Preview of Saturday’s “Bans Off our Bodies” rallies; plus solar system exploration

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On Saturday women and their allies will march in cities across the country — including in the Tampa Bay area. The Women’s Marches will draw attention to women’s rights, including the right to access safe and legal abortions.

WMNF interviewed Cambria Weaver, who is helping to organize the Women’s Marches around the region. She’s an intern with Progress Florida.

Last week a Volusia County state representative filed an abortion bill that looks remarkably familiar. We played a story by WMNF’s Daniel Figueroa IV about Florida Republican Webster Barnaby’s HB167, which closely resembles Texas’s heartbeat abortion bill.

In July a commissioner in Manatee County called voting to fund two pro-life pregnancy centers a “huge win” in his push to make Manatee the first county in Florida to ban abortions. During the vote, dozens of pro-choice activists rallied outside the meeting to oppose the measure.

Listen to the full show here

According to the press release, there will be voter registration at the marches.

Across the country, more than 100 marches are listed on the womensmarch.com website. Here are some in the Tampa Bay area:

Bans Off Our Bodies – Tampa Bay, Saturday, Oct. 2, 4:00 pm
Vinoy Park. 701 Bayshore Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Our Bodies, OUR Choice, Saturday, Oct. 2, 1:00 pm
Perry Harvey Park. 900 E Scott St Tampa, FL 33602

March to defend Reproductive Rights, Saturday, Oct 2, 11:00 am
Manatee County Commissioners Office. 452 3rd Avenue West Bradenton, FL 34205

Lakeland Women’s March, Saturday, Oct 2, 10:00 am
Lakeland Gathering and Walk. 701 W Lime Street Lakeland FL 33815

Rally for Abortion Rights – North Pinellas, FL, Saturday, Oct 2, 9:30 am
Gus Bilirakis’s Office. Bilirakis Building – St. Pete Community College Tarpon Springs FL 34689

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL for Reproductive Freedom, Saturday, Oct 2, 7:00 pm
Brooksville Courthouse steps. 20 n Main Street Brooksville FL 34601

March for the Past WOMEN who died and Future WOMEN who will die, Saturday, Oct 2, 2:00 pm
Outside Sign Holding event. Corner of Mariner and Cortez Spring Hill FL 34608

Discovery of objects in the solar system

Also on the show we looked at the rate of discovery of objects in the solar system. It’s the subject of the September 2021 National Geographic magazine cover story called, “Mysteries of the Solar System.”

WMNF spoke with the author, National Geographic staff science writer Michael Greshko, by Zoom.

Watch the interview with Michael Greshko:

Here’s a transcription of the interview

MG: Yeah, well, first off Seán, thanks so much for having me. I mean, we are living through a really profound time in our understanding of the solar system. There are, you know, in all likelihood, trillions of objects in our solar system once you start to get down into the really small objects and the many things that are really far from the sun,

But actually going out and seeing these objects cataloging them, it’s really hard to do with telescopes. These objects are small, they’re really distant.

When WMNF first hit the airwaves in 1979, there were about 9200 known asteroids. Now there’s about 1.1 million and most of those have been found since the year 2000. So we are really riding this sort of upward exponential slope in our understanding of the bodies that make up the solar system and we’re able to actually go out and visit some of these objects in a really unprecedented new way.

SK: One of those ways is NASA’s upcoming Lucy spacecraft mission in October to the Jupiter Trojans. Tell us about the lucy spacecraft mission and how that will help us to discover what’s out there?

MG: Absolutely. So the Jupiter Trojans are these two swarms of asteroids that both have orbits, you know, very similar to Jupiter’s if you think about looking at the solar system from overhead, like a clock face or even like a steering wheel every time Jupiter’s at like 12 o’clock, the trojan swarms are at 10 and 2.

And these orbits are really stable, which implies that these asteroids forms have been kind of hanging out near Jupiter for much of the solar system history. But we haven’t gone out and actually explored these objects really, they’re kind of pinpricks of light right now.

So NASA’s Lucy mission will be the first mission of its kind to actually venture out into these asteroid swarms survey a diverse sample of them and really start to get new details on when these objects formed, where in the solar system they originally formed and then kind of got shaken into their current orbit. And all of this should provide a lot of really rich data on how the solar system settled into its original configuration, which is really exciting for a broader understanding of how the solar system formed and how other star systems may also form.

SK: And you visited where this lucy is being constructed in Colorado. Tell us about what that experience was like.

MG: I mean, it was,… it was amazing. You know, I’ve never done anything quite like that. I mean, one thing that I knew in the abstract going in, but didn’t fully appreciate until I lived.

It is how seriously they take the cleanroom environment sort of making sure that you’re not tracking in any contaminants. So I was in sort of a full head-to-toe what they call a ‘bunny suit,’ sort of white suit that kind of looked like what the characters and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory during that scene later in the movie, it’s like Wonka Vision.

I even had to swap out the paper I was using because they wanted me to write my notes on special paper that wouldn’t shed paper fibers into the room, you know, full mask and everything.

But it was extraordinary to go into this space with some of the scientists who are leading the mission. And to not only just appreciate through the engineering of the object itself, but to kind of take a moment and realize this isn’t just some fancy piece of equipment it is, but it’s also something that is going to be flying on the top of a rocket later this year. It’s going to be launching and exploring the solar system. That for me was sort of a trip. I’ve not been with an object that’s then been sent to space before. So that was sort of a surreal moment for me in a delightful way.

SK: I want to remind people that we’re talking with Michael Greshko, staff science writer and author of National Geographic magazine, september 2021 cover story “Mysteries of the Solar System.” National Geographic has published an interactive guide of the remapped solar system on their website. So if people go to see that interactive guide to the remapped solar system, what kind of detail will they be able to see that maybe wasn’t available before?

GM: Well, I think one of the big areas this interactive, I think really brings to light is how dynamic and active the solar system is. You know, it’s not just a bunch of objects kind of stuck in these elliptical orbits.

When we look out on the solar system, we can see, you know, all of this evidence of past and present dynamics. So how ancient collisions in the asteroid belt give rise to these vast sort of families of asteroids um that we can see today the fact that we can look out on objects in the outer solar system and actually in for how those objects originally formed and kind of coalesced uh more than 4.5 billion years ago in the solar system’s infancy.

And so that’s where I think this interactive and all of the associated graphics and supplements in our print magazine really underscore is sort of the diversity of those objects and the dynamism of the solar system past and present.

SK: Well, Michael Greshko before I let you go, Is there anything else about the article in National Geographic magazine or about the interactive on the website or about this Lucy mission that you think that our listeners should know about?

MG: Well, Lucy will be launching no earlier than October 16th from Cape Canaveral in Florida. So look out for that.

I also want to just remind listeners that now is a really exciting time. I mentioned earlier in our conversation that there’s about 1.1 million known objects in the solar system that’s going to keep on going up probably by another 6 million or so in the next decade.

So all of the exciting advances and insights that the solar system’s smallest bodies are providing us is only going to keep going up. So, if you want to learn more, check out natgeo.com/space and check out my story. Hope you like it.