Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 5th Aug 2012

Curious about Mars...

Curiosity's Sky Crane Maneuver, Artist's Concept (c) NASA/JPL-Caltech

Publishing early in recognition of the arrival on the red planet of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover, this week we talk to members of the mission team, revisit some previous successful planetary explorations and hear how UK engineers have made it possible for Rovers to think for themselves. Plus, news of why planets orbit in a plane and whether elephants purr, or just hum...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:32 - The Mars Science Laboratory

    In November 2011, one of NASAís most ambitious missions yet, mounted to explore Mars, blasted off destined for the red planet carrying a mini cooper-sized science mobile laboratory called Curiosity. But how do you land something the size and weight of a car on a planet millions...

  • 11:33 - Exploring Our Solar System

    Professor John Zarnecki discusses the challenges of unknown environments when exploring our solar system...

  • 18:30 - The violent histories of hot Jupiters

    A paper published in Nature last week has discovered that planetary systems containing so-called hot Jupiters are likely to have had violent pasts.

  • 22:12 - Do elephants purr?

    The way elephants make the low-frequency rumbles they use to communicate over long distances has been revealed by scientists in Austria.

  • 25:24 - Building an Immunity to Bilharzia

    Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia is a parasitic disease that infects more than 200 million people. Adults eventually develop immunity but for some reason, children donít. Now, scientists have discovered why and this could help us to develop a new vaccine...

  • 30:52 - Black holes, as revealed by X-rays

    The journal Science have produced a special issue dedicated to the subject of black hole research, and we look at what is known about the X-ray emission of black holes.

  • 53:44 - How Long will the Curiosity Mission Last?

    Assuming the landing goes according to plan, how long will the mission last?

  • 54:05 - How was Curiosity's Landing Mechanism Tested?

    Given the relative failure rate of Mars missions, and also given that the rover must land fully autonomously (due to communications lag), what measures have been taken to ensure that the de-orbit, landing, deployment and on-surface commissioning of the Curiosity Rover go as plann...



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