Happy Christmas, listeners! In this rockin’ show Lucianne Walkowicz called in to WPRB from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, where she works on NASA’s Kepler Mission as well as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (a telescope currently being built down in Chile). In this interview we focus on the Kepler mission’s search for exoplanets – these are planets outside of our solar system. We discuss questions such as: What makes a planet habitable? How does a star’s properties influence the planet’s habitability? How does Kepler go about finding these planets when they’re so much smaller and dimmer than their accompanying star? How could we know if there is life on these planets? And much more!
We delved in to some mysteries found by the Kepler mission, including KIC 8462852, aka “Tabby’s Star.” In late October, news stories about this anomalous star went viral as speculation swirled about what it could be. One of the theories stated that the star’s weird signature could be evidence of an advanced alien civilization. In this interview, Lucianne tells us why. (To listen to the interview – just the interview without the rest of the music, etc. of the rest of the show – click here.)
Towards the end of the show I played a short interview with particle physicist Stephane Cooperstein on recent findings out of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland – and what they could mean. More information here. In the interview we mention the plot below.
- Recent TED talk by Lucianne Walkowics entitled “Let’s not use Mars as a backup planet”
- Past TED talk on “Finding planets around other stars”
- We mentioned tardigrades! This is a recent NYT article on these weird ‘water bears.’
- Kepler Mission overview.
- We mention a star’s “light curves” a few times during the show. NASA has a great site up that explains them in more detail, if you’re wondering how they work and what we can learn from them.
Lucianne’s rad punk band, DITCH CLUB, just released a new EP! Listen here:
|Wanda Jackson, The Cramps||Funnel of Love||Heart Trouble||CMH Records|
|Gang of Four||Ether||Entertainment||Warner Brothers|
|The Wyrms||War Machine||At Wizard Island||Negative Fun Records|
|Car Seat Headrest||Oh! Starving||Teens of Style||Matador|
|Jeff Rosenstock||You, in weird cities||We cool?||Side one dummy records|
|Lucianne Walkowicz, Part I||Exoplanets, Stars, and Alien Megastructures||N/A|
|Nana Grizol||Galaxies||Ruth||Orange Twin Records|
|Dismemberment Plan||What do you want me to say?||What do you want me to say? b/w since you died||DeSoto Records|
|Pochoclo||Las Trillizas de Oro||¡Chicas! Spanish Female Singers Vol.2 1963-78||VAMPISOUL|
|Lucianne Walkowicz, Part II||Exoplanets, Stars, and Alien Megastructures||N/A|
|Ditch Club||King of Cups||EP||ditchclub.bandcamp.com|
|Ditch Club||Reality Check||EP||ditchclub.bandcamp.com|
|Worriers||Yes All Cops||Imaginary Life||Don Giovanni|
|The Fall||My New House||This Nation’s Saving Grace||Beggars Banquet Records|
|Interview with Stephane Cooperstein||New Results from the Large Hadron Collider||N/A|
|Old Town School of Folk Music||Twist and Shout||Songs For Wiggleworms||Old Town School|
|Joanna Gruesome||Wussy Void||Weird Sister||Slumberland|
|Blonde Redhead||Cat on Tin Roof||Barragán||Blonde Redhead|