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Exoplanet Discovery and Other Space Mysteries

Mar 17, 2017
An illistration of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, which contains seven Earth-like planets.
R. Hurt, T. Pyle / NASA/JPL-Caltech

Today at 11am. 

NASA recently discovered seven Earth-like exoplanets orbiting a star 40 light years away from Earth. Any one of the planets could possibly harbor life, but the three outermost planets lying in the star's "habitable zone" have the most likely chance. Whether they do or don't, this discovery will give scientists insight about the conditions under which life is able to evolve. We'll talk about this discovery and other space news this hour with a panel of guests.

Exoplanet Discovery and Other Space Mysteries

Mar 2, 2017
An illistration of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, which contains seven Earth-like planets.
R. Hurt, T. Pyle / NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA recently discovered seven Earth-like exoplanets orbiting a star 40 light years away from Earth. Any one of the planets could possibly harbor life, but the three outermost planets lying in the star's "habitable zone" have the most likely chance. Whether they do or don't, this discovery will give scientists insight about the conditions under which life is able to evolve. We'll talk about this discovery and other space news this hour with a panel of guests.

Guests:

On Wednesday morning, NASA rewarded five members of the public — two doctors, a dentist, an engineer and a product designer — for their creative ideas for how to poop in a spacesuit.

Yes, it sounds a little bit funny. But unmet toilet needs could have life or death consequences for an astronaut in an emergency situation.

That's why thousands of people spent tens of thousands of hours on the "Space Poop Challenge," brainstorming, modeling, prototyping and number-crunching to come up with a crowd-sourced solution to the problem of human waste in a spacesuit.

Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire that killed three astronauts during a routine test on the launchpad. The accident shocked NASA as the agency was rushing to meet President Kennedy's 1961 challenge to have men on the moon by the end of the decade.

The test was a dress rehearsal for the Apollo 1 crew — Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. The ultimate goal was to check out the command module, NASA's first three-man spacecraft that would take astronauts to the moon.

Later today, six people will enter a dome on a volcano in Hawaii that will be their home for the next eight months, as they simulate a future mission to Mars.

It is the fifth such experiment run by the University of Hawaii and funded by NASA. The latest mission on Mauna Loa, which ended in August 2016, lasted a full year. It is known as the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS.

The last person to leave footprints on the moon has died. NASA reported that Gene Cernan died Monday at the age of 82, surrounded by his family.

Gene Cernan flew in space three times, including twice to the moon. Cernan was big, brash and gregarious. And if he hadn't been lucky, he could have missed his chance to walk on the moon.

On Feb. 20, 1962, John Glenn blasted off into space and became the first American to orbit Earth. Behind the scenes, thousands of engineers and mathematicians worked tirelessly to make NASA's Friendship 7 mission a success. Historical photos show them as white men in crisp white shirts and ties — but we now know there's more to that picture.

When a robotic probe finally lands on a watery world like Jupiter's moon Europa, what do scientists have to see to definitively say whether the place has any life?

That's the question retired astronaut John Grunsfeld posed to some colleagues at NASA when he was in charge of the agency's science missions.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson arrived at the International Space Station this weekend, making her the oldest woman in space at age 56. On the mission, she's projected to once again become the U.S. astronaut with the most time spent in orbit.

This is Whitson's third mission on the space station; she'll soon become its commander for the second time. Collectively, she's spent more than a year of her life in space.

PEXELS

NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4th to explore the planet and learn more about its evolution. And, exploring whether the incorporation of technology makes you a bad parent. Also, the new Pokemon Go app has taken over: what it is, how to play and its impact on the gaming community thus far. 

The Future of Space Tourism and Aerospace Travel

May 27, 2016
NASA/JPL-Caltech

The future of space tourism and aerospace travel might not be as far away as some previously imagined. From Elon Musk's SpaceX program to Virgin Galactic's own space travel developments, the gap between science fiction and reality are narrowing. Yet while the technology is advancing, there are still unanswered legal and logistical questions about space travel. 

The Future of Space Tourism and Aerospace Travel

Mar 8, 2016
NASA/JPL-Caltech

The future of space tourism and aerospace travel might not be as far away as some previously imagined. From Elon Musk's SpaceX program to Virgin Galactic's own space travel developments, the gap between science fiction and reality are narrowing. Yet while the technology is advancing, there are still unanswered legal and logistical questions about space travel. 

America Remembers John Glenn's Historic Flight

Feb 21, 2012
John Glenn speaks to reporters on the 50th anniversary of his historic flight into orbit.
Tom Borgerding / WOSU News

The black-and-white TV set was on early in our suburban St. Louis home the morning John Glenn shot around the world in 1962. 


The Last Shuttle Launch and Future of NASA

Jul 11, 2011

"Atlantis" launched on time last Friday, marking the end of the space shuttle era in the U.S. President Obama commented later on Friday, "Today’s launch may mark the final flight of the Space Shuttle, but it propels us into the next era of our never-​ending adventure to push the very frontiers of exploration and discovery in space." What does the Atlantis Space Shuttle's last mission mean for the status of America's space program in a global context? What's next for NASA? The future of space exploration and more, this hour on All Sides with Ann Fisher.

NPR Special Coverage: Final Space Shuttle Launch   Stay on WOSU or go to http://www.npr.org/ to listen live.

Space Exploration

Nov 15, 2010

The achievements of NASA astronauts from Project Mercury, the Apollo lunar landings, to the Space Shuttle Program, with The Ohio State University physics and astronomy professor Terrence Walker and Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle physics postdoctoral fellow Michael Stamatikos.