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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  July 20, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivas: on this edition for saturday, july 20: record breaking heat across the u.s. has millions seeking relief. and 50 years ago today, man first set foot on the moon. a look at the next mission to the moon and beyond. next opbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america--
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designing custized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcastcog, and by ributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank y.ou from the tisch wnet studios at hari sreenivasan.iv >> srean: good evening and thanks for joining us this saturday july 20. i'm ha sreenivasan. 50 years ago on this very day was the apollo eleven moon cinding, so tonight we're bringing you a s program from the newly restored apollo control room at th johnson space center in houston, texas. >> we choose to go to the moon! >> sreenivasan: it was a goal president john f. kennedy set years -mbefore the histoing mission landed the first two humans on the surface of the moon. an estimated 650 million people
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watcd the televised event as u.s. astronaut neil armstrong pronounced the now famous phra: >> that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. >> sreenivasan: armstrong and fellow astronaut edwin "buzz" aldrin spent more than 21 hours on the moon that day. no one has been there since 1972, but nasa is hoping to change that with an aggressive goal ottf g humans back on the moon by 2024. they'll be competing of course th entrepreneurs like spacex's elon musk who says he will fly humans to mars by that year. so what will a new lunar mission look like and what is nasa's role in the global space race? we'll talk about that and more on today's program including a look at some of the hundreds of pounds of moon rocks. but first, here's a look at today's headlines. eat d humiditys locked in across the central and eastern states, and there is noe relief in the st until
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monday. in new york city, the heat index, a cbination of temperature and humidity, was more than 100 degrees most of the day.ts major evere cancelled, including a concert in central park, the new york city triathlon, and a 50th anniversary times square celebration of the apollo 11 landing. even the famous coney island boardwalk offered little relief. >> it's hot. we had to go get in the sprinklers to cool ourselves down, to finish walking. >> sreenivasan: nearly 500 cooling centers were set up around the city and public pools are staying open into the evening. >> wmade preparations a couple of days ago when we found out that there was going to be a heat wave this weekend. so we are well prepared for it. >> sreenivasan: yesterday in the midwest, two fires at electric substations in madison wisconsin caused power outages for thousands today the national weather service issued excessive heat warnings and heat advisories for much of the central united states and east coast with temperatures expected to feel like they are above 105 degrees through tomorrow. iran forced another oil tanker
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out of the strait of hormuz and into itserritorial waters, this time it was an algerian ship. the seizuref e ship and its crew came one day after iran's revolutionary guard took control of a british oil tanker, alsoit forcinnto iranian waters. britain's defense minister called the teover of its tanker a "hostile act" ", threatene"serious consequences" and warn ed british ships to stay out of the area. in hong kong today, tens of thousands gathered in the streets again, but this time to support the police who have been accused of reolence during nt pro-democracy demonstrations and marches. at the event, called "safeguard hong kong," demonstrators carried chinese flags, called for law and order, and wore white in contrast to the black clothes worn in protests againse hong kong's ment. the anti-government groups say they are planning another mass demonstration for tomorrow. in puerto rico people took to
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the streets again today, demanding that governor ricardo rossello resign. the demonstrations began after hundres ds of pa misogynistic and homophobic online chat messages between the governor and other government officials were leaked last weekend. before 10:00 a.m. today, presidt trump tweeted more support for rap sician asap rocky who is in jail hn sweden. fr new jersey golf club, where he's spending the weekend, the president wrote that he would "personally vouch for the "apper's bail." the grammy-nominated artist was arrested and jailed earlier this month afterng bharged with aggravated assault during a street fight. mr. trump spoke by phone with teedish prime minstefan löfven before tweeting. a spoke minister said the phone call w"" friendly and respectful" and that lofven "unnderlined that sweden everyone is equal before the law and that the government cannot and will not attempt to influence the legal proceedings." for the latest on the extreme temperatures stretching across much of thpbcountry, visit org/newshour.
