Ad Astra

Ad Astra
Going to space isn’t easy. Neither are the politics that go into it. Jack and Newton break down the missions to space and beyond in terms anyone can understand in this weekly show about space and space policy and technology.
61. New Year, Same Space
Jan 11 • 72 min
It’s a new year, and the Ad Astra guys are back with a new episode all about what to look forward to this year. Amid a partial government shutdown, there are some exciting events coming up in the next 12 months. Included is that is the newly announced Ad…
60. The Good News Episode
Oct 31, 2018 • 79 min
With a little help from friend of the show, Zoe Aldrich, Jack and Newton attempt to make a good news episode about climate change. But after digging through climate reports, polling data, and upcoming space missions, the outlook isn’t as grim as one might…
59. We Back, Baby
Oct 3, 2018 • 49 min
We back, baby! Jack and Newton return from a long Summer to discuss recent news in space policy and technology. Topics range from Congressional appropriations to words that rhyme with schmimate schmange. From Bremen to China, the space world is abuzz with…
Summer Break
Aug 15, 2018 • 1 min
Summer 2018 has been a busy time for the Ad Astra team. Starting in September, the show will be back to its regular biweekly episodes. There are some great guests and content in the works. Until then… Ad Astra!
58. A Conversation with Candidate Chris Hearsey (D-MD)
Jun 6, 2018 • 80 min
Candidate for Congress, Chris Hearsey, is an aerospace executive, scientist, and all around space enthusiast who has decided to vie for a chance at public service in Maryland’s (fightin’) 6th Congressional District. Listen in on a riveting conversation…
57. Humans to Mars 2018 Recap
May 24, 2018 • 63 min
With two special guests from the Humans to Mars Summit in early May, Jack and Newton explore the future of exploration of the Red Planet. Astronauts will need something to keep them busy, something to help them learn, and a roadmap to the stars, if we’re…
56. We Took The ‘W’
May 2, 2018 • 46 min
Space Corps comes back and so does Blue Origin’s rocket. Galilean moons and FAA regulations. This week is chock full of shenanigans, from our Pale Blue Dot to the furthest reaches of the Solar System. Be sure to check out the Humans to Mars Summit…
55. We Missed You (And So Did a Large Asteroid)
Apr 18, 2018 • 30 min
Back from their bye week, the guys are talking about TESS, NASA authorizations, and a new space policy directive from the National Space Council. Untracked space junk is all the rage, apparently.
54. James/Webb 2020
Apr 4, 2018 • 36 min
Who knew running a space podcast could cause such a commotion? An awesome budget for NASA, while a major project gets a delay. A new shipment of supplies for the International Space Station goes up, while some international space junk falls into the South…
53. The President Doesn’t Sign Feelings
Mar 22, 2018 • 62 min
Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin. We promise we aren’t becoming that kind of podcast. But the general theme is that nothing matters until it matters; From letters from the House, to the Space Force debate; Block-chain networking of deep space missions, to…
52. Stressed Space Genes
Mar 18, 2018 • 52 min
A super space policy focus doesn’t keep us from talking SCIENCE in this week’s episode. Of course, the Trump Administration is making some missteps, just now in space. But some air powered thrusters and stressed genes make the real headlines.
51. Our Year In Space
Mar 7, 2018 • 46 min
LightSail2, Congressional testimony, James Webb delayed, and planetary annihilation 4 light years away. Busy week back in action for your hosts. A lot is going on, even as space falls to the backburner in the policy scene in DC. Happy one year anniversary…
50. Falcon Heavy Panel Discussion
Feb 21, 2018 • 58 min
With the launch of the second biggest rocket ever, a special panel discussion about the Falcon Heavy is on the docket for today. Listen to three incredible space advocates and communicators talk about what FH means to them, what they expect next, and…
49. The NASA Skinny Budget
Feb 14, 2018 • 41 min
The Trump Administration has released their skinny budget for FY 2019. Did they just copy and paste last years budget request? What happens to Earth Science now? And where can I go to find out more information about previous NASA budgets? All this and…
48. Falcon Freakin’ Heavy
Feb 7, 2018 • 30 min
Falcon Heavy launched, and it was glorious. Need we say more? Yes we do. Listen in to hear our immediate reactions to the launch of the second most powerful rocket ever flown.
47. The State of Space Policy
Feb 1, 2018 • 10 min
The State of the Union wasn’t quite what everyone expected. Here is a brief episode to give you the State of Space Policy.
