Emily Smith ציבורי
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National Air and Space Museum

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The National Air and Space Museum contains the largest and most significant collection of air- and spacecraft in the world. Behind those amazing machines are thousands of stories of human achievement, failure, and perseverance. Join Emily, Matt, and Nick as they demystify one of the world’s most visited museums and explore why people are so fascinated with stories of exploration, innovation, and discovery.
 
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Mirror, mirror under the football field, what secrets of the universe will you yield? Okay, so we’re terrible poets (except maybe Matt). But we are feeling a bit reflective these days, so we’re taking this opportunity to ponder reflecting telescopes of all sizes, shapes, and types. Reflectors use mirrors to gather light and produce an image. Some a…
 
100 years ago Bessie Coleman became the first African American woman to earn her pilot’s license. You might remember Bessie from a previous episode of the pod (last season’s Chicago Flyer) – she inspired many of her contemporaries, including those who formed the Challenger Air Pilots Association. But Bessie’s tremendous determination and perseveran…
 
Raise a glass and cheers to a new season of AirSpace! And to help us get in the celebratory mood, today's episode is about a truly intoxicating period of American history – prohibition. You might know [we didn’t] that NASCAR has its roots in bootleggers driving illicit hooch in the 1920s. But it turns out, not all bootleggers were driving their con…
 
We’re just two weeks away from a brand new season of AirSpace! Today, though, we’re revisiting a favorite from May 2020 – the first installment of the AirSpace Movie Club, our very first episode recorded from our respective pandemic bunkers. At this point, we’re old hands at remote recording and thankfully our techniques have improved since this fi…
 
We’re hard at work on Season 5 (launching this September!) but before then, we’re giving you a second bite at a topic we spent a long time thinking about this year: what’s in a name? Earlier this season we explored how planetary bodies and their geological features get named. And to our surprise, it’s not all Greek and Roman mythology (we’re lookin…
 
We have a flair for the dramatic here at AirSpace (Who… US?!). And we’d be lying if we told you we don’t occasionally daydream about the end of the world. But, like, scientifically speaking. We’ve seen plenty of sci-fi depictions of what the end might look like, but what will actually happen when the Sun engulfs the Earth? And what does the “end of…
 
Earth’s twin or Earth’s evil twin? It depends on who you ask. And no, we’re NOT talking about Mars (take a break from the news cycle, Ingenuity). We’re talking about the beautiful, enigmatic, and hot (VERY hot) VENUS. Not one but TWO NASA spacecraft are heading to Venus later this decade (NASA’s first Venus missions since the early 90s!). But, how …
 
We’re all movie buffs here at AirSpace *gestures to extensive movie episode back catalog.* And while we’re not exactly film critics, we know what we like—and we love when people see themselves represented in their favorite stories. And a long time ago (2013), and not so far away (New Mexico), a group embarked on a quest of their own: to translate S…
 
In the early days of aviation flying was dangerous and expensive. Even if you could afford it, societal barriers in the United States kept many would-be pilots grounded. In this episode, we’re telling the story of how pioneering Black aviators improvised, innovated, and overcame those barriers to fulfill their dreams of flight. Across the U.S., Bla…
 
If you’ve flown commercial, you’re familiar with the preflight safety spiel (and if you’ve only ever flown private, we wanna know why, but it’ll have to be a different episode). You know the moves: stow your tray tables, life vests are under the seat, insert the metal end into the buckle until it clicks, and please don’t forget the nearest exit may…
 
Did you know the National Air and Space Museum has a huge art collection? Yeah, we keep that secret pretty well. It all STEMs (see what we did there?) from a program organized by NASA beginning in the 1960s where a small number of American artists got tons of access to launch sites, clean rooms, space suits, spacecraft—you name it, they painted it.…
 
