Public radio enthusiasts are familiar with KUHF's 23-year-old celebrated program, The Engines of Our Ingenuity, which every day seeks to tell the story of how our culture is shaped by human creativity. Engines will reach new heights on Tuesday with the broadcast of a special episode recorded in space.
Entitled "To Our Ships," the episode explores man's inherent impulse to travel and the vessels used to discover our world and beyond. The audio essay was recorded by NASA astronaut Michael Barratt on Sunday evening while aboard the flight deck of the space shuttle Discovery.
"This is history unfolding," John Lienhard, the program's host and writer, tells CultureMap. Now on its 39th and final voyage, Discovery will forever stay at a museum upon its return.
Barratt contacted Lienhard last summer about doing an exclusive on-board episode of Engines, which has been preceded by seven instances of Barratt guest hosting in recent weeks. The pre-Discovery shows touched on topics of medicine and space (about which Barratt has published a book).
"He's not speaking as a NASA publicist, but a technical expert who has good material," Lienhard says. "At this point, he's one of our most experienced contributors. He has a real talent for this — all of his programs have been extremely interesting based on a hell of a lot of serious expertise."
The astronaut telephoned Lienhard on Sunday evening and reported, "The view is spectacular up here." Once Barratt returns, we can expect future guest host segments in which he describes the science behind spacewalking.
"To Our Ships" broadcasts at 7:34 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday. The segment is also available on the episode page of KUHF.
Watch the Discovery dock with the International Space Station below: