I need my space the podcast

The universe can be daunting. While the conversation in and around space is riddled with acronyms and vast unknowns, we believe space is for everyone. I Need My Space is a weekly podcast exploring the realities of the final frontier, no matter how huge, incomprehensible, or outlandish.

Hosted by senior editor Rae Paoletta and space-obsessed comedian Steve Ward, each episode of I Need My Space invites you to pull up a seat to the intergalactic table with space experts, explorers, and enthusiasts.

How Can You Listen to I Need My Space?

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“We need to think very, very hard if we have the right to take over Mars, to contaminate Mars with our litter, with our diseases. Martian life might not be able to survive the onslaught of human activity.”

Episode 11 — Leave Mars for the Martians [David Weintraub]

David Weintraub wants us to think long and hard before sending humans to Mars. Weintraub is an astronomy professor at Vanderbilt University and author of Life on Mars: What to Know Before We Go, and in this episode of I Need My Space, he chats with Steve about the ethical implications of going to Mars.

Last week’s NASA announcement confirming the presence of “organic material” on Mars is just one example of the heightened interest in all things Martian. But should we even go to Mars?

The moral dilemma of sending humans to Mars is complicated, but as Weintraub says, “where there are great moral dilemmas, there are important questions.”

Some of these questions include: If there is life on Mars, how will our presence impact it? What would the discovery of extraterrestrial life do to religion? Should we send humans on a one-way trip to the red planet? How do we responsibly explore and do we have the right to? Can someone be banned from going to Mars? Who gets to go to Mars? What would finding life on Mars mean for humans?

This episode was released on June 12, 2018.

Where do you stand in the moral dilemma of going to Mars?
Mars NASA Crater

Mini-Episode 2 — NASA Digs Up Major Clues About Life on Mars

There’s organic material on Mars! But just what does that mean?

In this mini-episode, astronomer David Weintraub talks to Steve about the importance of the NASA Mars announcements on June 7. We also recruit senior staff writer Peter Hess to contextualize the findings from the two papers.

To hear the full conversation with astronomer and Vanderbilt University professor David Weintraub, tune in next week!

This mini-episode was released on June 7, 2018.

Organic materials on Mars is interesting because it could point to "residue of life, precursors to life, or indication that life could exist there," says astronomer David Weintraub. 
I Need My Space, Dan Ryckert, NASA, Video Games, Black Holes, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, Universe

Episode 10 — Big Dumb Space Questions [Dan Ryckert]

Can you walk on the surface of a gas planet? If a tiny black hole opened in the room you’re in, would you die immediately? What would wrestling look like in space? The intergalactic tables turn in this episode of INMS featuring gaming journalist Dan Ryckert.

For decades, Ryckert has explored the infinite unknown through video games, which means co-hosts Steve and Rae have a lot of explaining to do. In addition to the seemingly strange queries posed by Ryckert, they discuss the best and worst space-related video games, the natural union of outer space and gaming, and the one game Ryckert would take to Mars.

To read more from Dan Ryckert, check out his books on Amazon.

This episode was released on June 5, 2018.

"Dumb questions" deserve answers, too. 

Episode 9 — Are Aliens Farting on Mars? [Taylor Wilson]

Nuclear physicist and VICE on HBO correspondent Taylor Wilson is all about being curious. “The moment you stop being curious, you stop being a scientist,” Wilson says. “Being curious about the way the world works, how it could work better… is at the heart of being a scientist and explorer.”

In episode nine of I Need My Space, Wilson talks to co-host, Steve Ward, about the search for extraterrestrial life and the playlist he has queued up for the day the signatures of life are found in outer space.

Wilson, who was the youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion at 14, tells us about how nuclear energy could play a role in space exploration, and why Europa might be have life-inducing conditions.

This episode was released on May 29, 2018.

Signatures of life can be smelly.
nuclear energy getting us to space?

Episode 8 — A $15,000,000 Spacesuit [Ted Southern]

Before talking to Ted Southern, president and co-founder of Final Frontier, we didn’t know how much a spacesuit cost. Sure, the gear is pricey, but how expensive are we really talking?

In episode eight, Southern tells co-host Rae Paoletta about the ins and outs of spacesuit design and the wastefulness of washing clothes in space (hello, no washing machine). For spacesuits, it’s all about the functionality of the gear, and Southern believes this focus on function over form will influence the clothing trends to come on planet Earth, which means more high-waisted pants for starters.

Why are EVA spacesuits so much more expensive than IVA spacesuits? Why has the fashion industry has been really into space lately? How does Hollywood do in portraying the astronauts on the silver screen? We’ve got answers for you.

This episode was released on May 22, 2018.

Why the heck does an EVA spacesuit cost so much? Ted Southern tells us all about it.
spacesuits nasa final frontier astronauts
black hole dark matter

Episode 7 — Cause of Death: Spaghettification [Katie Mack]

Dark matter makes up 80 to 85 percent of the matter in the universe, but as theoretical astrophysicist Katie Mack shares in episode seven of the podcast, we still don’t know much about it: “Even physicists have very little idea of what [dark matter] is in the sense that we don’t know what it’s made of. We’re pretty sure it’s real, and we know about how it behaves and where it is. But we don’t know what it is exactly.”

