Space

Sky Guys: An Astronomical Update

Jun 2, 2015
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA celebrates twenty-five years of The Hubble Telescope and its groundbreaking glimpses into space and time. The Messenger spacecraft goes out with a bang, crashing –intentionally– into Mercury, after being the only spacecraft to ever orbit the planet. We’ll talk about these extraterrestrial milestones and more.

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center.

A Dartmouth astrophysicist is part of a team that’s been looking billions of years into the universe’s past – and they’ve found some clues that may explain why galaxies form the way they do.

Ryan Hickox is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy. The findings of his team were published in the journal Nature. Ryan Hickox joined All Things Considered with more on the findings.

 

Astronaut & Children's Book Author Mark Kelly

Mar 25, 2015
Simon & Schuster

Astronaut Scott Kelly will be heading to the International Space Station for a year-long mission aimed at studying the physiological effects of prolonged space-flight. Crucial to the study is Scott’s twin brother Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut who will participate by staying here on earth, as a sort of controlled variable. Virginia spoke with Mark about the mission.

Wikimedia Commons

We’ve seen this dance before: presidential hopefuls stumping in New Hampshire. On today’s show, we’ll talk to the official candidate from the Transhumanist Party who says we need a new political party and new tactics for the issues of our time.

Then, Jackie Robinson’s major league debut was an obvious, watershed moment in America’s troubled racial history. But we’ll look at a lesser known moment for American civil rights: breaking NASA’s color barrier and the story of the first African Americans in the space program.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Pete Souza / flic.kr/p/9dq2yf

If you’ve felt skeptical during a political speech, fear not! Politifact is fact-checking tonight’s State of the Union address and the Republican response in real time. On today’s show: how to truth squad a speech that has not yet happened, and the challenges of distinguishing fact from fiction in the political realm.

Then, in an age when so much information is kept in the cloud or on hard drives, hoarding is no longer a problem unique to the physical realm; we’ll talk to a self-diagnosed digital hoarder.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

The Sky Guys' Top Space Stories Of 2014

Dec 22, 2014
Dan Beaumont Space Museum / Flickr/CC

It was a big year for Mars, with India getting into the game and launching its first spacecraft. Meanwhile, the European Space Agency celebrated the successful landing of its probe on a comet. And the private space travel industry lamented the crash of Virgin Galactic’s test craft.

GUESTS:

Logan Shannon / NHPR

The recent disintegration and crash of a Virgin Galactic suborbital space plane raised questions about the safety and viability of space tourism. On today’s show we consider another issue for commercial spaceflight….the psychological effects of leaving earth.

Then, we can all remember our favorite sports movies – but what about our favorite sports-based books? Bill Littlefield of NPR’s Only a Game talks about his favorite sportswriters, and reads from his new collection of athletics inspired poetry. 

Plus, a conversation with America’s only water sommelier. That’s right, water sommelier.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

David Malkoff via flickr Creative Commons

The recent disintegration and crash of a Virgin Galactic suborbital space plane raised questions about the safety and viability of space tourism. On today’s show, we consider another issue for commercial spaceflight: the psychological effects of leaving earth.

Then, touted as the world’s most advanced ship, Royal Caribbean’s cruise-liner Quantum of the Seas is outfitted with virtual balconies, robot bartenders, Bladerunner-esque elevators, and smart apps. While the ship’s technology is impressive, we’ll find out where it all falls short.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, a man-made object was flung at a comet Wednesday — and now it's sticking to the rock as it hurtles through space.

"We are on the comet," Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager, announced Wednesday, marking a historic achievement.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

“Apple Pay” came out of the gate with great fanfare and claims that the mobile-payment system will make purchasing easier and more secure.  On today’s show, a closer scan of Apple Pay and find out who is set to benefit – and who is not.

And, from traffic cams to EZ Pass, big brother is riding along with us more than we think. But just how much are drivers being monitored? And, after a week of historic wins and losses, we’ll sample the art of the concession speech.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Faith Meixell / NHPR

In recent years, the Red Planet has been bombarded with space craft, rovers, observers, orbiters and studied intently from here on Earth.  But the idea of human boots on Mars has remained in the realm of science fiction. Now though, serious planning is underway, for missions and even colonies there, and possibly much sooner than you might think. (digital post by Faith Meixell)

GUESTS:

Sara Robertson via flickr Creative Commons

As the air grows colder, we leave behind the hot summer blockbusters, and move to more serious films, many of which will be vying heavily for award show attention. On today’s show we go behind the spotlight to examine the art of how actors create characters. Then, we’ll explore the next frontier: exo-solar planets.  The search for planets outside our solar system – with the idea that discovering one just like ours – is a real possibility.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Davide De Col via flickr Creative Commons

As more and more countries plan their future lunar missions, the question becomes, who gets to decide what happens to the evidence of past missions that has remained perfectly preserved on the surface of the moon? We'll hear from a space law expert and an anthropologist about plans to preserve America's lunar legacy. Plus, a sociology professor thinks that men need to make more friends. A study published by the American Sociological Review found that white, heterosexual men have the fewest friends of any American demographic – which may be why the 'bro-mance' movies like I Love You, Man hit so close to home.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Faith Meixell / NHPR

The latest astronomical news with our Sky Guys: NASA is in troubleshooting mode as the Mars rover Curiosity shows signs of wear after two years of roaming the planet’s rocky terrain, a global scientific body invites the public to vote on names for newfound planets, and astronomers are looking back to Apollo 11's lunar landing 45 years ago.

