Big Picture Science – Space Rocks!

by Gary Niederhoff on November 19, 2018

Big Picture Science – Space Rocks!
click to listen!

It’s not a bird or a plane, and probably not an alien spaceship, although the jury’s still deliberating that one. Some astronomers have proposed that an oddly-shaped object that recently passed through our Solar System could be an alien artifact. We consider the E.T. explanation for ‘Oumuamua, but also other reasons asteroids are invigorating our imagination. Are these orbiting rocks key to our future as a spacefaring species?

Find out why traditional incentives for human exploration of space – such as political rivalry –aren’t igniting our rockets the way they once did, but why the potentially trillions of dollars to be made mining asteroids might.

These small bodies may also hold the key to our ancient past: the New Horizons flyby of Thule in early 2019 will provide an historic look at a distant Kuiper belt object, and provide clues about the formation of the Solar System.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Roger Launius / Space Exploration
Part 2: J.L. Galache / Asteroid Mining
Part 3: Mark Showalter / Ultima Thule
Part 4: Avi Loeb / ‘Oumuamua Or…?

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