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The Birth of Space Science

Why scientists are on trial in Turkey? Also Explorer 1 space satellite 60th anniversary, damming the Amazon, and paper that makes water safe.

Scientists' Trials in Turkey
About 18 months ago, a number of foreign and local scientists working in Turkey were arrested and charged with spying and terrorism. This is thought to be part of the crackdown by the government following a coup attempt in July 2016. Against international condemnation, the trials are due to start. What will the impact be on Turkish science in the future?

Explorer 1's 60th Anniversary
60 years ago this week, the first US satellite was launched. The launch of Explorer 1 followed the first two satellites the previous year; the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1 and 2, beginning the Cold War Space Race between the two nations. Explorer 1's main claim to fame is making the first space discovery - it found radiation belts surrounding the Earth, names Van Allen belts after one of the mission scientists.

Damming the Amazon
In a large multi-national survey of the Amazon River, and in particular the many tributaries which spring up in the Andes mountains, the impacts of a large number dams have been measured. The impacts of such hydropower dams on indigenous populations and fisheries in the region are cause for concern.

Paper That Makes Water Safe
A revolutionary microbial-based paper sensor has been developed, creating a cheap, sustainable and recyclable device for detecting toxic compounds in water. Inspired by the simplicity of litmus paper - commonly used for the rapid assessment of acidity in water - this innovative technology consists of a microbial fuel cell (MFC), obtained by screen printing biodegradable carbon electrodes onto a single piece of paper.

Presenter is Roland Pease
Producer is Fiona Roberts

Picture: Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Dr. James Pickering, Dr. James van Allen of the State University of Iowa, and Army Ballistic Missile Agency Technical Director Dr. Wernher von Braun triumphantly display a model of the Explorer I, America's first satellite, shortly after the satellite's launch on January 31, 1958. Image credit: NASA

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Gravitational Waves

Gravitational Waves

Gravity and ripples in the fabric of space time - what do these mean for us?