S1: Hello, Andrew. Hello. I don’t know about you, but I was up early on Monday morning to watch the helicopter flight. This is the very first flight on Mars. I mean, usually rovers and I mean, they’re like falling down to the surface, right? Right. This is this helicopter, which I mean, it’s tiny. It’s it’s like for it the blades are like four four feet wide.
S2: Yeah. So I’ve got to say. So this is the first time we’ve actually flown something on another planet, which is pretty amazing. But I keep thinking about this just how amazing it is. And this is the physicist and me kicking in. Do you think there’s virtually no atmosphere on Mars?
S1: Exactly like one percent of our atmosphere?
S2: That’s right. And we tend to forget that when we say fly drones and things or helicopters on Earth, we got all that air and that’s what makes the work. So somehow the boffins who was it that put this together? I was gonna say boffins at NASA, they had to come up with a way of flying something in an atmosphere where there’s pretty much no atmosphere there.
S1: And it’s incredible. And they did this literally on a shoestring where this is this is a technology demonstration because they’re trying to find out can we actually achieve flight on Mars? And the answer from Monday is yes.
S2: Yes, we can think
S1: of how much more of Mars will be able to explore.
S2: I know. But of course, you realize the downside of this when we get that no crew know, when we get the first crewed mission to Mars, they’re going to land and they just going to be housed by thousands of these drones that are given all over the place.
S1: Actually, as the mom of well, he’s now 20 years old, but he loved these helicopters, remote control helicopters. And the guys at the mall who sell them knew me by name. And we had each other’s cell phone numbers, OK, because I went through a lot of these helicopters. But it was actually really wonderful training for robotics. Right. I bet. And I wonder if they’ll be doing that on the surface of Mars, you know, practicing with the, you know, small robotic helicopter before they go for the
S2: big before they get the big one. Yes. Yeah. So I was actually going to throw another fact in here, because this just absolutely fascinates me. So because the atmosphere is so thin on Mars is equivalent to flying a helicopter on Earth at one hundred thousand feet, which has never been done before. The highest, apparently that a helicopter has ever flown is about forty two thousand feet on earth. So there’s even no equivalent to flying a helicopter on Earth with what we’re seeing happening now.
S1: And then it’s all about, you know, having enough air to push against it because there are so many fewer air molecules. A helicopter here on the ground flies rotation speed about two hundred and fifty three hundred, four hundred rotations per minute. OK, up on Mars, that little tiny helicopter that only weighs a couple pounds has to turn that rotor at twenty five hundred rounds per minute.
S2: Wow. So so actually this has got me thinking sort of for some future series with sounds of space. We get to have these high pitched buzzing sounds, which is going to be the sound of drones. Hordes of drones on Mars
S1: probably wouldn’t wouldn’t be great for the neighborhood. They’ll be they’ll be rules.
S2: I think they’ll have to be rules.
S1: And maybe we’ll get into some of the rules that we’re going to talk about on Mars. But before we do that, I just want I want to mention one more thing is to me, what was most significant was looking at the mission control team at the Jet Propulsion Lab as this unfolded, because, you know, just like the landing, they actually give it the commands and then they they don’t get to see it in real time. So they had to see, is this really happening or not. So waiting for that data to come in. And when they saw the graph that kind of went from low to high to low, meaning altitude, it went up, it turned around and it came back. I mean, their face is just looking at their faces. And Mingyong is the is the lead on the helicopter team. And she said we together flew on Mars. It’s our Wright brothers moment. And I just want to make the extrapolation that it’s the Wright brothers. But even the Wright brothers were not just two guys. First of all, they came from a family where their mother and their sister were an integral part of that team. Their mom was like an inventor, kind of like the dad in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She was an inventor. And so it’s always it’s always this big team. And I really loved seeing that team operate at the Jet Propulsion Lab and seeing Mimi stand up and tear the the the plan that like, what if this doesn’t work? They had, of course, a plan and she stood up and she tore those pieces of paper in half. And the whole team was just like, I get chills just thinking about it. Incredible moment. I’m Cady Coleman.
S2: I’m Andrew Maynard.
S1: Welcome to Mission Interplanetary. And today’s episode, we are talking about murder in space, hmm?
S2: So I love this episode, but of course, without giving too much away, this is an episode where we get to look at the dark soul of Cady Coleman.