GUESTS:

via nasa.gov

Make a lunch date today with your loyal friend, Word of Mouth. We're revisiting some favorites from the last year, and our nostalgia is set to max capacity. Kicking off the show are two stories about farming. In space. Then hit the juke box and press play for a segment on the origin of 'cool'. Speaking of cool, Chris Ballew of the band The Presidents of the United States of America talks about his family friendly musical persona Caspar Babypants. Then, the internet can provide a place for venting about Ventis. Wrapping up the show, Producer Zach Nugent shares his latest picks for The Audio Orchard.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Sky Guys: An Astronomy Update

Mar 12, 2014
James Pouliot / NHPR

We’ll check in about the latest from the International Space Station, talk about new planet finds by NASA, and look ahead to some highlights coming up to watch out for in the night sky.

GUESTS:

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

In his Washington Post review of Lee Billings book, Five Billion Years of Solitude, astronomer Mike Brown compressed the age of the earth into a human lifetime.

The Man Who Owns The Moon...Maybe

Jan 6, 2014
Photo by Steve Jurvetson, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Dennis M. Hope claims to own the moon.  He's been taking advantage of an obscure international treaty loophole since 1980, selling off lunar property, and declaring himself owner of the Lunar Embassy, and President of the Galactic Government.  Sound like a joke?  It's not. It's just business.

NASA

China’s lunar rover, Jade Rabbit, landed on the moon to study the satellite’s terrain, geology, and lava flows. What else might it find? Dirty laundry, golf balls, bags of human waste, and an American flag.  There are loads of items left on the moon by NASA’s Apollo missions -- still perfectly preserved because the moon lacks a destructive atmosphere. With a handful of countries announcing plans for future lunar missions, a number of scientists are arguing that moon trash is an archeological treasure that should be preserved and studied by future generations. But with no laws or lunar governing body to protect, say, the first footprint on the moon, some worry that America’s lunar heritage could be destroyed by a new generation of explorers rushing to reach the moon.

NASA/Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility

And now for a project that sounds more like something from a Pixar movie than the next big thing in space exploration…the High Altitude Lensing Observatory, or HALO, could be the Hubble telescope’s successor in deep space imaging – but instead of orbiting earth from space, scientists are hoping to hang this giant telescope from a great…big…balloon.

One of the scientists working on the project is Dr. Richard Massey, an astronomer at The Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Faith Meixell / NHPR

Our sky guys join us with the latest news on space - starting with how the shutdown affected our monitoring programs. We also talk about the Orionid meteor showers, two missions to Mars, and a new iPhone app for checking the location of spy satellites.

GUEST:

Don Pettit

NASA’s Don Pettit has been back from his last mission aboard the International Space Station for over a year, but his blog “Letters to Earth” remains one of the most fascinating and profound windows into the creative and emotional life of an astronaut.  While in space he penned and published poetry, An Astronaut’s Guide to Space Etiquette, and the series, “Diary of a Space Zucchini”, which detailed life on the ISS from the unusual perspective of a se

Farming...In Space!

Sep 16, 2013
Courtesy NASA.gov

If you think there are too many food deserts in cities across the United States, try finding some fresh produce in outer space.  Naturally, NASA makes sure astronauts living on the International Space Station don’t go hungry, but since it costs about $10,000 to send a single pound of food to the I.S.S., you can bet they don’t see a lot of leafy greens.

That cost is just one reason growing fresh food in outer space is a crucial step in the future of manned space exploration.  Jesse Hirsch is a staff writer for Modern Farmer, where you can find his article, “Space Farming: The Final Frontier”. 

http://www.nasa.gov

There are some ways NASA can learn about deep space without sending anyone – or anything – into orbit.  For example, scientists are studying meteorite impacts by recreating them here on earth at the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range… the gun shoots projectiles up to fifteen thousand miles per hour into materials designed to simulate the surface of the moon, Mars, and even asteroids. Producer Zach Nugent spoke with Adam Mann, an astronomy and physics reporter for Wired, who visited the Ames facility to see the gun in action.

NASA via NewScientist.com

Astronauts  Mark and Scott Kelly are the only siblings who have both traveled in space. The fact that they are identical twins makes them unique test subjects for a new scientific experiment being conducted by NASA to study the effects of long term space travel on the human body.

Jacob Aron is a technology reporter for New Scientist and creator of the website, “Just a Theory.” He wrote about the Kelly brothers “Twin Mission” in the latest issue of New Scientist magazine.

New Hampshire Public Radio

Dan Colgan gave us an update on today's space weather.

Courtesy nasa.gov

As we learned from Joe Hanson, space weather can be an amazing thing. As receiving real-time space weather forecasts is becoming more of a reality, it would be good to familiarize yourself with some of the weather events you can expect to see. We’ve compiled a list to test your space weather knowledge. All of these events sound fantastic and have been the fodder for many a Sci-Fi plot, but do you know which one of these 4 space weather events isn’t real?

Eddiedog2012

It’s summer storm season, and before heading out of the house it’s not a bad idea to take a quick glance at your local Doppler Radar to avoid getting caught in a downpour.  The breadth and scope of weather forecasting has advanced rapidly in the past few decades – now, the United Kingdom’s National Weather Service is partnering with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to begin providing forecasts of space weather in near real-time. We wanted to get a better idea of what a space forecast might sound like, so we called Joe Hanson - host and writer of the PBS digital studio’s It’s Okay To Be Smart.

Jeff Houck/John Stavely via Flickr Creative Commons

Florida’s Aerospace Economic Development Agency is making plans to build a new commercial spaceport not far from the Kennedy Space Center – home of NASA’s now retired shuttle program. There’s just one problem: the land is already occupied.  To learn more, producer Taylor Quimby caught up with Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittmanwho wrote about Space Florida’s proposal to build on top of an  18th century sugar factory and archaeological site called the Elliott Plantation.

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

In this special edition of Word of Mouth: are we catching up with technology? This week we'll explore the very human way we interact with technology; resistance is futile.

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