Eighty-five years ago, almost to the day, astronomers at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff discovered Pluto. It was considered the 9th planet from the sun. But, several decades later, it was demoted to dwarf planet status. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist heading up the New Horizons mission to study its surface. At a recent lecture in Flagstaff he said there are hundreds of dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt where Pluto lives.
Tiny nanorobots may be the next big breakthrough in fighting cancer. About the size of a virus, the magnetic, metal machines could be used to detect and treat tumors from inside malfunctioning cells. John Gibbs is a physicist at Northern Arizona University and makes these microscopic nanomachines.
Pluto has a surface of nitrogen and methane ice. Scientists know this from telescope observations. But, when the New Horizons spacecraft flies by the dwarf planet in July, they hope to know far more about its icy composition. Flagstaff astronomer Stephen Tegler will be analyzing the data.
Every year, generations of classic car enthusiasts flock to sunny Phoenix for the Barrett Jackson Collector Car Auction. It's the essence of automobile artistry, power and engineering. And that's a perfect combination for Jerry McGlothin, a retired engineering professor at Northern Arizona University, and an antique car junkie.
Growing microscopic organisms in a lab to conduct biological warfare might sound like the makings of a science fiction movie. But in the case of the bark beetle, it's real. An entomologist at Northern Arizona University is using a fungus to combat the beetles' deadly attack on forests across the West. As Arizona Public Radio's Bonnie Stevens reports, the fungus is the latest in a string of unconventional methods to stop the bugs' rampage.
If you’re one of those people who puts on weight while another person eating the same meal doesn’t, blame your gut! Greg Caporaso says it’s all about the microbiome — or the microbes living in our bodies — that determines how many calories we extract from food and also, how susceptible we are to disease.
Thousands of scientists worldwide are studying the environmental impact of climate change. But now, two professors of English are studying its emotional impact. SueEllen Campbell and John Calderazzo are co-directors of a climate change outreach and discussion group at Colorado State University. And, they recently visited Northern Arizona University to share this message about the Earth’s changing climate:
If you've clicked on the audio link for this story, then the sound you're hearing is the chatter of one of the most endangered mammals in North American, the black footed ferret. It's a sound that hasn't been heard much in Arizona's grasslands since 1931. That's when the animals were thought to have gone extinct after a strain of plague nearly wiped out their main food source, prairie dogs.