S1: All right. First of all, this you know, I am a glass half full person. So, you know, I did not want to start with a, you know, serious crime. But it is interesting to think about.
S2: But you attempted to
S1: know it does depend who you’re up there with. But I had a great time with my crew.
S2: But it is this is such an interesting question to me, because up to now it feels like the folks that go up to space, you’re all one big happy family. You’ve got a mission, you get on together. But I guess it’s not always going to be like that. You know what they say, whether people describe,
S1: you know, I want to put this a different way. OK, we’re going to need to have some rules and some agreements. Right. And I’m actually you know, I am not the part of the team that figures out what the best way to do that would be. And that’s what we’re going to get to do today, is to talk to somebody who really knows her stuff.
S2: We are and I’ve got to say, this is so topical. And I was just sort of thinking about this and looking at what else is going on. And I hadn’t realized there’s a new show on Netflix called Stowaway, which I haven’t seen yet. But the whole premise of this show is that there’s a stowaway on this first trip out to Mars and they’ve got to work out. Do they bump somebody off because there’s not enough oxygen. So this is a very real hypothetical issue. So in this case, it’s a bit weird because they’re actually talking about bumping somebody off intentionally. But you can see the temptation to commit a crime in space when the stakes are high. And I’m
S1: just going to say, well, actually, I would love to stay away
S2: as long as it somebody else that draws the short
S1: straw. Well, you know, I mean, this is where the optimist in me says, you know, even in that situation, you know, you’re going to figure it out. First of all, when we go, we go with a lot of redundancy. We go with a lot of what if this what if that, you know, for example, we always know up on the space station, what is the one commodity that we’re going to run out of first? Is it going to be oxygen? Is it going to be food? Is it going to be Netflix? Right. Netflix is easier to Netflix is easier to fix. But there is some padding in that, you know, in terms of even they assume that people always pay a certain amount. I think it’s 180. Right. And so I am bringing some margin there anyways. So I think that I tend to think that they’re going to figure it out. But now I want to see that show. You know, hey, we need to get to our weekly obsessions. We do, Andrew.
S2: Well, actually, I’m going to keep the theme going around crime in space and TV shows. So this is an obsession which has been growing for decades with me. And this is the first opportunity I’ve actually had to talk about it in context. And I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard about this. But The Obsession is a 1987 BBC TV series called StarCrossed.
S1: Ever heard of it? Oh, interesting. No.
S2: So I’m pretty sure almost nobody listening to this has. I loved this series. They’re going to
S1: have a run on it now. Well, if
S2: anybody can find it. So let me tell you, my my wife bought me the DVD box set about 20 years ago, and it was hard to find even then. This is one of my most treasured possessions. So this is one of those shows where my wife will be killing herself over this because she thinks that it’s the most hokey show out there.
S1: But she loves you and she God,
S2: she she loves me. She got it for me. But she really just thinks the show is a joke. But what I love about the show is it’s it’s a show that tries to take a realistic view to what happens as we begin to go into space, first of all, with space stations and then with a moon base, which is incredibly important, and ask the question, what do you do about managing crime in space? And it tries to take a very realistic perspective on this. So I think that the narrative is fantastic. The story development is fantastic in it, of course, because it’s BBC drama. The special effects are absolutely awful, but that’s part of its charm.
S1: They think that accent can get them over.
S2: And O if you’ve watched any BBC sci fi series, you know that they we seriously believe that the accent can cover anything Shaki sets you name. It doesn’t matter.
S1: Are you maligning Doctor Who?
S2: Well, funny you should say that. Yeah. Now that’s going to get the fan mail or the anti fan mail coming in. But yeah, star cops. I love the series. Everybody should watch it. Bad special effects and everything. That’s my obsession for this week. How about you, Katie?
S1: Well, I will share then a co obsession in that I’ve I’ve been thinking about a lot of. Basically, the the media that we consume and what effect it can have on people, on society, and there’s there’s bad ways, but I’m more on the optimistic side of things of how can we basically show people a future that we want so that they can identify with? Oh, that could be me, especially especially the kids. But in this case, we’re talking about very big kids. And at NASA, when I was training for the space station, the show that we were all watching was Battlestar Galactica.
S2: Oh, yes.
