Exploring Outer Space and Our Inner Worlds with Professor Heino Falcke & Colonel Terry Virts

Original Air Date Wednesday, September 22, 2021 

The universe and our purpose in it remain vastly unknown. Many theories, beliefs, and reckonings exist about the “big scheme of things” but ultimately there are few concrete answers to our existential questions about earthly and heavenly destinations. To explore the impact space has on the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of humans, Positive Psychology Podcast Host Lisa Cypers Kamen speaks with two experts in outer space and heavenly destinations, professor of astroparticle physics and preacher, Heino Falcke and astronaut, Colonel Terry Virts. Heino Falcke created the first global telescope network to successfully photograph a black hole. He talks about his discoveries and his latest book, Light in the Darkness: Black Holes, the Universe, and Us. Colonel Terry Virts, a captain of the Space Shuttle Endeavor, shares how being in space has changed his spiritual outlook and about his book, How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth.

Heino Falcke — Exploring Outer Space and heavenly destinations:

  • What we know and what we don’t know about black holes. [2:29]
  • Heino Falcke describes his mission to create a global network of telescopes to capture an image of a black hole. [6:26}
  • Even as a hard-core scientist, Heino still finds that black holes have a mythological element to them. [11:54]
  • Is physics on a paradigm shift? Heino Falcke explains. [16:50]
  • Will Einstein’s theory of relativity continue to stand in the future? [21:07]
  • How Heino’s role as a preacher coexists with his role as a physicist. [25:04]
Man with gray hair and black shirt with yellow background, guest of new episode of positive psychology podcast Harvesting Happiness with Heino Falke & Terry Virts about exploring heavenly destinations

Heino Falcke

Heino Falcke is a professor of astroparticle physics and radio astronomy who seeks the vastness of the sky, believes in divine reason and a reasonable God. Stupid questions are often his best answer. He is blessed with Rhenish humor and East Prussian stubbornness. Falcke is a professor at Radboud University in Nijmegen and visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn. In his free time, he confides, baptizes, buries, and preaches as an ordained preacher in the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland.

 Book: Light in the Darkness: Black Holes, the Universe, and Us


Heino Falcke
Light in the Darkness
@HFalcke on Twitter
Heino Falcke on Facebook
@hfalcke on Instagram

Colonel Terry Virts — Exploring Inner Worlds:

  • The physiological and psychological implications of exploring and spending time in space. [31:01]
  • Colonel Terry Virts describes the impact his work has on his interpersonal relationships with both crewmates and family members. [39:11]
  • How Colonel Virts’ spiritual outlook changed after being in space. [43:45]
  • In his short film, Cosmic Perspective, Colonel Terry Virts is exploring space photography in heavenly destinations. [49:00]
  • Colonel Virts shares his top tips for space tourism. [52:49]
Man with blue NASA uniform and united states flag,guest of new episode of positive psychology podcast Harvesting Happiness with Heino Falke & Terry Virts about exploring heavenly destinations

Colonel Terry Virts

Colonel Terry Virts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the United States Air Force Academy in 1989, and a master of aeronautical science degree in aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Selected by NASA in 2000, he was the pilot of the STS-130 mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. In March 2015, Virts assumed command of the International Space Station for over 200 days. Virts is one of the stars (and photographers) of the IMAX film, A Beautiful Planet, released in April 2016. He is also the author of View from Above (National Geographic, 2017). He lives near Houston.

Book: How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth

Terry Virts
@AstroTerry on Twitter
AstroVirts on Facebook
@astro_terry on Instagram


This episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio is sponsored by:

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life A boot camp manual for greater emotional fitness. Happiness waits for no one and sometimes we all need support. What is getting in the way of your happiness right now? 

HFactor: Where is Your Heart? — Lisa’s documentary film explores the journey of human happiness. Emotions are contagious and happiness is a universally desired state. We tend to forget we all have the freedom to be happy or the liberty to be miserable each day.

“The notion of wonder and delight and curiosity is a foundation of happiness in humanity.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“We are the minutia in the great scheme of things. Our problems are a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the vastness that is out there.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Black holes are not really happy places. They are places of ultimate destruction.” @hfalke on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Some people say it is just a glowing donut but it’s real in a sense. It’s radio light. It is not science fiction anymore.” @hfalke on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Black holes are not different from a beautiful flower.” @hfalke on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Certain systems are not predictable at all. So, we have to live with the knowledge that we are fundamentally limited in what we can know and what we can predict.” @hfalke on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“We are living in a sweet hot spot of universes that makes life interesting and sometimes also painful.” @hfalke on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Einstein, nor Newton will ever become irrelevant.” @hfalke on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Everyone using a GPS makes use of the fact that spacetime is curved. That time goes faster up there. Near black holes the effect is extreme.” @hfalke on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“People can live and work in space for a long time. At least physically from a strength point of view.” @AstroTerry on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“In space, it’s not going to be raining but there are other stressors.” @AstroTerry on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“The astronaut career is a lot longer than just your time in space. Most of it is spent as time on earth.” @AstroTerry on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“It’s a selfish profession, you get all the benefits but the risk you are taking gets piled on the shoulders of your family.” @AstroTerry on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“It is very easy to be black-and-white, dogmatic, and ideological and that is not the reality of the universe. Seeing the planet made me chill out a little bit.” @AstroTerry on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“When you look at how cells work and how life works, I just don’t see how any of this can happen without a really smart person behind it all.” @AstroTerry on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet



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