Category Archives: Physics

Is Progress Outpacing Precaution? Experts Weigh In

Illustration by An Arres.

No one expects the machinery of progress to roll backwards, but sometimes it seems that no one is watching the speedometer (or manning the brakes, assuming any exist).  Is this a fair assessment? If so, should we be worried — and what can we do about it?

In this feature, experts on technology, risk, science, policy and neuroscience discuss risk, innovation and how our values affect our conceptions of both.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
ASU Experts Weigh the Risks of Innovation

NASA Moves Up Psyche Mission Timetable

Image courtesy Space Systems Loral/Arizona State University/Peter Rubin

NASA’s mission to 16 Psyche, the solar system’s only known iron-nickel asteroid, will launch in the summer of 2022, one year earlier than originally planned.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
NASA’s Psyche Mission Will Launch a Year Early, Arrive at Target Four Years Sooner

The Foggy Future of Refrigerants

Freon tanks await recycling. Image courtesy U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Stable, nontoxic refrigerants changed the world, transforming food storage, expanding Sun Belt populations, even helping early movie theaters succeed. But they also wrecked the ozone layer — Earth’s shield against harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Today, as stockpiles dwindle — and prices rise — due to phase-outs set by the Montreal Protocols 30 years ago,  the future of Freon and its successors remains in doubt.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
As Stockpiles Dwindle, Freon Prices Rise

Behind the Scenes at a Nuclear Generating Station Refueling

Every six months, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station southwest of Phoenix, Arizona shuts down one of its three reactors for refueling and maintenance.

Join me in this feature-length venture into the belly of the beast, from the storage casks to the open reactor itself.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
http://science.kjzz.org/node/472070

NASA’s ShadowCam Hitches Ride to Moon on Korean Craft

Image courtesy Arizona State University / Malin Space Science Systems

NASA plans to send a new, light-sensitive camera to explore the moon’s most shadowed regions. ShadowCam will look for evidence of water ice in the permanently shadowed regions of the moon.

Lunar areas that never receive sunlight – frigid craters and mountain shadows – could conceal a treasure trove of water ice, especially near the poles.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Shadow-Piercing NASA Camera Rides To Moon Aboard Korean Craft