Review: NASA's Curious Universe

Review: NASA's Curious Universe

If it’s not glaringly obvious, I am the “artsy creative type”. Although instead of having a backlog of wonderful works of art, I have an intense backlog of half finished projects and art supplies. There are two sets of drawers full of yarn and fabrics resting under my desk. They really only get touched when I need to fix a pair of pants. We might talk more about that at a later date.

What I lack for in overall creative followthrough, I certainly make up for in overall curiosity. Which is why it should surprise absolutely no one that I love space.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when my fascination with the final frontier started. I would say it had to do a lot with my high school astronomy class. My teacher was astoundingly enthusiastic and showed us his own astro-phography and gave me my first view into the worlds beyond ours.

A trip to the Kennedy Space Center and one gorgeous Hubble Telescope tattoo later… I’ve watched a 3am launch from Cape Canaveral, and I woke up at 6 am Christmas morning to watch the James Webb Space Telescope Launch. Which was on my mind as I sipped my very favorite coffee this morning. I found some JWST updates on Twitter before I found Apple put NASA’s Curious Planet in their “New and Noteworthy”.

I started from the beginning and blasted through a number of episodes. Most end up landing around a lovely, ad free 17 minutes. NASA’s Curious Universe is a bite sized podcast to marathon, and makes an interesting “assigned listening”. The interviewees are excellent and passionate. Curious Universe introduces us to a range of scientists and technicians you might not expect to hear from.

While the interviewees emanate that gush of wonder we want to see from those involved at NASA, the host gives me more of a relaxed vibe. It’s easy to listen to and extremely accessible- but might be a little too much for people who don’t want to feel like they’re watching a video their instructor pulled up in class. I think it’s easy to get by once you sink in. Even with some complicated topics like: the sun- the information is fed to us with concentrated precision and ease. By being such a consistently consumable podcast, NASA’s Curious Universe might help cultivate a wider range of freshly interested people. It is reminding us not only with what we can do by looking out, but also what we can do by looking back in.

The content ranges from how NASA impacts direct Earth related study, to a mini series detailing the James Webb Space Telescope. As someone with a production and design background, the episode “Sewing for Spaceflight” was a really special episode to listen to. Someone pursuing a degree in fashion or theatre design and production like me, they could end up working for NASA if they fall into the right place. People with varying levels of formal education work for NASA because while we need people who can make calculations, we also need people who can actually physically make the objects. Those are two different, yet necessary skill sets to make this all work. A testament to human collaboration in a way I don’t think we all see.

I can’t wait to finish the series on the James Webb Space Telescope and listen to more of NASA’s Curious Universe to satisfy my own space itch. This is a well done podcast that will be an excellent addition to many rotations. For me, I’ll be using it as a palette cleanser between true crime and thriller podcasts. Make this the podcast for that little star-gazer in you.

Also, for a brief moment of Magpie news- we are working on making the website different. Changing hosts, mucking around with some new looks, and also adding a newsletter or two. More on that to come later this month. Be confident in your curiosity!