/hp3/" target="_blank"><u>Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe</u></a> is essentially a thermometer in the form of a mole-like mechanical probe that burrows into the ground to take the planet's temperature. It can go nearly 16 feet down, farther than previous missions have been able to go.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc5NTQ1Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzM5NDQyMH0.csuXu6RTjRW2z4_Jr_kJOdMehBegHz7impiM_MtY4xw/img.jpg?width=980" id="b5fb5" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="06c6522f440066973d05f02b9fc89743" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
RISE<p>The <a href="https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/spacecraft/instruments/rise/" target="_blank"><u>Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment</u></a> precisely measures the position of InSight to detect planetary wobbling that could indicate the presence of additional materials in Mars' iron-rich core, such as water or other elements.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc5NTQ5My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzQzNDAxNX0.vgMweTB5Xe8_bKl_otrC1eIsCmbI3qqnrCj2cLIYrG4/img.jpg?width=980" id="94b26" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="79482f2fbda00e79a18a2b0e93fc07b3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
RISE antennas (middle) and InSight's solar array.
What the podcasts are like<p>In addition to presenting InSight's science, NASA is revealing the human side of the Mars story, inviting the listener in on its exhilarating successes and heartbreaking failures. You'll hear what it's all meant, and <em>means</em>, to the many hard-working, brilliant people that labor to shoot these spaceships 300 million miles into space toward Mars, in the case of InSight, traveling about 13,000 miles an hour.</p><p>The first episode is called simply, 'Getting to Mars is Hard' and after listening to it, you'll know what they mean. It begins with the recollections of science journalist Leslie Mullen arriving at JPL, "a jumble of buildings at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, and just down the road from Hollywood," two years back. Along with Bruce Banerdt, lead InSight scientist, and Rob Grover, in charge of InSight Entry, Descent and Landing — in the middle of the Martian dust-storm season, no less — they reminisce about previous missions and the obstacles ahead.</p><p>The second episode, 'Music of the Spheres', explains what can be learned about Mars through seismology—about as much as we've learned about our own world. It's about sound. Earth rings, and Mars does, too. Really, they ring? As the podcast explains, "We don't hear the Earth ringing because these rock vibrations, called seismic waves, have a frequency spectrum below one hertz. The lowest frequency human ears typically can hear is 20 hertz."</p><p>New episodes will arrive weekly leading up to the final installment as InSight arrives at Mars and attempts to land, fingers crossed. All of the episodes are 20-30 minutes long and promise a great ride.</p>
What's it like to work at NASA?<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="uK97uVxH" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="7b29f0b69c6035aa6af03122544ba038"> <div id="botr_uK97uVxH_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/uK97uVxH-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/uK97uVxH-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/uK97uVxH-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Man Booker prize winners Olga Tokarczuk and her translator Jennifer Croft on maps that lead nowhere, plasticized anatomies, and humor across national borders.
- Our fragmented times demand a new kind of novel.
- Here, Olga talks humor across the world...
- ... and maps that lead us nowhere.
Author Olga Tokarczuk and translator Jennifer Croft<p>Does it ever strike you as odd that we manage to inhabit two completely different realities at once? On one level, we have common sense and reason that orient us in the world. We make narrative sense of our own life and self and we go about our day with a provisional yet perfectly satisfactory sense of what the hell we're doing. And on another level, we know basically nothing. Forget about dark matter and multiple universes. Just glance into the eyes of that stranger on the train—there's a whole world in there that you know nothing whatsoever about.</p><p>I'm here today with <a href="https://culture.pl/en/artist/olga-tokarczuk" target="_blank">Olga Tokarczuk</a>, who won the Man Booker prize this year for her book <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/565058/flights-by-olga-tokarczuk/9780525534198/" target="_blank">FLIGHTS</a>, and with the book's Man Booker prizewinning translator, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Croft" target="_blank">Jennifer Croft</a>. Flights is a patterned assemblage of sketches, short stories, fragmentary essays about travel. Motion. And it kept striking me while reading it that her writing is about these two worlds we always waver between: Orientation and disorientation. Trying to map things out and then getting lost inside our own maps.</p><p><u><strong>Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: </strong></u> </p><p> <a href="https://bigthink.com/videos/alissa-quart-coparenting-a-lifestyle-innovation-from-our-broke-middle-class" target="_blank">Alissa Quart on coparenting as a growing necessity in America</a></p><p> <a href="https://bigthink.com/why-take-risks-in-life?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1" target="_blank">Astronaut Chris Hadfield on risk taking</a></p>
How a mother-daughter obsession became a massive and dangerous industry. The weird history of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
- Find out why Carl Jung turns over in his grave every time someone calls herself an 'introvert' or an 'extravert'!
- Discover how Truman Capote became the subject of psychological experiments on creativity!
How do you build a podcast empire? Scott Aukerman explains the pedantic, unglamorous, behind-the-scenes work that went into founding the brilliant Earwolf Podcast Network.
If an idea comes along that is complicated and terrifying and you want to run a million miles from it—you’re probably onto a great thing. That’s the takeaway from Scott Aukerman, who co-founded the podcast network Earwolf, home to podcasts by Stephen J. Dubner, Hannibal Buress, Katie Couric, Jeff Garlin, Chris Gethard, and Lauren Lapkus. Aukerman explains how he went from being a comedian with an interest in podcasts, to a businessman who co-runs an audio empire. Entrepreneurs aren’t a different species, they just geek out in ways that others don’t. Scott Aukerman’s podcast is Comedy Bang! Bang!.
Tim Ferriss shares a bounty of strategies to help you really and truly overcome procrastination. And if it doesn't do it for you, hey, at least you just killed 10 minutes.
Procrastination hits everyone, although perhaps that wording is wrong. It’s an internal force rather than an external one that acts on you – and that’s great news because it means getting past the thumb-twiddling is just a matter of having an actionable plan.