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The Countdown

The Countdown

What’s happening in space, right now!

  • 5 Essential Facts about Gravity Waves from the Big Bang – The Countdown, Episode 44

    By Eric R. Olson | March 20, 2014 |

    On March 17th, physicists with the BICEP2 experiment announced they had detected the remnant of gravity waves in the cosmic microwave background, the light left over from the Big Bang. While still needing confirmation, the discovery lends weight to the idea that the early universe underwent rapid expansion. […]

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  • 5 Space Photos that Speak to Our Human Existence – The Countdown, Episode 43

    By Eric R. Olson | March 7, 2014 |

    Since at least the 1960s, astronauts and satellites have been snapping photos of planet Earth from on high. While many of these photos possess an intrinsic beauty, some hold important clues about the goings-on of the inhabitants below. In this episode of The Countdown, we bring you five images that speak loudly about the challenges facing the human race. […]

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  • 5 Strange Ways to Clean Up Our Space Junk – The Countdown, Episode 42

    By Eric R. Olson | February 20, 2014 |

    According to NASA, more than 500,000 pieces of debris are tracked as they orbit earth. Individual pieces can travel at speeds of up to 28,000 kilometers per hour, creating a potentially dangerous situation for both satellites and astronauts alike. In this episode of The Countdown, we look at some of the strangest proposals to combat the ever-growing cloud of space junk. […]

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  • 5 Everyday Products Developed from NASA Technology – The Countdown, Episode 41

    By Eric R. Olson | February 7, 2014 |

    NASA is known for hi-tech wizardry when it comes to spacecraft, but some of its technology has floated back down to earth and made it into products we use everyday. In this episode of The Countdown, we look at five products you'd never suspect were influenced by NASA. […]

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  • 5 Things You Need to Know about Rosetta, the Comet Chaser – The Countdown #40

    By Joss Fong | January 23, 2014 |

    We've put robots on both the moon and mars, but scientists have never tried to soft-land a robot on a comet--until now. In this episode of The Countdown, we cover everything you need to know about the European Space Agency's groundbreaking Rosetta mission. […]

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  • 5 Remarkable Facts About the Northern Lights – The Countdown #39

    By Joss Fong | January 9, 2014 |

    What causes the sky near Earth's poles to light up with swirling, colorful light? In this episode of the Countdown, we explore the physics behind auroras and more. More to Explore: Visit LightsOverLapland.com for more images of the Northern Lights from Abisko National Park in Sweden. […]

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  • Top 5 Space Stories of 2013! – The Countdown, Episode 38

    By Eric R. Olson | December 26, 2013 |

    We rounded up the coolest, biggest and most important space stories of 2013 and asked the editors of Scientific American to vote for their top five. Here they are in our latest episode of the Countdown. More to explore : The Top 5 Space Stories of 2012 Scientific American 's Top 10 Science Stories of 2013 -- Credits: Host/writer: Sophie Bushwick Story Advisors: Clara Moskowitz & Michael Moyer Production Assistant: Josh Krisch Producer/Editor: Eric R. […]

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  • 5 Signs of Life on Mars – The Countdown, Episode 37

    By Joss Fong | December 12, 2013 |

    Could Mars support life? In this episode of The Countdown, we run through five intriguing lines of evidence that the red planet was not always as desolate as it appears, and may even be habitable today. More to explore: New Signs of Water on Mars Ramp Up Search for Life (Scientific American) A River Runs Through...Gale Crater (Scientific American Blog Network) Mars Rover Finds Evidence of Ancient Habitability (Scientific American) Maybe Mars Seeded Earth's Life, Maybe It Didn't (Scientific American Blog Network) Case Study: Fossil Microbes on Mars? […]

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  • 5 Things You Should Know About Comet ISON – The Countdown, Episode 36

    By Eric R. Olson | November 27, 2013 |

    If you live in the U.S., chances are good you'll be munching on turkey tomorrow in celebration of Thanksgiving. But millions of miles above your head, Comet ISON will make its closest pass to the sun. It's still a big question mark what will happen next: ISON could be torn apart by the sun's gravity. […]

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  • An Asteroid with 6 Tails, and More – The Countdown, Episode 35

    By Joss Fong | November 14, 2013 |

    More to explore: Bizarre Asteroid with Six Tails Spotted by Hubble Telescope (Space.com) Liftoff! India's First Mars Probe Launches Toward the Red Planet (Space.com) Kepler Telescope Finds Plethora of Earth-Size Planets (Scientific American) Chelyabinsk Eyewitnesses Help Scientists Resolve Meteor Mysteries (Scientific American) Gravity Maps Reveal Why the Moon's Far Side Is Covered with Craters (Nature News) -- Credits: Host/writer: Sophie Bushwick Production assistant: Josh Krisch Editor: Joss Fong Producer: Eric R. […]

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