Planetary Sciences News

Final Frontier? The Evolution of Planetary Science Missions

Planetary scientist Fran Bagenal explains how each NASA mission builds on previous discoveries and encourages scientists to take on difficult challenges to learn more about our home in the universe.

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The latest episode of Third Pod from the Sun features an interview with Fran Bagenal, a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder. Bagenal provides an overarching view of different planetary missions and describes how the research and findings of each have built upon the innovations and discoveries that came before. Bagenal has had a fascinating career working on NASA missions from Voyager to Juno to New Horizons—and now she is looking ahead to what we may learn about Saturn’s moon Titan during the upcoming Dragonfly mission.

In this episode, Bagenal also discusses the importance of education that engages students and the need to support the different pathways people take to pursue science. She encourages innovation to achieve something difficult, including the search for life on Jupiter’s moon Europa. She hopes that one day, scientists will be able to take on a mission they know is tough, such as exploring objects farther out in the solar system—or even something closer to home, like the surface and possible seismology of Earth’s twin, Venus. Important missions like these will help continue driving the Earth and space sciences into the future.

This episode was produced by Katie Broendel and mixed by Kayla Surrey.

—Katherine Broendel, Media Relations Program Manager, AGU

 

Episode Transcript

Shane Hanlon (00:00): Hi, Nanci.

Nanci Bompey (00:01): Hi, Shane. How’s it going?

Shane Hanlon (00:03): Good. Good. We’re getting straight into it today. So, are you familiar with the Golden Record that was on Voyager? Do these words mean things to you?

Nanci Bompey (00:13): I am. We actually have a book detailing that. Don’t ask. But, yes, quite familiar.

Shane Hanlon (00:19): All right. So, we’re going to talk about this more, but the short of it is, for those who aren’t aware, there’s this record on the Voyager Spacecraft that, the Voyager is the farthest thing out in the universe right now that we’ve ever made, and people put things on this record, like images, and audio, and all sorts of stuff. So, I was interested, if you could choose, Nanci, one thing to go on the Golden Record, what would that thing be?

Nanci Bompey (00:45): Shane, is this not an obvious question? This podcast.

Shane Hanlon (00:56): Welcome to the American Geophysical Union’s podcast about the scientists and the methods behind the science. These are the stories you won’t read in the manuscript or hear in a lecture. I’m Shane Hanlon.

Nanci Bompey (01:05): And I’m Nanci Bompey.

Shane Hanlon (01:06): This is Third Pod from the Sun.

Well, Nanci, I guess people are missing out, or not people, but extraterrestrials, if they come across Voyager, are missing out.

Nanci Bompey (01:23): They’ll never hear this wonderful podcast-

Shane Hanlon (01:25): They’ll never hear our lovely voices.

Nanci Bompey (01:26): … because we’re not on the Golden Record. But we are talking about the Golden Record today because today’s all about planetary science, and the Golden Record was on Voyager, which is the farthest thing that we’ve, as humans, have put out into the universe. So, I’m going to bring in our producers for this episode, Katie Broendel and Liza Lester. Hi, guys.

Katie Broendel (01:49): Hey.

Liza Lester (01:49): Hey.

Nanci Bompey (01:51): Liza, so Voyager, huh?

Liza Lester (01:54): Yeah, Voyager, launched in the ‘70s. There were two Voyager missions, and they showed us some of the first up-close, relatively up-close, views of these planets, Saturn, and Uranus, and Neptune, and Pluto, that are so far away. I think you may remember also the Pale Blue Dot, the image that it took of Earth from out beyond Pluto-

Nanci Bompey (02:13): I love that, Carl Sagan. Yeah.

Liza Lester (02:14): … looking so small. Yeah, so they’ve passed outside the solar system now, but they’re still phoning home occasionally.

Katie Broendel (02:22): Yeah, it’s really interesting stuff, too, and actually, last year Liza and I were able to talk to a planetary scientist. She’s been working on missions from Voyager in the late 1970s to New Horizons and also Juno, which arrived at Jupiter in 2016, I believe. She has this really fascinating career and had a front row seat for some interesting findings.

Fran Bagenal: (02:52): So my name is Fran Bagenal. I’m at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I work in the laboratory for atmospheric and space physics, where I work on several space missions. Right now, it’s the New Horizons mission to Pluto, following on to other areas in the Kuiper Belt, as well as the Juno mission that is in orbit around Jupiter.

Katie Broendel (03:14): What is it like to be among the first on the planet to see this new data, these new photos coming in from these distant places?

