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.
Science High School
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.
Science High School
One of the biggest earthquakes ever recorded struck recently, with minimal damage, no tsunami and it barely made the news. That’s because there are two kinds of earthquakes. This earthquake happened when two tectonic plates moved past each other horizontally, while more damaging earthquakes are caused when one plate slips beneath another. This radio story explains the two types of earthquakes and how they are gradually redefining the boundaries of the tectonic plates.
Current Event October 8, 2015
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows dark streaks flowing down Martian slopes. When the streaks are widest, there is evidence of water molecules. When the streaks shrink in the cold, water disappears. The water is not the same as a stream on Earth, but more like a hint of wetness. Although scientists are not entirely sure where the water source is, they say it could be from a salty underground reservoir or soaking up moisture from the atmosphere. Listen to hear how water can be important for future explorations on Mars.
Current Event September 4, 2015
It’s been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans. At the time, President George W. Bush and his administration were widely criticized for their slow response to the flooding. But on the 10 year anniversary, Bush was invited back to visit the city again. His tour sparked mixed reactions from residents who still feel they were let down by the federal government's response to the massive disaster.
Current Event August 19, 2015
Historically slaves in the United States are depicted as uneducated farm hands on plantations in the South. But that wasn’t true for all slaves. One famous slave named Yarrow Mamout was an educated Muslim who earned his freedom and even had his portrait painted by a famous American painter. He was a entrepreneur, money-lender and stock-owner, as well as having a reputation for being honest and moral. Archaeologists are trying to find out more about Yarrow Mamout by excavating a plot of land in Georgetown where he owned a home from 1796 until his death in 1823. Listen to this story to learn why this former slave is so well-known and respected.
Current Event August 12, 2015
Levels of nitrogen in the soil and water in Rocky Mountain National Park have been on the rise over the last few decades. Dairy farming in the state has contributed to this rise in nitrogen but dairy farmers are working be part of the solution. Technology is helping to warn farmers about wind shifts that would bring nitrogen into the park. Listen to learn more about this source of nitrogen and how self regulation might help the problem.
Current Event June 4, 2015
The practice of fracking, extracting gas from deep inside the earth, has divided neighbors and split towns. And now it’s pitting cities and towns in Texas against the state of Texas. The Texas state legislature has passed a law that takes the power to regulate the gas industry away from the cities and towns directly impacted by fracking. As you'll hear in this public radio story, blocking these local efforts to control fracking has sparked a fierce debate.
Current Event June 2, 2015
On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, an oil pipe in Santa Barbara California burst, spilling more than 100,000 gallons of oil into a storm drain that emptied into the ocean. The oil has devastated the coastline. From plants and animals on shore to the bottom of the ocean, this spill is expected to have a lasting impact on this ecologically diverse coast. Listen to learn more about the spill, its environmental impact and the political response it has inspired.
Current Event May 22, 2015
Greenhouse gas emissions in March were some of the highest ever recorded on the planet in millions of years. Carbon dioxide emissions have built up over time and increased the saturation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere up to 400 parts per million. Listen to learn about how scientists are able to determine past levels of carbon dioxide and measure this current trend.
Current Event May 3, 2015
Nepal, the mountainous South Asian country nestled between China and India, is small but densely populated. On April 25th a large earthquake devastated the country. From the capital city of Kathmandu to the highest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest, every corner of the country has been affected. With the death toll rising above 6,000 the international community and aid groups have sprung into action, sending supplies and people to support recovery. Unfortunately, the limited infrastructure in this developing nation is making the relief effort difficult.
Current Event April 22, 2015
When did humans begin to shape the earth? This is the debate happening among geologists who are determining whether the official timeline of the Earth should have a name for the current period of human domination. The concept of the “anthropocene” or the human era first emerged 15 years ago and a working group of scientists is determining whether to adopt it officially and when it should begin. Listen to learn more about the lively debate that surrounds this decision.