nasa

Christine Sapio

A group of teenagers in Flagstaff are spending their summer… hanging out at school. They’re the CocoNuts FIRST Robotics Team, an award winning club of budding engineers at Coconino High School. They’ve built a replica lunar rover to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. The rover makes/made a grand entrance on a float at the Fourth of July parade today. In this audio postcard, we hear from the kids and one of their coaches about the project.

Derek Storm, www.derekstorm.com

NASA has wrapped up the first phase of a study on the long-term effects of space travel by using twins as research subjects. Scientists wanted to study people with the same genetics to compare DNA changes in different environments. There was really only one set of twins that would work for this particular study: astronaut brothers Mark and Scott Kelly. Scott spent 342 days in space – setting a new record – and Mark stayed on Earth, acting as a control experiment. On a recent stop in Flagstaff, Mark Kelly spoke with KNAU’s Zac Ziegler about the experience and what NASA has learned so far.


NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin

A space mission led by the University of Arizona has been orbiting a near-Earth asteroid for the past three months. It’s turned up a few surprises, including plumes of dust and rubble that erupt off the asteroid’s surface into space. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.


NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft beamed back the first close-up image of its target, Ultima Thule, revealing it’s a “contact binary”—two space rocks stuck together. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

This is the most primitive contact binary ever explored by a spacecraft. It likely formed four and a half billion years ago by a process called “accretion.” Particles of rock and rubble melded into two round objects, which then slowly spiraled together until they stuck.  

NASA

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which visited Pluto three years ago, flew by another frozen world in the outer regions of the solar system last night. Ultima Thule is now the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft. Will Grundy of Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory is one of the scientists involved. He spoke with KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny from mission control in Maryland.

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