It started with a boom and ended with a touchdown: Blue Origin, the space company founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, has sent a craft past the edge of space and then landed its rocket safely – and vertically — in Texas.

Jeff Bezos speaks at the Apollo rocket engine unveiling at The Museum of Flight, showing the injector plate from an F-1 rocket used on Apollo 12.
Ted Huetter/The Museum of Flight

Jeff Bezos geeks out over rockets. That’s whether they’re pieces of space travel history found deep in the Atlantic Ocean or the reusable rocket his space launch company Blue Origins is cooking up.

David Hyde interviews Seattle-based biologist Anne Bikle ad University of Washington Professor David Montgomery about their new book on the beneficial role microbes play in agriculture and human health called "The Hidden Half Of Nature."

Chipotle Mexican Grill was the sight of a recent E. coli outbreak in Washington.
Flickr Photo/Frank Farm (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/

Bill Radke talks with state epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist about his work to track down the source of food-borne illnesses. 

An intense debate has flared over whether the federal government should fund research that creates partly human creatures using human stem cells.

Pacific Ocean from across the straights.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Ross Reynolds talks to writer Simon Winchester about his book "Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators and Fading Empires and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers." 

Biologist Ethan Bier runs a laboratory at the University of California, San Diego where fruit flies are used to help unravel the processes that lead to some human diseases. One day recently, a graduate student in the lab called him over to take a look at the results of the latest experiment.

Bier was stunned by what he saw. "It was one of the most astounding days in my personal scientific career," Bier says. "When he first showed me, I could not believe it."

A brain system that helps us find our way to the supermarket may also help us navigate a lifetime of memories.

At least that's the implication of a study of rats published in the journal Neuron.

It found that special brain cells that track an animal's location also can track time and distance. This could explain how rat and human brains are able to organize memories according to where and when an event occurred.

Geochemist Frannie Smith would like to see more girls get into science like she did. Women make up only about 25 percent of geoscientists in the U.S. and only a quarter of all the scientists or engineers at the Pacific Northwest National Lab in Washington state are female.

The Coast Guard icebreaker HEALY has returned to Seattle. The summer ice has gotten easier to navigate, which made it possible for the HEALY to travel alone.
U.S. Coast Guard

An American icebreaker has returned home to Seattle after a historic mission to the North Pole.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy broke its first ice floe in August, just north of Alaska.

A NASA probe will hurtle past Saturn's moon Enceladus on Wednesday, coming to within just 30 miles of the surface.

In the process, it will sample mist from a liquid ocean beneath the frozen surface. Doing so may provide clues about whether the ocean can support life.

At just 314 miles across, researchers originally expected Enceladus to be a tiny ball of solid ice. But thanks to NASA's Cassini probe, they now know it's somewhere really special.

Richard Dawkins illustrated with Dr. Spock.
Flickr Photo/Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)/

Richard Dawkins is a prolific author, scholar and evolutionary biologist. His most recent book,“Brief Candle In The Dark,” is a follow-up to his earlier memoir, “An Appetite For Wonder.”

In it he chronicles the second half of his life, from his Oxford days through his brilliant and controversial career.

Illustration of human heart and circulation.
Wikipedia Photo

UW Medicine is moving ahead with clinical trials to repair damaged hearts, thanks to a $10 million grant from a local foundation.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. When a person has a heart attack, one of the arteries gets blocked, often by a clot. Without oxygen, the heart muscle dies off pretty quickly.  

When it comes to feats of speed and strength, Homo sapiens is a pretty pitiful species. The list of animals that can outsprint us is embarrassing. There's the cheetah, of course, but also horses, ostriches, greyhounds, grizzly bears, kangaroos, wild boars, even some house cats.

Few images can put life's trivialities into perspective quite like the sight of our planet in the interminable blackness of space.

And at the very least, it's a cool view.

On Monday, NASA announced that this view will be available every day on a new website dedicated to publishing images from a satellite camera 1 million miles away from Earth.