S1: And we were doing a lot of training around the globe, but we would spend weeks at a time, you know, five or six weeks at a time in Star City. And I would basically save up my Battlestar Galactica episodes to watch them with people on my crew or different people that I was traveling with. And but it’s a fascinating series because it’s you know, it’s not about sci fi. It’s really about people and about change and about what people do when they’re stressed or scared or change has to happen. And a friend of mine described it like this, and she’s actually a new sci fi writer. And she said, well, it’s you know, it’s interesting because good people make bad decisions, bad people make good decisions. And that’s just like real life.
S2: Right. Right. So funny you should say that. And I’m convinced that the best science fiction is actually not about the science, but it’s about people and it’s about humanity and it’s about very human stories. And I think that’s exactly what you see there. It’s what you see on Star Cops. It’s what makes it work because you’re looking about stories involving people that just happen to be surrounded by a slightly different science, a slightly different take than we have at the moment.
S1: So we’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be right back. Today on Interplanetary, we are discussing murder in space. Here to talk about that is maybe a kidnapper, John T. Timimi is an assistant professor at Arizona State University, where she studies legal policy and social issues dealing with space exploration and development. She has worked for and with both the Nigerian and Canadian space agencies and is the recipient of the Twenty Seventeen International Astronomical Federation’s Young Space Leaders Award. Maybe I can offer. Welcome to Interplanetary.
S3: Thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here.
S2: To me, this is fantastic. And we’ve got to start off by saying how on earth to become a space expert with a foot in so many different countries.
S3: Well, the first part is luck. My mom and dad was studying in England and I got the privilege to be your kinsman, Andrew, by being born in good old Blighty. So you happy about that? And then I just moved around after that and just had the privilege of being able to work on space programs in four different countries and France and Canada, in Nigeria and now here in the US.
S2: This is a really good place to start, especially with somebody with a foot in so many different worlds when it comes to space. So to me, I thought we would start with a hypothetical scenario for you to just engage the lawyer in your brain. So imagine that Cady gets invited back to the International Space Station. This is good
S1: news. This is good news.
S2: This is something that you already want to do. But after a few days, she starts getting really annoyed by one of her fellow astronauts. The chances are that her fellow astronaut has used the last of Katie’s coffee and she is going up the war metaphorically, I guess, because I guess you don’t actually have literal walls up there. Then one day, in a fit of rage, she murders them and blows the body out of the airlock. So let’s say the other astronauts discover what she’s done and repost this back to Earth. What happens next?
S3: OK, so this would be an awful thing to happen. Let’s just get that straight. You can leave. We’ll have people have decided or of proposed that the International Space Station should actually be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize because they were actually able to get the USSR or Russia and the United States to actually come together. So people were like, this is such a great feat. And so everyone on the International Space Station and Cady can talk to this is actually a diplomat or it’s kind of trained to represent my country. So we would never expect such a thing. So so Cady
S2: is going to actually blow it in that of the Peace Prize? It’s out of the window.
S1: Exactly. My my siblings might disagree. Right. They might they might have said, you know, we knew this was coming.
S3: The interesting thing is that they did think about criminality happening in space despite this whole diplomatic aspect that we have. And what you actually have is a legal framework that governs the international cooperation on the space station. You have an intergovernmental agreement, which is between Canada, the governments of the European Space Agency, Japan, Russia and the USA. You have a code of conduct for the astronauts and for the crew. And then you also have implementing a memorandum of understanding between NASA and each of the different countries individually. So there’s a legal regime that governs the whole thing. But with respect to jurisdiction, like who has the rights to do certain things or to take up cases, it’s actually a double jurisdiction. So under Article five of this intergovernmental agreement, basically each partner state retains jurisdiction and control over the element to which it registers. So the Russian habitats, they have jurisdiction and control over that part. The Americans have jurisdiction and control over the part that they developed and the Europeans have control over the part that they develop.
S2: So I’ve actually got to just clarify that. So we think of the International Space Station as this one homogeneous sort of lump, but it’s not there are some nations or little sort of micro nations up there.
S3: Exactly. So whatever element that you register. So there’s an agreement called the registration convention of nineteen seventy five where basically anyone who launches something into space has to put on the national register and on the international register at the UN, the module or the satellite or the thing that they launch and they register. Now the act of registration is a legal act because it gives you jurisdiction and control. So you have complete rights over the thing that you register and you also have rights as to what happens in there. But. Also, there’s a double jurisdiction because the state of nationality of the astronaut also has jurisdiction over its nationals. So it then means that you have to have a negotiation between where did the incident happen and what country are they the national of. And if there’s a difference between the two things, then that actually has to be a consultation between the two different partners with respect to what the prosecutorial interests. So how are we going to prosecute this? Who should prosecute this? And so after these consultations, you know, you now have the right to prosecute. If the other side tells you that you can do it or states that they’re not going to prosecute, then you have the right to prosecute. It’s a it’s a key.
S2: When you were thinking this through, I hope you thought about where that airlock is actually housed, which jurisdiction it’s in and who’s court. You’re actually going to have to stand up and
S1: say, I’m I’m glad that we have all these rules. I’m I did know about the code of conduct, of course, having signed it before I left, although I didn’t think that far ahead about exactly where crimes might, you know, Colonel Mustard in the library with a knife kind of thing. I didn’t think about that. But it does it’s interesting how specific it is and how basically to me there’s a great answer to this. And at the same time, it actually shows us, I think, how complicated the world is in that, for example, there’s a module that the Russians built, but the US actually paid for lunch. Does it matter? I mean, so there’s also my point is not to be like picking at your answer, but there’s all sorts of variables that come up, like the Russians own certain number of seats on the space station. If if a European or an American flies in one of those seats, are they considered to be Russian or American under that legal thing? There’s all sorts of questions. And so what I’d like to get into is, I mean, all these things are going to be pretty complicated, whether it is about the crime situation we just talked about or whether it’s about who what does it mean when another when a country lands on the moon again and what do they get to decide how to do? It’s all hard. So how does it work for the world then?
S3: It’s very interesting because the intergovernmental agreement for the International Space Station only covers criminal jurisdiction. They never talked about civil jurisdiction. So that means the things that are not crimes. How would you deal with that? But it does have a provision in there about consultation. So they always and it always comes back to this in the space context that you deal with things diplomatically. So it ends up being how do we consult, how do we agree and how do we negotiate? And it says if the issue is an article twenty three says if the issue is not resolved by consultation, then you’ll submit to another dispute resolution, either mediation, consultation or arbitration, but never courts. So they don’t want to go to court. They want to negotiate this diplomatically by talking, by dialogue.
S2: So this almost sounds like a gentlemen’s agreement, which is obviously worked pretty well so far. But with your lawyer’s hat on, doesn’t this seem a little naive as we begin to put more people up in space?
S3: Well, this in the intergovernmental agreement, it talks about partner states. So that means if you’re not a partner, this doesn’t apply to you. But, of course, it’s going to be who gets you there. Right. So if you’re so long as you get there through the space launch system or the space shuttle or the Soyuz, then those regimes will apply. But what about when we have these non-traditional actors or these people who are not partners to this agreement? What would apply there? And that is where the lacuna is. But because of this jurisdiction, based on nationality, you could say that the laws of the state that that person comes from will follow them into space. And so that state will always be internationally responsible and liable and have jurisdiction and control over its nationals. So you’ll never lose your nationality just because you’ll go into space.
S1: But the space station is this beacon of international cooperation where it’s not just about the six people on board cooperating, but hundreds of people on the ground making decisions every day about what those six people will do and who are the next people. And so it’s both a good example and yet a place to watch and learn and to look back at Earth and see where how can we learn back here.
S3: And I think as a space lawyer, when people say space is the wild, wild west and there’s no law in space, we have to say the intergovernmental agreement and the legal regime that is established for the space station is actually the model because people have been living and working in space and doing fine. I mean, things have come up over the years, but because of consultations and et cetera, they’ve been able to do that. And even when they’ve had difficult, you know, tensions going on, like. We say between the Russians and the US, so people say that now we’re back in the great power competition because of China and the US, but we’ve done it before. So we just have to get better at saying how do we become more inclusive in our conversation, recognizing that these tensions are going to continue, but we’ve done it before. We can do it again in other settlements.
