Jan 26, 2024


As co-host Latif Nasser was putting his kid to bed one night, he noticed something weird on a solar system poster up on the wall: Venus had a moon called … Zoozve.  But when he called NASA to ask them about it, they had never heard of Zoozve, and besides that, they insisted that Venus doesn’t have any moons.  So begins a tiny mystery that leads to a newly discovered kind of object in our solar system, one that is simultaneously a moon, but also not a moon, and one that waltzes its way into asking one of the most profound questions about our universe:  How predictable is it, really? And what does that mean for our place in it?

We have some exciting news! In this “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon 

Special Thanks to Larry Wasserman and everyone else at the Lowell Observatory, Rich Kremer and Marcelo Gleiser of Dartmouth College, Benjamin Sharkey at the University of Maryland. Thanks to the IAU and their Working Group for Small Bodies Nomenclature, as well as to the Bamboo Forest class of kindergarteners and first graders. 

Reported by - Latif Nasser
with help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keeys and Alyssa Jeong Perry
Produced by - Sarah Qari
with help from - Alyssa Jeong Perry
Original music and sound design contributed by - Sarah Qari and Jeremy Bloom
with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly
and Edited by  - Becca Bressler



Check out the paper by Seppo Mikkola, Paul Wiegert (whose voices are in the episode) along with colleagues Kimmo Innanen and Ramon Brasser describing this new type of object here (https://zpr.io/Ci4B3sGWZ3xi).

The Official Rules and Guidelines for Naming Non-Cometary Small Solar-System Bodies from the IAU Working Group on Small Body Nomenclature can be found here (https://zpr.io/kuBJYQAiCy7s).

All the specs on our strange friend can be found here (https://zpr.io/Tzg2sHhAp2kb).

Check out Liz Landau’s work at NASA's Curious Universe podcast https://zpr.io/QRbgZbMU2gWW) as well as lizlandau.com


Fascinating little animation of a horseshoe orbit (https://zpr.io/A9y6qHhzZtpA), a tadpole orbit (https://zpr.io/4qBDbgumhLf2), and a quasi-moon orbit (https://zpr.io/xtLhwQFGZ4Eh). 


If you’d like to buy (or even just look at) Alex Foster’s Solar System poster (featuring Zoozve of course), check it out here (https://zpr.io/dcqVEgHP43SJ). First 75 new annual sign-ups to our membership program The Lab get one free, autographed by Alex! Existing members of The Lab, look out for a discount code!

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Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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