TNP53: Astronomy’s Mysteries with John Reid

31 minutes

In a universe that's at least 13 billion years old and at least 13 billion light years across, how is it possible we've never had contact with intelligent life from other planets? In this episode, Astronomy Educator and Librarian, John Reid, discusses the Fermi Paradox, space debris and what the heck is happening with those crazy lights shining on the asteroid Ceres right now.

How We Met

John and I went to high school together. One of the most memorable and terrifying experiences of my high school life was a late study session in the creepy old wing of the main school building. John told a group of us, in chilling, expressionless detail, all about this book he was reading called The Shining by Stephen King.


We start by tackling The Fermi Paradox, the contradiction between the extremely high likelihood of intelligent life in the universe and the extremely low probability of our never having come across it yet.

We also muse about what might be happening with those brights lights on Ceres right now.

I get irate about space debris and John gets moony about the moon. He slips in little side notes here and there about things can could instantly end all life on earth like gamma ray explosions, supernova explosions and asteroids hitting us. (We saw what happened to the dinosaurs, he says casually.)

This is one of my favourite episodes and I'd like to thank my patron, Charlene Lo, currently hailing from Hong Kong, for her support in making it happen.  Yay, Charlene!

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