Gravity Assist

By National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

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 Dec 13, 2018


Dr. Jim Green, NASA Chief Scientist, takes you on a guided tour of the solar system and beyond.

Episode Date
Gravity Assist: Driving on Mars, with rover driver Sophia Mitchell
What does it take to drive a rover that’s more than 100 million miles away? Sophia Mitchell at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been driving the Mars Curiosity rover since 2018.
Feb 12, 2021
Gravity Assist: Your Questions About Life Out There and Down Here
Why don’t we go live on Saturn’s moon Titan? What would it mean if we found life elsewhere? How did life get its start on Earth? NASA’s chief scientist Jim Green and astrobiologist Lindsay Hays discuss these and other audience questions from social media.
Dec 23, 2020
Gravity Assist: The Bright Spot of the Asteroid Belt, with Britney Schmidt
Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter is a mysterious dwarf planet called Ceres. Its surface is dark and muddy, but has hundreds of patches of bright material.
Dec 18, 2020
Gravity Assist: Set Sail for Europa, with Bob Pappalardo
NASA’s Europa Clipper mission will give us the most detailed look yet at Jupiter’s extraordinary moon Europa.
Dec 04, 2020
Gravity Assist: Mars Takes a Breath, with Jen Eigenbrode
The Curiosity rover has been probing the secrets of Mars since its arrival in 2012. Its discoveries include chemical signatures that could be related to life – or, alternatively, to geological processes.
Nov 13, 2020
Gravity Assist: The History of the Future, with Steven Dick
Astronomer and historian Steven Dick tells us there are many approaches to consider and many questions we should ask ourselves to get ready, in case extraterrestrial life is found.
Oct 30, 2020
Gravity Assist: Life in the Clouds, with David J. Smith
While more research is needed, Smith and others are fascinated by the possibility that airborne microbes could also be found elsewhere in the solar system, and beyond.
Oct 09, 2020
Gravity Assist: Why Icy Moons are So Juicy, with Athena Coustenis
A great era of exploration of the icy moons is about to begin. Athena Coustenis of the Paris Observatory talks about missions to the icy moons of the outer solar system and international collaborations with NASA and ESA.
Sep 25, 2020
Gravity Assist: Is Artificial Intelligence the Future of Life? With Susan Schneider
If astrobiologists find life beyond Earth in the solar system, it will most likely be in the form of tiny organisms called microbes – nothing that would talk to us.
Sep 11, 2020
Gravity Assist: Our Sun, Our Life, with Vladimir Airapetian
Vladimir Airapetian, scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, explains what researchers hope to find as they gaze beyond our solar system.
Aug 21, 2020
Gravity Assist: Looking For Life in Ancient Lakes
As the Perseverance Rover flies toward Jezero Crater on Mars, which once hosted water, astrobiologists are interested in places on Earth that are similar to the rover landing site.
Aug 14, 2020
Gravity Assist: Gardens at the Bottom of the Sea, with Laurie Barge
Laurie Barge, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, studies how plant-looking mineral structures called chimneys grow from chemicals found at the deepest depths of the ocean. In her lab she has glass vials and bulbs full of different chemical mixtures that simulate undersea conditions.
Aug 07, 2020
Gravity Assist: She Protects Other Planets from Our Germs
As we explore Mars and other places in the solar system that might have life, scientists who work in Planetary Protection are busy making sure that we don’t contaminate them.
Jul 17, 2020
Gravity Assist: If They Call, Will We Listen? The Search for Technosignatures
Jason Wright, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, has been thinking about the different technosignatures we could pick up using the telescopes we already have, and the telescopes that we could develop in the future.
Jun 26, 2020
Gravity Assist: Where are the Goldilocks Stars? With Giada Arney
Giada Arney, astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, is looking at the potential for K stars to host habitable worlds. Learn about how stars affect planetary environments and why complex life on early Earth was impossible.
Jun 18, 2020
Gravity Assist: Puffy Planets, Powerful Telescopes, with Knicole Colon
NASA astrophysicist Knicole Colon describes her work on the Kepler, Hubble, TESS and Webb missions, and takes us on a tour of some of her favorite planets.
