Introducing the AirSpace Podcast

PRX is excited to announce the launch of AirSpace, a brand new podcast from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum that unlocks stories from the most-visited museum in the world.

Each month, AirSpace will explore stories of space, aircraft, technology and flight science based on the museum’s unique collection of air and spacecraft. Episodes will include themes of human achievement, failure and perseverance. Join AirSpace hosts Dr. Emily Martin, planetary scientist and expert on one of the moons of Saturn; Dr. Matt Shindell, science historian and curator of planetary science; and Nick Partridge, public affairs specialist at the Air and Space Museum. Each host brings unique perspective as they uncover why people are so fascinated with stories of exploration, innovation and discovery.

Dr. Emily Martin, left; Dr. Matt Shindell, center; and Nick Partridge. (Dr. Martin’s photo courtesy of Nicholas Karlin)
“People fly airplanes, airplanes don’t fly people. We want to highlight the humanity of air travel and space flight — the people who do the science, engineer the hardware, and make the discoveries,” said Katie Moyer, executive producer of the podcast. “We want to get non-aviation buffs excited and a little bit more interested in air and space in a format that’s approachable, friendly and engaging for the busy young professional. Each episode will share an interesting story to talk about with your seatmate on your next cross-country flight.”

Episode one, “Mars Time,” takes a look at what it’s like to work on the red planet — because even though no human has ever set foot on Mars, scientists have been working there for years. But a day on the red planet is about 40 minutes longer than here on Earth, so it wreaks havoc on the scientists’ workweeks. Find out what it takes to be a professional Martian without ever leaving your home planet.

In episode two, the AirSpace team takes a look at “What’s the Right Stuff Right Now.” The criteria to become an astronaut have evolved over the years, but it’s still one of the toughest jobs to land — 18,000 people applied to be a part of NASA’s most recent astronaut class but only 12 were selected. The team will explore how the “right stuff” has changed with the times and give us a taste of what candidates have to go through to make the cut.

Episode three will be all about food — space cuisine has come a long way since the 1960s. You can now find espresso and tortillas aboard the International Space Station (but, sadly, no astronaut ice cream). In this episode, find out what does — and does not — appeal to the modern “Gastro-naut.”

Recording the podcast

Later, episode four will take listeners to “Sub-space.” To know what it’s like in outer space, your best bet is to go under the sea. Life on a deep-space mission may be a lot like life in a deep-sea submersible, and the extreme environments found on the seafloor could give us clues as to where to look for life on other planets.

AirSpace episodes will drop once a month to start, but the show will move to a biweekly production schedule later in 2018.

Science-related episodes of AirSpace are made possible by a grant to PRX from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science, technology and economic performance. More information on Sloan at PRX also makes possible science episodes from the Outside magazine podcast, Sidedoor from The Smithsonian Institution and the space science podcast Orbital Path.

Subscribe to AirSpace in Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic or wherever you listen.