What’s the story with Mars and Pluto?

I did two interview with Scibernia since my last update about the show, and I really enjoyed them both!My first interview was with Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. This was particularly nerve-wracking as not only was it my first interview but the Prof Dame is something of a hero to me. It was probably in secondary school that I became aware of her work and what that work meant to the astronomical and astrophysical communities, so Professor Bell Burnell was always there in the back of my mind throughout university and beyond, when I got an education in physics and astronomy, with a focus on stellar evolutionary physics.

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered pulsars in 1967. At the time she was a PhD student and helped design the radio receivers that eventually recorded the pulsar emissions, but she also was the first to recognise that those strange pulses coming through on the telescope were from something that hadn’t been seen before.

You can listen to the interview with Professor Bell Burnell along with an in-studio commentary (complete with nerves!) at http://scibernia.ie/2012/02/02/scibernia-podcast-episode-26-pools-pluto-and-pulsars/

My second and most recent interview was with Kevin Nolan, Ireland’s leading expert on Mars and its exploration. A physics lecturer at IT Tallaght, Kevin is such an enthused an inspirational speaker on the Red Planet that his research also led him to author the acclaimed book Mars: A Cosmic Stepping Stone.

In this interview Kevin gave a tantalising overview of NASA’s current mission to Mars: the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The mission’s rover, Curiosity, is due to arrive at Mars later this year and it will investigate whether condition on the planet allow – or have ever allowed – life to develop.

Check out the interview at http://scibernia.ie/2012/02/23/scibernia-podcast-episode-27-city-of-science-mission-to-mars-high-tech-hurling/

Scibernia is a gang of nerds, scientists, and media heads. Our aim is to take current science news from Ireland and around the world and deliver it to people over the airwaves on Near FM and via our downloadable podcast at Scibernia.ie. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter at www.facebook.com/scibernia and @Scibernia. Thanks to Near 90 FM for the use of their studios.