I love these podcast episodes where I get to give you a double dose of science explainy bits! In this episode, the two questions I answer were both asked by people who’ve previously been featured the Urban Astronomer. Kerneels Mulder wanted to know what happens when a space ship fires a gun backwards. Sibusiso Biyela wanted to know why Venus is so incredibly hot. If you have questions of your own that you’d like me to answer, why not mail them to me at mailto:email@example.com
What happens when you fire a gun backwards in space?
Kerneels Mulder had a friend back in 2013 who was developing a video game which involved space combat. He wanted to get the physics right, so he asked what would happen if a moving spaceship fired its guns backwards. I originally answered this question in an article on this website, but it’s such a fun topic that I thought it would be worth revisiting.
Why is Venus so Hot?
Sibusiso Biyela wants to know why Venus has such a high temperature. The short answer is that it’s the greenhouse effect. In fact it was astronomers trying to answer this question back in the 1960’s and 70’s who first figured out the processes which now have us so worried about climate change. Incidentally, if you think that anthropogenic climate change is some sort of conspiracy cooked up by well-connected liberals who want to make the world a better place for no reason at all, you’re gonna hate this segment!
- Interview with Kerneels Mulder
- Interview with Sibusiso Biyela
- Carl Sagan’s 1971 paper, The Trouble with Venus
- Original article about what happens when a spaceship fires its guns in space