Current Event May 20, 2017
Hurricane Sandy was a unique storm for a variety of reasons. Named a “Frankenstorm” by many due to its problematic combination of factors, analyzing this event can teach us a lot about how hurricanes work. A professor of atmospheric science explains why Hurricane Sandy was poised to be a particularly dangerous, rare blend of an “extratropical storm” and a tropical storm. He explains how a hurricane’s winds, pressure, movement, timing, and temperature all play roles in how hard it hits coastal and urban communities. Listen to learn what made Hurricane Sandy especially powerful and what it shows us about Earth’s atmosphere.
Current Event May 20, 2017
Resuming civilian life can be difficult for military veterans. Disaster relief volunteer groups like Team Rubicon allow veterans to use their specialized skills and work in cooperative teams while helping those suffering from the aftermath of natural catastrophes. Team Rubicon sent hundreds of volunteers in 2012, when superstorm Hurricane Sandy hit the East coast of the United States. Natural disaster victims are grateful to benefit from veterans’ expert assistance. Likewise, veterans enjoy the sense of purpose and community this work gives them. Listen to hear veterans’ stories of volunteering during Hurricane Sandy.
Current Event May 11, 2017
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has just broken the record for the most days spent in space. She has been off planet Earth longer than any other American in history. Whitson is also the first woman to command the International Space Station. President Donald Trump congratulated her in a call to the Space Station and she sent a message to young people. Listen to learn more about Whitson and her historic record.
Current Event March 9, 2017
During the space race between the United States and Russia, many of the NASA mathematicians who made space flight possible were women. Moreover, many of these important scientists were black women, which is significant, because segregation was still in full effect. Although white male engineers and astronauts have been the most highlighted in history, people are now celebrating the essential contributions of these female, African-American scientists, including the movie “Hidden Figures.” Listen to learn more about the black female scientists like Katherine Johnson and their important contributions to space travel.
Current Event December 20, 2016
The first American to orbit the Earth, John Glenn, also had a political career as a U.S. senator. After his historic space flight, he served in Congress for 24 years. At the end of his political career, at the age of 77, he went back into space and became the oldest person to fly in space on the shuttle Discovery. Listen to hear more about the extraordinary life of John Glenn.
Current Event December 7, 2016
Dark matter is invisible and barely interacts with anything else. Finding dark matter and proving it exists is a difficult task. There are a few theories about what dark matter is but no one has found a way to detect it. It could be that the universe is mostly invisible. Listen to hear more about dark matter and what it can tell us.
Current Event November 2, 2016
Astronomers have noticed blobs of eerie light glowing in outer space and have been puzzled by them since their discovery. Astronomers were studying galaxies in the distant universe, when they noticed strange glowing clouds of gas that were 10 times the diameter of the Milky Way. They have been looking into the source of light coming from the blobs and have recently made an interesting discovery that reveals why the blobs produce a glow.
Current Event August 31, 2016
Scientists have discovered evidence of gravitational waves, which show ripples in space and time. A new machine has made it possible for scientists to observe space in a whole new way. Recently, the machine picked up vibrations from the collision of two black holes. The discovery comes a few months after the very first detection of gravitational waves. With these tools, scientists can look at the universe in a new way. In this story you will hear the signal from the black holes converted from gravitational waves to soundwave.
Current Event August 17, 2016
NASA is preparing to launch a spacecraft that will measure and report space weather and provide live images of Earth. The idea to provide Earth’s images for the public to view started with former Vice President, Al Gore, in 1992. He believed everyone should be able to view and study the earth. The satellite’s ability to measure space weather will help prevent against damaging effects on earth from things like solar storms that can damage electric power grids. After more than a decade, Gore’s vision is becoming a reality. Listen to hear more about this new satellite.
