Weekly Space Hangout: November 16, 2022 – Up, Up, & Away with Dr. Jacob Izraelevitz and JPL’s Venus Aerial Robotic Balloons

This week we are joined by Dr. Jacob Izraelevitz, Principal Investigator of the JPL project that is developing robotic balloons — currently called aerobots — that will eventually (hopefully) lead to successful exploration of Venus. In July, 2022, a one-third scale prototype aerobot successfully completed two test flights and achieved controlled flight at more than 4000 feet. Read More

Weekly Space Hangout: November 9, 2022 – Untying an Early “Cosmic Knot” with Dr. Andrey Vayner

This week we are joined by Dr. Andrey Vayner, a member of a multinational team that has been studying SDSS J165202.64+172852.3, an “extremely red” QUASAR that dates back to the earliest days of the Universe, some 11.5 billion years ago. Using data collected by NIRSpec, JWST’s near infrared spectrograph, the team has been able to confirm the presence of not just one, but three, companion galaxies of the QUASAR that are actively in the process of merging. Read More

Weekly Space Hangout: October 26, 2022 – The ATA Searches for Technosignatures with Dr. Sofia Sheikh from the SETI Institute

As we discover new exoplanets on an almost daily basis – particularly now that JWST is online – scientists are ramping up their research into identifying those planets that may exhibit traces of life (as we know it.) Scientists use spectrographs to examine the composition of these exoplanet atmospheres looking markers called technosignatures – trace elements that may be indicative of life. What constitutes a technosignature? Does the presence of one or more technosignatures mean that an exoplanet is a strong candidate for hosting life? Can atmospheric markers not included in our current list of technosignatures still be indicative of life, just not as we know it? This week, we welcome Dr. Sofia Sheikh from the SETI Institute to discuss how the ATA is playing an instrumental role in this research. Read More