Episode 179 Dreams of Floating Cities, with Geoffrey Landis

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Feature Guest: Geoffrey A. Landis

When we think of terraforming, we probably envision turning the Red Planet blue. But Mars isn’t the only world in our solar system that ambitious scientists have considered transforming. Imagine a network of floating cities in the clouds of Venus, or sailing ships plying the oceans of a newly thawed moon in the outer solar system. Today we’re going to dream here at The Star Spot with NASA scientist and award-winning science fiction author, Geoffrey Landis.


Current in Space

After NASA’s InSight lander touched down on Mars in late 2018, it’s already gathering fascinating data, but as Camilla explains, its latest discovery is literally groundshaking: Mars is officially a seismically active planet! Then Jeff reports on the launch of Solar Orbiter, a new Sun-exploring spacecraft that will enhance our knowledge of the Sun’s influence on the entire Solar System. And while Pluto’s heart made us fall in love with the famous dwarf planet all over again, Anshool describes an influence that goes far beyond its aesthetic qualities. Wrapping it up with a special double bill on our local star: The most detailed image so far of the Sun’s surface has been captured, and Amelia and Priyanka provide the details.

About Our Guest

Geoffrey A. Landis is a scientist at the NASA John Glenn Research Centre where he works on Mars missions and on developing advanced concepts and technology for future space missions. He has expertise in photovoltaic device design, for which he holds four patents. Landis received bachelors degrees in physics and in electrical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in physics from Brown University. In addition to his pure science work, Landis has published over fifty science fiction short stories, including “Ripples in the Dirac Sea” which won the Nebula award for best short story and “A Walk in the Sun” which won the Hugo award.

Engage Warp Drive! Why Interstellar Travel’s Harder Than It Looks (Space.com)

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