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>> s: enivasre than 840 pounds of samples were collected from the moon between 1969 and 1972. it's a collection of rocks, core samples, pebbles, andust that scieists are still learning from nearly 50 years later. >> rocks all have stories. so, the trick is trying to read the story. >> sreenivasan: judy allton has worked with moon rocks as a curator for two decades. t to the johns space center, she showed me some of the more than 2,000 samples collected ov s apollo missions to the moon. >> these rocks, the breccias have pieces inthem. they're from different parts of the moon. they're like brand-new samples, each little piece. >> sreenivasan: most of the rocks and soil gathered from the moon missions are housed here in the lulenar samp lab, kept pristine to prevent contamination. >> in this large open room, samples here are handled inside those glove boxes under very
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pure ennitr we restrict the type ofth materials at can come in contact with the rock to very few. >> sreenivasan: even the building material in the lab required extra attention. special floors and lights were chosen to minimize potential chemical damage to the samples. >> very finlee part >> sreenivasan: but for all the care taken, allton said, in the run-up to rsthe moon mission, bringing back lunar samples was not on the radar of many at nasa. >> i know a lot of the people that participated in onollo-- the asts, the flight controllers, the engineers-- that was not their focu: >> sreenivas-hmm. >> but the geologists thought, "we're going to go all the w there. if we had those samples back in our laboratory, we could makeas ements you can never make remotely." >> sreenivasan: the rocks astronauts buzz aldrin and neil armstrong brought back to earth were sent to houston. thcontainers were then placed in a vacuum chamber and opened to begin the research process. geology instruction was expanded in subsequent moon missions.
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>> a lot of the people that worked here helped train thetr auts in geology. they went on field trips.om and... andof them really took it to heart. when they got on the moon, they were giving vivid descriptions of the terrain. >> sreenivasan:arrison schmitt helped train previous astronauts, and, in 1972, he became the first geologist on sie moon as part of the apollo 17 mis. he spent more than 20 hours on the surface of the moon, collecting samples and il.racting so >> here i am, folks, in the middle of a boulder field, just minding my own business. >> sreenivasan: all told, there elre four years of moon missions, which d a diversity of rocks for study. the lunar lab now distributes close to 700 sampleacto researcherss the world every year. to every once in a while, when we think we neeook at more rocks, we'd slice that like pread. so, each time youll it off, you could uncover a new rock type. >> sreenivasan: hmm. so, people are still learning new things from thes yrocks.
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>> oh,ou bet. >> sreenivasan: some of what researchers have learned has been stunning. for example, the moon and earth have a common ancestry. and because of the rocks, we now know that the moon is about 4.5 billion years old, around the same age as the earth. but scientists believe there are still more secrets to be uncovered, and, this year, nasa is opening its vaults to study samples not touched since they returned from the apollo missions. they plan to analyze the rocks using 21st century technology. but if this isn't enurgh, well, it out our next mission to the lunar surface involves a lot of rock and soil collection. >> sreenivasan: no man has set foot othmoon since 1972, when the apollo program came to an end. but thch may sooge. nasa aims to return astronauts to thend moon by 2024,et up
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a sustained human presence there by 2028. but nasa's plans, including getting back to the moon, setting the groundwork for future manned space fligh, and developing commercial opportunities in space will quire an effort even mor ambitious than the original apollo missions. >> three, two, one, ignition. >> sreenivasan: earlier this afety, nasa tested a key system on its new orion spacecraft in the sky above florida. in a simulated emergency, the spacecraft aborted a take-off and split off from the speeding rocket, propelling itself safely away. the test was a key milestone in nasa's ambious plan to return astronauts to the moon. mark kirasich is the nasa program manager for orion at the johnson stace center in h, texas. >> you look at it from the outside, and you say, "boy, that's the same shape as apollo." and it is. and the reason it is because we learned the apollo guys had the shape righokt. but you nderneath the
