With a new year on the horizon, we pause to take stock of all the wonder in world, including some of our favorite classic episodes from the Atlas Obscura podcast. Join us as we reacquaint ourselves with bestselling author Mary Roach, whose take on science is both funny and fascinating, and meet Amir Siraj, a young astrophysicist who may have made the discovery of a lifetime. We’ll also learn about a desert Christmas tradition, a mysterious event in Siberia, and the remarkable Miss Baker.

So put your feet up, get cozy, and have a listen:

Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

In arid Chandler, Arizona, Christmas decor means a tree made entirely of the diaspore of the invasive Russian thistle plant, better known as tumbleweed.

Amir Siraj and the Interstellar Object

Amir Siraj is a college sophomore who just happened to discover what may be the first documented interstellar object to hit Earth.

The Tunguska Event

We head to a remote region of Russia, to the epicenter of what would become known as the Tunguska Event. On June 30, 1908, at 7:17 in the morning, a blue light streaked across the sky above Siberia, followed by a blinding flash and a cacophony of noise that sounded like artillery firing. Today, scientists still debate what happened.

The Grave of Miss Baker

If you’re in Huntsville, Alabama, be sure to visit the grave of “America’s First Lady of Space,” an early astronaut whose incredible life has been largely forgotten. Just don’t forget to leave a banana as a memorial to her service.

Fun and Funny Science with Mary Roach

Spend some time with bestselling author Mary Roach, who takes us into the hidden corners of the scientific world, from training to poop in space to the surprisingly pleasant Common Cold Unit, all the way to the inside of Elvis’s colon. If you want to check out her work, we recommend starting with Packing for Mars, or checking out an excerpt of her latest book, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.