28-Fire: Does a planet need life for fire to burn?

Think about what types of things burn: wood, grasses, fossil fuels… mostly things that were formed by life. Fire also requires oxygen, which is largely produced by life. Did Earth have fire before life evolved? Could any other planets have fire? If there were an exoplanet with fires burning, would we have any way to detect that?

Read More

3-True story: A Martian on Earth

Tanya Harrison never thought she was going to be an astronaut. But she was determined to go to space. And she did just that – through satellites, first to Mars, and now looking back at our own third rock from the Sun as she uses satellites to map places near and far. We talked with…

Read More

What’s It Like Pretending to Live on Mars?

If someone offered you the chance to drop everything, fly to Hawaii, and spend four months trapped in a dome with seven strangers in the name of science, would you do it? For writer Kate Greene, the answer to that question was a resounding “yes.” Greene was one of eight people selected to crew the very first HI-SEAS Mars analogue mission in 2013. 

Read More

Final Frontier? The Evolution of Planetary Science Missions

The latest episode of Third Pod from the Sun features an interview with planetary scientist Fran Bagenal, who has had a fascinating career working on NASA missions from Voyager to Juno and New Horizons. Currently working at the University of Colorado Boulder, Bagenal provides an overarching view of the different planetary missions going back a few decades and describes how the research and findings have built upon the innovations and discoveries that came before.

Read More