S1: And I thought in some ways it was easier before because I think the mission was clearer. It was the next step. It was exploration. It was finding a place for all mankind, so to speak. But I wondered what you think in terms of all the things you bring up economics in terms of inequality. Those are the I think the was the mission is less clear what what can you get out of going to space? There’s defense, there’s economics, there’s all sorts of things. And I think the mission is less clear and that makes it harder to have everybody on the same page.
S3: Yes. And that’s really interesting because I think 14 states came together to make the vision for space exploration. And but so we know at least as those countries that want to come together, the Europeans came up with this concept of the moon village saying that the moon is somewhere that everyone can do these activities, but we have to. But now, because space really is opening up and people are believing that it’s something that they can do. It’s almost like the mission now definitely is is diversified. And so how do we come together and say, but we still have to work together to make this happen because space is still hard. Space is still yes, we want it to be accessible, but people can die really easily. Everything can go wrong really easily. So we’ve still got to have very nuanced conversations.
S2: So so how does this plan with developing an emerging economy like Nigeria? Because all of these sort of informal rules have emerged around pretty well developed economies where we can afford to be generous, we can afford to be somewhat egalitarian, but to a certain extent, does that exclude some of these smaller economies from getting into the game?
S3: So it’s so difficult for me to know what angle to come out from a developing country standpoint, because, you know, I get a lot of young people, for instance, that say, OK, we love space, we see what you’ve done. So we want to do what you’ve done. And I say, yeah, but I also have three nationalities. You know, it’s like if you’re from Uganda or from the middle of the middle of, I don’t know, Botswana and your country doesn’t have a space program, for instance, in space really accessible to you. You know, what is the level with which you need instruments? You need certain levels of technology to be able to come into the game. And I think a country like Nigeria is already in the middle because Nigeria in the African context, is already a super space power. So they can hold their own that they’ve already launched like five satellites. So that means that part of the space governance discussion and they can come in there as rightful people with a place on the table because they have a satellite in space. And I think
S2: sometimes I think sometimes we actually forget about that. We focus so much on what’s happening in the US or China or Russia that we fail to see that these different countries have actually got an active presence in space. Right.
S3: And I think some of the bigger countries that get upset when they think if these little countries use cube sets to exert that jurisdiction because the US satellites, a billion dollar million dollar satellite, so they can say, well, we really have assets in space, so we really have a voice. You just have a CubeSat and you now want to have equal power because you’re saying you have an asset in space. And I think that was the dialogue that was used in the beginning to get a lot of these developing countries in space. They were like, just get your first asset into space. But I think what we have to realize that actually the asset that we’re thinking about that is most relevant is actually the radio frequencies to be able to operate those satellites. So, for instance, it’s not so much the CubeSat up there, but the limited resource of access to the spectrum, access to the orbital slots, those things, the limited resources that everybody wants more of. So each country has actually been allocated some. So if you don’t use it, you lose it. And so maybe just putting a CubeSat up that helps you assert your rights to natural resources in space.
S2: But this seems to be where there is a tension between what you’re seeing emerging and what Cady is saying about how everybody sort of pulls together towards the mission in space, because you’ve got that idea of mission driven presence in space versus resource driven presence in space where you’re trying to grab stuff and build value. And I have no idea how you square the two. I Cady, I’d be interested to know how this looks from your perspective, because as soon as sort of money and resources and power come into the picture, can we still build this this sort of better future with everybody working together in space?
S1: Well, I’d like to think so. And as Timmy was talking, I found myself thinking, what is the cost of participating? But maybe more importantly, what is the cost of not participating? You know what? It’s in it. It almost does it. I mean, in some senses, in terms of what it does for people on the ground to achieve other things, greater things and feel enabled, inspired and able to do those things. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a CubeSat or some larger communications. Piece of equipment, it is about the fact that their country put that into space, and if that is possible, then every single one of them has more capabilities than they thought they did before. It’s a very enabling activity, I think.
S2: So I’m really interested within this context. It sounds like there are tremendous opportunities here with what we do in space. But there are also some really interesting legal questions. What is the future for space lawyers? Is this an area that people should be getting into? Are you going to be in demand?