46. The Deep Senate
Jan 24, 2018 • 30 min
Government shutdown, budgets, aerospace commissions, lunar x-prizes, and of course, SpaceX. A short episode, but full of all the space policy and technology news you need for the week ahead.
45. Working Smarter with the Celeste Project (feat. Keno Fisher and Prabhat)
Jan 17, 2018 • 69 min
The Celeste Project: Celeste is a collaboration between MIT, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Julia Computing, Intel, and NERSC (the DoE’s supercomputing center). They recently managed to calculate the first comprehensive statistical catalog of astronomical objects…
44. Back In The Swing of Things
Jan 10, 2018 • 36 min
NASA looking over commercial Earth Science data, NASA Administrator hopeful Jim Bridenstine begins to feel some pressure, and ‘what spacecraft?’ says US Government. 2018 might not be a return to normalcy, but your favorite podcast returns to our usual…
43. Welcome to 2018!
Jan 3, 2018 • 49 min
2018 is going to be an exciting year for space. From budget discussions to major policy proposals, new rocketships to old favorites visiting exciting (and icy) locations in the Solar System. New year, same space podcast. Show Notes:…
42. Last Jedi Review and Discussion (SPOILERS!!!)
Dec 27, 2017 • 81 min
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and nothing else in this week’s episode! It’s no surprise that Jack has seen the movie 4 times already, but Newton just got back from Africa and only 30 minutes has passed since he saw the film for the first time. Make sure to…
41. UFO’s Are Real?!
Dec 20, 2017 • 63 min
Newton is back from Ethiopia and the guys do what they do best! Trump lays out a national security strategy, there’s another crew change up at the ISS, more planets are discovered, the government may shut down, and footage of a UFO is released! What a…
40. Oh, the Lunarcy!
Dec 13, 2017 • 61 min
As Newton gets some much deserved rest, Jason Callahan of the Planetary Society joins the team to cover some big news in space policy. Are we really going back to the Moon? Are our Martian dreams shot? Who won the Alabama Senate Election? You’ll have to…
39. Roadmap to the Stars
Dec 6, 2017 • 56 min
Late night, lightnight round of news. Major policy discussions mounting in Washington and worldwide, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy’s maybe-probably not payload, and the cutest darn baby picture you’ve ever seen. You’re gonna want to hear about this and much, much…
38. The Era of Big Government
Nov 29, 2017 • 32 min
Short episode! The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence gets a neoliberal bent, James Webb (Space Telescope)’s little brother gets a proposed funding cut, and the return of the Listener Submitted Question segment. Hint: It’s all about SpaceX. Stock up…
37. The Chinese Are Running NOAA
Nov 22, 2017 • 56 min
This week, the guys highlight the launch of JPSS-1 and where space enthusiasts should go for Black Friday deals! They also dive into future funding for Virgin Orbit and SpaceX, the FAA’s role in commercial space, ISRO and Japan teaming up to go to the…
36. We Have a Winner!
Nov 15, 2017 • 36 min
Bridenstine moves on to full Senate, Space Corps is no more, rocket launches, and a couple big things going on in the tech world. Newton and Jack take a departure from the usual routine.
35. Retweet my Climate Tweet!
Nov 8, 2017 • 60 min
Bridenstine moves on to a full committee vote, a climate report shakes up the country (and internet), and our favorite future space station gets an update. Be sure to check out Nerd Nite this weekend for a presentation from your favorite podcast.
34. Bridenstine’s Back
Nov 1, 2017 • 35 min
Jim Bridenstine gets ready to jump the first hoop towards Administrator. Plus, some news about upcoming events in space, commercial spacecraft launches, and the end to the RAINN fundraiser.
33. Get over to the Hill!
Oct 25, 2017 • 48 min
Commercial satellites may provide faster and more reliable internet for the planet, and may come online soon to help the people of Puerto Rico. XCOR may be staring death straight in the eyes as SpaceX is awarded more money from the Air Force, and Blue…
32. NASA gets 30% of GDP + The Last Jedi Reactions
Oct 18, 2017 • 80 min
The Last Jedi reactions, NASA working with Russia, one of the biggest astrophysical events we’ve ever observed, SpaceX making the news (AGAIN), and much more on this week’s episode of Ad Astra.
31. NSpC Is Finally Here!
Oct 10, 2017 • 61 min
The National Space Council’s inaugural meeting, proposed changes to commercial space regulators, the schedule slip for James Webb Space Telescope. All that and more on your favorite weekly space podcast.
30. XXX: Get in There!
Oct 4, 2017 • 60 min
Space agencies abound! Elon Musk makes us all excited for space again, yet…we’ve heard this spiel before. Lockheed Martin announces a lander for their Mars plan. One step closer to Mars!