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skin, and just about every other aspect of orion is different. >> sreenivasan: kirasich took me inside a full-scale model of the spacecraft that nasa uses to study how the crew interacts with the ship and its systems. >> come on in and watch your e to the insidem of an orion spacecraft. >> sreenivasan: so, four people are going to ridethis? >> yes, yes! >> sreenivasan: ( laughs ) >> and by... by capsule rds, our astronaut tea will tell you this is a... quite a roomy spacecraft. >> sreenivasan: ( laughs ) this is roomy? >> ts is roomy! you also have to remember, in space, everything is a floor, everything is a ceili. so, you can sleep on the walls, you can walk on the ceiling. >> sreenivasan : ( laughs) the orion is built by aerosce company lockheed martin, and it's designed to support a crew for weeks at a time.ou >> snakeway in like this. >> sreenivasan: okay. and unlike the spacecrafts used ssions, it'so mi flexible for astronauts of all sizes. oh, wow! >> these seats, this cockpit's
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designed for what we call a 5% female, a very small man; to a 95th percentile male, a very large man. >> sreenivasan: the orion capsule is a key part of nasa's artemis program, named after the twin sister of the greek god apollo. artemis will be a sequence of missions starting with a flight with no crew in 2020, a flight with a crew in 2022 that will orbit the moon, and then a 2024 mission that will land humans on the moon's south pole. unlike the apollo program, artemis aims to establish a sustained presence on the moon and set the stage for further exploration to mars. >> small-scale tests have been done. >> sreenivasan: jeff radigan is the lead flhtirector for artemis 2, the first flight with astronauts in 2022. >> so, it's really a stepping stone, one mission after the other, building on capability. >> sreenivasan: okay, so, some people are going to watch this and say, "look, we didhat 50 years ago. why do it again? why go back?" >> you know, we haven't been back to the moon in 50 years, and it's... it's out there waiting for us. it's out there. with so much we've hescovered overast 50 years with the unmanned spacecraft that have gone on the, really gives us
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the opportunity to go back and then stay there. >> sreenivasan: radigan points to the 2009 discovery of water on the moon as a key resoce to support long-term habitation and edture exploration. it could be harveo drink, turned into oxygen for breathing, and the hydrogen it contains could be used as rocket fuel. >> we're on our way, houston! >> sreenivasan: the end of the apollo lunar missions in 1972d t mark the end of astronauts in space for nasa. >> liftoff! >> sreenivasan: the space shuttle prograflew 135 missions 1 betwe1 and 2011. its successes included launching scientific instruments like thes hubble tope and helping build the international space station, oi.s.s. >> go at throttle-up. >> sreenivasan: but the program also suffered two catastrophes that killed 14 astronauts: the "challenger," which blew up just after inliftof986; and the "columbia," which disintegrated entering the earth's atmosphere in 2003. since the shuttle program ended,
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nasa has relied on the russian soyuz rocket to transport astronauts to the i.s.s., and private companies like spacex to carry supplies and hardware. meanwhile, the space station has been continuously occupied by international group of astronauts since november of 2000>>. we've learned how to live and work in space for very long periods of durations. we... we've learned how to keep people healthy, how to exercise, the kinds of foods to take, so people can survive onery long missions in space. >> sreenivasan: so, we take those lessons, and we say, "this is what 's going to take if you want to live on the moon and work on the moon"? >> yes, correct. while we are in lower earth orbit, we're still only a couple hours away. we're just a couplhundred miles away from earth. >> sreenivasan: yeah. >> now, these missions we're about to embark on are hundreds of thousands of miles away, five-day trips. there is no two-hour emergency ride home to earth. so, we have to learn how to become less reliant on the earth. >> sreenivasan: whether or not america should embark on a new moon missioneeassubject to changing political forces.