Any child of the 80s or 90s knows about Space Camp. Even if you didn’t attend, you likely have an image of it burned into your brain – the flight suits, the teamwork, the spinning contraption that makes you hurl (aka the multi-axis trainer). Born at the dawn of the Shuttle era, Space Camp has given nearly a million campers a taste of astronaut life…
 
Have you ever wondered how the stuff in space gets named? Sure, names like Earth, Venus, and Mars have been canon for *forever.* But lest you think naming is all about Greek and Roman mythology, think again. Six of Titan’s hills are named after Lord of the Rings characters. Seriously. These days, there’s one organization that approves and keeps tra…
 
Today we’re tackling something we’ve wanted to talk about for a long time (which is relative, because time and space lose all meaning there). They’re incredibly dense, super cool, and mind-bendingly-mysterious -- BLACK HOLES! But how do you imagine – let alone study—the unseeable? And seriously—what happened at the end of “Interstellar?” The concep…
 
Did you hear they found water on the Moon? Or was it Mars? No wait, Mercury? An asteroid? It seems like every time there’s big news from outer space, it’s that we found water some place—as traces of ice or wisps of vapor, embedded in rocks or bound up in dry-as-dirt-regolith. What’s so special about a few molecules of H20 trapped in the ground mill…
 
We’ll admit that we’re getting a little nostalgic about even the most mundane aspects of air travel – like how many times the pre-flight safety video reminds you that smoking is NOT permitted onboard. But that got us thinking – that wasn’t always the case. So what changed? It took decades of research, lobbying, and litigation to prove the dangers o…
 
This week the Perseverance Rover will touch down on the surface of Mars, bringing an end to its seven-month journey AND this mixtape. Once it lands, Percy will send back thousands of images, giving us Earthlings a close-up view of the Martian terrain. In 1897 author H.G. Wells imagined a different way to see Mars in his short shorty, “The Crystal E…
 
Welcome to Season 4 of AirSpace! Right now COVID-19 vaccines are traveling across the country and around the world – and air travel is a critical component of this supply chain. These vaccines were not only developed in record time (shout out to SCIENCE!) but some of them also have to be kept at record cold temperatures. To meet this challenge, dis…
 
Over the summer we collaborated with the artist Diplo on a companion album to his new record MMXX. It’s called Under Ancient Skies and it’s available wherever you stream music. But we also created an audio tour of the night sky for a series of small, outdoor concerts Diplo performed. It’s ethereal, it’s relaxing, and it’s just what we need to get u…
 
We’re only ONE month away from the Perseverance Rover touching down on Mars! The search for life is a pillar of Mars exploration. But our search isn’t only confined to the planets of our solar system. Radio telescopes search for signals of intelligent life from far away planets, orbiting other stars. One such telescope, the Arecibo Observatory in P…
 
Season four of AirSpace is just around the corner, but we have a special bonus drop for you today! Our friends at the PBS podcast NOVA Now have been giving us a behind-the- scenes look at the work of scientists, engineers, technologists, and more who are using their work to address the most pressing questions of our time. Listen to this episode whe…
 
What a year it has been (alt: Ugh, what a year!). Back in April, we launched our AirSpace Movie Club—and critiquing our favorite air-and-space-films was a fun way to stay in touch remotely until we could get back into the studio for Season 3. Well, 16 episodes and eight months later, we’re still recording from home, so we thought we’d end season 3 …
 
Interplanetary road trips take a WHILE. So for this episode of Voyages to Mars, while we cruise onward towards the Red Planet, we’re listening to some poetry that pays tribute to long duration space travel. Our selections in this episode come from Orrery, a brand-new collection from author Donna Kane that pays homage to the Pioneer 10 space probe l…
 
Did you learn the constellations as a child? Odds are, if you lived in a city, you saw more stars in the classroom—or a planetarium if you were lucky—than by looking at the night sky (and if not, we’re jealous). Fact is, most of us live in places that give us a less than ideal view of the stars because of light pollution from our cities and suburbs…
 