Current Event May 26, 2016
Scientists recently made an exciting discovery. They spotted three, earth-sized planets beyond our solar system. Though scientists have found many planets in the past, these particular ones are special because they may potentially support life. They each orbit a reddish “dwarf star” that is smaller than our sun and much cooler. Scientists used to ignore these dwarf stars, but now we know that such stars can produce planets worth studying. Scientists will continue to analyze these planets to find out more about their atmospheres and properties. Listen to hear more about these three newly-discovered worlds.
Current Event May 10, 2016
The Himalayan country of Nepal was rocked by a devastating earthquake that killed almost 9,000 people one year ago. Today, the country still suffers from widespread homelessness, power outages and a serious lack of basic supplies. Even with the large amounts of money pledged to Nepal, none of that money actually arrived to help the people. Monsoon season is approaching and the people need more secure living situations in order to survive. Listen to hear more about the conditions in Nepal after the earthquake.
Current Event April 18, 2016
Astronauts live and work in small spaces. If they were to stay in space for years at a time, they would need a larger place to live. The problem has been how to pack something large into a small space capsule. The solution may be an inflatable room. NASA is now ready to test a new inflatable habitat. It will be sent to the International Space Station for a trial. Listen to hear more about this invention.
The glaciers in the European Alps started melting rapidly in the 1860s. But that didn’t correspond with the warming of the European climate at the end of what is known as the Little Ice Age. That warming didn’t occur until the 1910s. To understand the causes of the glacial melt, scientists considered the possible impact of the Industrial Revolution, which began in the 1840s. The recent melting in the Rocky Mountains of America could be caused by the same reasons. Listen to this story to learn about the theory that dust and soot are contributing to how quickly glaciers are melting.
Current Event March 10, 2016
After living in space for almost a year, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returned safely to Earth. Kelly stayed aboard the International Space Station, conducting experiments and taking photographs of Earth. Throughout the year, he was able to communicate with people at NASA and update them on his activities and status. Researchers at NASA have also tracked Kelly’s physical and mental health after one of the longest missions in space. Listen to the story to hear more about this astronaut’s admirable and historic journey.
Current Event February 21, 2016
Scientists recently announced a huge discovery—gravitational waves. The waves were detected when a collision of two black holes created ripples or waves, similar to ripples on a pond. These ripples were predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago as a part of his theory of relativity. Scientists have been working to detect these waves for decades and are excited about the information that can be learned from them. In this story you will hear what gravitational waves sound like and learn more about their discovery.
Current Event January 7, 2016
The MoonArk is a time capsule that will be sent to the moon on a privately-funded Moon mission. It is filled with items that will attempt to communicate to whomever finds it and show a portrait of humanity. Two hundred artists and designers contributed to the capsule and the items are unique, including a spritz of perfume, sculptures so small you need a microscope to see them and text messages. Listen to hear more about this artistic time capsule.
Current Event December 31, 2015
There are only a small number of people who have been in space. A smaller number of people have been outside a space station, tied only with a tether, floating in space. There is a huge amount of training and planning that goes into a space mission, but sometimes things still go wrong. Now astronauts have fewer opportunities for space travel since NASA ended its shuttle program in 2011. Listen to these astronauts as they describe their experiences floating over the Earth.
Current Event December 9, 2015
Oklahoma has experienced more than 5,000 earthquakes this year. Some scientists tie these earthquakes to fracking, the extraction of oil and gas from deep within the earth. Fracking uses water to extract the oil and gas and is then injected into underground wells for storage. This can put pressure on faults and cause them to slip and trigger an earthquake. After inspections were ordered, state regulators shut down the water disposal wells, which slowed the earthquakes. But once the wells came back online the earthquakes started again. Listen to hear more about how oil is related to earthquakes in Oklahoma.
Current Event November 10, 2015
This story is about astronaut Ronald McNair, as told by his brother Carl. They grew up in racially-segregated South Carolina. Carl tells about when Ron came up against segregation laws that he didn’t understand as a child and how that shaped his life as a young African-American in the rural south. But his life ended tragically. Listen to this story of Ronald McNair’s journey.