A Return To The Moon, An Ancient Bludgeon, And Anesthetized Plants

7:34 minutes

aldrin in his spacesuit on the moon in color next to the american flag
Buzz Aldrin saluting the U.S. flag during the Apollo 11 mission. Credit: NASA

This week, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1, directing the NASA administrator to make plans for “a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use.”  In remarks at the signing, the president said that “this time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints—we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond.” The directive, however, doesn’t allocate any new funding to the effort, and it’s not clear how much of the national space policy it will actually change.  

[In Louisiana, a battle ensues over coastal restoration.]

Annalee Newitz, tech culture editor at Ars Technica, joins Ira to talk about that plan and other stories from the week in science, including the FCC vote regarding Net Neutrality,  “experimental archaeology” research on a Neothlithic weapon known as the Thames Beater, and studies about whether animal anesthetics such as ether can also be used to anesthetize plants.

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Segment Guests

Annalee Newitz

Annalee Newitz is a science journalist and author based in San Francisco, California. They are author of Stories Are Weapons: Psychological Warfare and the American Mind, Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age andThe Future of Another Timeline, and co-host of the podcast Our Opinions Are Correct.

Meet the Producer

About Charles Bergquist

As Science Friday’s director and senior producer, Charles Bergquist channels the chaos of a live production studio into something sounding like a radio program. Favorite topics include planetary sciences, chemistry, materials, and shiny things with blinking lights.

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