NASA's iconic images of Earth from space date back to the late 1960s--with snapshots taken by Apollo astronauts. The modern "blue marble" images are captured by machines and they're not photos. They're datasets collected by instruments aboard satellites and then translated into imagery on the ground.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are replacing boots on the ground in some wars. Commercially, UAVs are being used for things like crop-dusting and flood mapping. Experts discuss advances in drone technology and how to address legal and privacy concerns that stem from their use.
As it circles Earth, NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer hunts for particles streaming in from beyond the solar system. It has intercepted hydrogen, helium, neon and oxygen atoms. IBEX principal investigator Dave McComas discusses how the abundance of those atoms hints at the Milky Way's composition.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The good news, even in the recession, came from American manufacturing. Output is up one-third over the past decade. But over just about that same period of time, six million manufacturing jobs disappeared. About as many people work in manufacturing now as did at the end of the Depression, though our population has more than doubled.
After a few more days of escalating hoopla, the Super Bowl between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots kicks off on Sunday evening, but whether you've got a small financial interest in the game or if you're just waiting for the ads, there are stories on the field in Indianapolis - the Brady legacy, salsa dancer Victor Cruz, hometown boy Mathias Kiwanuka, and of course the medical epic of the high-ankle sprain. What story will you follow in Super Bowl XLVI?
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. From the Harlem Renaissance to black power, Langston Hughes spoke to the life of African-Americans. The neglected son of a famous abolitionist family, he immersed himself in books. Eighteen years old and just out of high school, he saw sunset on the muddy Mississippi from a train and wrote the poem that introduced the world to Langston Hughes, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."
Violence persists around Damascus as protesters continue to urge President Bashar al-Assad's to step down. The Arab League has suspended its monitoring mission and the United Nations Security Council is considering a resolution condemning al-Assad's regime.
A report by NPR and ProPublica finds that Freddie Mac bet billions of dollars against homeowners' ability to refinance their mortgages. Public documents show Freddie Mac sought to make gains through complex securities which would make money for Freddie Mac, but homeowners with high-interest rate loans would not be able to qualify for refinancing. This is not illegal, but it does raise questions about a conflict of interest within a federally-owned company that is supposed to make getting a mortgage easier.