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Pluto images, Space elevator, Insect migration, Imagination app

Adam Rutherford looks at the new photos of Pluto which were beamed back to Earth this week. And a new patent takes the space elevator a step closer to reality.

This summer, the spaceship New Horizons sped past Pluto at 30,000mph, snapping photographs as it went. The pictures sent back this week have transformed our view of this former planet. It isn't a dead rock; it is geologically active, with ice volcanoes and plenty of terrestrial movement. Dr Cathy Olkin from the mission explains what has got her team so excited.

The space elevator, first dreamt up in the 19th century, is a tower tall enough to reach space. The sci-fi concept took a step towards reality recently, when the Canadian engineering company Thoth were granted a patent for an inflatable tower 20 kilometres high. Adam speaks to Thoth's Chief Engineer Ben Quine about the viability and possibilities of this project.

It's the season when 30 million European songbirds fly south for the winter. Lower profile and harder to study are the billions of insects that take a similar journey. Dr Jason Chapman from Rothamsted Research tells Adam how to study animals that are too small to tag

Can you measure imagination? A team from the Hungry Mind Lab at Goldsmiths University in London thinks you can. The goal of their two year project is to produce an app that can improve imagination by training it. To improve it, first they need to reliably measure it. Adam tries out their new test.

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30 minutes


  • Thu 17 Sep 2015 16:30
  • Thu 17 Sep 2015 21:00