Fran Bagenal (03:22): It’s one of the most extraordinary experiences in life to do that, to see the first pictures, to get a sense of a whole new world. Every time you make predictions, and your predictions are always totally wrong. What you find is completely different, and it’s really amazing. I could give you an analogy that might be fun.

I used to do some caving when I was a student at the University of Lancaster in Northern England. We’d go down these limestone caves, and sometimes we would explore new caves, maybe in Spain or Mexico. It’s a bit like going along a dark passage in a cave. You’re wearing a headlamp, and then you turn around a corner and you see an amazing crystal structure, or you find a whole new pathway. And it’s the same sort of thing. It’s like, “Wow, look at that. That’s cool.”

Katie Broendel (04:21): How have results and findings from each of these missions helped inform subsequent missions? So, we went from Voyager to the more recent ones, New Horizons, Juno, and then looking ahead to the Dragonfly mission that was recently announced. Can you please talk about the evolution of these missions?

Fran Bagenal (04:42): So there’s a standard way of talking about it, which is to say, the first thing you do is a fly-by and get the basic ideas, and then you take a payload, which sort of does big view. It sort of casts a wide net in the science that it might do, because you really don’t know what science you’re going to see. So, you do your fly-by, and then you say, “Okay, this is what we learned, these are the big questions, and now we need to go back with a more specific set of instruments. We’re going to go into orbit and we’re going to go look for whatever, systematic variations of space and time, or go and do a detailed survey of something.” So, for example, after Voyager, we had Galileo going to the Jovian system.

Speaker 6 (05:22): Houston now controlling.

Speaker 7 (05:29): Loud and clear. [inaudible 00:05:33].

Speaker 8 (05:29): Roger roll, Atlantis.

Fran Bagenal (05:32): And the idea of the Galilean mission was to look at the moons, the four Galilean moons, and get multiple views of what they’re like, which it did indeed.

Speaker 9 (05:40): And the Sunnyvale flight director has just confirmed the successful deploy of the inertial upper stage in Galileo.

Fran Bagenal (05:47): It mapped up the volcanoes on Io. It looked at the ice on Europa and got us thinking, maybe there’s, and we learned that there’s an ocean, liquid water underneath the ice at Europa, that Ganymede has a magnetic field, that Callisto’s a bit kind of boring. Poor Callisto, just [crosstalk 00:06:06] greatest, but you know these different worlds, poor little Callisto. Anyway, we learned a lot, and then that raises some very specific questions.

Speaker 8 (06:15): Roger, Atlantis. We copy. That’s great news. Thanks.

Katie Broendel (06:18): What do you think was so notable about Voyager?

Fran Bagenal (06:21): So the thing that’s special about Voyager is the opportunity it had at a particular time with the lining up of the planets, this thing that we call syzygy … which is where all the planets are in the same quadrant of the solar system, and it happens like every 130 odd years, something like that. It happened to be in the late seventies when this was happening, and so we have the opportunity to send a spacecraft out, get a kick at Jupiter, go on to Saturn, get a kick at Saturn, and go onto Uranus and do the same out to Uranus and Neptune. And to go to the four big giant planets one after the other, that’s one amazing thing that happened at the right time. But this also happened when we had the capability to take a fairly sophisticated, for the time, spacecraft that could have cameras that were very capable compared with previous ones, had recording systems, and had an ability to make multiple observations with a whole variety of different instruments and send them back.

And although the computer capability are pretty pathetic, your phones have many thousand times more computing capability than Voyager has, it was able to work and take these pictures, fly by and show us and reveal these amazing new worlds, the moons around Jupiter, the rings around Saturn, and then Titan, and then go on, for the first time, go to Uranus and Neptune and explore those environments, which was just incredible.

Katie Broendel (08:11): Was there anything you would’ve wanted to add to the Golden Record?

Fran Bagenal (08:15): The Golden Record is about us. It’s about us as a culture, as a world. What I think would be interesting would be to think about trying to tell a story of human evolution or of culture. I mean, it’s very hard to think how to do that, but we’re sort of avoiding those topics, right? We don’t really talk about cultural history and so on and so forth. Maybe I’m more aware of this being a Brit coming. I’ve lived here now more years in America than I lived in England, but it sort of makes you more aware of cultural background. That would’ve been kind of fun to put on. I don’t know how you’d do it. You probably would put it on a record, but modern technology, thumb-drive.