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in 2004, president george w. bushirected nasa to return to the moon. but in 2010, the obama administration scrapped the ssion for being over budget and behind schedule, focusing instead on future mission to mars. in 2017, the trump administration pivoted back to the moon, targeting 2028 for the mission. then, earlier this year, the administration sped up the timetable. >> it is the stated policy of this administration and the united states of america to returnmecan astronauts to the moon within the next five years. ( applau) >> sreenivasan: what happens when you that's a lot of pressure on the engineers and everyone else that was planning on something way down the line, right? >> you kt now, it...anges your schedule, obviously. ouere's always going to be pressure to getjob done as well as you can, but that's balanced by havg the resources do it, right? and so, i think we've done a pretty good job at nasa of trying to explain that equation
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to the administration and to say, "absolutely we can support 2024, we'd love to support 2024. we're all on board with that. now, here's how we would do it, and here's the resources it would take to get there." es sreenivasan: yeah. so, you have theources that you need now? >> so, i... i appreciate the administrator, you know, working with congress and... and the administration to get the resources, right? and i applaud the administrator for saying that's going to take more money, and i know that folks are working very hard to... to make that happen. >> ...six, five, four... >> sreenivasan: nasa believes it will take an additional $4 billion to $6 billion a year over the next five years on top of its roughly $21 billion annual budget to meet the 2024 lunar deadline. taking that potential oucrease into a, the agency's budget is around half of 1% of all federal spending. while that may sound like a lot, nasa is actual trying to do more with less. at the height of the apollo program in the mid-1960s, federal spending on nasa accounted for nearly 4% of the
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total u.s >>bwe have liftoff! >> sreenivasan: adding to financial pressure, nasa has been plagued with cost overruns on several key compothnts, includinspace launch system, or s.l.s., the large rocket that will send the orio spacecraft into lunar space. a 2018 inspector general report found that boeing, which is making the s.l.s. rocket, will likely spend nearly double the ivbudgeted amount while ding the rocket more than two and a half years late. mark kirasich says nasa needs t find a way to entice private industry to invest in space exploration. >> s right now, we're working on commercializing the international space station-- tourist sorts of things, scientific endeavors. and the moon offers some special opportunities-- mining on the moon. so, there can be busesses that take advantage, and that's... and that's what we're trying to do-- find businesses, motivate businesses that can then make a profit by flying space missions. >> sreenivasan: mining operations othe moon? i mean, it seems so sci-fi, but who gets to mine the moon?
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i mean, are we doing ts humanity-- as one species, so to speak-- together? are we doing it as countries? are we t dois as companies? >> well, we'll have to develop the laws, the international laws, and we'll have to work those sorts of things out. those are legal questions. i'm still working on the engineering problems. >> sreenasan: ( laughs ) kirasg ich may be focusin engineering problems, but the fact is space exploration is no longer just a two-country race between the unit the soviet union, as it was known in the '60s. space agencies in j europan and india have also sent probes to the moon. most recently, china landed a rover on the far side of the moon in january. 50 years ago, in the sprint to get to the moon, it was really just two runners. now, in this marathon that is space exploration, you've t a lot more runners coming in. what does that do to the.. to the race? >> you know, not erybody is going the same place, is the first thing i'll tell you, right? it... it really opens up the options for more runners to run different races, to use your... your analogy.
