Ah, space. The final frontier. The cosmos, the heavens, the void above! Truthfully, it’s way too big and scary to think about too hard. But that’s not stopping Paul Sutter. With the recent re-interest in space, and specifically getting humanity into space via Blue Origin and SpaceX, we’ve decided to brush up on our space knowledge with “Ask A Spaceman.”
The basics of space
We aren’t going to lie, Sutter makes space really exciting and not-so-scary. If you’ve ever found yourself asking what would happen if you got sucked into a black hole, or who lives in the solar system, or is String Theory worth it (ok that one’s a stretch), well, we may have found your answers. Astrophysicist Paul Sutter is the universe’s biggest fan, and he wants to answer the endless questions about space. Over the course of over 150 episodes, he has answered questions big and small, complicated and even more complicated.
There’s episodes covering the basics of space like the existence aliens, how do we know dark matter exists, and how big even is the universe? Will a comet kill us all? What would happen if another giant comet hit Earth? You know, all of those dinner-time questions that kindergarteners like to ask.
The ethics of space
But our favorite episodes are the ones where Sutter answers questions based on the ethics of the use of space. Like in episode 155: who is going to clean up all of the space junk? In 1995, Lottie Williams was hit by a 6-inch piece of a rocket launched only a year earlier by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. There was also the second mission of The Challenger Space Shuttle in 1983 who had a window chipped by a tiny piece of paint floating in space. in 1994 Space Shuttle Endeavor which was struck by a tiny piece of debris that dug itself halfway in a window. And there’s so many more stories of close calls, damaged rockets, and destroyed spacecraft all due to space junk.
Sutter goes on to tell us about the effect space junk has down here on Earth. From light pollution to constraining the orbits of satellites, space junk is dangerous. Even the International Space Station has to perform avoidance maneuvers about once a year due to all of the debris floating just above Earth. Sutter tells us about the Graveyard Orbit and the Rocket Cemetery, and informs us of what all of this space junk means for future space travel and the pollution it’s causing on our planet.
Ask a spaceman
Each episode of “Ask a Spaceman” covers a new topic in just 45 minutes or less. From the idea of terraforming Mars to make it habitable for humans, to String Theory and the Uncertainty Principle, Sutter covers it in an interesting, informative, and even exciting way.
For a shockingly great podcast to answer some of your most burning questions about our measly existence in the realm of the ever-expanding universe, we have found a true gem of a podcast. So if you’re looking up at the sky wondering just how we could get more and more people traveling to space, take a listen to “Ask a Spaceman.”