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The Best of Our Knowledge # 1015



Howard Zinn was an American historian, author, activist, playwright, and professor of political science at Boston University from 1964 to 1988. He wrote more than 20 books, which included his best-selling and influential, A People's History of the United States. He passed away just a few weeks ago at age 87.

In 2005, Zinn spoke with WAMC radio president, Dr. Alan Chartock, about his three years working in a shipyard. He said this gave him a working class background that he carried with him in his personal and professional life.

Indeed, Howard Zinn wrote extensively about civil rights, civil liberties, and anti-war movements. Zinn was a professor of history at the all-black women's college, Spellman College in Atlanta, where he first started getting into trouble with college administrators.

Zinn spoke about that with our Dr. Alan Chartock, himself a professor emeritus of the State University of New York.

Dr. Alan Chartock reports. (4:11)


Part Two: What New Research Shows, Organics in Interstellar Space -

In Astrobiology and education news:

In 2004, former President, George W. Bush, announced a Moon to Mars program. But those plans have now been scrapped. Last month, President Barack Obama decided to cancel them and change course. Washington observers believe this sets the stage for a furious battle in Congress over U.S. manned space exploration.

The White House has decided to begin funding private companies to carry NASA astronauts into space. The new plan would supposedly see the first commercial flights reaching the International Space Station by 2013, and heavy-lift vehicles flying between 2020 and 2030.

Michael Griffin, who resigned as NASA chief when Mr. Obama took office said, "It means that essentially the U.S. has decided that they're not going to be a significant player in human space flight for the foreseeable future."

However, others painted a brighter picture. Dr. Bob Richards is the CEO of Odyssey Moon Limited and founder of the International Space University. Richards says "This is a completely different world NASA's new direction will bring it away from being a trucking service' and open it up to doing science and exploration beyond Earth."

In fact, the administration's fiscal year 2011 budget proposal calls for International Space Station operations continuing to at least 2020. It's hoped this will create new opportunities for advancing microgravity science research.

This brings us to our astrobiology research and education series, today featuring Dr. Erika Gibb, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Glenn Busby reports. (13:40)

The preceding is made possible by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, through support of the New York Center for Astrobiology, located at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - in partnership with the University at Albany, the University of Arizona, and Syracuse University.

**(For additional information about this story, or any of the other more than 150 stories featured in this current exclusive Astrobiology series, and past Origins of Life radio series, or if you would like to hear them again via your computer, the website given at the conclusion of the above segment is: www.origins.rpi.edu )**