S3: So I’m in so much demand right now because the question that there’s this dichotomy, space law has always been international law, but some countries are saying we now need to take an approach that is nationalistic. Right. So we all know that in the last administration that we had here in the US, it was it was multilateralism was under attack. It was we need to take a nationalistic approach to defend our interests. But other countries are also feeling similar. And in the space context, the US is developing a lot of instruments with US leadership. So so really, I think now is the time as an international lawyer with an international perspective is to say, do we need to claw back and come back to multilateralism so that everybody has a say? Or do we need to go back to the nationalistic and ensure that we keep having an international perspective in mind as we develop these different regimes in each of the different countries?
S1: Can you think of some ways to incentivize some of the bigger space powers to be more inclusive me ways that they might not think of?
S3: Yeah, I think I mean, I think it’s very difficult because they recognize that it takes a lot of heavy lifting to get to get to a place where we have an in space economy. But I think the reason, for instance, why should the US care about the African perspective is that we know that it’s going to take a lot to get to space and no one country can do it alone. And if we if I even want to use the rhetoric of great power competition, I would say if we look at the African countries who are being supported in space, it’s really that being supported by all these other countries like China and Russia, none of them are being supported by the United States. So from a soft power perspective, the US should care about supporting these countries so that they grow in the spirit in which the US is trying to push and propose. No space actor is too small and no budget is too small because every penny counts towards having an in space future and in space economy.
S2: So I want to pull it back to where we started with murder in space. And of course, that was a little bit of a crazy hypothetical. But there is this common thread of wisdom. That’s where you have people, you have crime and where you have crime, you have police. Do we need to think differently if we’re looking at sort of 10, 20, 30 years from now in terms of how we ensure a safe environment in space, through the law, through police forces?
S3: I think definitely we have this we have this romantic idea that human beings are different because of space. I mean, sci fi and all these concepts of space for humanity give us that warm feeling that in space we can all be together. But like you say, where human beings are and where inequality is going to be conflict. And as you have more and more diversity, you’re going to have that inequality is going to become more obvious. So how are we going to navigate and how are we going to get to be able to do that? Now, rhetoric like space is a warfighting domain, and having space forces on the one hand may put us back because it makes people have to prepare for space, is a war fighting domain, or to even give them the tools to be thinking about space as a war fighting domain. But at the same time, if you’re going to have commercial activity, who’s going to defend those, you know, defend those those activities? And the US is like in the Optimus Accords, which is the agreement that NASA has come up with for the Ottomans program. You have you have we
S2: should we should just say, well, the Ottomans program is
S1: so artifices is the program to go back to the moon and have the first woman and they say the next man. But I’m still waiting for the justification there to put to not only go back to the moon to go, but but to stay.
S3: And the optimistic cause is basically some executive agreements between NASA, the US and actually at this moment, nine other countries with respect to what the normative framework should be for this Artemis program. And there’s I mean, it’s based on the outer space treaty. There’s, I think, 10 provisions in there. But two of them are quite innovative. One is about space resources and the other one is about de confliction of activities. So basically, they’re saying, for instance, that we should be able to create safety zones around infrastructure where people would be able to go there. And if you do go there, then that’s a cause for concern. So on the one hand, this is a good thing because we know that people need to protect their assets. But on the other hand, are you saying that there are places in space that you’re going to carve out and not let other people go into? Is that against Article two of the Outer Space Treaty, which says that there can be non appropriation of outer space, nobody is entitled to own any aspects of outer space. So this is the issue from a governance standpoint that we’re dealing with right now. There’s no there can be no territorial claims. But can you really exploit if you don’t have territory that is yours, intellectual property that is yours. So this is the difficulty that we have in marrying the new ideas of commercialization of space with the whole kombai space, with humanity concept.
S1: And I think going back to the space station, this this is a place where we can literally practice all these things. It’s not necessarily so real estate heavy, but the ability to for a country to dock their supply ship, it means that the space station has to be in a certain place at a certain time, at a certain angle, which means it’s probably pointing away from the sun and its ability to to gain energy. Right. To store power, solar rays. And so if everybody wants to dock their spaceship, their supply ship that week, it’s something that doesn’t work. They have to take turns and that kind of taking turns with resources. Who can have a spacewalk at what time? You can’t have a spacewalk while somebody supply ship is, you know, charging in. And so we’ve been practicing those kinds of we’re doing this having to think about how it affects others on the space station. And I think it will continue to be a great petri dish for us.
