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February 9, 2014: Cycling and Climbing Through a Sufferfest, Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week, they endure a 750-mile climbing and biking Sufferfest, crash during Olympic snowboard halfpipe training leading to a traumatic brain injury, try to save the Great Barrier Reef from dredging, launch the “coolest” space mission ever, chase Shackleton’s legacy across frigid Antarctic waters, enjoy the restorative health benefits of a 30-million person crowd, celebrate with winners’ dominant body language, and investigate 10 deaths high in a Russian mountain pass.

October 13, 2013: Arctic Double Dating, Poisoning Rhinos to Save Them, and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson as we we ski and kayak across Baffin Island, poison rhinos to save them, and meet child soldiers while bearing witness to illicit mines in one of the world’s poorest countries.

My God, It’s Full of Stars…

Here’s a wonderful time-lapse video made of photos taken from orbit as the International Space Station passed over Switzerland, western Europe and eventually Saudi Arabia on the night of December 22, 2011. A portion of the Station can be seen along the right side, reflecting the lights of the major cities passing 240 miles below.…

A Commanding View of a Comet

A time-lapse movie taken from the International Space Station shows a brightening view of Earth’s horizon at dawn on December 21. It features an orbital view of lightning storms, stars, airglow… and the dramatic appearance of “sungrazer” Comet Lovejoy as it rises above the atmosphere! Incredible!

Mercury MESSENGER 101

In Roman mythology, Mercury was the fleet-footed messenger to the gods. It’s therefore fitting that NASA went to great pains to name the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury MESSENGER. That’s an acronym for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging. (Personally, I would have tried to find a way to name the orbiter…

Long Lost Soviet Rover Found on the Moon

It might not be in the stars for humans to return to the moon anytime soon. But NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched last year in part to scout locations for a moon base, is proving that there’s still plenty it can do in the name of space exploration. High-resolution LRO images have helped researchers track…

Tiny Solar Sail Pitched to Clean Up Space Junk

From huge patches of plastic in remote corners of the ocean to piles of consumer electronics in rural Nigeria, trash has a way of accumulating even in places few of Earth’s 6.8 billion people have ever been. Space is no exception: Even though the first satellite went into low-Earth orbit a little over 50 years…

To Keep an Eye on the Weather, NOAA GOES P

—Image courtesy NOAA Next week NASA will launch the latest in a series of satellites run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designed to track extreme weather events from space. Known as the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, or GOES, each craft carries a letter designation until it arrives in orbit, when it is renamed…

Mercury Probe Searches for Vulcanoids, Spies Venus

The closer stuff is to the sun, the harder it is to see. —Image courtesy SOHO (ESA & NASA) That’s the fundamental problem with vulcanoids, a hypothetical band of asteroids orbiting between the sun and the closest planet in, Mercury. In fact, for years that was the problem with studying Mercury, since looking at the…

Final Mercury Flyby: Earth’s MESSENGER Closing In

At 5:55 p.m. ET today, the MESSENGER spacecraft will make its closest pass in its third and final flyby of the innermost planet. Mercury, as seen from MESSENGER on September 28, 2009 —Image courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington When images from the flyby start pouring in around midnight, scientists hope…

Space Junk Pictures Show Swarm of Objects Around Earth

These NASA images represent all man-made objects, both functioning and useful objects and debris, currently being tracked by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network. NASA illustrations courtesy Orbital Debris Program Office. Caption by Holli Riebeek The images were made from models used to track debris in Earth orbit, NASA said in a caption accompanying the release…

Moon Crash to Put All Eyes on Cabeus A

On October 9, 2009, a piece of launch rocket still attached to an orbiting spacecraft will finally let go so it can take a dive into the moon. The event is the end goal of NASA’s LCROSS mission, which aims to study material kicked up by the impact to find out whether the lunar surface…

Saturn’s Equinox Arrives

After a successful four-year mission studying the ringed planet, the Cassini probe was still orbiting Saturn in near perfect health in June 2008. So NASA dug deep and found the funding to keep Cassini gainfully employed. The extension, dubbed the Equinox Mission, is primarily focused on changes wrought on Saturn by the onset of equinox,…

Why Does Venus Glow in the Dark? Just Say NO

Right now people in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying the last few weeks when Venus will shine bright in the night. Around the end of March the “evening star” becomes the “morning star,” and the planet won’t grace the dusk skies again until next year. (Read more at EarthSky to find out why Venus makes…

Jupiter Moons to Get Some Space Agency Love

It seems fitting that in a year being celebrated worldwide as the 400th anniversary of telescopic astronomy, NASA and ESA have chosen one of Galileo’s first loves, Jupiter, as their next top planet. Cut-away images show the insides of Io, Ganymede, … In January of 1610 the famed Italian Galileo Galilei pointed a homemade ‘scope…