Listen in to find out what we do know about dark matter, along with a conversation about black holes. Mack even delves into the accuracy of Muse’s song “Supermassive Black Holes.”

This episode also features Joshua Dobbs, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, talking about how his education in aerospace engineering intersects with football.

This episode was released on May 15, 2018.

Jumping into a black hole would be a stringy situations.

Episode 6 — Space Ain’t the Wild Wild West [Michael Listner]

There’s been a lot of talk about getting humans to Mars, but what happens after that? Will it be a wild west situation? Does any particular country have jurisdiction beyond our atmosphere? Matter of fact, where does outer space begin?

In this episode, Rae asks Michael Listner, a space lawyer — yes, that’s a real job — about the legal constructs that hold up in zero gravity. We delve into what exactly a space lawyer is, how one becomes one, and why he thinks the Outer Space Treaty is an out-of-date piece of legislation. This, of course, means we also dig into the legality issues surrounding President Trump’s Space Force and Elon Musk’s space endeavors.

It’s easy to assume this type of law doesn’t affect regular Earthlings day-to-day, but Listner points to cable and satellite TV, cell phones, and GPS devices as key examples of the importance of space law: “It’s a type of law that allows satellites to be out there and radio frequencies to be used. It basically makes our lives possible.”

This episode was released on May 8, 2018.

But it sure as hell is wild.
i need my space podcast mars

Episode 5 — Let’s Not Contaminate Saturn [Swapna Krishna]

In this episode, Rae and Steve talk to space journalist Swapna Krishna about why we will always love shooting stuff (rockets, chicken sandwiches, cremains, etc.) into space. Beyond discussing the very real consequences if, let’s just say, a Tesla Roadster finds its way onto a habitable planet, this episode covers the Kessler Syndrome, the pros and cons of private space, and the sustainability of space travel. Be sure and check out Swapna’s podcast Desi Geek Girls on Apple.

In this episode’s “Why You Need Your Space” segment, we hear from Emily Lakdawalla, senior editor at The Planetary Society, about why even the most serious space experts anthropomorphize spacecraft and rovers.

This episode was released on May 1, 2018.

Episode five of 'I Need My Space' is available now.
Cassini Image of Saturn

Episode 4 — Jupiter Is the Bouncer of the Solar System [Jackie Faherty]

Astrophysicist Jackie Faherty, of the American Museum of Natural History, joins Rae to answer questions about how and when humanity will find the next habitable world.

What exactly is an exoplanet, and what is the difference between planets, exoplanets, and brown dwarfs? If Jupiter is the bouncer of the solar system, what does that make Neptune? Why is poetry essentially made for outer space? When will find other habitable worlds out there and will they be our future vacation spots?

Learn the answers to all of these questions, plus details about the most ambitious astronomy project of all time. We aren’t kidding. This episode is out of this world.

This episode was released on April 24, 2018.

If Jupiter is the bouncer, what does that make Neptune?
ESA Gaia AMNH Jackie Faherty

Episode 3 — I Grew An Inch in Space [Leland Melvin]

Former NFL wide receiver and retired NASA astronaut, Leland Melvin, needs his space in a big way.

With his pup Zorro on his lap, Melvin tells tales from the beyond to I Need My Space host Rae Paoletta. Have you ever wondered how astronauts learn to move around the space station (it’s all about microaccelerations) or if they play with their food (they do), then listen in to episode three. We talk about “stupid astronaut tricks*, what will sports look like in space, and why he’d love to see his dog experience zero gravity.

This episode was released on April 17, 2018.

I Need My Space Leland Melvin NASA Astronaut
NASA astronaut Leland Melvin and pups Jake and Scout.
Episode three of 'I Need My Space' featuring NASA astronaut Leland Melvin. 

Episode 2 — A Midnight Snack in Space [Jerry Linenger]

Former NASA astronaut and pretzel-lover Jerry Linenger shares with Rae the intricacies of daily life in space. What does a space station smell like? What’s the most accurate movie about space? How does one sleep upside-down and attached to the wall? Are you scared when you re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere?

This episode was released on April 10, 2018.

The Red Streaks of Tethys - November 23 2015

Episode 1 — What Do Aliens Really Look Like? [Seth Shostak]

In our premiere episode of I Need My Space, Rae and Steve talk to astrobiologist Seth Shostak of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute about life on other planets.

Here are some of the questions we posed: What will aliens look like? Will aliens have pets? Do aliens think about us? How accurate are sci-fi aliens? What does the government know that we don’t know? What will alien culture and language be like? When will we find biology on other planets? Is there alien A.I.? Do they live among us? What will aliens look like? Will aliens have pets? Do aliens think about us? How accurate are sci-fi aliens? What does the government know that we don’t know? What will alien culture and language be like? When will we find biology on other planets? Is there alien A.I.? Do they live among us?

This episode was released on April 3, 2018.