Orbital Path

Series produced by Public Radio Exchange (PRX)

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Orbital Path with Michelle Thaller takes a look at the big questions of the cosmos and what the answers can reveal about our life here on Earth. From podcast powerhouse PRX, with support from the Sloan Foundation.

About Our Host: Dr. Michelle Thaller is Deputy Director of Science Communcation at NASA. She is a research scientist who studies binary stars and the life cycles of stars. In her off-hours, Michelle often puts on about 30 lbs of Elizabethan garb and performs intricate Renaissance dances.


42 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Bennu comes into focus., Credit: Image credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona.
Billion-year-old asteroid dust, coming right up!

  • Added: Nov 30, 2018
  • Length: 20:45
Caption: Super-massive black hole (artist's rendering)., Credit: NASA
Astronomers investigate a mystery that is 13 billion years old.

  • Added: Oct 26, 2018
  • Length: 22:34
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NASA develops a futuristic space laser. Launches it into orbit. And aims it directly back at planet Earth.

  • Added: Sep 28, 2018
  • Length: 23:58
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Humans! Time to get over your three-dimensional selves. 
Brian Greene — world renowned physicist, bestselling author, NOVA host, and serial Colbert...

  • Added: Aug 31, 2018
  • Length: 30:56
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Has a Bronx plumber’s son become the Einstein of our time?

  • Added: Jul 27, 2018
  • Length: 27:11
Caption: The Curiosity rover on Mars., Credit: NASA
NASA has found organic molecules on Mars. Could life be next?

Bought by WRGY, KUER, PRX Remix, and KVSC


  • Added: Jun 29, 2018
  • Length: 28:12
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Mars appears, like Earth, once to have been crossed by flowing rivers., Credit: NASA
Adults don’t have all the answers — or all the questions. In our second edition of TELESCOPE, Michelle grapples with an 8th grader’s question about...

Bought by KUER and PRX Remix


  • Added: Mar 23, 2018
  • Length: 06:59
  • Purchases: 2
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Adam Riess was only 41 when he was named a Nobel Prize winner. The Johns Hopkins distinguished professor of astronomy shared in the award for his w...

Bought by WRGY and PRX Remix


  • Added: Mar 13, 2018
  • Length: 21:30
  • Purchases: 2
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Adults don’t have all the answers — or all the questions. So Michelle takes on some astronomical queries from 8th-graders.

  • Added: Feb 23, 2018
  • Length: 08:20
Caption: Artist's rendering, Credit: CALTECH/NSF/LIGO Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet
In the time of the dinosaurs, two stars spiraled to their deaths. And 130 million years later, they taught humans the origin of gold.

Bought by KUER


  • Added: Feb 09, 2018
  • Length: 24:11
  • Purchases: 1
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Science for science’s sake may be luxury we can all do without — until, as happened during the 1980s, it quite literally saves the world.

Bought by KUER and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 26, 2018
  • Length: 20:02
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: The winter solstice gets tricky if your home planet has rings..., Credit: NASA
The winter solstice: a time to curl up by the fire, toast marshmallows, and reflect on the passage of the seasons...on other planets.

  • Added: Dec 29, 2017
  • Length: 17:00
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NASA has been on the lookout for rogue asteroids for years. Then astronomers in Hawaii glimpsed a massive, cigar-shaped object — from another solar...

Bought by WHCP-LP


  • Added: Dec 15, 2017
  • Length: 16:15
  • Purchases: 1
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Today’s astrophysicists probe the farthest reaches of the universe using instruments impossible to imagine when the constellations were named. But...

Bought by KUER and PRX Remix


  • Added: Dec 01, 2017
  • Length: 12:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Almost two years ago, Orbital Path launched with an episode on our fascination with space aliens. But what’s really going on out there on KIC8462852?

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Nov 17, 2017
  • Length: 16:37
  • Purchases: 1
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It’s time we get over out three-dimensional selves. 
Brian Greene — world renowned astrophysicist, New York Times bestselling author, NOVA host, an...

Bought by KUER


  • Added: Oct 20, 2017
  • Length: 29:23
  • Purchases: 1
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People have dreamed of making this trip for millennia. Next year, NASA launches the first ever voyage to the sun.

  • Added: Sep 15, 2017
  • Length: 18:00
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NASA astronomer Andrew Booth joins Michelle in the hot tub to drink a glass of chardonnay, and talk weird science.

Bought by KUER and PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 01, 2017
  • Length: 11:27
  • Purchases: 2
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Michelle visits a Nobel Prize winner who took a “baby picture” of the universe — NASA cosmologist John Mather.

Bought by KUER


  • Added: Aug 18, 2017
  • Length: 22:53
  • Purchases: 1
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A NASA mission probes mysteries of a planet very much like our own....

  • Added: Aug 04, 2017
  • Length: 20:49