Liza Lester (09:14): When Voyager was getting the first looks at some of these moons up close, closer than we’d seen before, I mean, was it a surprise that they were so interesting?

Fran Bagenal (09:24): Indeed. I mean, we did have a clue that Io was a bit peculiar, because it triggered radio emission. We knew that since 1965, and we knew that it seemed to have sort of strange brightening features. And at some point, we thought, “Oh, it looks like it has sulfur and oxygen coming off it, and it has an atmosphere.” We knew some of these things from spectroscopic studies from the Earth looking at telescopes, but they’re just sort of little hints, little clues. From the Earth, these objects are still fuzzy dots, really no more than a fuzzy dot. So to fly by and go from a fuzzy dot to upfront geology, upfront atmospheric structure, upfront detailed issues of scientific discussion of the interior of the surface, the atmospheres, the interactions with the surrounding plasma, you really move forward a huge amount when you actually get up close.

Liza Lester (10:19): Do you think seeing, it’s just seeing those pictures really to catch the bug for planetary science then? Or was it already on, you were already on board?

Fran Bagenal (10:26): Well, I was already on board. When I was a kid, of course, there were two big factors. One was, of course, the Apollo era, which affected a lot of people of my generation.

Neil Armstrong (10:40): That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

Fran Bagenal (10:44): Watching people walking on the moon, and then there was science that they were doing. We did hear about that science, but the other thing that’s kind of exciting is that was a time when the Earth was being studied and plate tectonics was being discovered. There was a lot on the British TV about what people were finding looking at the oceans, looking at volcanoes, looking at trying to work out the magnetic field signatures, and so on and so forth, and putting it all together and saying, “Wow, it looks like the Earth has plate tectonics.” And of course, I began to think, “Well, what do other planets have? And what’s it like in other places.”

I heard Carl Sagan, and I actually was lucky to meet him when I was 16. He gave a talk at Cambridge, and I went to hear him talk as a high school kid. He was talking about the Mariner observations at, or maybe it was Viking. I’m sorry. I can’t remember. It’s way back then.

Speaker 11 (11:39): Voyager is passage by Jupiter accelerated it towards a close encounter with the planet Saturn. Saturn’s gravity will propel it onto Uranus. And in this game of cosmic billiards after Uranus, it will plunge on past Neptune, leaving the solar system and becoming an interstellar spacecraft.

Nanci Bompey (11:59): Oh, I love Carl Sagan. That is definitely on our list to re-watch the original Cosmos [inaudible 00:12:04].

Katie Broendel (12:04): Yeah. Same here.

Nanci Bompey (12:05): Quarantine time. Yeah.

Katie Broendel (12:06): So good. Such a good show. And it was really compelling to talk to somebody like Fran who has had this bird’s eye view of the different planetary missions going back 30 to 40 some odd years, and now she’s really looking forward to the upcoming Dragonfly mission and what new things we’re going to be able to learn from it.

I want to go back to Dragonfly for a second.

Speaker 12 (12:32): Announce that our next New Frontiers mission, Dragonfly, will explore Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Dragonfly will be the first drone lander with the capability to fly over a hundred miles through Titan’s thick atmosphere. Titan is unlike any other place in our solar system, and the most comparable to early Earth.

Katie Broendel (12:53): What do you think that mission will help us understand, and what are you most excited to potentially learn about from it?

Fran Bagenal (13:01): I’m not a Titan expert, and I’ve just been following. In fact, when the Huygens probe landed on Titan, it was ejected, carried out there by Cassini, and then put it into the atmosphere and onto the surface, we didn’t know it was going to survive on the surface. I don’t work in that area, but I took the day off. I went into the lab, and I went and spent the whole day watching NASA TV with the public and other people and getting engaged in watching. It was so cool to watch this probe going in and taking pictures of a landscape that looks the most terrestrial that I think we’ve got elsewhere in the solar system, because you have sort of things that look like rivers, you have things that look like oceans, you have mountains, you have sand dunes. Well, they’re not actually. The sand is probably water or some hydrocarbons and so on. It’s not the typical stuff, but it looks almost terrestrial. And so when the probe came in and took these pictures getting closer and closer, and then it landed on the surface, and you saw this scape that sort of a bit like a really frozen Utah, it was fantastic.