29. Take the W!
Sep 27, 2017 • 53 min
Australia hosts IAC and announces their space program. Bill Nye gets famous (again). And we all forgot to die on Saturday. All this and more on this week of Ad Astra.
28. Emily Calandrelli in: The Next Science Person
Sep 20, 2017 • 48 min
Northrop Grumman just bought a whole lotta rockets, Cassini bids adieu, and the guys have a great conversation with Emily Calandrelli; the Next Science Person. This episode concludes the first trilogy of episodes focused specifically on science…
27. Carl Sagan: The First Science Guy
Sep 13, 2017 • 82 min
Carl Sagan is an inspiration to us all. This week, they guys bring in Ingrid Ockert, a PhD student at Princeton University and an expert in the inner and outer machinations of science communication. Ingrid offers insight into the history of modern science…
26. Taking the Plunge: The Jim Bridenstine Story
Sep 6, 2017 • 50 min
The guys talk about Jim Bridenstine’s place in the Climate Change Denier’s Alignment System. They then put the spotlight on Peggy Whitson and her plunge back to Earth. They cover SLS and Hurricane Harvey imagery by NASA. Finally, they chat about Cassini’s…
25. Coverage From the Path of Totality
Aug 30, 2017 • 70 min
The guys discuss their experience at the Great American Solar Eclipse along with special guests Tom, Jeremy, and Gerrit, who were all together in Tennessee for totality. The 5 of them try to convey how special this cosmic phenomenon was to them, but…
24. The Martian Cliff (with guest Casey Dreier)
Aug 16, 2017 • 76 min
This week, Jack and Newton speak with Casey Dreier, Director of Space Policy for the Planetary Society, about why we want to go to Mars and why the future of the Mars Exploration Program is in jeopardy. Space warfare remains a hot topic in Washington,…
23. Is Buzz Going Back to the Moon?
Aug 9, 2017 • 67 min
This week, the guys record a short episode. Just kidding! The guys cover a range of topics, from Buzz Aldrin’s call for a presidential commitment to humans on Mars and a space technology smuggling ring bust in Texas. We also see the return of Listener…
22. You da MVPHSC
Aug 2, 2017 • 60 min
This week, the fellas cover some big updates on previous stories, while touching on some new ones. Space Corps makes a return, as does the NASA Reauthorization from earlier this year. Expedition 52 has arrived at the ISS, and SpaceX has become the…
21. The Angry Epiosde
Jul 26, 2017 • 61 min
Going to space isn’t easy. Neither are the politics that go into it. Jack and Newton break down the missions to space and beyond in terms anyone can understand in this weekly show about space and space policy and technology.
20. The More You Know
Jul 19, 2017 • 72 min
This week, Jack and Newton cover the latest news on the future of JPSS and the National Space Council, answer a listener-submitted query on the Space Corps, asteroid mining from Luxembourg, and quantum teleportation. They also talk updates on some…
19. DO NOT TOUCH My Favorite Planet
Jul 12, 2017 • 56 min
Links: Latest from Washington Mike Pence gives a vague speech, touches things that say DO NOT TOUCH Text of Pence’s speech Space News Highlight of the Week G20 closes with rebuke to Trump’s climate change stance International News ESA…
18. “It has to be something…”
Jul 5, 2017 • 39 min
This week, Jack and Newton talk about the latest House appropriations bill for NASA and the announcement about the new National Space Council. They then briefly touch on the June 2 failure of the Long March 5, DARPA hitching a ride with ISRO, and…
17. Ooo, Space Drama
Jun 28, 2017 • 60 min
Slow space news week? We got you covered. This week, the guys cover the latest news, including SpaceX flying twice in one weekend, NASA (not) finding life, and the chair of the Congressional drama caucus - Mike Rogers - beefing with the Air Force….
BONUS: Announcing a New Podcast, Straight Up!
