Former NASA astronaut Colonel Terry Wirths has launched an entertaining new podcast that promotes discussion of issues of importance here on Earth.
“Down to Earth with Terry Wirths“covers a wide range of topics including science, politics, cinema, sports and of course space, with many interesting guests.
So if you want to hear about how the universe will end, what life is like for a seal, or what a former deputy assistant secretary of defense has to say about UFOs, this podcast is for you.
Connected: Retired NASA astronaut Terry Wirths set world speed record for circumnavigation in honor of Apollo 11
Former NASA astronaut Colonel Terry Wirths spent more than seven months in space on the International Space Station, where he captured the reality of his experience through photography. Wirths are known to have captured more images from space than any other person, capturing over 300,000 breathtaking images.
He is one of the stars of the IMAX film Beautiful Planet and the director of the documentary film Another Orbit. He is also the author of the National Geographic book on photography, A View from the Top, as well as his latest book, How to Become an Astronaut.
We contacted Wirths and asked him a few questions about how space travel has changed his perspective on issues here on Earth, and what his main goals are for his podcast. This interview has been edited for clarity.
Space.com: Would you say you got a new vision of Earth after being in space?
Terry Wirths: I think yes. People ask, “How have you changed?” I thought about it and I think it changed me in that I am less of a black and white person. The older you get, the more wisdom you have, and you think, “Yes, there are two sides to everything, and you really need to look at the data before drawing conclusions.”
We used to be stuck on Earth, everything was two-dimensional, everything was in the north, south, east and west, right? Then, when we started flying, this third dimension suddenly appeared. We now have the Hubble Space Telescope and these telescopes that really look in four dimensions – they not only see things that are far away, they see really old things that are billions of years old.
Space photography changed everything. People like you and me just grew up on this, and that was okay. One of the photos I had when I was younger was from Viking which was the first American landing device on Mars. A hundred years ago, we had almost no planes, so it’s amazing how quickly our views have changed.
Space.com: What inspired you to create your own podcast? Have you wanted to do this for a long time?
Wirts: I blogged a couple of years ago, and then I started writing books, so my extra bandwidth went from blogging to books. I do podcast interviews all the time, and this is what I did in the UK. It’s an aviation podcast called EVA, and it was great, and then the producer said, “Terry, that was awesome, you need to make your own podcasts.” and so we spent a few months discussing this issue, and then I just did it.
The thing is, I know so many cool people from completely different walks of life.
Space.com: How who?
Wirts: My first guest was Larry Kopald from The Carbon Underground, we talked about how to get carbon out of the air back underground. My second guest was Eric Berger, this is truly the famous space reporter Ars Technica. I spoke with astrophysicist Katie Mack about the end of the universe.
I just spoke to Chris Mellon, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee. A very serious, senior US security official, and [we talked] about a UFO and it blew me up. After that, my producer and I just looked at each other: “What do we do with this? That was incredible!”
Space.com: What are your goals for the podcast?
Wirts: The goal is to be honest about important things.
So we’re going to talk about quantum mechanics, or how to land on Mars, or why gun violence is so terrible, or how to solve the climate problem, or whether UFOs are real. We will talk about how we can get out of this debt and about the political differences we have.
All of this matters, some are interesting, some are important, some are critical. As you can imagine, I have a fairly broad interest, but I think this is how my brain works.
A new episode of this weekly podcast comes out every Wednesday and is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify as well as Youtube…
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