So, I think what we’ll do with Dragonfly is, I think the plan is to fly over and get much better measurements across a range of places, and actually get a more detailed sense of key, knowing the people involved, I’m sure they’ll be picking very important key scientific targets, and then going there and really trying to understand the physical processes, because of course, we want to understand how this object, which is a lot smaller than Earth with a thick atmosphere, with very different temperatures, how does the geology and the relationship between the interior crust and atmosphere work in relation to a place like Earth, or Mars, or Venus. It’s like a terrestrial planet in that respect, but often a far part of parameter regime.

Katie Broendel (15:14): If you could go to one place in the solar system, where would it be and why?

Fran Bagenal (15:21): I work in planetary magnetic fields and with charged particles, and so for that, the sort of mission we’re doing with Juno where we fly over the poles, we’re going through the auroral region, we’re measuring the charge particles, and so on, is very important. And I’d like to do that again at other places. Of course, Uranus and Neptune would be fantastic. There’s a tilted magnetic field with very bizarre changing magnetic orientation. It would be great to go, I think, the planet that is the most neglected is Venus, our sister planet. Right? Very similar in size to Earth, extremely different in its properties. Why is it that this planet that’s right next door has such a different atmosphere, such a different surface? What is it about planetary evolution that led to Venus being too hot, Earth just right, and Mars too cold for life? Liquid water on the surface, but also how do these planets work?

Liza Lester (16:23): I’m going to ask a basic science question, because we were just talking about magnetic fields and charged particles, and that is why do some worlds have magnetic fields and others do not?

Fran Bagenal (16:33): It’s a very good question as to why particularly our sister planet, Venus, does not have a magnetic field and the Earth does, and then why does this moon Ganymede have one, whereas none of the other moons that we’re aware of have them? And really dynamo theory is very, it’s difficult, difficult to model, difficult to generalize. The easiest way to say is you need three basic ingredients. You need a volume that is electrically conducting, and for the terrestrial planets, and for Ganymede, that is a liquid metal region in the outer core. You need a source of energy that will turn over and convect that region of liquid metal, and that is, for the case of the Earth, it’s thought to be the condensing out of heavier iron from a mixture of less heavy elements in the outer core. It’s gravitational settling out of the inner core.

Now, when you go to Jupiter, you don’t have a metal core, nor do Uranus and Neptune. You have gases, which are at sufficient pressure and temperature. So in the case of Jupiter, it’s metallic hydrogen, oxygen, sorry, is it’s settled out, but mostly you have hydrogen and that is broken up into protons and electrons that can move relative to each other, and so you have a dynamo in side.

Now the third ingredient, one is conductor, second is a liquid conductor, second is a source of energy. The third is a little bit of rotation. But I understand that every single planet, even Venus, has enough rotation, even though Venus rotates very slowly. So, rotation is not the problem with Venus. It may be that the outer core has solidified, so there’s no longer a liquid metallic region, or it could be that there isn’t a source of energy to drive sufficient convection, or thirdly, it could be the lack of plate tectonics is not cooling the outer layer, because you needed a temperature gradient, cold on the outside, warm on the inside, and maybe that is suppressing the convection deep inside. So, these are just ideas. We really don’t know.

Liza Lester (18:56): What do you think is the plate tectonics level discovery that we’re looking at now? Or I guess the better question is-

Fran Bagenal (19:02): You mean at the Earth or elsewhere?

Liza Lester (19:05): Or elsewhere. What would be that level of question or theory?

Fran Bagenal (19:10): So for Venus, we know that Venus, from looking at the radar maps of the surface, that the impact craters, distribution of impact craters, suggest there’s fairly uniformly resurfaced, something like 500 million, 600 million years ago, something like that. And so then comes the question, what was it like before that? Was it before that just like the Earth with plate tectonics and just a regular Earth-like object, which then sort of solidified and stopped and stagnated? Could be. Or there was something else that led to Venus not having convection and not having plate tectonics ever, or never having a crust that could move around, or maybe water was important. A lot of people argue water plays a big role in lubricating, for want of a better word, the Earth’s plate tectonics, and if you don’t have water on Venus, because it was just a little bit too warm, then maybe it never really had plate tectonics. So in some ways I think going back and looking at the Earth, sorry, going back and looking at Venus would be very useful in trying to find, maybe put a lander that you could do some seismic tests to find out what it’s like inside. It wouldn’t have to live for very long. I don’t know. There are lots of ideas of things that we could do. Yes, it’s tough, but let’s think of ways to do that.

