Orbital Path is a podcast hosted by Dr. Michelle Thaller, an astronomer who studies binary stars and the life cycles of stars, and is Deputy Director of Science Communication at NASA. In the show, Michelle takes a look at the big questions of the cosmos and what the answers can reveal about our life here on Earth. From podcast powerhouse PRX, with support from the Sloan Foundation.
Must Be Aliens
Michelle talks with astronomer and author Phil Plait of Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog about this conundrum: why are humans so quick to explain the unknowns of the cosmos as aliens? And why is this healthy imagination important in science?
Mass Extinctions Get Personal
Michelle talks to Prof. Lisa Randall, a theoretical particle physicist at Harvard, about her new book, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe. The scientists explore what caused the dinosaurs’ extinction and the role dark matter plays in the universe and our world.
In Praise of Volcanoes
Michelle talks with Ashley Davies, a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, about the importance of volcanoes in the creation of Earth and how the study of volcanos in space can help us understand life here. Davies has journeyed to remote volcanos like Mt. Erebus in Antarctica and Erta Ale in Ethiopia.
"[Thaller] discusses why aliens get credit for every unexplainable thing in the universe in her first episode, so, yeah, consider us hooked already.” — Huffington Post