If you are looking for a fun podcast this week, you cannot go wrong with Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Startalk podcast when it hosts Cool Worlds‘ creator David Kipping. The episode, Cosmic Queries – Cool Worlds with David Kipping, covers questions related to exoplanets, exomoons, and more. It is fun to hear the two scientists play off each other.
You will also learn from this podcast that Cool Worlds should be releasing its own podcast in the near future. Its Youtube videos are already a great source of information, so I expect more of the same in these podcasts.
At the end of the podcast, Professor Kipping also mentioned a few upcoming space missions related to exoplanets, including the European PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (Plato) mission in 2026. You can learn more about the mission from this European Space Agency factsheet, which notes:
Does a second Earth exist in the Universe? Planet hunter Plato will focus on the properties of rocky planets orbiting Sun-like stars. In particular, Plato will discover and characterise planets in orbits up to the habitable zone – the ‘goldilocks’ region around a star where the temperature is just right for liquid water to exist on a planet’s surface.
Plato will characterise hundreds of rocky (including Earth twins), icy or giant planets by providing exquisite measurements of their radii (3% precision), masses (better than 10% precision) and ages (10% precision). This will revolutionise our understanding of planet formation and the evolution of planetary systems, as well as the potential habitability of these diverse worlds.
As well as looking at these planets, Plato will analyse their host stars. Using data from the mission, scientists hope to perform stellar seismology, gathering evidence of ‘starquakes’ in the imaged stars. This will give insight into the characteristics and evolution of the stars, improving our understanding of entire planetary systems.
It’s a fun, fact-filled show worth your time.