S3: Yes, I think that’s a really great point. I would love to see more writings on this, like up to less about how we don’t know how to do it and more about we’ve been doing many aspects of it. So how do we extrapolate the lessons learned from those into new and different context? Let’s take a more proactive and positive way to looking at the future of space governance rather than a we can’t do it. We haven’t been able to do it approach.
S2: And that’s a great challenge to end with. How do we look to the future and how do we inspire everybody that’s listening to this to work out how to build a better future in space to maybe this has been a fantastic conversation. Thank you so much.
S1: Thanks a lot. Thank you.
S2: Katie, a question. Shoot in space, no one really hear you scream.
S1: Why do you ask? Well, I’m still thinking about this murder thing. Well, it’s complicated.
S2: I guess it would be.
S1: It depends on where you are. Of course, space sounds are actually really cool and we
S3: can share them with you
S1: in a segment we call Sounds of Space. But.
S2: OK, Katie, if I can pull you back from your smooth jazz meditations, what do you think that was?
S1: It made me think about the first concert on Mars.
S2: Oh, I liked that. Of course, this hasn’t happened, so it can’t really be. But I like the idea.
S1: Well, you know, I mean, it it’s not like the first day they go, oh, yeah, let’s have a concert. But, you know, they’ve gotten there, they’ve built things. And I mean, when I hear that, I think about what it looks like to look out the window as you’re cruising outward to some very far away destination. And then when they’re all together on the surface and things are built and everything is ready, they have the first community concert and they’re all together.
S2: So you realize this is going to have to be a thing. Now, this is not what this was, but actually there are resonances there. But we’re absolutely going to look forward to that first concert on Mars.
S1: Well, I’m always kind of lobbying to be in the band. OK, so I just wanted to put my plug.
S2: So this is this is your ticket out there. So this was actually the sound of exoplanet discovery.
S1: So what does that mean? Like, it’s not called discovery. You’re saying the discovery of exoplanets.
S2: It’s it’s actually it’s it’s a sonic visualization almost of this discovery process. So exoplanets, as I’m sure a lot of people will know, are planets that orbit outside our solar system. And as you listen to this, as the music progresses, it actually takes us through time from nineteen ninety one to twenty nineteen. So you hear this progression of discoveries. Each note that you hear represents the discovery of one or more exoplanets. So we’re actually signifying the process of discovery here. The pitch itself indicates the relative orbital period of the planet, how long it takes to orbit its star. The volume and the intensity of the notes represent the number of planets with similar orbital periods that were discovered at the same time. And I’ve got to say, this sonification, which is just it’s mind blowing when you listen to it, was produced by the great people that system sounds. That was the discovery of wait for this, the first four thousand exoplanets.
S1: That is amazing. I mean, I want to make sure people have the context of, you know, like the nine planets that we grew up knowing about. Right. I mean, then we thought that was all there was. And then there’s, of course, the debate about Pluto. But now that we’ve understood how to notice, how to how to see exoplanets, now we actually know about thousands of planets. And that was beautiful.
S2: And what just blows me away with this is, of course, that’s amazing to think of four thousand planets. But then you ask, well, how can you really help people understand this at an emotional level, at a visceral level, and of course, being able to translate those discoveries into music, harmonious but interesting and intriguing music is an amazing way of doing this. It actually puts you in touch with the discoveries and stuff that’s happening out in our galaxy in ways that I think would be very hard to do otherwise.
S1: I really I really love that. And think about if you’re one of those exoplanet scientists and you’re listening to this, I wonder what it feels like to them to listen to their discoveries. I mean, they’re able to like like literally going further and further out in the universe, planet by planet, thinking about which ones were when.
S2: Yes. So this absolutely has to be part of the first symphony on Mars when we get there. Let’s listen to that again. That’s our show for this week. Thank you so much for joining us.
S1: Mission Interplanetary is produced by Lance Grabby, our sound designer and engineer is Stephen Christensen. Our music was composed by Mario Energous.
S2: Please subscribe to us on a podcast, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, leave as a review, email as it interplanetary podcast at Asphaug Edu. And please do recommend this to your friends.
S1: Mission Interplanetary is a production of Arizona State University’s interplanetary initiative, and Slate
S2: will be back next week asking them big questions about space exploration
S1: and future interplanetary.
S2: We’ll see you there.