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Category archives for Breaking Orbit

April 27, 2014: Tragedy on Everest, Rowing Across the Pacific, Wrestling Mongolians and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week his guests reflect on the dangers of climbing Mount Everest after the recent tragedy, row a boat across the oceans and bike across continents to circumnavigate the globe, discover what it is like to be a kid in Mongolia, learn what happened This Weekend In History, detect land mines in Cambodia, travel in style with your dog companion, discover new ways which drug trafficking is cutting down the rainforest, gave through space and time with the world’s most powerful satellite array, and understand why Sherpas climb deadly peaks on Wild Chronicles.

March 9, 2014: Racing the Iditarod With Twins, Time Traveling to a Black Hole and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week they ride 1,000 miles across Alaskan wilderness with a pack of dogs, hike quickly down the Appalachian Trail, lower scientists into sinkholes on tepuis, program robots to do household chores but not enslave the human race, break free of time on the edge of a black hole, be persecuted for our science, grow organic underwear, and explain evolution to children.

December 8, 2013: Discovering Record Setting Remains, Climbing Antarctic Peaks and More

This week, on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson as we uncover a trove of pre-human remains deep inside a South African cave, then we coach kids to fulfill their destiny as Antarctic adventurers, and finally, we peer deep into space to watch galaxies collide.

September 8, 2013: Paddling Through Russia’s Remotest Rivers, Playing Matchmaker for Rhinos, and More

Join us this week, as we paddle 3,000 miles through the remotest rivers in Mongolia and Russia, try to help in Syria’s civil war by starting a children’s camp for refugees, create a dating game for rhinos, film Africa’s disappearing megafauna, and ride hogs across the United States.

May 26, 2013: Staying Safe Going Up Mountains, Injuries Flying Down Cliffs and More

This week, we chat with Conrad Anker who reflects on how difficult it is for even the best climbers to avoid disaster on Everest, Jon Jenkins who is scouring the deepest reaches of the universe looking for signs of intelligent life, and daredevil Angela Proudfoot who skydives against all odds after sustaining a serious base jumping injury.

Sky Show: Jupiter and Moon in Super Close Pairing

Two of the brightest objects in the night sky head towards a close encounter on Monday night. The sky show begins after local nightfall on the 21st when the waxing gibbous moon snuggles up to brilliant white Jupiter in the southeast. This closeness is of course just an illusion – they are in reality separate…

Surprise Meteor Shower this Week?

While space experts are predicting a grand performance from the annual Geminid meteor shower this week– thanks in large measure to the moon being a no show  – there may be an extra skywatching surprise. Russian astronomer Mikail Maslov has come up with computer models that are predicting a never-before-seen meteor shower peaking the same…

Voyager at the Edge: Cosmic Roadtrip Hits Milestone

After a 35 year odyssey the plucky little spacecraft Voyager 1 may be zipping through the final boundary that separates our solar system from Interstellar space – the space between the stars, according NASA. Sailing through the outermost reaches of the solar system, mission scientists believe they have detected the telltale signs of Voyager crossing…

Ice, Ice Mercury

It’s rare that astronomers declare news with great certainty, so the announcement that water ice was confirmed in Mercury’s poles is an “exclamation point.” The amount of ice is also astounding—100 billion to a trillion metric tons, or something like layering Washington, D.C. with 2 to 2.5 miles of ice.

Is This the Biggest Black Hole Ever?

A monstrous black hole—17 billion times the mass of the Sun and possibly the largest ever detected—appears to be too big for its galactic home, leaving astronomers scratching their heads about its very existence. The cosmic behemoth, at the heart of a distant galaxy, is estimated to be 4,000 times larger than the black hole…

Starry Nights, in Quick Time

Photographer Christoph Malin says he’s not an office guy. That’s good, because the time he spent milking the skies above La Palma, a volcanic island in the Spanish Canaries, means we get to enjoy a taste of astronomy paradise in his time lapse “Island in the Sky.”

Chasing the Total Solar Eclipse

When the Moon slips between the Earth and Sun this week, Slovak astronomer Vojtech Rusin will be ready on a hotel balcony in Cairns, Australia to witness his 19th total solar eclipse. He tells StarStruck what it takes to follow the stellar phenomenon.

Using Astrophysics to Find Superman’s Krypton

When Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium, got a call from DC Comics about its latest Superman storyline, the famed astrophysicist saw an opportunity to make real science a part of superhero lore. He said to DC: How about I find you a real star that could be home to Superman’s native planet, Krypton? He did, and here’s how.

A Grand Tour of the Universe

Armchair astronomers take note: This space atlas is for you. Yes, that kind of atlas—a series of maps and charts that evokes the ability to navigate a place, usually by ship or some sort of vehicle. The maps are remarkably detailed—Mercury’s surface incorporates the latest data from the orbiting Messenger spacecraft and the crater names might surprise you (Mark Twain, Botticelli, Dali, Shakespeare). On Venus nearly every feature is named after goddesses or famous women.

NASA’s New Station-Spotting Service

If you have ever thought it would be cool to watch the International Space Station in the sky, NASA is making it a lot easier to do just that. A new website sends alerts to skywatchers wanting to catch the space outpost flying over their backyard.