Interplanetary Initiative partners with Slate to launch podcast

The weekly show aims to ask and explore big questions about the future of space travel

The Interplanetary Initiative at ASU has teamed up with the magazine Slate to launch a new podcast called "Mission: Interplanetary." 

The weekly podcast is hosted by former NASA astronaut and global explorer in residence at the School of Earth and Space Exploration Cady Coleman and associate dean for the School for the Future of Innovation in Society Andrew Maynard. In the podcast, Coleman and Maynard discuss topics related to both the challenges and possibilities humans face when it comes to traveling, and possibly living, in space. 

"The big goal is to explore the questions regarding space exploration," Maynard said. "We want people to think about this."

The podcast poses questions and ideas to help people understand how space travel is possible. Coleman wants to talk about this idea in a way people can understand. 

“I absolutely do think it’s possible for humans to live in space," Coleman said. "Do I think it will be easy? No, but its definitely possible."

The show also features guest experts to speak on different topics. Among the guests are science fiction author Mary Robinette Kowal, astrophysicist Katie Mack and former astronaut Mark Brown.

There is a lot that goes into planning and producing a show, such as writing scripts, scheduling and interviewing guests, and recording. The show is produced by Lance Gharavi, an associate professor at the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. Gharavi said he takes on most of the production responsibilities except for sound design and engineering.

He said the podcast came from discussions within the Interplanetary Initiative "to design and build the future of humans in space."

"We were discussing ways to galvanize public support for space exploration, but just as importantly, to engage people with the big questions, challenges, and opportunities surrounding the creation of positive human space futures," Gharavi said.

Gharavi said the group members asked themselves how they could garner support and socialize these new ideas by reaching a broad audience.

"Well, this is the 21st century. Of course, we create podcasts," Gharavi said. "I suggested this. People liked the idea and they asked me to take the lead on creating it."

"Mission: Interplanetary” has been in the works for almost two years. Gharavi was the one who decided to reach out to Coleman and Maynard about hosting the podcast.

"Lance had this idea of creating a podcast. He set (Andrew and me) on a blind podcast date," Coleman said. "He told us we should meet each other, so we went to Snooze and got along great. Within about three minutes I thought, 'Wow, this would be really fun to explore with Andrew.'"

The weekly show launched on March 23, and is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Tune-in, and Amazon. In their first installation, Coleman and Maynard discussed the asteroid 16 Psyche and what it can tell us about the history of the solar system with School of Earth and Space Exploration vice president Linda Elkins-Tanton. 

Coleman said her main goal with the podcast is to explain the possibilities of space travel in a way that everyone can understand.

"I want people to think about the bigger questions regarding space and interplanetary life," she said.

Reach the reporter at and follow @aviannahoppes on Twitter.

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