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HARU_Q / flickr creative commons

There's a theory that ours isn't the only universe. That there are, actually, infinitely many universes.

That there are, then, infinitely many yous.

That there are infinitely many different yous reading infinitely many different versions of this show synopsis. That there are infinitely many universes that don't even bother to include you. Or this show synopsis. Or even reading.

Infrared photo of Venus at night, from the Japanese robotic spacecraft Akatsuki, which orbits the planet
JAXA / ISAS / DARTS / Damia Bouic

Extreme heat, crushing air pressure, and toxic clouds. Venus may not seem like a hospitable place.

But the discovery of a certain chemical, phosphine, in that planet’s atmosphere has raised new questions about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Scientists wonder if a living organism could possibly be creating this unexpected chemical.

This hour, we sit down Martha Gilmore, a Wesleyan professor. She’s a planetary geologist and Venus expert.

What questions do you have about Venus or our solar system?

We, The Dog

Jan 29, 2021
Photos: Quino Al (background), Niclas Moser (dog),  ActionVance (human) via Unsplash. Illustration by Chion Wolf.


What do the ways we train our dogs say about us?

You’ll hear about how dogs are trained to search and rescue, dating back to some of our earliest wars. How they’ve been trained by authority figures for hundreds of years to bite - and hold - and sometimes kill. And how the street dogs of Moscow were trained to fly into space - even though it meant their certain doom.

Alex Liivet, Flickr Creative Commons / edited by Chion Wolf


There’s not a lot of great headlines in the news lately. Y’know, between a contentious election, rioting in the Capitol, a raging pandemic, and lots and lots of dangerous misinformation.

Bill Ingalls / NASA

Astronaut Kayla Barron was one of the first women commissioned as a submarine warfare officer in the US Navy. Now, she’s part of another groundbreaking group, NASA’s Artemis Team.

This hour, we talk with Barron about her training for the next set of missions to return to the moon.  The Artemis Program aims to put the first woman on the moon in coming years.

Infrared photo of Venus at night, from the Japanese robotic spacecraft Akatsuki, which orbits the planet
JAXA / ISAS / DARTS / Damia Bouic

Extreme heat, crushing air pressure, and toxic clouds. Venus may not seem like a hospitable place.

But the discovery of a certain chemical, phosphine, in that planet’s atmosphere has raised new questions about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Scientists wonder if a living organism could possibly be creating this unexpected chemical.

This hour, we sit down Martha Gilmore, a Wesleyan professor. She’s a planetary geologist and Venus expert.

What questions do you have about Venus or our solar system?

a hole
Mike Burns / flickr creative commons

In November, 2016, we did a show about all the problems presented by, well, a-holes. And so it seems only logical to expand our scope a bit and do a show about all the problems presented by, well, a hole.

For instance: How many holes are there in a straw? Did you say one? Okay, cool. Then how many holes are there in a sock? (A relatively new sock, I mean.) You said one again, right? But how can both of those things be true at the same time?

Or, put another way: What happens to the hole in the donut as you eat the donut around it? This gets into mereology, the theory of parthood relations -- for our purposes, the parts and wholes of holes and the wholes the holes are parts of.

Your head hurts a little, right?

hole
Mike Burns / flickr creative commons

In November, 2016, we did a show about all the problems presented by, well, a-holes. And so it seems only logical to expand our scope a bit and do a show about all the problems presented by, well, a hole.

For instance: How many holes are there in a straw? Did you say one? Okay, cool. Then how many holes are there in a sock? (A relatively new sock, I mean.) You said one again, right? But how can both of those things be true at the same time?

Or, put another way: What happens to the hole in the donut as you eat the donut around it? This gets into mereology, the theory of parthood relations -- for our purposes, the parts and wholes of holes and the wholes the holes are parts of.

Your head hurts a little, right?

In early December at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, two anxious scientists were about to send 20 years of research into orbit.

"I feel like our heart and soul is going up in that thing," Dr. Emily Germain-Lee told her husband, Dr. Se-Jin Lee, as they waited arm-in-arm for a SpaceX rocket to launch.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

There’s a new initiative in Hartford aimed at exposing area teenagers to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Saturday, July 20th marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Several Connecticut companies played an important role in the historic mission.

82 year-old Donald Rethke was a mechanical engineer at Hamilton Standard in Windsor Locks in 1969. He helped design the life support systems and the heating system on the lunar module used in the moon landing.

NASA

Fifty years ago, man walked on the moon. But before that happened, millions held their breath at each stage of the Apollo 11 mission, starting with the launch.

This hour we talk about the lasting impact of this historic moment--a feat of engineering, science, and political will. 

