Hubble in Trouble, Shrimp in Hot Water, Mothers and Others

 

Download this episode.


Hubble and Trouble

hubble.jpg Hubble telescope as seen from Space Shuttle Discovery

For the past fifteen years the Hubble Space Telescope has provided some of the most spectacular and valuable images of the universe that astronomers have ever seen. From its vantage point above the interfering atmosphere, it can see things no ground based telescope can see. Hubble, however, is on its last legs. The fifth and final mission to repair and refurbish the telescope will launch next week. The telescope will then last as long as those final repairs keep it running, and then be retired. We look back on the somtimes troubled, but ultimately triumphant history of the Hubble with three guests today: Robert Zimmerman is a writer and space historian and author of The Universe in a Mirror: the Saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built It. Dr. Edward Weiler is the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, and has been involved with, or in charge of the Hubble Telescope program at NASA since 1979. Dr. Howard McCurdy is a historian of the space program and Professor of Public Affairs at Washington University.

Listen to this segment:

Download Flash Player to view this content.


Related Links

Shrimp in Hot Water

shrimp.jpg Northern shrimp - Image courtesy Thierry Gosselin

The shrimp fishery in the North Atlantic has boomed in recent years, as predatory groundfish like cod have disappeared and environmental conditions have been favourable. However, scientists are concerned that this boom may not last forever and that, in particular, climate warming may have an impact on the shrimp population in the future. Peter Koeller, a research scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, N.S., and his group, have found that the timing of the hatching of shrimp eggs is carefully coordinated with the timing of the spring phytoplankton bloom, so that shrimp larvae will have plentiful food. Climate change, however, threatens to disrupt the timing of both the egg hatch and the bloom, potentially breaking this careful coordination.

Listen to this segment:

Download Flash Player to view this content.


Related Links

Mothers and Others


mothers.jpg

No doubt you've heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, Dr. Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, an evolutionary anthropologist and primatologist, believes it took a village to raise a species -- the human species. In her new book, Mothers and Others: the Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding, Dr. Hrdy argues that modern humans evolved as intelligent, cooperative, ultra-social creatures only because early humans had the love and support of communal parents. These days, we tend to think of the nuclear family as the natural familial unit, but Dr. Hrdy believes that, in addition to mothers and fathers, early human children were also highly dependent on a whole army of family members -- grandmothers, sisters and aunts, among others. The extra parental care meant better protection, more food, and extended childhoods, leading to whole host of cognitive and emotional developments that our less socially-astute primate cousins missed out on -- altruism, cooperation and empathy, the very things that make us human.

Listen to this segment:

Download Flash Player to view this content.


Related Links

Theme music bed copyright Raphaël Gluckstein.
Creative Commons License by-nc-nd-2.0