Third Pod from the Sun

Third Pod from the Sun

Final Frontier? The Evolution of Planetary Science Missions

October 12, 2020

The latest episode of Third Pod from the Sun features an interview with planetary scientist Fran Bagenal, who has had a fascinating career working on NASA missions from Voyager to Juno and New Horizons. Currently working at the University of Colorado Boulder, Bagenal provides an overarching view of the different planetary missions going back a few decades and describes how the research and findings have built upon the innovations and discoveries that came before. Now, she is looking ahead to what we may learn about Saturn’s moon Titan during the upcoming Dragonfly mission.

In this episode, Bagenal also discusses the importance of education that engages students and the need to support the different pathways people take to pursue science. Her message aims to inspire scientists and challenge them to think beyond current constraints. She encourages scientists to innovate to achieve something that is currently considered difficult to do, including the search for life on Jupiter’s moon Europa. She hopes that one day, scientists will be able to take on something they know is tough, such as exploring objects farther out in the solar system, or even something closer to home, like the surface and possible seismology of Earth’s sister planet Venus. Important missions like these will help continue driving the Earth and space sciences into the future.

This episode was produced by Katie Broendel and mixed by Kayla Surrey.