Are We There Yet? When it comes to human space exploration, we're on the brink of something big. Join host Brendan Byrne, space reporter at 90.7 WMFE in Orlando, Fla., as he explores the advances in human space exploration. From conversations with the engineers and scientists building the technology one day heading to Mars, to talks with visionaries and leaders who want to take humankind to deep space, the Are We There Yet? podcast reveals the next chapters in human space exploration.
Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

From WMFE

When it comes to human space exploration, we're on the brink of something big. Join host Brendan Byrne, space reporter at 90.7 WMFE in Orlando, Fla., as he explores the advances in human space exploration. From conversations with the engineers and scientists building the technology one day heading to Mars, to talks with visionaries and leaders who want to take humankind to deep space, the Are We There Yet? podcast reveals the next chapters in human space exploration.More from Are We There Yet? »

Most Recent Episodes

Now Is A Great Time To Check Out Mars

Like all planets, the Earth and Mars orbit the sun but they do it at different speeds. Earth orbits about twice as fast as Mars, so every two years or so, they catch up to each other. The Mars Opposition is happening at the end of this month. That means Mars and the sun are on opposite sides of the Earth, giving an up-close view of the red planet – the closest it has been in 15 years. To talk more about this event we're joined by Derek Demeter to the podcast. He's an astronomer, astrophotographer and Director of Seminole State College Planetarium in Central Florida.

Trouble On The HI-SEAS

A simulated Mars mission was cut short earlier this year after a crew member was injured. Just what happened in the fake Mars habitat in Hawaii and what does that mean for future experiments? Last year we spoke with a participant in the HI-SEAS experiment. That's the simulated Mars base camp that's actually in Hawaii. It's a chance for scientists to observe how people live in work in the simulated isolation of a future Mars mission. Well, the program was heading into its 6th mission back in February, but something happened that cut it short. Marina Koren is a science reporter at The Atlantic. Her piece When a Mars Simulation Goes Wrong takes a deep dive into what happened that halted the experiment and what this means for future martian analogs.

Bringing Gemini Home: Programming Re-entry

In the 1960s, it was up to programmers like Alice Schmidt to help bring Gemini capsules safely home. Schmidt was a member of an IBM programming team hired my NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center to analyze re-entry trajectories and guidance navigation to drop the Gemini capsule in a specific area in the ocean for recovery. The Gemini program was an important step in getting humans to the moon. Schmidt joins the podcast to talk about her work with NASA, what it was like being a female programmer, and just how her team figured out complicated computations using only punch cards and pencils.

Humans To Mars Summit

The Humans to Mars Summit wrapped up this week in Washington, D.C. It's a yearly meeting of the minds to chat all things Mars and what it's going to take to get people there. It included panels of folks talking all things space from mission architecture to social media. NASA's new administrator Jim Bridenstine spoke about his vision of human space exploration. Laura Forczyk is the founder of Astralytical a space consulting firm. She kept a watchful eye on the summit and joins the program to let us know just how we're going to get to Mars. Follow Laura on Twitter for great space industry insight!

Planning A Trip To Mars

NASA is poised to launch a robotic geologist to Mars. Before it blasts off, what goes into planning that trip? Caley Burke is a Trajectory Analyst for NASA's Launch Services Program. Her job is to map out InSight's trip to Mars. She joins us va Skype from the Kennedy Space Center to tell us just what goes into planning a Mars trajectory.

To Pluto And Beyond!

Where were you when you first saw Pluto? The New Horizons flyby back in the summer of 2015 had all eyes on the deep spacecraft exploring the outermost parts of our solar system. New Horizons launched in 2006 but it was years in the making, and it wasn't easy getting managers and administrators on board with the idea of exploring Pluto. "Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto" is a new book out this week that chronicles the triumphs and challenges of the mission that's now past Pluto and on it's way to it's next flyby: Ultima Thule, an object 43 AU or 4 billion miles away. Dr. Alan Stern is the Principle Investigator on New Horizons..and the co-author of the book. He joins the podcast to talk about the mission and the decades long path to reach Pluto.

Searching For Alien Worlds

A new space telescope will help scientists identify alien worlds. NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, launches on a Falcon 9 rocket from florida's Space Coast. Once in space, it will look for planets outside our solar system by observing nearby stars. Sara Seager is an astrophysicist at MIT and the Deputy Science Director of the TESS mission hopes the discoveries of these planets, called exoplanets, can help us find other Earth-like planets and eventually the evidence of life outside our world.

The Space Barons

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Paul Allen. Our guest calls them the space barons. Washington Post reporter Christian Davenport interviewed the four space entrepreneurs for his book "The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos." He joins the podcast to talk about what he learned from these four space entrepreneurs.

Designing A Mission Patch

To celebrate the second year of the podcast "Are We There Yet?", we commissioned designer Tim Gagnon to create a mission patch. Gagnon has designed mission patches for NASA since the shuttle days and joins the program to talk about how these space coat of arms are designed and why so many people go bonkers collecting them. What's the big deal with these things anyways? You can get your own "Are We There Yet?" patch here.

The Future Of Space Exploration From Florida

90.7's Brendan Byrne talks with Moon Express founder and CEO Bob Richards. Photo: WMFE / Jenny Babcock Florida's Space Coast is roaring back to life. Nearly a decade after the shuttle was retired, we're on the brink of a new age of space exploration that leverages commercial and academic partnerships to send humans farther into the solar system than ever before. And NASA is working on its next big rocket, the Space Launch System, at the Kennedy Space Center. To explore this bright future of space exploration from the sunshine state, WMFE hosted a panel of astronauts, scientists and space visionaries in front of a live studio audience in Orlando. Panelists: Robert Cabana – Director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center. He was selected as an astronaut in 1985 and hisfirst flight was on STS-41 Discovery, launching in 1990. He'd go on to fly on three more shuttle missions, logging 37 days in space. He has served as the director of KSC since 2008. Dr. Addie Dove – Planetary scientist and assistant professor of physics at the University of Central Florida. Her research interests include dusty plasmas, collisions and understanding how planets formed. Her experiments have flown to space on many different launch vehicles and she has conducted experiments on parabolic flights. Bob Richards – As a space entrepreneur and futurist he co-founded the International Space University and the group Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. In 2008 he foundered the Singularity University, an institution based at the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley dedicated to preparing humanity for accelerating technological change. Now he's hoping to land the first commercial payload on the moon with his company Moon Express, where he serves as founder and CEO. Nicole Stott – Retired NASA astronaut who served as a shuttle mission specialist and flight engineer on the International Space Station.

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