Jared Frazer / Creative Commons

President Trump is working to block more than 20 separate Congressional investigations led by the Democratic-controlled House. Democrats say the Trump Administration has failed to respond to or comply with at least 79 requests for documents or other information. Are we in a Constitutional crisis, or not? 

José Francisco Salgado / Flickr Creative Commons

It could be argued that you will never understand yourself if you don’t understand the universe. And the universe is full of both beautiful and scary things. At least once, something has come roaring out of the skies to reconfigure completely life on earth. So it might be a good idea to study the heavens.

The world is seeing the first-ever image of a black hole Wednesday, as an international team of researchers from the Event Horizon Telescope project released their look at the supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy Messier 87 (M87). The image shows a dark disc "outlined by emission from hot gas swirling around it under the influence of strong gravity near its event horizon," the consortium said.

"As an astrophysicist, this is a thrilling day for me," said National Science Foundation Director France A. Córdova.

Researchers from Mount Holyoke College and UMass Amherst are among the teams chosen by NASA to study moon rocks gathered during Apollo missions 50 years ago. These rock samples haven't been unsealed before now. 

James Vaughan / Flickr

Humans are great at making a mess of things. So far, however, that mess has been confined to Earth. But as we develop into a spacefaring species, our capacity for destruction, pollution, and prejudice (towards aliens of earthly and unearthly origins) threatens to have cosmic consequences.

That's one giant leap for China.

China state television announced Thursday that China's Chang'e 4 lunar explorer, which launched in early December, "became the first ever probe to soft-land on the far side of the moon." The probe touched down at 10:26 Beijing time, the China Global Television Network said.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

A powerful purple protein that could help cure certain types of blindness has made its way from a tiny Farmington laboratory all the way up to the International Space Station.

A Soyuz rocket booster failed during the launch of a capsule carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin on Thursday, forcing officials to abort their mission. The capsule made a "ballistic landing" and rescue teams recovered the pair, who are reportedly in "good condition," NASA says.

Hague and Ovchinin launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:40 a.m. ET, heading to join the crew of the International Space Station. But more than a minute after launch, their Soyuz MS-10's booster failed.

Wikimedia Commons

The planet Mars will swing really close to Earth Friday night, making our neighbor’s bright red-orange light outshine Jupiter’s in the night sky.

James Vaughan / Flickr

Humans are great at making a mess of things. So far, however, that mess has been confined to Earth. But as we develop into a spacefaring species, our capacity for destruction, pollution, and prejudice (towards aliens of earthly and unearthly origins) threatens to have cosmic consequences.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr

If there's one thing that unites us all (literally, ALL of us) it's gravity. Gravity attracts every bit of matter in the universe to every other bit of matter in the universe, no exceptions! But for something (a warping of space-time, to be precise) so universally present, it remains one of the least understood forces in physics.

NASA's InSight lander is on its way to Mars, after a successful launch on Saturday morning.

The lander was launched by an Atlas V rocket taking off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California shortly after 4 a.m. local time. It successfully separated from the upper stage more than an hour later.

The lander is in contact with mission control as it heads off on its six-month trip to the Red Planet.

"Starman" in Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster with Earth in the background
SpaceX / Flickr

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made history in February when his Falcon Heavy rocket launched a red Tesla convertible into outer space. In the driver seat is a dummy astronaut dubbed “Starman” who’s now flying through space, orbiting the sun.

This week, the skywatchers will experience a flashy double feature: The Geminid meteor shower — one of the year's best — will coincide with an unusually close encounter by an asteroid.

That asteroid? It's called 3200 Phaethon, discovered by a NASA satellite in 1983. With a diameter of about 3 miles, it's the third-largest near-Earth asteroid classified by the space agency as "potentially hazardous."

President Trump has formally told NASA to send U.S. astronauts back to the moon.

"The directive I'm signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery," he said.

Standing at the president's side as he signed "Space Policy Directive 1" on Monday was Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, one of the last two humans to ever walk on the moon, in a mission that took place 45 years ago this week.

NASA/Crew of STS-129

The International Space Station is the most expensive thing ever built. It's about the size of a football field, it weighs a million pounds, and it's up there flying around in the sky at 17,000 mph, but... we don't really ever hear much about it, do we?

Well, so, this hour we hear about it.

Research shows girls and boys perform equally well in science, technology, engineering and math while in school. But that doesn't always follow into careers in the STEM workforce where, particularly in certain fields, there's still a gender gap.

Making Her Story: Priya Natarajan

Aug 29, 2017
Jon Olsen

Priya Natarajan has what some might call an affinity for the impalpable. Black holes. Galaxies. The intricacies of the universe.

This hour, the Yale-based astrophysicist talks about the experiences that triggered her curiosity and zeal for "exotica." It's the latest in WNPR's "Making Her Story" series, recorded live at the Warner Theatre in Torrington, Connecticut. 

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