How it looks to land on Mars, previewing space station spacewalks, and supplies and cargo delivered for the station crew … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
Science Staff Writer Jon Cohen joins host Sarah Crespi to take on some of big questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, such as: Do they stop transmission? Will we need boosters? When will life get back to “normal.”
Sarah also talks with Anders Johansen, professor of planetary sciences and planet formation at the University of Copenhagen, about his Science Advances paper on a new theory for the formation of rocky planets in our Solar System. Instead of emerging out of ever-larger collisions of protoplanets, the new idea is that terrestrial planets like Earth and Mars formed from the buildup of many small pebbles.
Earth is not the only place in the solar system with rain, rivers, lakes and seas. Saturn’s moon Titan has them, too — not of water, but of liquid methane and ethane. This Earth-like world even hides an ocean of liquid water deep beneath its surface! Find out what you need to know about Titan.
Our planet is a beautiful water-filled world, teeming with life. But did you know that Earth is not the only world in our solar system with an ocean? Here’s what you need to know about Ocean Worlds.
In 2015, after a nine-and-a-half-year journey, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft raced past Pluto, beaming images of the dwarf planet back to Earth.
Five years after the mission, researchers are poring over images of Pluto’s far-side, which was shrouded in shadow during New Horizon’s flypast. They hope that these images will help give a better understanding of how Pluto was born and even whether a hidden ocean resides beneath the world’s icy crust.
This is an audio version of our feature: Pluto’s dark side spills its secrets — including hints of a hidden ocean
Staff Writer Jocelyn Kaiser joins Sarah to talk about a recent Science paper describing the results of a large study on a blood test for multiple types of cancer. The trial’s results suggest such a blood test combined with follow-up scans may help detect cancers early, but there is a danger of too many false positives.
And postdoctoral researcher Timo Reinhold of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research joins Sarah to talk about his paper on how the Sun is a lot less variable in its magnetic activity compared with similar stars—what does it mean that our Sun is a little bit boring?
On April 24, 2020, the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 30th year in orbit by premiering a never-before-seen view of two beautiful nebulas named NGC 2020 and NGC 2014.
Hubble’s senior project scientist, Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, takes us on a tour of this stunning new image, describes the telescope’s current health, and summarizes some of Hubble’s contributions to astronomy during its 30-year career.
23 April 2020: Denisovan DNA in modern Europeans, and the birth of an unusual celestial object. This week, evidence of ancient hominin DNA in modern human genomes, and the origin of a snowman-shaped object at the edge of the solar system.
In this episode:
00:45 Intermixing of ancient hominins
By combing through the DNA of over 27,000 modern day Icelanders, researchers have uncovered new insights about the ancient hominin species who interbred with Homo sapiens. Research Article: Skov et al.
08:05 Research Highlights
The scent of lemur love, a hidden Viking trade route, and ‘gargantuan’ hail. Research Highlight: Lemurs’ love language is fragrance; Research Highlight: Vikings’ lost possessions mark a long-hidden early trade route; Research Highlight: Enormous hailstones inspire a new scientific size category: ‘gargantuan’
11:44 The origin of Arrokoth
In 2019, the New Horizon Spacecraft took images of Arrokoth – an unusual, bi-lobal object found in the Kuiper belt. Now, researchers believe they’ve figured out how it formed. Research Article: Grishin et al.
17:29 Pick of the Briefing
We pick some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This week we discuss why the Universe may be lopsided, and why water could actually be two different liquid states. Scientific American: Do We Live in a Lopsided Universe?; Chemistry World: The weirdness of water