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i have no doubt that there'll be some competition involved. >> sreenivasan: yeah. >> and competition can be a healthy thing. the more space vehicles, the more countries that want to go to the moon and out into the solar system, the bett. we just need to ensure that, you know, we're at least not working against each other even if we're not working together >> sreenivasan: are you optimistic about that? >> i am. think thwe've got... i hazards are so great and the cost of failure is so high that folks are incentivtoed to work ther. >> in our lifetime... >> sreenivasan: despite the promise of more cooperation in space exploration, countries-- incl the united states-- still want to be first, andse ing astronauts to mars is clearly the next big milestone. it's a goathat president trump made explicit earlier this month. >> someday soon, we willlant the american flag on mars. ( cheers and applause ) >> you want everybody looking at the views of the spacecraft. >>nareenivasan flight director jeff radigan says the agency is well positioned to eventually send astronauts to the red planet. >> where i see us in 20 years is at first trip to mar
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where i see us in 40 years is doing the same thing around mars that we're doing around the moon today... >> sreenivasan: hmm. >> ...which is having tt permanent resence, having those folks there for a year or more, and just continuing out into the solar system. >> sreenivasan: when you're 240 miles from earth the view is quite literally out of this world.on ast scott kelley spent 340 days on the international space station, setting an american record for the longest single space mission and while there, he also took photographs.ds :undof them, and compiled them into a book "infinite wonder: an astronaut's photographs from a year in space." >> as an astronaut, photograph is a really big part of your... of your job because we take pictures for scientific reasons. we take pictures for engineering reasons. and then, take, you know, photos to, you know, share with the public what we're doing in space.
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so, you know, it became part of my job, and i, you know, became interested in it, but really as a result of flying in space. i think the book has three sections. it talks about the mission of flying in space. then, e'tha section called "the natural world," which is pictures of the earth or spacend that you can f recognize what... what they are. and then, the last section is a section that we call "ear art," how you can take photos of the earth and really make it ok like a... a wall-worthy piece of artwork... my mother was ... an amateur artist, and i think i got part of her artistic brain. so, i, over time, developed, you know, a technique where i could take a, you know, close-up picture of the earth with a really long lens, which is challenging when you're moving about five miles a second so, the... the camera has to move at a very fast but alsost dy rate to get an image
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that's in focus. and then, using a software program, i would enhance the colors. i wouldn't add any colors, but just enhance them to, you know, bring out the... the natural colors. you know, it takes a long time to get comfortable enough ine spere you have, you know, a steady enough hand to get the pictures in focus, especially when you take pictures at night and you use, you know, camera settings that are... you know, you're more likely to get blurriness due to your ability to... to... to track the earth's surface in a very steady and controlled way. i just saw how incredibly breathtakingly beautiful ou er planth is. i knew right then and there i would never seanything like earth again from space. just, it's almost ike someone took the most brilliant blue aint and just painted it on a mirror rig front of my eyes, and it was absolutely spectacular.
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>> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> sreenivasan: in 1976 a nasa intern bought more than a thousand reels of video tape from a govaunment surplus ion. tucked among those hundreds of tapes is what some believe to be the original recording of man's first steps on the moon. that surprising find made 65- year-old gary george, now a retired mechanical engineer, a miionaire this afternoon. the winning bid was at a sotheby's auction for three two- inch videotapes. they have nasa labels and the date july 20th, 1969 on the boxes. it was decades after, when the former nasa intern paid just $218 for more than 1,000 used tapes. included are more than two hours of video and audio recordings including the moment neil armstrong makes the first human contact with the moon's surface,
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and what's known as armstrong and buzz aldn's "e.v.a." or extra vehicular activities on their moon missioesn. >>nghouse created a special lunar surface television camera. and that camera was deployed by neil armstrong on the lunar surface.he ut it out on a tripod and it recorded all of he and buzz aldrin's vari during that first e.v.a. the data was sent back to earth via microwaves and captured with satellites in australia and california. and then that data was sent to johnson space center. >> sreenivasan: nasa says it did lose track of some tapes of the apollo 11 mission either because it recorded over them or because of damage from heat and humidity. the two inch tapes auctioned today do not contain any material that has not been preserved at nasa. but for collectors, who also bid on hundreds of other items this weekend, this was a space treasure worth having.
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>> sreenivasan: that's all for this special edition of pbs newshour weekend from johnson space center in houston, texas. i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh. access.worg >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by:
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bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by autual ofrica-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retiment company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by ieontributions to your pbs station fromrs like you. thank you.
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