In this episode of Space Nuts, hosts Andrew Dunkley and Fred Watson dive into two fascinating topics that will leave space enthusiasts craving for more. They start by discussing the recent discovery about the moon's age, shedding light on its true origin and challenging previous assumptions. Dunkley's engaging and informative conversation with Professor Fred Watson delves into the research methods used to uncover this groundbreaking finding. But the excitement doesn't stop there. The episode also explores NASA's ongoing search for water ice on Mars through the SWIM project. Andrew and Fred discuss the implications of finding water ice on the Red Planet and how it could benefit future space missions. With their conversational and friendly tone, Andrew and Fred bring these complex topics to life, making it easy for listeners to grasp the significance of these discoveries. If you're passionate about space exploration and eager to stay up to date with the latest developments in planetary science, this episode of Space Nuts is a must-listen. In this episode, you will be able to: · Discover the fascinating story behind the Moon's age, unlocking secrets about the history of our solar system. · Explore the ongoing search for water ice on Mars and the potential implications for human colonization. · Learn how scientists are mapping the distribution of ice on Mars, providing crucial insights into the planet's past and future. · Get a sneak peek into the groundbreaking capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope and how it will revolutionize our understanding of the universe. · Dive into the intriguing concept of travel time in space, including the challenges astronauts face and the exciting possibilities for future exploration. It's fascinating, isn't it, when you really think about it, that one thing in the whole history of the universe made us possible. - Andrew Dunkley The resources mentioned in this episode are: · Visit the University of Chicago and the Field Museum websites to learn more about the research conducted by the planetary scientists. · Explore the Apollo 17 mission and the samples of moon dust brought back to Earth in 1972. · Learn about zircon crystals and their significance in dating the age of the moon. · Discover more about atom probe tomography and its use in analyzing the crystals. · Research radiometric dating and its role in determining the age of the moon. · Consider the implications of the moon being 40 million years older than previously believed. · Reflect on the formation of the moon and its impact on Earth's rotation and the evolution of life. · Explore the concept of the moon being made mostly of Earth's material rather than Thea's. · Investigate the differences between the near side and far side of the moon and the tidal locking phenomenon. · Contemplate the hypothetical scenario of Earth's size if it had not been impacted by Thea. · · Visit the University of Chicago and the Field Museum websites to learn more about the research conducted by the planetary scientists. · Explore the Apollo 17 mission and the samples of moon dust brought back to Earth in 1972. · Learn about zircon crystals and their significance in dating the age of the moon. · Discover more about atom probe tomography and its use in analyzing the crystals. · Research radiometric dating and its role in determining the age of the moon. · Consider the implications of the moon being 40 million years older than previously believed. · Reflect on the formation of the moon and its impact on Earth's rotation and the evolution of life. · Explore the concept of the moon being made mostly of Earth's material rather than Thea's. · Investigate the differences between the near side and far side of the moon and the tidal locking phenomenon. · Contemplate the hypothetical scenario of Earth's size if it had not been impacted by Thea. Timestamped summary of this episode:
00:02:10 - "The Moon's True Age"
Scientists have discovered that the Moon is actually older than previously thought, with a minimum age of 4.46 billion years. This new finding sheds light on the early history of the solar system and indicates that the Moon formed in its infancy.
00:05:20 - "The Moon's Molten Origins"
During the early stages of the solar system, both the Earth and the Moon were molten bodies. The Moon's spherical shape was formed due to its softness and the pull of gravity. Understanding this molten period is crucial in determining the age of the Moon.
00:07:08 - "Reanalyzing Moon Dust"
In 1972, Apollo 17 brought back moon dust samples, including crystals of zircon. Scientists have reanalyzed these crystals using advanced techniques such as atom probe tomography and radiometric dating. By measuring the radioactive decay within the crystals, they have determined the Moon's true age.
00:09:08 - "Implications of an Ancient Moon"
The Moon's newfound age of 4.46 billion years suggests that it formed very early in the history of the solar system. This discovery has implications for our understanding of the Earth's formation, as the Moon likely cooled earlier than our planet. The Moon is an ancient body with a rich history.
00:17:38 - The Moon's Age
The hosts discuss a recent discovery that suggests the moon may be older than previously thought. They mention how the materials from Theia and the moon have been color-coded and express their curiosity about the implications of this finding.
00:18:32 - Introduction to Mars
The hosts transition to discussing Mars, noting that it is Andrew's favorite planet. They mention the "Swim" project, which stands for Subsurface Water Ice Mapping Project, and highlight the importance of water ice for future astronauts on Mars.
00:19:24 - Ice on Mars
The hosts clarify a misconception that the ice on Mars is all carbon dioxide. They explain that while some of the frost around the poles is carbon dioxide, a significant amount of Mars's ice is actually water ice. They mention the discovery of water ice by the Phoenix spacecraft and the presence of permafrost on Mars.
00:23:40 - The Swim Project
The hosts discuss NASA's Swim project, which aims to map the locations of Martian ice. They explain that data from multiple NASA missions, including Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey, have been used to identify potential sites for future missions to dig up ice. They mention the use of recent impact craters as indicators of subsurface ice.
00:26:30 - Mars Ice Map
The hosts mention a work-in-progress map produced by the Swim project that shows the locations of Martian ice. They refer listeners to a NASA webpage for more information and
00:35:05 - The Flash of the Big Bang
The host explains the analogy of an audience cheering a band to help understand why we can still see the flash of the Big Bang. He emphasizes the importance of focusing on the photons we receive from our own vantage point on Earth.
00:38:06 - The Observable Universe
The host discusses the concept of the observable universe and how it extends to the flash of the Big Bang. He compares it to a horizon on a cruise ship, explaining that just because we can't see beyond it doesn't mean there is nothing there.
00:38:32 - Traveling at the Speed of Light
The host answers a listener's question about whether the expansion rate of the universe is taken into consideration when calculating travel time to destinations like the moon or other galaxies. He explains that for shorter distances, the expansion of the universe is negligible, but for longer distances, it would need to be considered.
00:42:05 - The Importance of Astronomy
The host addresses a listener's question about why astronomy is important and how it benefits humanity. He shares his own experience of realizing the need for science outreach and explains that astronomy is a symbol of an evolved society that goes beyond basic survival needs.
00:43:47 - Astronomy as the End Product of Civilization
The host reflects on a colleague's comment that astronomy is the end product of civilization. He explains that once a society has met its basic needs, astronomy becomes a pursuit that expands knowledge, understanding
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