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Into the Stratosphere with Swapna Krishna

The journalist joins the latest episode of The Pod Directive

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Star Trek: The Pod Directive returns with an all-new episode! Science, space, and gaming journalist Swapna Krishna joins hosts Paul F. Tompkins and Tawny Newsome to discuss the latest news in space and interstellar travel, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and more.

On Facing Any Pressure of Raising A Child to Be A Fan As Well

Krishna details her experience as a Star Trek and how her four year old son interprets his mama's favorite show, based on all the opening credits, "Planets."

When asked if she feels any pressure, as a Star Trek fan, to make sure she raises a Star Trek fan, Krishna explains, "I am trying not... He is very good, and I think probably all kids, I don't have a lot of experience with kids besides my own. I'm a youngest kid; I didn't babysit a lot growing up so my kid is most of my experience. But my experience with him is that, if he knows you want it too much, he's not going to do it. He can sense your desperation."

What is her approach to parenting and nurturing her son's interest then? "I'm very particular about, as being a parent, is about making him the best version of himself he can be, not making the best version of me or what I want for him or what I want him to be," remarks Krishna. "It's about him... and those aren't always going to be compatible. I expose him to it as much as I can; it's the only show I will watch with him around because I generally don't watch a lot of TV. Trek is the only thing I'm current on these days but I do really try hard to expose him to it. He asks a lot of questions, which I like. He asks a lot of questions about the ships, about the captains, about who is who. 'Why does this person look like this?' It allows for a lot of good conversations while also allowing him to go to daycare or to school and [talk about it with others]."

On Where We Are at with Space Exploration

Given recent headlines of private companies making space tourism available to citizens with the monetary means, Krishna shares her thoughts on how much or little has occurred since man first landed on the moon.

"I will spare you the whole geopolitical talk I have, but the short answer is basically we landed on the moon in 1969 and it is 2023. That is a huge difference. Basically the moon landing and that space race was all geopolitical. It was all about beating Russia to the moon, which is, once we got there, political and public support kind of fell off because we won."

"Ron Moore's 'For All Mankind' is such a transformational series because the idea is, what if we hadn't beaten them to the moon, then would we have continued the space program," states Krishna. "It's conceivable that we would've. I say continued the space program, I meant space exploration. We've been hanging out low Earth orbit since then. We built the space shuttle and then we built the International Space Station because we had to have somewhere for the space shuttle to go because they were just hanging out and didn't really have a lot to do. That's really where we'e been stuck, and I think a lot of the reason you have to have a governmental organization like NASA spearheading and leading the way for space exploration."

"It's a very reciprocal relationship," adds Krishna. "The reason that we are not all space tourists right now, going to space, space hotels and all that is because the kind of public and political will to do that kind of space exploration and to further that, disappeared after Apollo."

On Introducing Star Trek to Others

Naturally, when sharing one's fandom with friends and loved ones, the amount of Star Trek to ingest can be daunting.

Discussing her approach, Krishna reveals, "I honestly usually shy away from my favorites because my favorites are usually favorites. My favorites aren't always the best episodes of the series; there's some that are inarguable that are my favorites. Also, I love some episodes that maybe I probably know aren't objectively the best, but I have a specific reason to adore them. When I was younger, I recommended a lot of the TNG Klingons episodes, especially to people of color. As we've gotten away from and understood more about how aliens and people of color, let's not conflate those stories. There was a lot of using aliens for representation, and I felt seen by that in the early '90s when that was all there was."

To hear what Swapna Krisha's favorite Star Trek: Deep SpaceNine recommended episodes for Tawny and Paul, NASA's plans for 2023 and beyond, the future of space tourism, and so much more, listen to the latest episode of Star Trek: The Pod Directive!

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