geology

Ryan Gosling First Man space launch backdrop

First Man: moon rocks, moon lasers, and the edge of space

One Small Step

Worrying the minimum amount about your speech. The difficulty of quoting noisy radio transmissions.

Because it is haaaahd

Recognizing the small temporal distance from the first powered flight to the first moon landing. The cutting edge of the early space program. Test piloting. Gemini.

The edge of space

Defining the edge of space. The “Karman Line”: transition from atmospheric lift to orbital velocity. Complications and redefinition of where “space” begins. Geopolitics, ruining everything since forever.

The “right stuff”

Badass engineer pilots. Moving fast and breaking things. Selection testing. Giving prospective astronauts ice-water wet willies. The importance of simulation in the early space program and the difficulty of simulating things we haven’t actually ever done or seen up close.How hard it really is to stay conscious under high-g stress.

Moon landing

Monocular depth cues. Light and shadow, unfamiliar objects, and depth perception. Equatorial noon on the equinox when stuff looks creepy: Lahaina Noon.

Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment

Retroreflectors and really really powerful lasers. Tiny photonic returns: 1 out of every 10¹⁷ photons shot at the moon mirror make it back for our detection. Multi-mile laser beams. Confirming relativity ftw.

ROCKS

… from the moon! And some regolith to boot. Vacuum transport for moon samples and how we work with them on Earth’s surface without contaminating. The difficulty of maintaining a a very strong vacuum vs nonreactive gasses. Detecting the provenance of proposed moon rocks. NASA’s moon-rock cataloguing system.

Moon-landing video

Viewership numbers. NASA’s custom video encoding and the incredibly analog conversion methods employed to bring it to television.

What if

What if it didn’t work out? The Nixon speach made ready just in case. “In Event of Moon Disaster.”

What now

Why we have no rockets now to match the power of the Saturn V. Loss of engine-production expertise. Looking at near-future Moon and Mars missions.

Links:

Where does NASA keep the Moon Rocks? by Smarter Every Day: YouTube
Apollo Television by Bill Wood: NASA

Close Encounters of the Third Kind movie backdrop

Close Encounters: alien contact, debunking, and music communication

Special offers

A special chance for us to use your name for something dumb in the upcoming scifi adventure show Decipher RPG :-). Anybody supporting this show by Fri Dec 21 2018 will get their name used for a character! 😀

Contact

“Levels” of alien contact. Converting anal probes and sex bases to contact “levels.”

  1. First kind: visual contact
  2. Second kind: evidence of contact
  3. Third kind: in-person contact

The Devil’s Tower

How to pronounce butte. Convention vs personal preference. The awesome nature of structures like The Devil’s Tower, jutting up all inaccessible as they are. Translation errors for fun and profit. Thinking back to Schiaparelli’s canals. Geological origins: igneous intrusions and volcanic butte plugs.

“Sunburn”

Ultraviolet effects on body tissues. What is a sunburn? Arc welding and ultraviolet exposure: “arc eye.”

Debunking things

Shying away from debunking. Appreciating folks who cross boundaries and make deeply interesting informative generally-useful critical thinking-training material, like Captain Disillusion. Credulity and our personal predispositions.

SETI

Appreciating a scientific, rigorous approach to finding intelligent life in the cosmos.

Communicating with aliens

Randomness in space signals. Encoded information, decipherable to latitude and longitude. Past sightings of alien information encoding on Decipher SciFi: Arrival (part 1, part 2), Contact. Math! alien tonal communication.

Music! The Tones!

Music as math. Considering the tiny slice of reality in which we operate. Considering the universality in physics of the mathematical relationships between vibrations. Caelum Rale‘s mathematical musical perspective. Making sense of the noise of the universe and demonstrating intelligence across vast distances.

Links:

Captain Disillusion: YouTube Channel | A video selection

2012 backdrop

2012 (feat. Fraser Cain of Universe Today) : Episode 116

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon

2012

What: The end of the world because calendars and solar alignments (sigh)
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: John Cusack, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Featuring guest co-host
Fraser Cain headshot
Fraser Cain of Universe Today

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Volcano Movie backdrop

Volcano (feat. Joe Ruppel) : Episode 115

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon

Volcano

What: A Volcano opens up in LA. Everyone is surprised (rightly!).
Directed by: Mick Jackson
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Gaby Hoffmann, don Cheadle, Keith David

Featuring guest co-host
Joe Ruppel PhotoJoe Ruppel, history nerd and our co-bff

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