Jun 12, 2020
Gravity Assist: Is Our Solar System Weird? With Shawn Domagal-Goldman
We now know there are more planets than stars in the galaxy. Many of them are very different from ours. How would we know if any of them had life? Shawn Domagal-Goldman, astrobiologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, discusses these strange and wondrous worlds beyond our Sun.
Jun 05, 2020
Gravity Assist: There’s Life Under Ice in Antarctica. How About Mars?
From diving in Antarctica’s ice-covered lakes to exploring Mexico’s Cave of the Crystals, NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay has been searching for life in a wide variety of extreme environments on Earth.
May 29, 2020
Gravity Assist: Deep Oceans in Deep Space, with Morgan Cable
Some of the most fascinating targets in the search for life in our solar system are moons of giant planets. Morgan Cable, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, discusses these wondrous worlds, the exotic locations where she has done fieldwork, and the research she has done on the chemistry of life that could thrive on Titan.
May 22, 2020
Gravity Assist: A Special Delivery of Life’s Building Blocks, with Jason Dworkin
When Earth was just a baby, meteors and asteroids rained down, delivering all sorts of chemicals to our developing planet. These small objects could have delivered the chemicals needed to spark life on Earth for the first time.
May 15, 2020
Gravity Assist: What If We Found Life On Mars?
Imagine a future where the Perseverance Rover actually found definitive evidence of life on Mars. What would happen next? The Explore Mars Society recently held a virtual discussion on this topic with NASA’s chief scientist Jim Green and astrobiologist Penelope Boston from NASA’s Ames Research Center.
May 08, 2020
Gravity Assist: Persevering on Mars, with Mitch Schulte
NASA’s upcoming Mars Perseverance rover, scheduled to launch in July, is bringing a set of technologies to explore the Red Planet in new ways. Mitch Schulte of NASA Headquarters discusses this mission and the effort to explore whether Mars had life in the past, or even now
May 01, 2020
Gravity Assist: Could We Find Billion-Year-Old Cholesterol? With Lindsay Hays
Could we find lipids beyond Earth? NASA astrobiologist Lindsay Hays explores this and other topics in her research. She also discusses places interesting for the search for life in our solar system and beyond.
Apr 24, 2020
Gravity Assist: Life on the Rocks, with Heather Graham
To study the history of life on Earth and look for it beyond our planet, scientists in the field of astrobiology look for signs called “biosignatures.” NASA Goddard researcher Heather Graham discusses some of the oldest evidence of life on Earth and what scientists are searching for when they look for biosignatures in ancient rocks. By looking at w
Apr 17, 2020
Gravity Assist: What is Astrobiology? With Mary Voytek
How did life originate and evolve here on Earth? What form could life take elsewhere – and where else could life survive beyond our planet? These are questions that scientists called astrobiologists tackle every day. By using space telescopes, doing laboratory experiments and studying extreme environments on Earth, astrobiologists hope to uncover n
Apr 17, 2020
Introducing Gravity Assist Season 4: Searching for Life
Is there life beyond Earth? How did life get started on Earth anyway? This season of NASA’s Gravity Assist podcast is about the origins of life on Earth and the search for life elsewhere.[scald=338003:full_width][scald=338003:full_width]
Apr 15, 2020
Gravity Assist: Astronauts Go Back to Moon School, with Kelsey Young
Besides learning how to live in space, astronauts training for Artemis missions to the Moon will need to become experts in geology, so they know what to look for when they're scoping out rocks and other features. Kelsey Young of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center describes her experience of teaching astronauts through analog sites, places on Earth
Dec 19, 2019
Gravity Assist: The Moon's Holy GRAIL, with Maria Zuber
Recent maps of the Moon's gravity have taught us a lot about its overall shape, and have been invaluable for lunar exploration. Maria Zuber, principal investigator of the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, reflects on the twin spacecraft and their implications for future investigations.
Dec 10, 2019
Gravity Assist: The Moon Quakes! With Walter Kiefer
Just like earthquakes help scientists figure out what's going on inside our home planet, moonquakes have taught scientists a lot about the interior of the Moon.
Sep 27, 2019
Gravity Assist: Fire Fountains on the Moon, with Dave Draper
Early in its history, the Moon was molten, with “fire fountains” erupting from its surface. How did the Moon cool down and become the quiet, cratered world we know today? NASA’s Chief Scientist Jim Green chats with NASA’s Deputy Chief Scientist Dave Draper about the Moon’s volcanic past and what we have learned from Apollo lunar samples.