Jun 23, 2017 • 6 min
Announcing a brand new show for the podcast network! The Straight Up podcast is an unbiased source of news in today’s Internet age. Tune in to hear audio readings of the raw source material for the latest news stories, without any added…
16. Vive les sciences!!!
Jun 21, 2017 • 62 min
This week, the guys welcome all of our new followers from Awesome Con (hi everyone!) with an episode all about new exoplanets, the AWESOME Bill Nye: Science Guy documentary, and how France is trying to make the planet great (again?). Links:…
15. Comey (jk, it’s about Infrastructure Week) / Space Dumpster Fire
Jun 14, 2017 • 67 min
This week, Jack and Newton talk infrastructure, Outer Space Treaty, and why everyone dislikes Ted Cruz. They also touch on fires in space, India’s space program, and shooting down ICBMs. Links: Latest from Washington Infrastructure Week:…
14. [Computer Generated Laughter]
Jun 7, 2017 • 64 min
This week, Jack and Newton are joined by comedienne and special guest Rubi Nicholas! They talk about the importance of studying humor for missions to Mars and beyond, the ability for robots to both understand and create humor, and ways that the public…
13. The Not-So-Phantom Menace
May 31, 2017 • 74 min
This week, the boys discuss everyone’s favorite topic: the President’s budget request. They also delve into the intricacies of regulations for space, the future of commercial space exploration, and updates on international stories from previous weeks….
12. Make NASA Okay Again
May 24, 2017 • 97 min
Net neutrality on a space podcast? Sure, why not? This week, Jack and Newton really dive into the policy side to discuss net neutrality in the context of space broadband, NASA’s cuts in the president’s FY2018 budget, and the need to revamp the Outer…
11. A Very Mars Episode 2017
May 17, 2017 • 113 min
Enter to win a copy of “Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future”, autographed by David Grinspoon, aka Dr. FunkySpoon, author, astrobiologist, and host of StarTalk All Starts with Neil deGrasse Tyson at This week,…
10. Skynet Open Beta
May 10, 2017 • 71 min
Enter to win a copy of “Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future”, autographed by David Grinspoon, aka Dr. FunkySpoon, author, astrobiologist, and host of StarTalk All Starts with Neil deGrasse Tyson at This week,…
9. Into The Unknown
May 3, 2017 • 48 min
Enter to win a copy of “Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future”, autographed by David Grinspoon, aka Dr. FunkySpoon, author, astrobiologist, and host of StarTalk All Starts with Neil deGrasse Tyson at In this episode,…
8. Episode VIII: The Last Science Guy
Apr 26, 2017 • 89 min
Enter to win a copy of “Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future”, autographed by David Grinspoon, aka Dr. FunkySpoon, author, astrobiologist, and host of StarTalk All Starts with Neil deGrasse Tyson at This week, the…
7a. Special Episode: Rogue 1A
Apr 19, 2017 • 76 min
This week, the boys stray from their usual format (gasp!) to discuss the upcoming March for Science on April 22nd. Please join the DC March with Jack and Newton at 9am at the Federal Triangle Metro Stop in downtown DC. But that’s not all. Jack and…
7. Episode VII: The Science Awakens
Apr 12, 2017 • 98 min
In this week’s episode, we honor the great John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. Jack and Newton discuss recent news regarding the future of the Air Force in space, a major milestone in exoplanet discovery, and a suite of newly…
6. Episode VI: Return of Science
Apr 6, 2017 • 85 min
This week, Jack and Newton highlight recent policy news on climate change, SpaceX’s “Kitty Hawk” moment, and the plans for the NASA Deep Space Gateway and Transport. They also answer a listener query and talk about the 33rd Space Symposium. …
5. Episode V: The Administration Strikes Back
Mar 29, 2017 • 74 min
***correction! SpaceX launch is scheduled for 6pm on Thursday March 30, not 8:30pm*** Latest from Washington: Text of the NASA Transition Authorization of 2017 President signs authorization. Musk says ‘meh’. Pence says that the National Space…
4. Episode IV: A New Musk
Mar 22, 2017 • 65 min
This week, Jack and Newton hold each other back from completely railing on the White House’s proposed budget cuts to Government-funded science, compliment SpaceX for two successful missions, discuss some serious drama when it comes to International…
3. Episode III: The Revenge of Musk
Mar 22, 2017 • 66 min
This week, the guys introduce a new show format with 5 exciting segments. More information as well as links to the articles discussed can be found below. Links: Latest from Washington: House Approved the New NASA Authorization …
2. Space Is Easy
Mar 22, 2017 • 62 min
In this weeks episode, Jack talks about hanging out with Bill Nye the Science Guy and Bernie Sanders, and there’s a good chance he’ll talk about it every day until he dies, but who can blame him? Jack has an article published (read below), NASA…
1. To the Moon with SpaceX, Transitional Bills, and Trappist-1
Mar 19, 2017 • 54 min
This week, Jack and Newton discuss SpaceX’s huge announcement that they will be taking 2 private citizens on a trip to the moon in 2018. Jack hangs out with Bill Nye the Science Guy to talk transitional bills with the new administration, and the words…