space

Once the sole property of science fiction and our imaginations, the technologies coming out of current space programs at NASA are a case of life imitating art. Learn the latest projects underway as we prepare to travel to Mars and which space designs are finding practical uses here on the third planet from the sun.

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At the same time people were taking to the streets and marching for civil rights in the 1960s, a few men were fighting to end racism simply by going to work — for NASA. On this edition of Up To Date, we learn about the contributions of the first African-Americans to the space program and to the struggle for civil equality. 

Guests:

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

For five months, from December 2012 to May 2013, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield served as the commander of the International Space Station.

Hadfield conducted a record-setting number of scientific experiments. He also gained a reputation as the "most social media savvy astronaut" by sharing his daily life, posting photos on Tumblr and Twitter and videos on YouTube. 

This weekend, 'near space explorers' will be gathering  in Hutchinson, Kan. for the annual Great Plains Super Launch.  They are hobbyists who launch weather balloons and track their progress using GPS or HAM radio.

On Thursday's Central Standard, we talk with participant John Flaig who uses these balloons to take dramatic photographs from the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

Guest:

John Flaig, near space photographer

Jet Propulsion Lab of the United States

When Gustav Holst composed his orchestral suite “The Planets,” he definitely had the solar system in mind. A local concert aims to add the picture Holst might have envisioned in a multimedia experience.

In the second part of Friday's Up to Date, we talk about the new concert from the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Conservatory Wind Symphony that combines the piece with high-definition photographs of the solar system and a high-definition film from NASA solar system explorations.

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NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / Flickr -- Creative Commons

The Washington Post's Joel Achenbach joins Central Standard to discuss the precarious state of space exploration and the recent purchase of the Post by Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com.

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Stargazing in KC

Mar 14, 2013

Looking up at the sky is something we do everyday; maybe to check the weather, see if the sun is poking out and you need a jacket, and for some, to discover more about the universe we live in.


NASA's Curiosity rover has found definitive proof that water once ran across the surface of Mars, the agency announced today. NASA scientists say new photos from the rover show rocks that were smoothed and rounded by water. The rocks are in a large canyon and nearby channels that were cut by flowing water, making up an alluvial fan.

"You had water transporting these gravels to the downslope of the fan," NASA researchers say. The gravel then formed into a conglomerate rock, which was in turn likely covered before being exposed again.

Venus Watch Spot: Warkoczewski Observatory

Jun 1, 2012
Joe Wright / Astronomical Society of Kansas City

From double and triple stars to navigation tactics all the way to the Andromeda galaxy, the Warkoczewski Observatory's Friday night stargazing provides education and entertainment atop Royall Hall. They're currently gearing up for the Venus Transit tomorrow afternoon starting at 4 p.m. (more infomation below).

Data from a mission to the second largest body in the asteroid belt that's between Mars and Jupiter seems to confirm that Vesta is indeed a protoplanet that dates back to the early days of our solar system.

Space.com reports that scientists theorized that Vesta had started down the path toward becoming a planet and data from the Dawn Mission confirms those suspicions. Space.com reports:

50 years ago, Alan Shepard became the first American in space, making a brief suborbital mission that marked the first manned launch of Project Mercury.