Science and Innovation

Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory

SpaceX launched 60 new Starlink satellites into orbit last week, in their quest to expand Internet access across the globe. The company hopes to have 1500 in orbit by the end of the year, and other companies are planning launches, too. That could mean tens of thousands of new satellites in the sky, which is bad news for astronomers. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Lowell Observatory director Jeff Hall about how these “satellite constellations” threaten astronomical research.

Melissa Sevigny: Are they brighter than the usual satellite up there?

Melissa Sevigny

The Kayenta coal mine in northeastern Arizona shut down last year, along with the power plant it supplied. Coal from that mine used to light up Las Vegas and Los Angeles and supply the electricity to pump water to Phoenix and Tucson. Those cities have been able to turn to other sources of energy. Not so on the Hopi and Navajo Nations. For decades tribal members relied on Kayenta coal to heat their homes, and now it’s their first winter without reliable or affordable fuel. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports on what Hopi community leaders call a devastating crisis.

Getty Images

Zion National Park has become one of the busiest, most popular parks in the country. But that wasn’t the case in 1919 when it became Utah’s first national park. Back then, the challenge was how to promote tourism in the remote area.

Melissa Sevigny

A single concert at a nearly 3,000 seat venue like Pepsi Amphitheater in Flagstaff might generate well over a thousand pounds of trash. Tyler Linner, a master’s student at Northern Arizona University, wants to find creative ways to recycle as much of that trash as possible. KNAU spoke with him a year ago about his start-up project to reuse the broken plastic sleds that litter the forests in the winter. Now he has a business called Praxis Waste Solutions in a small warehouse near Buffalo Park, where he’s literally sorting through garbage to see how it can be salvaged. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with him there.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS

Scientists at Northern Arizona University mapped frozen water hidden just below the surface of Mars, with the goal of finding the best spots for future astronauts to visit. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.


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