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04/11/2010

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 04 November 2010

The International Space Station - is it worth the cost? Giant Dragonflies from the First Forests; The Electrical Generator that Changed the World.

  • International Space Station

    International Space Station

    Picture Credit: NASA

    It's ten years since the first crew arrived at the International Space Station, on November 2nd 2000. Since then the mission has completed over 57000 orbits of the Earth, and played host to 196 astronauts. To NASA and its international partners, the Station is an inspiration; NASA boss Charlie Bolden told the crew on Tuesday they were a modern-day Star Trek. But critics call it a giant white elephant, costing $100 billion, or even more. Six hundred experiments have been performed, but to what effect. Astronomers Ian Crawford and Paul Murdin debate the merits of the Space Station and human spaceflight.

  • Monster Dragonflies of the Past

    Geochemist John Vanden Brooks has been breeding dragonflies to see if he can corroborate the suggestion that their ancestors grew to 2-foot wingspans 300 million years ago because of elevated oxygen levels in the atmosphere. He joins paleobotanist Andrew Scott to describe what we do and don't know about the history of oxygen.

  • Charles Parsons' Turbine

    Following Radio 4's History of the World in a Hundred Objects, Material World asks what other inventions represent the greatest leaps forwards in modern times. The turbine invented in Newcastle-upon-Tyne by Charles Parsons is used in almost all the electricity generation in the world, not to mention the revolution it wrought in ocean-going liners, or the jet engines it eventually led to. But the British engineer has none of the recognition of James Watt, George Stephenson, or Isambard Kingdom Brunel. John Clayson from Newcastle's Discovery Museum seeks to raise his profile.

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