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Mission to Pluto!

A rendering of Pluto and Charon. (Courtesy of NASA)
A rendering of Pluto and Charon. (Courtesy of NASA)

We talk to Dr. Alan Stern, the leader of NASA’s mission to Pluto – New Horizons. He’s been working on the mission for over 20 years and he’s excited to see the surprises that New Horizons will be sending back. Plus: Take a quiz to test your New Horizons knowledge!

Trees: From seed to shining seed

A freshly planted white cedar seedling sat in the ground Wednesday, May 20, 2015 near Finland, Minn. (Derek Montgomery for MPR News)
A freshly planted white cedar seedling sat in the ground Wednesday, May 20, 2015 near Finland, Minn. (Derek Montgomery for MPR News)

How do trees make oxygen? How do they grow? How do evergreens stay green all year? Why do tree leaves change color? How long can trees live? We’re branching out to tackle all these questions in this episode.

How does GPS know where you are?

GPS III satellite (Courtesy of GPS.gov).
GPS III satellite (Courtesy of GPS.gov).

Without GPS, we’d be lost. Literally. Thanks to these radio transmissions from space though, we’re able to pinpoint our location and find our way home. Join us as we learn all about satellites, how the robot voice of GPS is created and how atomic clocks hold it all together.

How and why do jellyfish sting?

Jellyfish! (Sanden Totten | KPCC)
Jellyfish! (Sanden Totten | KPCC)

All jellyfish sting – but not all jellyfish sting people. In this episode, we learn about how jellyfish sting and how they eat. Plus: stro-bi-la-tion (how jellyfish grow up).

How do animals breathe underwater?

An octopus  at the State Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe, southern Germany. (ULI DECK/AFP/Getty Images)
An octopus at the State Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe, southern Germany. (ULI DECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Our lungs are great at getting oxygen out of the air, but if we needed to do that underwater, we’d be sunk. So how do fish, shrimp, jellyfish and other marine animals breathe underwater? And what happens when there is no oxygen in the water for them to breathe?

How do volcanoes erupt?

Mt. Etna volcano spews lava during an eruption near the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, Dec. 15, 2013. (Salvatore Allegra | AP File)
Mt. Etna volcano spews lava during an eruption near the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, Dec. 15, 2013. (Salvatore Allegra | AP File)

There are all kinds of volcanoes all over the world, but how are they formed? And how do they erupt? To find out, we’ll travel to the center of the Earth, and we’ll meet a NASA robot that’s going on a very special volcano mission.