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Casual Space

Dec 5, 2019

Kevin Cole is a geologist and astronomer who loves looking at what makes up our planet, and the planets all around us. When we study rocks from our planet Earth, sometimes we find answers to the questions within our universe! Beth never knew rocks could provide so much information, until she talked to Kevin. 

  • Beth asks Kevin to take a geological tour of the universe and his description is fascinating. No joke- gather your kiddos and learn about the interesting parts of our solar system that you may never knew! 
  • Bacteria, bugs, and things that survive in space! We discuss tardigrades and Apollo mission bacteria and such. 
  • Kevin worked to support the Galileo space probe program; helping to educate folks about this impressive mission.  We both cry a tear for how these great machines need to quietly die in order to protect the biological environment of the planet. 
  • If Kevin could travel to just ONE place in the UNIVERSE to study the planet as a geologist, it would be…(Kevin describes the details of this incredible place, and you’ll want to go there, too). 

“Plate tectonics has pretty much changed the entire way we’ve looked at our planet Earth. I tell my students, ‘if you really want to take a look at really an alien world, go back in time about 300 million years ago and look at the Earth, you won’t recognize it’ .” – Kevin Cole on the Casual Space Podcast

About Kevin Cole: Kevin is an assistant professor of geology and astronomy, and current department chair of the Department of Physical Sciences at Harper College in Palatine, IL.  In 1992 he completed his MS degree in Geology from the Univ of Ill-Chgo (UIC) modeling the paleohydraulic characteristics that formed the massive channels on Mars’ surface called outflow channels.  Prior to becoming a science educator, he participated in the analysis and classification of meteorites from all over the world, especially from Africa and the Antarctic while working with the Planetary Studies Foundation; and researched many types of advanced planetary mission concepts (manned and robotic) for NASA while at Science Applications International Corp, Space Sciences Division.

In 1998, he received a NASA/JPL fellowship award as part of the Solar System Educator Program, focusing on education and public outreach for the Galileo Europa Mission, an extension of the Galileo Mission at Jupiter.  Subsequent missions in which he served in this capacity included the Deep Impact Mission to comet Temple1, and the STARDUST Mission to comet Wild2.  


Experience the inspiration from a LIVE program at Harper College:

Read more about the solar system here