EarthSky 22: Pluto mission lead scientist sticks up for the little guy

It’s the biggest object of its class. It’s the only known binary planet. It’s Pluto. And we love it. Just press play.

Host: Jorge Salazar
Lead Producer: Mike Brennan

ES 22 Producers: Deborah Byrd, Beth Lebwohl, Ryan Britton, Emily Howard

This week’s lineup:

NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. Alan Stern is planetary scientist, long-time space fanatic and principal investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission – launched in 2006 and winging its way to Pluto now. New Horizons will become the first spacecraft to study Pluto from close range in 2015, then speed on to explore the Kuiper Belt in the outer solar system.

Where is New Horizons now?

Global Night Sky with Deborah Byrd. Did we just say speed on? The dazzlingly close binary system that we see as the bright star Spica is now in the southeast after sunset. How you can “follow the arc to Arcturus and speed on to Spica” to get there.

Weird Science with Ryan Britton. Does the length of your fingers indicate physical attractiveness?

NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander mission. Science writer Andrew Kessler talks with EarthSky’s Beth Lebwohl about his experience as a journalist covering a NASA mission designed to gather samples from the surface of Mars. He said: It’s kinda like playing the claw game through a 200-million-mile lens.

Mars Phoenix Lander. Image Credit: NASA

This week’s musical contributors:

Mother Falcon

The Black and White Years

One Hundred Flowers

The Bright Light Social Hour

EarthSky 22