Sep 12, 2019
Gravity Assist: When the Moon Was Like a Magnet, with Sonia Tikoo
From lunar samples brought back in the Apollo program, scientists have figured out that the Moon once had a shield around it called a magnetosphere, just like the Earth has today. As NASA prepares to send humans to the Moon, and eventually on to Mars, scientists are exploring the Moon's magnetic past.
Aug 23, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: Beyond Apollo with Planetary Geologist Jake Bleacher
It's been 50 years since humans walked on the moon. Now NASA is planning to return, this time to stay. What will future lunar missions look like? Why do we go back at all?
Jul 18, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: Your Moon Questions Answered
Why do we see only one face of the Moon? What would happen to Earth if the Moon didn't exist? We dive into questions you asked on social media.
Jun 28, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: The Moon Rocks! With Barbara Cohen
Learn how Moon rocks can reveal all kinds of information about our nearest neighbor, as NASA prepares to send astronauts to the Moon and on to Mars.
Jun 21, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: Mapping the Moon, with Noah Petro
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched 10 years ago this month, has made groundbreaking discoveries about the Moon, and will pave the way for future human exploration with NASA's Artemis mission.
Jun 13, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: Why So Many Craters on the Moon? With David Kring
NASA's Artemis program will send astronauts to the lunar south pole by 2024, where there is a giant impact crater. Learn how craters teach us about the history of both the Moon and Earth.
Jun 06, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: Where's the Water on the Moon? With Jen Heldmann
The Moon has a large supply of water that could be useful in future human exploration, says NASA scientist Jennifer Heldmann.
May 30, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: Why Do We Have a Moon? With Robin Canup
Learn about how the Moon formed in this conversation with Robin Canup of the Southwest Research Institute.
May 09, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: Where Could We Go on the Moon? With Steve Mackwell
With NASA planning to send astronauts to the Moon by 2024, Steve Mackwell chats about the Moon’s exciting unexplored areas.
May 02, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: Buying a Ride to the Moon Through Commercial Partnerships, with Steven Clarke
Steven Clarke, the Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration at NASA, talks about NASA’s plans to partner with companies for delivering new instruments and technology demonstrations to the Moon.
Apr 24, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: Meet NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
NASA’s got big plans to send people to the Moon, and then on to Mars. What are we going to do at the Moon?
Apr 11, 2019
Gravity Assist Podcast: Season 3 Trailer
What’s so special about our Moon? Join Jim Green, NASA’s chief scientist, for a podcast season that dives into the Moon’s history and mysteries, as well as NASA’s plans to send astronauts there by 2024.
Apr 01, 2019
Gravity Assist: The Sun’s Mysteries with Thomas Zurbuchen
Thomas Zurbuchen, the Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, joins NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green to discuss the mysterious we still need to solve about the Sun, and more!
Dec 11, 2018
Gravity Assist: Planetary Defense and Oumuamua with Kelly Fast
NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green sits down with Dr. Kelly Fast, a planetary astronomer to discuss planetary defense and Oumuamua.
Sep 26, 2018
Gravity Assist: Sunspots and Solar Flares with Alex Young
NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green sits down with solar scientist Alex Young to discuss the Sun’s powerful explosions.
Sep 11, 2018
Gravity Assist: Mars Dust Storm with Melinda Kahre.
Listen in as NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green discusses the Mars dust storm with a dust storm expert, Melinda Kahre.
Aug 15, 2018
Gravity Assist: Exoplanet Hunting with Jon Jenkins
Listen to Chief Scientist Jim Green and a co-investigator on the Kepler and TESS missions, Jon Jenkins, discuss exoplanet-hunting and all the amazing discoveries Kepler has made.
Aug 01, 2018
Gravity Assist: Asteroid Hunting with Lindley Johnson
NASA has been on the lookout for any asteroid that could cause our planet harm and, in the thousands of objects found, determined that none poses a threat to Earth.
Jul 17, 2018
Gravity Assist: Exploring Mars with Spirit and Opportunity with Steve Squyres
NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers were only supposed to rove around Mars for 90 days. Listen in with Steve Squyers from Cornell University as he recounts the amazing discoveries we’ve made about the Red Planet because of these two long-lived rovers.