This month marks the 20th birthday of the International Space Station! That’s 240 straight months—which is exactly how long 2020 feels so far. We all need a little self-care these days, so in honor of the ISS anniversary, we’ll tell you about what astronaut life is like when they aren’t doing the extraordinary science, essential maintenance, and ex…
 
We’re back with the fourth installment of our literary mixtape, Voyages to Mars! The Perseverance Rover is on its way to the Red Planet and space agencies around the world hope that someday in the not too distant future, humans will join it. Mars is a popular destination for humans in sci-fi literature. Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, publis…
 
On this episode of AirSpace we’re spotlighting the heroic service and enduring legacy of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP. More than 1000 of these fearless women flew as civilians for the Army Air Forces during World War II. These skilled pilots performed jobs on the home front – ferrying planes, towing targets, transporting personnel – f…
 
Can 650 episodes of a tv show fix society’s deepest, ugliest ills? Maybe not, but it turns out that it’s a pretty good place to start a conversation. We’re all fans of something—movies, tv shows, video games, comic books, sports teams, you name it!—and that can help us connect with new people with shared interests and frames of reference. In this e…
 
We're back with the third installment of our literary mixtape, Voyages to Mars! Humans aren't yet able to go to Mars ourselves, so we’re reliant on the help of rovers and landers to be our eyes and ears on the surface - our mechanical “boots on the ground.” This episode is our ode to ROBOTS! Our two stories today come from a time before the word “r…
 
There have been great movies about military aviation for almost as long as there have been movies and airplanes—seriously, the very first Best Picture Oscar went to a WWI aero-epic called Wings (and if you ever win bar trivia with that, buy us a drink). Eventually, the US military realized that high adventure onscreen could boost their recruiting e…
 
About 82,000 American service members are listed as Missing in Action – 72,000 from World War II alone. Many of these MIAs were lost at sea when their aircraft were shot down over open water. Recent technologies like robotic submersibles, advanced sonar, and DNA matching are making it easier for recovery operations to find the downed airplanes, and…
 
We’re back this month with the second installment of our side project, Voyages to Mars! Leaving Earth on your way to Mars, the first pit stop you might make is the Moon’s orbit. In this episode, we follow three Mars-bound space travelers from Mark Wicks’ novel, “To Mars via the Moon.” We see the Moon through the eyes of two Englishmen and a Scotsma…
 
If you’re a Broadway fan (or have been ANYWHERE near a theater in the last couple years), you’ve likely heard about Come From Away—the Tony-award-winning smash hit musical with a story firmly rooted in generations of aviation history. On September 11, 2001, 38 commercial airliners were diverted out of US air space to a small town with a big airport…
 
If you had $500 MILLION dollars to spend going anywhere in the solar system (rocket not included), where would YOU go? That’s exactly what NASA asks scientists in its Discovery Program – a (relatively) low budget, but influential, class of missions designed to increase our understanding of our stellar neighborhood through creative concepts that don…
 
And now for something a little different. On July 30, 2020 NASA’s Perseverance rover launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida to Jezero crater, Mars. To accompany Percy on its seven-month journey, we’re compiling a literary mixtape of Martian-themed sci-fi set to music by DJ Kid Koala. In this first installment of Voyages to Mars, we hear launch stori…
 
With everyone quarantining, it’s like spring cleaning never ended this year—and as important as cleanliness is here on Earth, it’s really, really important when you’re headed for outer space. We’ve talked about planetary protection on the pod before, but it’s never felt closer to home than now, so we’re digging a little deeper into what it takes to…
 
At least someone's big summer trip isn't cancelled—NASA is sending another rover to Mars! The shiny new robot Perseverance (who looks like a lot its cousin Curiosity) is headed for Jezero Crater—the location of an ancient Martian lake—to search for signs of microbial life. Emily, Matt, and Nick (who'd rather be lakeside themselves—j/k, they've neve…
 