Shane Hanlon (20:42): I know that there are missions going to Mars and we’re going back to the moon, and so we seem to be going away from the sun. Right? But I think it’s really interesting talking about Venus. I feel like we don’t hear a lot about science on Venus and studying it, and I imagine that stuff like this is only possible when we have interest from the public. Like you get more non-science, or yeah, the non-science public interested in this type of thing and that might actually help drive people’s interest, scientist’s interests in kind of the larger solar system outside of some of the planets we might hear about more often.

Katie Broendel (21:19): Yeah, Absolutely. And that’s something that Liza and I talked to Fran about.

How can members of the scientific community one, advocate for better funding for the sciences? Also, how can we encourage more students to think about, be excited by, and actually consider and pursue degrees in science?

Fran Bagenal (21:45): The most important thing is we need to increase the number of teachers in schools, particularly high schools, who have a bachelor’s degree in physics or other sciences, Earth sciences. We need to do something about that, Earth sciences, chemistry, biology, math, physics, all of these areas. So, the teachers need to be probably paid better. We need to be producing more bachelor’s degrees, maybe working with the community colleges to do combined education and science degrees. I think we should actually change the name of physics to P-H-U-N, fun, and excite people to study physics. I’m worried that whenever people say, mention the word physics or math, they go, “Oh, but I couldn’t do math.” I’m like, “No, never say that. Never say that.” We all struggle with it, and we need to just, as a nation, be putting a lot more energy and effort into schools, local schools, and then cranking up the science at the schools. You can do that locally.

Liza Lester (22:49): What do you think it is that about physics that is discouraging women, or where is the problem in the pipeline?

Fran Bagenal (22:55): We looked at this in the eighties, and the answer was that if you looked at, it used to be more in the high schools, but I think the problem now is that the colleges, because it’s sort of 50/50 at the high school women and guys. And if you look at the colleges, that’s where it drops to 20%. I think the problem is that the classes are large. I think that there’s an attitude coming from high school that you just need to study on your own, and you pass your homework. Once you get to college, you need to learn how to work together in a group, you need to do studying together. You need to make it social. The universities need to have study areas that are safe, and comfortable, and fun, and pay juniors and seniors to be study buddies to come in and help the freshmen and the sophomore get over that bump of how do I face up to this math and physics and having to do these homeworks, and learn how to work together as a group and learn how to teach each other this material, because it can be fun. It can be interesting. And yeah, the teachers need to learn to be a little less snooty. I’m a physicist, and a little bit more friendly, and encourage the students to work together and work with other student on this fun projects.

Liza Lester (24:14): I guess that leads me to the question at the time you were going through your schooling, I’m sure you’ve been asked this many times, but what was it that encouraged you to continue?

Fran Bagenal (24:24): I stuck with it for a couple of reasons. One is because yes, the British BBC, every Monday night, there was a Horizon showing a documentary on science and I just lapped it up and I loved it. But also I was feisty, and I was persistent, and I stuck with it. Right. But you shouldn’t have to be super feisty and super persistent in order to survive. You could just be an ordinary person. It should be much more available to everybody and you shouldn’t have to be this dogged persistent.

Katie Broendel (25:09): How have you seen the representation of women in planetary sciences change over the past 30, 40 years?

Fran Bagenal (25:18): 40 years? Yeah. It’s improved. It’s actually quite interesting. I went out for dinner with a couple of women who are on the Voyager team. They were there as support for the science teams, and they did not at that time have degrees, but had some technical training and were employed by JPL to work on the operations side. And we were talking about how that was a way they could get in and work with the scientists in a friendly way. I think that the missions, because you have a variety of different ways of getting involved, tended to be more balanced.

Katie Broendel (25:56): I was going to say, do you know of any stark differences in how maybe the subjects are approached?

Fran Bagenal\ (26:06): Yeah. Well, I think it’s a cultural issue. I think the problem is this … if you google the word physicist, you will find that you’ll get like 160 pictures of guys and maybe five women? And also if you ask someone what a physicist was or an astrophysicist was, they would be talking about some much older white guy, probably with hair sticking up, pontificating about astrophysics on black holes, and the meeting of the cosmos, and all this sort of stuff. Right? If you ask somebody what a planetary scientist was like, you’d have someone who’s a lot more engaging, more involved, and that’s partly history. It’s a cultural thing. Planetary science is new. It’s a very young field. And I think that that, it’s just reflects a more modern cultural environment.

Liza Lester (27:15): Yeah. Planetary science. It’s like the gateway science.

Nanci Bompey (27:18): Well, it is really. I mean, think about it. Kids, what do they get interested in? Like dinosaurs, and then they get interested in like planets and stuff. So it is cool. And it really captures-

Shane Hanlon (27:28): Who are these kids?

