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Beyond Planet Earth: An Elevator to the Moon

Below, astrophysicist Michael Shara, who curated the forthcoming exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, explains how a lunar elevator would work—and why it might inspire a new sport.

We humans are barely toddlers when it comes to space exploration. Our first baby steps off our home planet 50 years ago took us to low Earth orbit. By 1973, 12 intrepid men had walked on the moon’s surface. Since then we have sent robots to every planet in our solar system. The Hubble Space Telescope has shown us that the ordinary matter we are made of comprises only 4 percent of the mass of the universe. The Kepler orbiting telescope has proved that billions of worlds orbit the stars of our Milky Way galaxy. What will we accomplish in space in the coming centuries, as our steps become surer and bolder?

Tags: Hayden Planetarium, Space Exploration

Video Interview with Mead Festival Jury Lead Darren Aronofsky

Academy Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), who will lead the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award jury, shares his excitement for the festival and what the art of documentary means to him in a video interview. For more information on the festival, which takes place from November 10 to November 13, visit amnh.org/mead2011.

Tags: Margaret Mead Film Festival

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Young Naturalist Researches River Contaminants

Seventeen-year-old Joshua had fond memories of swimming in Arkansas’s Strawberry River, a popular site for community gatherings and picnics. But after the construction of a wastewater treatment facility upstream, no one would enter the waters. “The wonderland where I spent so many hours as a child is deserted now, and nobody swims or fishes in that section of the river,” Joshua would later write. “I decided to find out for myself if the [facility] had indeed contaminated the water, or if the community had overreacted.”

Tags: Young Naturalist Awards

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