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October 2019 Extra: Mission to Transition

October 2019 Extra

In the show this time, we talk to Atsuhisa Ota about his work studying anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background, Shahbaz Chaudhry tells us about the solar corona heating problem in this month's JodBite, and your astronomy questions are answered by George Bendo in Ask an Astronomer.

JodBite with Shahbaz Chaudhry

Michael Wright talks to Shahbaz Chaudhry about one theory for why the sun's surrounding corona is so much hotter than its surface. It's posited that this temperature gradient may be caused by the the conversion of some of the sun's magnetic energy into thermal energy. One commonly-advanced mechanism by which this could happen is the magnetic reconnection of flux tubes on the sun's surface.

Interview with Atsuhisa Ota

We talk to Dr. Atsuhisa Ota from the University of Cambridge about his work studying theoretical cosmology. He discusses the big bang, the cosmic microwave background, and how cosmology at the largest scales relates to quantum mechanics at the smallest scales.

Ask an Astronomer

George Bendo answers your astronomical questions:

Odds and Ends

This year's Nobel prize for physics has been awarded to three astrophysicists. James Peebles won half of it for his contributions to the theory surrounding the evolution of the universe, while Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz shared the remainder of the prize for discovering an exoplanet in 1995 using Doppler spectroscopy. We discuss why the exoplanet discovery was so significant, and how the exoplanet field has blossomed in the wake of their pioneering technique.

Spacebit has announced its lunar rover, which will be going to the Moon in 2021 aboard the Astrobotic lunar lander Peregrine. Astrobotic was one of three companies awarded around $80 million by NASA to get new landers to the surface of the Moon. Astrobotic will send up Peregrine with both NASA and commercial payloads along with a small rover, designed by UK based company Spacebit. This rover is very small and light, only 1-1.5 kg, and with 4 legs looks a little like a spider. It is designed with the goal of being able to explore lava tubes under the lunar surface, created by old underground lava flows. Once it has reached the Moon it will move 10 metres, take some measurements and record HD video. The name of the rover will be decided by children in a competition.

A white paper prepared recently as part of the Canadian Long Range Plan 2020, in order to set Canada's astronomical priorities and objectives for the next decade, sets out the case for astronomy to transition towards becoming a zero-carbon field of research. The authors urge both institutions and government agencies to make climate responsibility an explicit priority going forwards, and to take actions such as carbon budgeting for flights, a significant source of university emissions, expanding teleconferencing capabilities and improving the sustainability of both physical and digital infrastructure.

Show Credits

JodBite:Shahbaz Chaudhry and Michael Wright
Interview:Atsuhisa Ota and Jake Staberg-Morgan
Ask An Astronomer:George Bendo
Presenters:Tiaan Bezuidenhout, Alice Humpage, and Jake Staberg-Morgan
Editors:Hongming Tang, Michael Wright, Tiaan Bezuidenhout, and George Bendo
Website:Tiaan Bezuidenhout and Stuart Lowe
Producer:Tiaan Bezuidenhout
Cover art:New Physics Nobel Laureate Michel Mayor's expression upon receiving news of his Nobel Prize. Alternatively, every graduate student up late hunting bugs in their code. CREDIT: twitter.com/NobelPrize

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