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You probably know orchids as the big, colorful flowers found in grocery stores and given as housewarming gifts. But those tropical beauties represent only a fraction of the estimated 25,000 orchid species worldwide. While their showy relatives fly off the shelves, North America’s more understated native orchids are disappearing in the wild. Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center are working to protect these orchids and their habitats, but first they need to solve a surprisingly difficult problem: how to grow one.
When NASA’s Apollo 11 mission sent the first astronauts to the moon 50 years ago, there were many things we didn’t know. Like whether the moon’s surface would turn out to be a field of quicksand, if space germs would infect the astronauts, or what exactly the moon was made of. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, we join forces with the National Air and Space Museum’s podcast, AirSpace, to explore the mysteries of lunar science: what we didn't know then, and what we still don't know today.
Listen to AirSpace, stories that defy gravity: airandspace.si.edu/learn/airspace-podcast
Big Bird in space. Saving a multi-million-dollar painting. Smokey the *real* Bear. These are some of the stories we've been itching toshare, but didn’t have room for… until now. To close out Season 2, we’re serving up a few of our favorite Smithsonian “shorties,”plus we’ll check in with our most talked about characters from this past year. We’ll be back forSeason 3in August 2018!
As part of NASA’s Teacher in Space Program, Christa McAuliffe prepared lesson plans and lectures to beam into classrooms from orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. She, and the rest of the Challenger crew, were lost when the Shuttle broke apart 73 seconds after launch. This episode is about the lessons she had planned to perform in space, which now form an important part of her legacy.
Christa planned six science activities, known as the six lost lessons, that were to be used as educational resources for students around the world. The Challenger Center, in partnership with NASA and STEM on Station, worked with astronauts Ricky Arnold and Joe Acaba to film these demonstrations on the International Space Station and complete these lessons.
Emily, Matt, and Nick reflect on the Teacher in Space program, the lost lessons, and the impact McAuliffe had on a generation of students, teachers, and astronauts.
You can find more information about Christa McAuliffe’s lost lessons, including videos, lesson plans, and other STEM resources at challenger.org.