“Sorry, closed for business.” That sign hung on doors of national
laboratories when the US government shut down. What that meant for one
Antarctic researcher: her critically important work was left out in the
So just what do we lose when public funds for science fade? The
tools for answering big questions about our universe for one, says a NASA
scientist … while one of this year’s Nobel Prize winners fears that it
is driving our young researchers to pursue their work overseas.
Yet one scientist says publically funding isn’t even necessary; privatizing science would be more productive.
Plus, an award-winning public-private research project changes the way we use GPS … and a BBC reporter on the fate of international projects when Americans hang up their lab coats.
Jill Mikucki – WISSARD principal investigator and a microbiologist at the University of Tennessee
Max Bernstein – Lead for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
James Rothman – Professor and chairman of the department of cell biology at Yale University, recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine
Alexandre Bayen – Civil engineer and computer scientist, University of California, Berkeley
Pat Michaels – Director for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute
Astronauts aren't the only ones who need to worry about solar flares.
High-latitude air travelers can also be exposed to doses of radiation
during solar storms. A new computer model developed by NASA aims to help
protect the public by predicting space weather hazards to aviation.
GLOBAL SOLAR ACTIVITY: Solar activity is high and intensifying. This
morning, new sunspot AR1882 unleashed an X1-class solar flare. The
flare was bracketed by two erupting magnetic filaments--an ensemble of
explosions that involved more than half of the solar disk.
A COMET EXPLODES: Amateur astronomers are reporting a 100-fold outburst of brightness from Comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR). Images reveal a spherical shell of gas that reminds observers of Comet 17P/Holmes, which exploded in 2007. So far the comet is too dim for naked-eye viewing, but at magnitude +8.5 it is bright enough for imaging by backyard telescopes.
It was the most famous invasion that never happened. But Orson
Welles’ 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast sure sounded convincing as it
used news bulletins and eyewitness accounts to describe an existential
Martian attack. The public panicked. Or did it? New research says that
claims of mass hysteria were overblown.
On the 75th anniversary of the broadcast: How the media
manufactured descriptions of a fearful public and why – with our
continued fondness for conspiracies – we could be hoodwinked again
Plus, journalism ethics in the age of social media. Can we tweet “Mars is attacking!” with impunity?
And why we’re obsessed with the Red Planet.
Michael Socolow – Associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine
ORIONID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is passing through a stream of debris from
Halley's Comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters
expect the shower to peak on Oct. 21st
with approximately 20 meteors per hour. Bright moonlight will reduce
visibility, however. The best time to look is during the hours before
local sunrise when the shower's radiant in the constellation Orion is
high in the sky.
AURORA WATCH: A CME propelled toward Earth by an M1-class eruption on
Oct. 13th is expected to hit our planet's magnetic field on Oct. 15th. Polar geomagnetic storms and high-latitude auroras are possible when the CME arrives. Check today's edition of http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates.
SUNDIVING COMET: A comet is falling into the sun today. Images from the
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory show a bright comet rapidly
evaporating as the sun turns up the heat, and it may be only hours away
from complete disintegration. Check http://spaceweather.com for images of the death plunge.
JUNO PHOTOGRAPHED: Yesterday, NASA's Juno spacecraft buzzed Earth only
347 miles above our planet's surface. Although the spacecraft was very
faint, several amateur astronomers managed to photograph it. Their
images are featured in a special gallery on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.
JUNO TO BUZZ EARTH: En route to Jupiter, NASA's Juno spacecraft will make a very close flyby of Earth on October 9th,
only 347 miles above our planet's surface. Juno's radio will be turned
on, and radio amateurs on Earth will be able to communicate with the
spacecraft via Morse Code.
Discovering bacteria on Mars would be big news. But nothing would
scratch our alien itch like making contact with intelligent life. Hear
why one man is impatient for the discovery, and also about the new tools
that may speed up the “eureka” moment.
One novel telescope may help us
find E.T. at home, by detecting the heat of his cities.
Also, the father of modern SETI research and how decoding the squeals of dolphins could teach us how to communicate with aliens.
SPACECRAFT GOES INTO LUNAR ORBIT: Among a select few allowed to work
during the US government shutdown, controllers for NASA's Lunar
Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) fired the spacecraft's
engines this morning, Oct. 6th, slowing it enough to be captured by
lunar gravity. LADEE is now in orbit. Soon, the spacecraft will begin
its mission to study the Moon's exotic and diaphanous atmosphere, which
is mightily affected by space weather. For more information about this
development, plus new color images of incoming Comet ISON, visit http://spaceweather.com.