Jack B. Reid


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Podcasts on Space, Mapping, and Sustainability

Last Updated 2022-11-09

Perhaps due to being raised on NPR, I am a big fan of podcasts, as they are often NPR-esque stories for a much more niche audience. Below are listed some of my favorite space, sustainability, and mapping podcasts. Ordering is alphabetical, not in terms of preference or anything. If you know of one I might be interested in, don’t hesitate to reach out!

The Arms Control Wonk Podcast

Status: Ongoing

This one isn’t strictly space-related, but, like it or not, space is heavily intertwined with missiles and other kinds of weaponry. The hosts bring a pleasantly humorous approach to an oftentimes scary and depressing topic, while still keeping it quite informative. This actually helps them keep from engaging in fearmongering or hype, which is quite helpful. A major source of their information is OSINT (open source intelligence) using earth observation satellites, so it all links back together!


Status: Ongoing

This podcast is produced by Kratos Defense and is unabashedly pro-military and pro-private-business. Perhaps because of this, the host is able to interview a wide variety of big names from the space sector, be it startups, the major space companies, or military officials. If you want to stay up to date on trends in the military and commercial space sectors, it’s hard to do better than this.

Dongfang Hour Podcast

Status: Seems to be on indefinite hiatus

The Dongfang Hour is the best source I have come across for detailed and non-fearmongering news about China’s space sector. Their podcast is similarly excellent, digging into news releases, technical specs, and possible interpretations. It can be difficult to follow all the acronyms if you aren’t already familiar with them, but hey, that’s true for most laypeople when they start learning about the US space sector too.

Down to Earth with Terry Virts

Status: Ongoing

This podcast is essentially Terry Virts talking with whomever he wants about whatever he wants. Being a retired NASA astronaut and ISS Commander, though, many of his thoughts and friends are space-related. While I sometimes skip the episodes about other topics, his deeply human interviews with scientists and executives are quite enjoyable. In particular, his ongoing tour of the solar system with Dr. James Head is informative, funny, and all the better due to its frequent detours.

The Evening Rocket

Status: Concluded

Host Jill Lepore is an excellent historian of ideas and pop culture. In this limited series, she does a deep dive into the science-fiction that Elon Musk and other space entrepreneurs loved as children and tries to understand how that influences their current worldview. When there is a lot of hero-worship and demonization of these figures going on, Lepore does an excellent job of showing how they, like all of us, are influenced by our upbringing.

Eyes on Earth

Status: Ongoing

Did you know that the USGS has a podcast? And that’s its really good? Eyes on Earth is a nice straightforward and enthusiastic interview series with scientists who use earth observation imagery to study how our planet is changing. The episodes are all less than 20 minutes, so they are quite digestible and a great way to learn about the general contours of the earth science field.

Gardeners of the Galaxy

Status: Ongoing

This is perhaps the most wholesome podcast on this list. The host, Emma Doughty is just really into growing plants in space and wants to tell everyone about it. A mix of history, current news, and the occasional interview, Gardeners of the Galaxy is a fun way to learn about astrobotany.

The Mapscaping Podcast

Status: Ongoing

Probably the premier GIS podcast out there, in my opinion. In addition to bringing excellent guests on from across the (very diverse) geospatial industry, the host does an excellent job of bringing thoughts and projects down to an accessible level. Not just so that a listener can think, “Okay, I understand this” but to the extent that the listener feels empowered enough that they think, “I can go do this myself.” If you want inspiration and ideas, this is the podcast for that.

Orbital Path

Status: Concluded

Sadly no longer airing, this podcast was an excellent series on NASA astronomy. While my work tends to look down rather than up, it was a joy hearing about all the groundbreaking work being done to learn more about our solar system, galaxy, and universe.

Press the Button

Status: Ongoing

Another not strictly space-related podcast, Press the Button is all about nuclear weapons. We can’t have sustainability on Earth if we don’t have an Earth, can we? The hosts have a very polished format of brief news updates and engaging interviews with experts. I think they have found just the right balance of technical detail, empathetic humanity, and political advocacy, always pushing for nuclear disarmament but not letting their hopes blind them to reality.

The Space Above Us

Status: Ongoing

This podcast is a very straightforward: a play-by-play of NASA human spaceflight from Mercury up through the end of the space shuttle, with typically one episode per flight. As someone who was born well after the Mercury-Gemini-Apollo era, this was a great way to get a feel for the development process over time and how each mission led into and impact the next. It’s also a great way to realize just how many shuttle missions there were!

Space and Things

Status: Ongoing

News, interviews, and jokes from around the space community. What more can you ask for? Plus some of the most detailed shownotes around.

Space Boffins

Status: Ongoing

Not dissimilar to Space and Things, this podcast is straightforward good space journalism. Pleasantly enough, the space community is a busy enough place that these two podcasts are rarely if ever redundant with one another.

Space Cafe

Status: Ongoing

Interview-based podcast that is heavy on the inspiration aspects of space. Scientists, government officials, artists, the guests on this podcast have got it all.

Space Law

Status: Hiatus?

The audience for this podcast is admittedly pretty niche, even if I personally wish that it was much bigger. This means that host Cassandra Steer has the opportunity to phone it in, considering she is the only real podcaster in this domain, but instead she really puts together an excellent, well produced podcast that is very accessible. It also isn’t US-centric, which is a real marvel! My only complaint is that it appears to be on hiatus at the moment, with no updates recently.

Space to Grow

Status: Ongoing

Produced by orbital debris removal company Astroscale, this interview-based podcast is probably the most sustainability-oriented space podcast around. They also do an excellent job of linking in art and fiction to help make the whole situation more approachable.

TerraWatch Space

Status: Ongoing

This podcast is honestly the best critical approach to earth observation around. I don’t mean critical as negative, but instead as analytical and willing to make judgments. Where most podcasts are about current news, this one is very much about considering the different paths the future might take (and offering an opinion on which ones are most viable). The host Aravind is transparent with what he thinks the industry is doing right and what he thinks it is doing wrong, which I greatly appreciate.

War in Space

Status: Ongoing

Another non-US centric podcast, War in Space is, as the title suggests, all about the potential weaponization of space. Unlike something like Press the Button, War in Space has closer ties to the military, particularly the UK and US militaries. It ain’t exactly anti-war but it still takes a very measured and responsible approach to the topic and tries to steer us a way from ruining the space environment.