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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.

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. 

Georg Aumer / Flickr

We originally aired this show last August, a full year before the excitement over the solar eclipse. Enjoy!

What can you say about the sun? It sits not only at the center of our solar system but has, over time, been at the center of religions, scriptures, songs, art and countless other aspects of our culture.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

A total solar eclipse crossed the nation coast to coast on Monday. In Connecticut, a partial eclipse was visible, and many people went outside to watch.

Wikimedia Commons

A Connecticut man is traveling across the country to take in Monday’s solar eclipse from a coveted viewing spot -- above the clouds.

tele / flickr

Since the earliest humans gazed up at the sky, eclipses have been a common occurrence. But only in recent centuries have we come to understood the science behind them. Prior to that, eclipses were regarded as everything from Viking sky wolves to Korean fire-dogs, to African versions of a celestial reconciliation.

David DesRoches / WNPR

It took about 20 minutes and two helium tanks to fill up the huge latex balloon. A rope dangling from the bottom held onto an assortment of gadgets, including a video camera, parachute, and a razor attached to motor that was programmed to cut the rope at just the right altitude.

To see this month's total solar eclipse, the first one to be visible from the contiguous United States in nearly 40 years, all Donald Liebenberg will have to do is open his front door and step outside.

"It's a really special treat to be able to have one in my driveway," says Liebenberg, who has trekked to Turkey, Zambia, China and Pukapuka, a remote island in the Pacific, to see past eclipses.

NASA / Creative Commons

Two hundred children and parents gathered in a packed room at Wallingford Public Library earlier this summer waiting for the chance to speak by video chat with Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer, two NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Femunity / flickr creative commons

As the men of Apollo 11 returned home to ticker tape parades, the women who made their journey possible worked quietly behind the scenes. Since its founding in 1958, NASA has been heavily reliant on the skills of such women, many of whom have gone unrecognized for their bravery and hard work.

When Ralph Chou was about 12 years old, he took all the right precautions to watch his first solar eclipse.

"I did other stupid things, but when it came to looking at that eclipse, I was being very careful," says Chou, a professor emeritus of optometry and vision science at the University of Waterloo, who's a leading authority on eye damage from eclipse viewing.

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