Nanci Bompey (27:29): Who are these kids? These alleged kids.

Shane Hanlon (27:31): I never liked space. I like it now.

Nanci Bompey (27:34): Well, some people do.

Shane Hanlon (27:34): I’ve come around.

Nanci Bompey (27:35): Some people do.

Shane Hanlon (27:37): That’s fair. That’s fair.

Nanci Bompey (27:40): But it gets people, I think, excited who aren’t even that science-y, when you’re like, “We’re going to send this rocket to this far off place.” I think it gets people excited.

Liza Lester (27:48): You can drive robots on another planet. It’s exciting.

Katie Broendel (27:52): What hasn’t been explored, in detail yet, that you would most like to see and learn about?

Fran Bagenal (28:01): Well, apart from Venus, and Uranus, and Neptune, there is of course Europa.

Speaker 13 (28:08): Europa is the most likely place to find life in our solar system today, because we think there’s a liquid water ocean beneath its surface.

Fran Bagenal (28:18): And I do think it’s a very important topic to try and understand how, if at all, the water from the deep ocean inside that may or may not have some form of life, we don’t know, primitive or otherwise, how does that, if at all, couple to the surface? If it doesn’t couple to the surface, then we’re out of luck. Drilling down is a heck of a long way down to go. But, if there is some way in which it couples to the surface, and we need to go and do these fly-by missions, the Europa Clipper, to find out where there may be connections between the deep [inaudible 00:28:55] and the surface, and get a sense of the better sense of the layout of the land. We have very crude sense of the geology of Europa. Even though the images look kind of cool, they’re very low resolution compared with what we need to understand and go land there.

Speaker 13 (29:11): Europa is so important, because we want to understand are we alone in the cosmos.

Fran Bagenal (29:17): Ultimately, yes, it would be great to go and scratch and sniff the surface and find out what that brown gunky stuff is. Is it whale poop? Is it, I don’t know.

Katie Broendel (29:28): Scientific term.

Fran Bagenal (29:29): Yes. Well, if you’re going to go look for life, the place to go is Europa. Forget chasing life on Mars. It’s not going to be anything that wiggles, which is what people think when you say life. So, if you want to find something that wiggles, go to Europa.

Liza Lester (29:43): I just wanted to ask you what you think it is about Pluto that is so lovable to everyone from all ages?

Katie Broendel (29:49): Yeah, what is lovable about Pluto?

Katie Broendel (29:52): And then when we-

Fran Bagenal (29:52): It’s small, it’s out there, it’s unknown, intriguing. And it was surprising when we got there, and it has these weird little moons that are going around. So, I think all of that makes it very interesting.

Katie Broendel (30:12): Great. All right. And Pluto loves us back. It has the little heart.

Fran Bagenal (30:16): It has left a little heart. Yeah.

Katie Broendel (30:16): I know.

Fran Bagenal (30:18): We’ll go back. We’ll go back. I think that’ll be cool.

Shane Hanlon (30:21): Nanci, do you have strong feelings one way or the other about Pluto, positive, negative?

Nanci Bompey (30:29): Well, I was kind of like, meh on Pluto.

Shane Hanlon (30:30): Meh on … No one’s meh on Pluto.

Nanci Bompey (30:32): Ah, I know. It’s not like, I guess I didn’t have, I was like … But then I went a couple of years ago on New Year’s Eve to the fly-by of that object and the in the Kuiper Belt by New Horizons, and that was super exciting. Everyone was so excited, and Brian May was there and did a song, so that was so neat.

Shane Hanlon (30:47): All right.

Nanci Bompey (30:47): So now I love it.

Shane Hanlon (30:47): That would leave me with some strong associations. Yeah, no, I appreciate that.

All right, folks. Well, that’s all from Third Pod from the Sun.

Nanci Bompey (30:56): Thanks so much to Katie and Liza for bringing us this story, and of course, to Fran for sharing her work with us.

Shane Hanlon (31:02): This episode was produced by Katie Broendel and mixed by Kayla Surrey.

Nanci Bompey (31:07): AGU would love to hear your thoughts. Please rate and review us on Apple podcasts. You can get this podcast wherever you get your podcasts, or always at thirdpodfromthesun.com.

Shane Hanlon (31:18): Thanks all. And we’ll see you next time.

Citation: Broendel, K. (2020), Final frontier? The evolution of planetary science missions, Eos, 101, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020EO150325. Published on 12 October 2020.
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