We Asked a NASA Expert

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! Is Mars habitable? Do aliens exist? Are there oceans on other worlds? Our "We Asked a NASA Expert" video series answers all of these questions and more. Tune in to our playlist to learn all about this solar system we call home.

Why is Venus Called Earth’s Evil Twin? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Why is Venus called Earth’s evil twin? The two planets actually have a lot in common, but somewhere along the way Venus and Earth took two very different paths. NASA Director of Planetary Science, Dr. Lori Glaze, explains how Venus became a hot, hellish, and unforgiving place.


Is There Life on Mars? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Is there life on Mars? No, we have never discovered life on the Red Planet, but we have found lots of evidence that suggests Mars could have once supported life in its ancient past. There’s even a chance that Mars could be habitable beneath its surface. NASA astrobiologist Heather Graham explains more.


What Happens to Old Satellites? We Asked a NASA Expert

What happens to old satellites? Currently, they either burn up safely upon reentry into the atmosphere or they remain in space. But NASA is working on new technology that could make spaceflight more sustainable by refueling or upgrading satellites in space, greatly expanding their lifespans.


Where Did Our Moon Come From? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Where did our Moon come from? Over the years, there have been several theories, but most scientists think it’s likely that a Mars-sized object smashed into Earth, creating what we now see in the sky. NASA scientist Caitlin Ahrens shines a light on the Moon's mysterious origins.


Are Wildfires Getting Worse? – We Asked a NASA Scientist

Are wildfires getting worse? Unfortunately, yes. Changes in our climate, along with other factors, have led to wildfires increasing in intensity, severity, size and duration. NASA climate and wildfire expert Liz Hoy explains how and why NASA studies these events from the ground, air, and space to better understand the impacts they have on both a local and global scale.


Is There Water on the Moon? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Is there water on the Moon? Yes! But you won’t find pools of liquid H2O on the lunar surface — water on the Moon is mostly in the form of ice. Harvesting this water is a critical component of future human deep space exploration, which is why our golf cart-sized VIPER, or the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, will be traveling to the Moon’s South Pole to search for ice and other potential resources to determine where they came from.


Are There Rivers and Lakes on Other Worlds? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Are there rivers and lakes on other worlds? You bet. Just like Earth, Saturn’s moon Titan is home to these fairly unique features, except these lakes and rivers aren’t filled with water. Planetary scientist Dr. Sarah Hörst spills the science tea.


Where Do Moons Come From? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Where do moons come from? From cataclysmic impacts to gravitational capture, NASA planetary scientist Joe Renaud walks us through some of the many theories of how the unique and captivating moons in our solar system came to be.


Does Anything Orbit the Moon? We Asked a NASA Technologist

Does anything orbit the Moon? Yes. There are a handful of satellites currently orbiting our closest celestial neighbor. On Nov. 13, 2022, they will welcome CAPSTONE, a CubeSat designed to test a new and unique halo-shaped orbit that will offer stability for long-term missions like our upcoming lunar Gateway space station. NASA Small Satellites Engineer Ahn Nguyen tells us about it.


Why Does Climate Change Matter? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Why does climate change matter? Because it's happening and we’re already feeling its effects around the world. But there's hope. NASA Chief Scientist and Senior Climate Advisor Dr. Kate Calvin explains how NASA collects data and develops tools that can help us better understand and prepare for climate change.


How Do Spacecraft Slow Down? We Asked a NASA Technologist

How do spacecraft slow down? Rigid heat shields and retropropulsion have been the favorites of engineers for years. Now NASA is testing a new inflatable heat shield technology that could allow us to carry even larger payloads to worlds with atmospheres.


Are Hurricanes Getting Stronger? We Asked a NASA Scientist 

Are hurricanes getting stronger? Although we’ll never see a Category 6 hurricane, data does show that more hurricanes are becoming more severe. Hurricane and climate expert Mara Cordero-Fuentes of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center tells us more about the connection between climate change and tropical cyclones.


Are There Rainbows on Mars? We Asked a NASA Expert

Are there rainbows on Mars? Sadly, no. But there are a whole lot of other conditions on Mars that we have right here on Earth! NASA scientist Mark Lemmon explains why the Red Planet is a rainbowless world. Get more Martian science: https://www.nasa.gov/mars


Why Can You See the Moon During the Day? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Why can you see the Moon during the day? Easy, because it’s there! It may seem odd to look up at the daytime sky and see the Moon but it’s perfectly natural. Planetary geologist Sarah Noble breaks it down so you know when to look up. Follow more Moon science: https://www.nasa.gov/moon


Is There Water on Mars? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Is there water on Mars? There sure is! It’s not exactly like water on Earth, but Martian H20 can tell us a lot about the planet’s distant past while potentially aiding explorers in the future. Some of the water is even trapped inside rocks! Hear from Mars scientist Eva Scheller who helped make that discovery using NASA data. Get more Martian science: https://www.nasa.gov/mars


Are There Oceans on Other Worlds? We Asked a NASA Expert

Are there oceans on other worlds? Yes! Earth is not alone. When you look deeper into our solar system, there are worlds we suspect have oceans hidden beneath their icy surfaces. NASA scientist Lucas Paganini is here to tell you more. Learn more about ocean worlds: https://go.nasa.gov/3rD0zlO


What’s it Like Landing on Mars? We Asked a NASA Expert

What’s it like landing on Mars? Tough! But every time we land, we learn more. When our Perseverance Mars rover descended toward the Red Planet, it was decked out with temperature and pressure sensors that collected critical data about entry and landing conditions. NASA engineer Alex Scammell tells us more. Learn more about MEDLI2: https://go.nasa.gov/3s3zYi0


What's the Difference Between Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors? We Asked a NASA Expert

Asteroids, comets, and meteors: what's the difference? These space rocks each have their own unique attributes. But differences aside, these fascinating objects are all worthy of study.


Is NASA Really Crashing a Spacecraft into an Asteroid? We Asked a NASA Expert

Are we really crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid? We sure are — all in the name of planetary defense. The #DARTMission is a technology test to see if an impactor could change the trajectory of an asteroid. Nancy Chabot of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory tells us more. Learn more about this first-of-its-kind mission: https://www.nasa.gov/dartmission


Is NASA Aware of Any Earth-Threatening Asteroids? We Asked a NASA Expert

Is NASA aware of any Earth-threatening asteroids? Luckily there are no known asteroid threats to Earth for at least 100 years. But that doesn’t mean we’re not looking. Asteroid expert Davide Farnocchia of our@NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory breaks it down.


When Was the Last Time an Asteroid Hit Earth? We Asked a NASA Expert

When was the last time an asteroid hit Earth? Small asteroids and other tiny particles bombard our planet daily, but almost all of them burn up safely in the atmosphere. Bigger impacts are extremely rare, but scientists like Marina Brozovic are keeping their eyes on the sky. Explore more: https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense


How Did Perseverance Pick its Landing Spot? We Asked a NASA Expert

How did the Perseverance Mars rover pick its exact landing spot? Believe it or not, the rover made the decision on precisely where to land just moments before it touched down. How?! Thanks to the work of engineers like Swati Mohan and a new technology called Terrain Relative Navigation, Perseverance landed in the most challenging landscape ever attempted on Mars: https://go.nasa.gov/3yutGdH


What if an Asteroid Were Going to Hit Earth? We Asked a NASA Scientist

There are no known threats to Earth, but NASA asteroid expert Dr. Kelly Fast says it’s important to find the asteroids before they find us. That’s why NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office keeps its eyes on the skies. This November, we're launching the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART. The test mission will attempt to change the course of an asteroid that is currently no threat to our planet. Get more info at https://www.nasa.gov/PlanetaryDefense.


Did Mars Ever Look Like Earth? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Did Mars ever look like Earth? We think it did! Ancient Mars may have been wetter and warmer — similar to our home planet. So what happened? Scientists like Dr. Becky McCauley Rench are trying to find out. Keep up with our Martian exploration efforts: https://www.nasa.gov/Mars


What are Lagrange Points? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Lagrange points are places around a planet where the pull of its gravity, the Sun's gravity and the motion of the orbit are balanced. Things at these points take very little energy to stay in place. NASA’s Lucy mission will visit Lagrange points where "Trojan asteroids" have been trapped for billions of years, holding clues to the formation of our solar system. NASA’s Dr. Adriana Ocampo has more. Learn more about Lagrange Points: https://go.nasa.gov/3jzTNti


What are the Trojan Asteroids? We Asked a NASA Scientist

What are the Trojan asteroids? These mysterious space rocks have been gravitationally trapped in Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun for billions of years and hold clues to the formation of our solar system. NASA’s Lucy mission will be the first spacecraft to study these ancient relics up close. Scientist Audrey Martin at Northern Arizona University has the details.


Is There Oxygen on Mars? We Asked a NASA Technologist

Is there oxygen on Mars? Technically yes, but it’s nothing like the amount we have on Earth. So breathing is out of the question. However, there IS a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2) on Mars. Now a new technology — MOXIE — has proven that we can convert Martian CO2 into oxygen for use by future explorers. NASA engineer Asad Aboobaker tells us more. Learn more about MOXIE: https://go.nasa.gov/37ujwOl


Does NASA Know About All the Asteroids? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Does NASA know about ALL the asteroids? We know about the vast majority of larger ones and none of those pose a threat, but space is big, so we're always on the lookout. NASA asteroid expert Dr. Amy Mainzer explains. Learn more: https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense


Do Aliens Exist? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Do aliens exist? Extraterrestrial life has never been discovered. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And at NASA, astrobiologists like Dr. Lindsay Hays are trying to answer one of the most profound questions ever: Is there life beyond Earth? Explore more: https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/


Is there Weather on Mars? We Asked a NASA Technologist

Is there weather on Mars? Short answer: yes! And just like on Earth it varies wildly. Now, thanks to the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer, or MEDA instrument on NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover, we're learning even more about Martian meteorology with daily weather reports. Over to José Antonio Rodríguez-Manfredi at the Spanish Astrobiology Center for more. Find out more about MEDA: https://go.nasa.gov/3lNuKWK


Will an Asteroid Ever Hit Earth? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Will an asteroid ever hit Earth? There are no known impact threats, but tiny meteors burn up in Earth’s atmosphere all the time! NASA asteroid expert Dr. Kelly Fast tells us more. Learn more about NASA’s planetary defense efforts: https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense


Is Mars Habitable? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Is Mars habitable? Could ancient life once have existed on the Red Planet? Is there potential for life today deep beneath the Martian crust? NASA Mars expert Ell Bogat is here to give us the details.


Could Microbes Survive a Trip to Mars? We Asked a NASA Scientist

Could Earth-based microbes survive a trip to Mars? Yes! That’s why we made sure our Perseverance Mars rover met cleanliness requirements before leaving our home planet. Dr. Moogega Cooper from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory is here to fill us in.