November 30, 2012 This month the book club takes to the skies with the Tom Wolfe classic The Right Stuff, a behind-the-curtain look at the 20th century's most famous test pilots--including Chuck Yeager. Yeager joins the club to talk about his long career, and what he considers "the right stuff."
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November 29, 2012 Robert Siegel talks with UT-Austin astrophysicist Karl Gebhardt about his team's discovery of a giant black hole in a tiny galaxy. The discovery contradicts traditional theories of galaxy formation.
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Researchers say they have identified traces of ice in craters on Mercury, seen here in this Oct. 8, 2008, image from the Messenger spacecraft.
November 29, 2012 On the poles of our solar system's innermost planet, where temperatures can drop to -100 degrees Fahrenheit, researchers have identified water ice and organic "goo," most likely deposited there by comets that crashed into the planet.
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November 26, 2012 NASA astrobiologist David Morrison has taken it upon himself to answer hundreds of questions about the science of doomsday predictions. At NASA's Ask an Astrobiologist site, Morrison thoughtfully responds to questions like: Will we have Christmas this year?
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November 23, 2012 The Ig Nobel Prizes honor scientific research that, in the words of Master of Ceremonies Marc Abrahams, "first makes you laugh, and then makes you think." This year's prizes, awarded in late September, include citations for research into mysteriously green hair, potentially explosive colonoscopies, and the creation of equations that model the back-and-forth swing of a ponytail in motion.
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November 22, 2012 Candied yams with a touch of marshmallow cream are what the astronauts on the International Space Station are looking forward to eating for their Thanksgiving feast today. That and a little irradiated smoked turkey, courtesy of NASA.
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity dug up five scoops of sand from a patch nicknamed "Rocknest." A suite of instruments called SAM analyzed Martian soil samples, but the findings have not yet been released.
November 20, 2012 Data from a soil sample on Mars have NASA scientists buzzing with excitement over a finding that could be "one for the history books." But they're not spilling the beans about their discovery yet.
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November 19, 2012 Look at this rocket ship. It is big. It is complicated. We could use long words to describe what's in it, or we could use short words. The author, cartoonist Randall Munroe, chooses short words. Ridiculously short words. Some will sneer. I cheer.
November 16, 2012 In July, physicists at CERN's Large Hadron Collider announced finding signs of a Higgs boson-like particle — a key clue to questions about the basic makeup of the cosmos. In his new book The Particle at the End of the Universe, physicist Sean Carroll of Caltech talks about the building of the LHC, what it has found so far, and what researchers hope to investigate in the coming years.
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Untitled, by South African artist Gavin Jantjes, is one of the works in the "African Cosmos" exhibition.
National Museum of African Art
October 28, 2012 An ongoing exhibition at the National Museum of African Art asks visitors to consider the connections between art and science — and the ways both disciplines help us explore the why, when and how of our existence. Artifacts in the exhibition show that we've been wondering about the stars for millennia.
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October 22, 2012 Amateur astronomers recently discovered a planet with four suns. The discovery itself is remarkable — but all the more so because it was made by amateurs. David Greene talks with Arfon Smith from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago about the discovery and the growing contributions that so-called "armchair" astronomers are making to the field.
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October 20, 2012 Maybe it's because Halloween is right around the corner, but when we saw this image, our first thought was nougat, a confection that's been around for centuries. But what we're looking at is a lot older — and more heavenly.
October 19, 2012 A NASA spacecraft captured the clearest recording yet of what space sounds like inside Earth's radiation belts. Craig Kletzing, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa, explains what causes these eerie chirping noises, and what we can learn from them.
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October 19, 2012 Most scientists agree that the Moon was born when a planet-sized object smashed into the young Earth. But the details are foggy--two papers in Science this week present very different scenarios for that collision. Planetary scientist Erik Asphaug says he wonders if the riddle of the Moon's formation may ever be solved.
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An artist's impression shows a planet, right, orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, center, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth.
October 17, 2012 Researchers have found a planet orbiting a neighboring star that's similar to our sun. Alpha Centauri B is a staple of science fiction, because the star is so close to our own solar system. Now scientists say they have evidence that the star is orbited by at least one planet and where there's one, there's probably more.
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