Jul 03, 2018
Gravity Assist: Mars and InSight with Bruce Banerdt
With its seismometer and heat probe instruments, InSight will investigate the deep dynamics of Mars, helping scientists discover what lies within its core and learn more about how rocky bodies form throughout the solar system.
May 02, 2018
Gravity Assist: TESS & Exoplanets with Martin Still
On Monday, April 16th, NASA is scheduled to launch its newest exoplanet hunter: the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
Apr 12, 2018
Gravity Assist: Explorer 1 & Jim Green’s ‘Gravity Assist’
The year was 1958; the space race was on. NASA’s first space satellite, Explorer 1, launched a Geiger counter and miniature tape recorder into space that registered astonishingly high radiation levels above Earth. This discovery gave humanity its first glimpse of the Van Allen radiation belts, named for James Van Allen.
Mar 01, 2018
Gravity Assist: Science & Science Fiction with Andy Weir
NASA’s Jim Green and bestselling author Andy Weir explore the fascinating intersection of science and science fiction.
Feb 07, 2018
Gravity Assist: The Kuiper Belt with Alan Stern
In this episode of Gravity Assist, Jim Green talks with New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern about what we’ve learned about Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69.
Jan 31, 2018
Gravity Assist: Pluto with Alan Stern
In this episode of Gravity Assist, Jim Green talks with New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute about what the July 2015 flyby of Pluto revealed about this mysterious and diverse world.
Jan 24, 2018
Gravity Assist: Ice Giants (Uranus & Neptune) with Amy Simon
n this episode of Gravity Assist, NASA’s Jim Green and Amy Simon discuss Uranus, Neptune, and Neptune’s intriguing moon – Triton -- and what we still have to learn about these mysterious bodies.
Jan 17, 2018
Gravity Assist: Saturn with Linda Spilker
With me today is Dr. Linda Spilker from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She's the project scientist for our Cassini Mission, which as everyone knows, had a recent spectacular finale at Saturn.
Jan 10, 2018
Gravity Assist: Jupiter with Jared Espley
As large as 1,000 Earths, Jupiter is the heavy hitter of the solar system. Even its Great Red Spot is larger than Earth, yet it’s shrinking! In this episode of Gravity Assist, Planetary Science Director Jim Green talks with Jared Espley of NASA’s Juno mission.
Jan 03, 2018
Gravity Assist: Mars with Bruce Jakosky and Michael Meyer
With Jim Green today is the “man about Mars,” Bruce Jakosky from the University of Colorado. Bruce is the principal investigator of NASA's MAVEN mission. Joining them is Michael Meyer the lead Mars scientist at NASA Headquarters.
Dec 20, 2017
Gravity Assist: The Moon with Sarah Noble
Jim Green is joined by lunar expert Sarah Noble to discuss how the Moon was formed, lava tubes and moonquakes, the “dark side of the Moon,” and mysteries we have yet to solve about Earth’s nearest neighbor.
Dec 13, 2017
Gravity Assist: Earth with Tom Wagner
NASA not only seeks to unravel the secrets of the solar system and the universe, we have a robust program to better understand how Earth works as a system, how it’s changing, and to assist when natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes occur.
Dec 06, 2017
Gravity Assist Podcast, Venus with David Grinspoon
The next stop on our virtual tour is Venus, the closest planet to Earth and the hottest planet in our solar system, with surface temperatures scorching enough to melt lead.
Nov 29, 2017
Gravity Assist Podcast, Mercury with Faith Vilas
Our virtual tour of the solar system continues with Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. Since it’s tough to observe Mercury except at dawn or twilight, most of what we know about Mercury is from NASA’s Mariner 10 and MESSENGER missions.
Nov 22, 2017
Gravity Assist Podcast, The Sun with Nicky Fox
We start our “Gravity Assist” virtual tour of the solar system with – where else – the Sun! Jim is joined by Project Scientist Dr. Nicky Fox of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab to talk about our fascinating star and NASA’s upcoming Parker Solar Probe—a mission to “touch the Sun.”
Nov 15, 2017
NASA’s New “Gravity Assist” Podcast Debuts Nov. 15, 2017
Hi, I'm Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science. I'm excited to tell you about a new podcast series. It's called NASA's Gravity Assist. Please join me as I talk with some of the greatest planetary scientists of our time.
Nov 02, 2017