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British astronomer Fred Hoyle first used the term "Big Bang Theory" on a BBC radio program in 1949. Here in the U.S., Americans were hitting their stride on a massive bang of their own.

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics or NACA laid the groundwork for what would become NASA a decade later and sent a manned rocket to the moon 10 years after that. Before that successful mission, Vicky Graves and her husband, Barry, started working for NACA.


Neil Armstrong / AP

The Apollo 11 rocket NASA that launched into space 50 years ago this week was also the blast-off point for things now commonly used on Earth. The first moonwalk created the foundations for technology that moves people and products around every day. 

The lunar laser retroreflector used by astronaut Buzz Aldrin was critical to developing global positioning systems or GPS. Todd Jaegar is global director of commercial optics for Haraeus, which helped produce the reflector. Jaegar visited On Second Thought from Haraeus' quartz glass facility in Buford. 


LA'RAVEN TAYLOR/GPB

As GPB continues “Chasing the Moon” during a commemorative week celebrating the Apollo 11 launch 50 years ago this week, On Second Thought is joined by Lonnie Johnson, a former NASA employee that worked on the project that sent Galileo to Jupiter.  


50 years ago today, Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy. A few days later, on July 20, 1969, the first two humans landed on the moon — Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin.

Also at the launch was a film crew, documenting everything, from its preparation to mission control to the faces of the crowds witnessing the historic moment. These were mixed in with astounding footage taken by Armstrong and Aldrin, which all came together in a documentary film called Moonwalk One.


Courtesy of University of Georgia

The song "Daisy Bell" wasn't a hit in 1961, but it was a triumph. The singer? The IBM 7094, the largest, most expensive computer available at the time. And thanks to James Carmon, professor in the University of Georgia's School of Agriculture, the school purchased one in 1964.

 

Not only could the computer sing, it helped put man on the moon.

 

Special Event Puts Moon Rocks On Display At UGA's Russell Library

Jul 15, 2019
Richard B. Russell Library and The Capitol Collection

The University of Georgia's Richard B. Russell Library is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with an exhibit of rare items collected during the Apollo 11 mission. The collection includes the Georgia state flag, which traveled to the moon on the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Part of a spaceship is also on view.

On Tuesday, visitors can see the star of the show: a rock.  Specifically, it's a moon rock, which was given to the state of Georgia in 1972.


Montavious Foster

The 2016 film Hidden Figures highlights black female mathematicians who battled racial and gender discrimination to help the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA launch its Apollo missions to the moon. 

An Atlanta native, single mom and Georgia State University doctoral student will follow in their footsteps this summer.


(Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)

If an identical twin brother spends a year in space, will he return to earth different than his sibling?  The answer is: yes.  That’s the result of NASA’s twins study, out this month in Science magazine.

In 2015, NASA sent astronaut Scott Kelly to the International Space Station.  His brother, Mark, stayed home.


In the late 19th Century, Lulu Hurst transfixed audiences as the "Georgia Wonder." An electrical storm supposedly gave the teenager supernatural powers to catapult grown men from chairs. She performed on stages from Cedartown, Georgia, to the East Coast and Midwest.

Hurst appeared in front of members of congress and government scientists. She was tested by Alexander Graham Bell, the faculty at Mercer University and the Medical College of Georgia - all baffled by mysterious force of the "electric maid."

 


La'Raven Taylor/GPB

The Super Soaker toy gun was on the top of nearly every kid's wish list in the '90s, and it made summer heat a literal blast. The game-changing toy has racked up more than $1-billion in sales. It was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2015. 

The man who invented the Super Soaker is Lonnie Johnson. While the toy water gun may be Johnson's most widely known invention among consumers, he has made contributions to the world of nuclear and mechanical engineering far beyond pump action toy. 


(Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)

On this edition of “Two Way Street,” Bill talks to astronaut Scott Kelly, who holds the American record for most consecutive days in space.

President Trump has formally told NASA to send U.S. astronauts back to the moon.

"The directive I'm signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery," he said.

Standing at the president's side as he signed "Space Policy Directive 1" on Monday was Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, one of the last two humans to ever walk on the moon, in a mission that took place 45 years ago this week.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Georgia Tech is not just looking at interstellar space, it’s also traveling through it. Georgia Tech student Michael Staab is a spacecraft flight controller for NASA. He piloted the Cassini spacecraft, which traveled around Saturn and nearby moons collecting data.

The terms “alt-right,” “far-right,” and “radical right” get thrown around a lot these days. But there’s actually very little research on what those terms mean and who the people are identifying with them. Cas Mudde, Professor in the Department of International Affairs at UGA, is looking to change that. His new book is “The Far-Right in America.” He joins us to analyze the movement and its many subsets.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

South Korea faces a chronic dirty air problem that makes it one of the most polluted countries in the world. It's common to hear that neighboring China is to blame, but a joint study by NASA and the Korean government has found there's a lot South Korea can do on its own to cut the smog.

President Trump's pick for the next leader of NASA is a fighter pilot who wants Americans to return to the moon but doesn't believe that humans are causing climate change.

The Pentagon is considering pulling out of a deal it made with thousands of noncitizen recruits with specialized skills: Join the military and we'll put you on the fast track to citizenship.

The proposal to dismantle the program would cancel enlistment contracts for many of the foreign-born recruits, leaving about 1,000 of them without legal protection from deportation.

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Tech

NASA announced last month it will recruit a team of Georgia Tech researchers for a new project. The team, called REVEALS, will study radiation on other planets and build radiation proof space suits. What can this technology do for us in space exploration?

We ask the team leader, Thomas Orlando, a Director in the Center for Space Technology and Research at Georgia Tech.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Updated 5 p.m. ET

The first American to orbit the Earth has died. John Glenn was the last surviving member of the original Mercury astronauts. He would later have a long political career as a U.S. senator, but that didn't stop his pioneering ways.

Glenn made history a second time in 1998, when he flew aboard the shuttle Discovery to become the oldest person to fly in space.

Glenn was 95 when he died; he had been hospitalized in an Ohio State University medical center in Columbus since last week.

Andrew Davis Tucker / University of Georgia

There is still a lot we don't know about the effects of climate change on our world.  NASA and the Air Force have collaborated to help us learn more. They've called on a special team of students from the University of Georgia for help.  The team will build two small satellites to be launched into space.  UGA student Caleb Adams details the project.