Welcome to Season 3! Today we’re talking about secret space shuttles--seriously! The Soviet space program (and its Russian successor) is rightfully known for significant achievements like the first man and woman in space, the first spacewalk, and the longest spaceflight…but space shuttles? Not as well known as these other milestones is the Soviet s…
 
We’re back for one last installment of the AirSpace Movie Club! Today we’re talking about Sully, the movie based on the real-life emergency water landing of US Airways flight 1549 which ditched in the Hudson River in January 2009. Emily, Matt, and Nick break down how the portrayal in the film compares to the real-life “Miracle on the Hudson” and ho…
 
In this addition of our at-home movie club, we explore the world of the sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer. This French graphic novel, turned Korean action film, and now TV series is set in a post-apocalyptic world where all that is left of humanity is endlessly circling the globe in a train. Emily, Matt, and Nick break down this distopian future, geoengi…
 
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... well, you know the rest. Emily, Matt and Nick talk about the Man of Steel in his appearance in this 1978 classic. From stellar evolution, to the radiation power that makes Clark Kent super, and rocks not doing accurate rock things, the AirSpace hosts dive into the science (some of it accurate, but mostly not) behi…
 
AirSpace goes to the movies! But not really because we're all stuck at home just like you. In the first episode of this mini-series hosts Matt, Nick, and Emily talk about the movie Troop Zero and the real history behind the voices on the Voyager Golden Record. Spoiler: they weren't actually the voices of Birdie Scouts from rural Georgia.…
 
They say that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, particularly when you’re looking for signs of extraterrestrial life. Is that a Martian bacterium you just found, or is it an Earth bug accidentally along for the ride? An Israeli spacecraft recently crashed on the Moon, unintentionally spilling a payload of adorable, microscopic ext…
 
There are more than a dozen Earth-born satellites orbiting Mars. Why send another? Today’s episode highlights a movie with answers…Science to be done! Engineering challenges to overcome! National prestige! Personal Moonshots! Because it’s there! Based on India’s 2014 Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), the new Hindi-language film Mission Mangal has all of …
 
Today on the show, we tackle the meaning of life. Well… not really. But definitely matters of consequence. We are talking about the beloved children’s book that taught us the meaning of friendship and the value of a child-like perspective – The Little Prince. Odds are you’ve read the book – but do you know the story behind the parable? Nick sits do…
 
Alt title: ADAM SAVAGE IS IN THIS EPISODE! Today we’re talking about a really cool project that brought together one former-Mythbuster, a couple of Smithsonian units, and makers across the country to reimagine an incredible piece of Apollo engineering. The hatch (aka door) on the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia is SUPER complex and basically irre…
 
Today (tonight?) we’re talking about a chilling chapter from flight history— Night Bomber Regiment 588. They were a group of about 80 Soviet women who flew combat missions during World War II. Led by famous Russian pilot Marina Raskova, these fearless aviatrixes would fly across German lines under cover of darkness and drop bombs from their WWII bi…
 
Next week is the 50th anniversary of our first steps on the Moon! In our last exciting episode, we explored all the science the Apollo astronauts performed on the lunar surface. In part two, we’re talking about the important science still happening with Apollo Moon rocks here on Earth a half-century later. Of all the 842 pounds of lunar material th…
 
50 years ago this July, humans set foot on the Moon for the first time. You probably know the highlights – Kennedy’s moonshot challenge, Armstrong’s first small steps, three astronauts returned safely to Earth – but there was more to the Apollo program than getting there and back. When we landed Americans on the Moon, there was a lot we didn’t know…
 
What music would you take along on a quarter-million mile road trip? For the crew of Apollo 11, it was a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and a little bit of… theremin?! In this episode, Emily, Matt, and Nick discuss the music of the cosmos, or at least what makes a good lunar soundtrack. Matt interviews one of his childhood heroes—I…
 
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