Science

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Cassini space-probe / NASA

A billion miles from the Roaring Fork Valley, there’s a satellite orbiting Saturn. This afternoon, from that planet’s shadow, the NASA space probe will take a historic photograph of Earth.  It’s the first time people down here will know exactly when the earth is going to get its picture taken... and they can look up at the cosmos and smile. Ellis Robinson has the story.

  UPDATE (July 22, 9:01 AM): The Friday July 19, 2013 photograph of the earth and our moon, taken by Cassini, was released this past weekend.

What Can Marmots Teach Us About Plastics?

Jul 18, 2013
John Breitsch / flickr user - breitschbirding

At the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab in Gothic, just over the Maroon Bells from Aspen, a number of long-term field studies are pumping out reams of scientific data. In part two of our report on the laboratory, science reporter Ellis Robinson looked at a study on marmots that raises questions about the abundance of plastics in human society.

The Marmots of RMBL

Jul 18, 2013
Ellis Robinson, Aspen Public Radio

A colony of small mammals lives high above Crested Butte, just on the other side of West Maroon Pass from Aspen.  And, for more than fifty years, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory there has been watching the daily lives of these yellow-bellied marmots.  It’s one of the longest running animal studies in the world.  Our science reporter Ellis Robinson spent several days hanging out with the marmots and the “marmot-teers” who study them.  In the first of two reports, Ellis explores what data the researchers are collecting.

LANL (China, S, Mazzoleni, C, Gorkowski, K, Aiken, AC, Dubey, MK; Nature Communications, 2013)

As the country recovers from the worst wildland firefighting accident in years, there’s more attention on fire crews and the homes they’re trying to protect. But an often invisible result of wildfire can have a big effect on human health and climate... even after the flames die down. Science correspondent Ellis Robinson takes a look at the effects of wildfire smoke on air quality. And that means understanding something called a “tarball.”

Study Gives "Tree of Life" New Meaning

Jul 3, 2013
John Hritz / Flickr (user jhritz)

A sudden loss in the number of trees around you may slightly increase your chances for death. That's what a study from the US Forest Service published earlier this year suggests. Scientists found that areas with mass-tree deaths from beetle infestations had  increased numbers of cardiovascular and lower-respiratory related deaths.

Marci Krivonen

After a two year hiatus, the fossils found in a dried up reservoir bed in Snowmass Village are back. A handful of mastodon tusks and mammoth rib bones arrived at the Ice Age Discovery Center earlier this summer. Now, they’re being displayed for the public. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Gussie Maccracken carefully saws open a plaster mold around a huge mastodon tusk. The bone inside hasn’t seen the sun in a couple of years and parts of it haven’t been exposed for several millennia.

Staring at the Sun, Looking for Answers and Awe

Jun 28, 2013
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center - flickr

The Aspen Ideas Fest kicked off its second day of heady talks and colloquia on Thursday. Attendees and speakers from all over gathered to discuss the most pressing issues of culture, media, and foreign policy facing us here on earth. But others were turning their backs, literally, on our planet to get a different viewpoint. Science reporter Ellis Robinson explains.

What Physics Teaches Us About Cells

Jun 19, 2013
Jim Gipe / Pivot Media

Physics is often introduced to young minds by teaching them to calculate the trajectory of a baseball or the time it took the apple to drop from the tree and bonk Newton on the head. But maybe kids should learn how to calculate the speed at which nutrients zoom around our bodies, or the force of proteins building and tearing-down structures inside of cells. Now, the fundamental toolbelt of physics is being applied to better understand diseases like Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's, according to physicist Jennifer Ross.

mill56 - Flickr

The scientific community agrees: exercise does a body good. When comparing a sedentary lifestyle spent on the couch versus being an active cross-country skier, the recommendation from doctors is a no brainer: Go grab those skis! Which is a lesson Aspenites have long taken to heart. But a recent study from Sweden complicates the simplistic “exercise is good” mantra that we are used to hearing.

That's the sound of 15-thousand cross country skiers simultaneously embarking on a grueling 90 km course. This is the Vasaloppet in Sweden.

Digging for Dust Data

Jun 11, 2013
Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies

If you’ve ventured out on a hot day wearing dark clothing you know that within a short time you're soaked with sweat. Similarly, when a blanket of dust settles on snow, it acts the same way - the snow sweats or melts. The result is a rapid melting of snow.  Aspen Public Radio’s Science Reporter Ellis Robinson has more.
 

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