Wild Thing

Wild Thing

Wild Thing is a podcast about the strange and unusual things that capture our imaginations. It’s about the relationship between science and society. It’s about wild places, wild people, and wild ideas. Because whether it’s seeking out Bigfoot, in season one, or gazing skyward to look for extraterrestrial life in season two, the search for the unknown helps us better understand ourselves. Each episode, host Laura Krantz takes us through the latest chapter, which builds on previous ones, so it’s best to start listening with Episode 1 of each season.

Episodes

June 3, 2021 30 min

*Become a subscriber! For $4.99/month, you’ll get upcoming episodes early, as well as access to subscriber-only bonus episodes. Go to https://anchor.fm/wildthing/subscribe to sign up! 

While we hypothesized about exoplanets for years, it wasn't until recently that we could confirm their existence. Astrophysicist and MIT professor Sara Seager has been at the leading edge of the search for exoplanets. 

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*Become a subscriber! For $4.99/month, you’ll get upcoming episodes early, as well as access to subscriber-only bonus episodes. Go to https://anchor.fm/wildthing/subscribe to sign up!

2020—already not a great year—was made worse for astronomers when the Arecibo Telescope collapsed in Puerto Rico. Abel Méndez, an astronomer who grew up in the telescope's shadow, talks about the importance of Arecibo and what future plans may bri...

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*Become a subscriber! For $4.99/month, you’ll get upcoming episodes early, as well as access to subscriber-only bonus episodes. Go to https://anchor.fm/wildthing/subscribe to sign up!

David Anderson likes the idea of aliens, but he’s not a big fan of the TV show Ancient Aliens. The archeologist has real problems with how the show portrays his chosen field and diminishes human achievements. But, he says, while the show is misguided,...

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Sarah Stewart Johnson is a planetary scientist who has worked on several Mars missions and is also the author of The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World. She talks to us about her book, the latest mission to the Red Planet—the Perseverance rover—and why our closest neighbor holds such fascination for us Earthlings.

*Wild Thing premium members get access to all of season 2, ad free, plus early access to bonus intervi...

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Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gives his perspective on the rare earth hypothesis, the difficulty of wrapping one's head around the universe, and the problem with movie aliens.

*Wild Thing premium members get access to all of season 2, ad free, plus early access to bonus interviews. Sign up now to listen and support the show. https://wildthing.supportingcast.fm/

*Season 2 of Wild Thing is produced by Laura Krantz a...

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In a wide-ranging interview, Joe Scott, the host of the popular YouTube series Answers With Joe and fellow science nerd, discusses panspermia, whether octopuses are aliens, and the rare earth hypothesis.

*Wild Thing premium members get access to all of season 2, ad free, plus early access to bonus interviews. Sign up now to listen and support the show. https://wildthing.supportingcast.fm/

*Season 2 of Wild Thing is produced by Laur...

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In September 2020, just days before this podcast launched, scientists announced that they might have found evidence for life on Venus... or at least in Venus's atmosphere. We talk to Clara Sousa-Silva, one of the scientists involved, about the findings, what life on Venus might be like, and what the next steps might be.

*Wild Thing premium members get access to all of season 2, ad free, plus early access to bonus interviews. Si...

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November 19, 2020 30 min

'Oumuamua is long gone—out of sight and almost impossible to reach. The excitement over it generated endless fascination about what (and who) might be out there. Ultimately, that’s what this search for extraterrestrial life represents—a series of questions that don’t have good answers and may never have them, not now, not in another millennia. So why search? What does it matter? What are we hoping to find? And what does it mean...

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November 12, 2020 31 min

Our views on aliens can often be uplifting, offering a glimpse of a better, technologically-bright future, or a glimmer of hope about our ability to survive. In some cases, our thoughts about them are almost spiritual, as though aliens are divine beings. To understand why, we make a trip to Colorado’s UFO Watchtower, which has become something of a shrine for the alien faithful, and talk to author Sarah Scoles about why people plac...

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November 5, 2020 34 min

American culture is saturated with extraterrestrial and UFO references—and we still can’t get enough. Hollywood has raked in billions on alien-themed programming and it comes in every flavor you can imagine—from horror to camp to science fiction to documentary. What’s the cultural appeal? Why aliens as opposed to any other topic? How have these imagined aliens evolved as we have?

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October 29, 2020 39 min

We’ve been broadcasting our presence for about 85 years now, with radio, television, and radar, essentially spamming space with all kinds of messages. What would we do if someone answers back? What if our message reaches someone, or something, hostile? Others argue that we should be trying to communicate with whoever might be out there. But who should do the talking? And what would we say?

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October 22, 2020 35 min

To really look for intelligent extraterrestrial life, say scientists, we have to look way far out into space. A new set of initiatives—the Breakthrough Initiatives—are experimenting with cutting-edge technology to do just that. These new ideas, funded by private industry instead of the government, are the future of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence—and we hear from the scientists who are leading the charge.

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October 15, 2020 35 min

In 2017, the nation’s prominent newspapers published outlandish-sounding stories about a secret UFO program run by the Pentagon. We talk to retired Navy pilot Ryan Graves who recalls seeing some weird objects and speak with Luis Elizondo, who supposedly ran this Pentagon program. What was the military looking for? What did they find? And what are they hiding?

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October 8, 2020 42 min

For all the people who think there’s life somewhere out there in space, there are also those who think the best place to look for it is closer to home. Thousands of people claim to have seen UFOs or have had alien encounters and one of those most famous of these happened in 1947 in the desert outside Roswell, New Mexico.

*Wild Thing premium members get access to all of season 2, ad free, plus exclusive bonus episodes. Sign up now t...

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October 1, 2020 40 min

What’s the actual likelihood of extraterrestrial life? Especially intelligent life? 60 years ago, astronomer Frank Drake took a crack at calculating those odds and his famous Drake Equation still resonates with scientists and UFO enthusiasts alike. We breaks down the equation for us, piece by piece, and talks about the chance of finding something and whether we’re any closer to the answers.

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September 24, 2020 36 min

We’re surrounded by life here on Earth—and given how huge the galaxy is, it’s got to be out there on other planets, too, right? But where to look? What to look for? And would life on other planets be anything like life here? It turns out that while we know a lot about life on this planet—like what it needs to survive—we’ve still got a lot to learn.

*Wild Thing premium members get access to all of season 2, ad free, plus exclusive b...

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September 17, 2020 29 min

*Become a subscriber! For $4.99/month, you’ll get upcoming episodes early, as well as access to subscriber-only bonus episodes. Go to https://anchor.fm/wildthing/subscribe to sign up!

'Oumuamua almost slipped past Earth before an astronomer caught sight of this weird object. What was it? Some scientists thought it was just a comet; others, like Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, theorized it could be an alien spacecraft. And why not?...

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Back for its second season, Wild Thing: Space Invaders turns our eyes skyward in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Coming September 17.

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Introducing Searching for Wild Thing! This is the first episode of a kid-friendly version of Wild Thing that host Laura Krantz made in collaboration with Pinna, an ad-free, kidSAFE-certified, audio streaming service developed exclusively for kids, ages 3-12. Listen to this first episode of the ten-part series and, if you like what you hear, you can subscribe to the whole season through Pinna

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December 4, 2018 34 min

Bigfoot researchers remain optimistic that Sasquatch is out there; that the creature will one day be found. Why? Why do people continue to believe? We’ll talk to professional skeptic Michael Shermer about the nature of belief. And we’ll look at why—even for those who think Bigfoot is a complete myth—the idea of Bigfoot holds so much appeal. What makes us so fascinated by this creature? Why do we want so badly to believe that it’s o...

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