Today on Stateside, Republican state legislators are considering ways to pay for road repairs, including one proposal that would allow counties and cities to levy their own local gas tax. Plus, Jerry Linenger was just 14-years-old when he watched the moon landing on a small black-and-white television screen. That moment would inspire him to pursue a career as an astronaut for NASA, where he manned three missions and traveled some 54 million miles in space.
Fifty years ago this week, America crowded around television sets to watch Neil Armstrong take man's first step onto the moon. Among the viewers was a kid from East Detroit named Jerry Linenger.
That moon walk inspired the then 14-year-old to become a NASA astronaut. Linenger went on to man missions aboard two U.S. space shuttles and the Russian space station Mir, and travel some 54 million miles in space.
It was considered impossible. It was said to be like taking a picture of a grapefruit on the moon but with a radio telescope.
That’s how 29-year-old computer scientist Katie Bouman explained an international effort to capture an image of a black hole. She finally made history Wednesday morning after she and a team working on an Event Horizon Telescope project were able to accomplish that very goal.
The world is seeing the first-ever image of a black hole Wednesday, as an international team of researchers from the Event Horizon Telescope project released their look at the supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy Messier 87 (M87). The image shows a dark disc "outlined by emission from hot gas swirling around it under the influence of strong gravity near its event horizon," the consortium said.
"As an astrophysicist, this is a thrilling day for me," said National Science Foundation Director France A. Córdova.
Stateside's conversation with astronaut Andrew Feustel
Since being selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000, Lake Orion native Andrew Feustel has been on three space missions and spent more than 61 hours on space walks outside the shuttle.
While floating 250 miles above the Earth earlier this year, Feustel added something new to his space resume: singer-songwriter. He recorded a music video for “All Around the World,” a song written by his friend Gord Sinclair.
On August 12, 2018, NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched into space on a mission to unveil some of the greatest mysteries surrounding our sun.
The probe features a 10 square meter heat shield made from carbon foam that can withstand up to 3,000 degrees without incinerating. The front of the probe is covered in a synthetic sapphire crystal that reflects around six megawatts of sunlight; enough energy to power a small village.
Justin Kasper is a lead investigator on the project. He joined Stateside at our recent Ann Arbor live show to talk about what he hopes to learn from the information collected by the probe.
Stateside's conversation with Rachel Clark of the Michigan History Center.
The federal government may have orchestrated the United State's history-making voyage to the moon in 1969, but the states weren't left out entirely. The crew of Apollo 11 took all 50 state flags along for the ride, and then returned each flag to its owner with an added gift: a moon rock.
Michigan’s moon rock was given to Governor William Milliken, and it sat in his garage for years afterward. Then, in the late 1980s, Milliken's family delivered it to the Michigan History Center, where it's now on exhibit.
For the first time in history, NASA has named a spacecraft after a living individual. The Solar Probe Plus has been renamed to the Parker Solar Probe in honor of accomplished astrophysicist Eugene Parker.
Early tomorrow morning, a total lunar eclipse, or "blood moon," will grace the skies of much of Michigan. The eclipse itself will span several hours, though total lunar coverage, in which the moon takes on a reddish hue, will last only about five minutes.
Lunar eclipses occur when the earth slides between the sun and moon, obstructing the light that normally illuminates our moon. For those viewing from Michigan, the eclipse will start at 5:00 am, with peak lunar coverage occurring at around 7:00 am.
Historically, missions executed by NASA (and others) were on a grand scale – massive spacecraft built with massive budgets and a massive labor force, but in the past decade, an education and industrial focus has emerged on sending nano-satellites, known as CubeSats, into orbit (so named for their cubical shape).
Technology has opened the doors in recent years for do-it-yourselfers to complete scientific projects without help from universities or government agencies. But space exploration is one field that has remained largely out of reach for amateur scientists who don’t have NASA-sized budgets.
One way space enthusiasts have found to get more involved in the last few years is by building little satellites themselves, called cubesats.
Basically just metal boxes about the size of a loaf of bread, cubesats are popular in the DIY space community because they can be built cheaply with off-the-shelf parts and can be stuffed with cameras and all sorts of other instruments depending on the builders’ interests.
They’re usually put together by groups of amateurs or classes who pay to have their cubesat catch a ride on bigger rocket missions and once they’re dropped off, they stay in orbit and transmit pictures or other data back down to Earth.
They want to take the plasma propulsion systems that power big spacecraft, like communication satellites, and shrink them down so that amateurs can send their cubesats into new orbits or even off into the solar system.
An interview with Benjamin Longmier, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan.
There was once a time when Uncle Sam and NASA opened the wallet to fund space travel and space research.
That was then. This is now.
These days, space scientists have to get much more creative in raising those research dollars.
Case in point: Benjamin Longmier, who's an assistant professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan. His special area is propulsion, as he seeks to build the kind of thruster that will push a spacecraft out of Earth's orbit and send that space craft to other planets.
We spoke to Benjamin Longmier about his research a few months ago, and now he's moving to the "creative fundraising" stage of things.
Lawmakers in Lansing recently approved a $65 million increase in the state's Great Start Readiness Program. That's Michigan's preschool program for 4-year olds at risk of being under-prepared for kindergarten. But, many childhood advocates say that's not enough. We took a look into whether more needs to be done.
We also heard about space exploration 21st century style. We spoke to a Michigan scientist who is using Kickstarter to make his research a reality.
Also, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will preside over the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. We spoke with Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press about what we can expect from the judge.
First on the show, the Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing by the city of Detroit has some wondering if Detroit is not an isolated incident. Could other financially struggling cities be on the same path?
To help us answer this question, we turned to Michigan Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee. Kildee represents Flint and Saginaw.
Today is a big day for lovers of the planet Mercury, the closest planet to the sun.
NASA's MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging) vehicle will start to orbit Mercury today.
Of all the terrestrial planets, Mercury remains one of the most mysterious.
NASA's Mariner 10 took some photos during flybys back in 1974 and 1975. And more recently, MESSENGER took some photos and grabbed some samples on a flyby in 2008.
The New York Times had a piece on what scientists learned about Mercury from the 2008 flyby:
An instrument aboard Messenger sampled Mercury’s surface composition by catching some of the charged atoms that have been knocked into space. Silicon, sodium and sulfur were detected. So was water.
“Which is a real surprise,” said Thomas H. Zurbuchen, an associate professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences at the University of Michigan and lead author of another paper in Science. “The first time we took a whiff of the planet, it’s right there.”
One possibility is that the water exists as ice in the shaded parts of craters in the polar regions.
Today, MESSENGER will begin orbiting the planet every 12 hours. Engineers at the University of Michigan say "an onboard device dubbed FIPS (Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer), a soda-can sized sensor designed and built at the University of Michigan will take atmospheric measurements, studying the evolution of rocky planets as it orbits Mercury."
Here, Thomas Zurbuchen, the lead engineer from the University of Michigan, talks about FIPS: