Science & Environment

Space
12:01 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Are We There Yet? Voyager 1 Finally Answers 'Yes'

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It's one of the most enduring questions in modern space exploration, a puzzle scientists have been trying to solve for years. Are we there yet? Where is the Voyager 1 spacecraft? Where is it right now in relationship to where we are?

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED SHOW)

FLATOW: Well, it's 11 billion miles out...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Voyager 1 will be leaving the region called the Helio...

FLATOW: Tell us where it is? How do you know that it's at the edge of our solar...

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Interviews
12:01 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Stephen Hawking Looks Back

Stephen Hawking is known for his research into relativity, black holes, and quantum mechanics, as well as for the disease that has left him almost entirely paralyzed. But the theoretical cosmologist says that, were he to start from scratch, he wouldn't focus on physics.

Science
12:01 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Chemistry Research Roundup

Why are bed bugs so resistant to pesticides? How do whiskey, rye, and bourbon develop their unique flavor profile? What compounds in the natural world could be used for insect repellant or for treating AIDS? For the answers, we turn to the American Chemical Society conference. We'll discuss a few of the highlights presented at this week's meeting.

Environment
12:01 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

World's Largest Volcano Discovered on Pacific Seafloor

Researchers discovered the largest volcano on earth a thousand miles off the coast of Japan. Tamu Massif rivals some of the biggest volcanoes found in the solar system. Volcanology researcher Kayla Iacovino discusses what this giant can tell us about the inside of our planet.

Science
3:07 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Living Gears Help This Bug Jump

An image from an electron microscope of the back legs of a planthopper insect.
Gregory Sutton

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 1:21 pm

Greg Sutton was closely inspecting the back legs of a planthopper nymph — a small green, flightless insect — when he noticed something odd.

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Environment
3:06 am
Fri September 13, 2013

'Rivers On Rolaids': How Acid Rain Is Changing Waterways

Gwynns Falls runs beneath Interstate 95 at Carroll Park in Baltimore. The chemistry of this river, like many across the country, is changing.
Courtesy of Sujay Kaushal

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 10:47 am

Something peculiar is happening to rivers and streams in large parts of the United States — the water's chemistry is changing. Scientists have found dozens of waterways that are becoming more alkaline. Alkaline is the opposite of acidic — think baking soda or Rolaids.

Research published in the current issue of Environmental Science and Technology shows this trend to be surprisingly widespread, with possibly harmful consequences.

What's especially odd about the finding is its cause: It seems that acid rain actually has been causing waterways to grow more alkaline.

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Shots - Health News
3:03 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Treating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope

Dr. Jim Olson meets with Carver Faull at Seattle Children's Hospital in August. Carver, now 12, had surgery to remove a brain tumor in 2012.
Matthew Ryan Williams for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 10:02 am

Try to imagine someone who is supremely calm while at the same time bursting with energy, and you've got a pretty good idea of what Jim Olson is like.

He's a cancer researcher, physician, cyclist, kayaker and cook, not always in that order. He approaches each activity with incredible passion.

But to really understand Olson, you have to watch him in action with patients.

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The Two-Way
6:22 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

WATCH: Waterspout On Lake Michigan

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:04 pm

At least two waterspouts were seen over Lake Michigan on Thursday, near the Wisconsin border, amid strong winds and a marine warning issued by the National Weather Service.

The Associated Press says the waterspouts — tornadoes that form over the water — merged into one and then split again. The video below, taken by an amateur in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., appears to be a single, merged, waterspout:

Space
5:44 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

See Ya, Voyager: Probe Has Finally Entered Interstellar Space

This artist's illustration shows the Voyager 1 space probe. The spacecraft was launched on Sept. 5, 1977, and as of August 2012, it is outside the bubble of hot gas, known as the "heliopause," that radiates from the sun.
NASA/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 9:34 pm

NASA's two Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, have made history in a dramatic fashion by exploring the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now one of the vehicles, Voyager I, has made another pioneering leap. It is the first spacecraft to leave the vast bubble of hot gas that surrounds our solar system.

At long last, Voyager 1 is now in interstellar space.

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Voyager Has Left The Solar System (This Time For Real!)

A NASA image of one of the Voyager space probes, launched in 1977 to study the outer solar system and eventually interstellar space.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:31 pm

Stop us if you've heard this one: A spacecraft flies out of the solar system ...

Yes, the planetary probe Voyager 1, launched in the era of Jimmy Carter and bell-bottoms, has finally left the room, so to speak, years after completing its primary mission: a "grand tour" of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn (twin Voyager 2 also visited Uranus and Neptune).

And years after we first started talking about its departure.

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