EXPLORATIONS -April 17, 2002: Broadcast Number 2000
By Paul Thompson
This is Mary Tillotson.
And this is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program EXPLORATIONS. Today, we celebrate the
anniversary of the two -thousandth broadcast of this program.
Time changes everything, including the names of VOA radio programs. The program we know today as
began as the Saturday feature. The first program of this series was broadcast thirty-nine years
ago, June Eighth, Nineteen-Sixty-Three. It was called “Space, Food and Man.
The announcer began the program by saying, “Space, Food and Man
a program in Special English by the
Voice of America.
That first program was part of a new series about the growing population of the world and the decreasing amount
of living space on our planet. It also told about the amount of food people need to survive.
It seems that listeners liked that first program broadcast in the series. However, the VOA Special English staff
did change the name a little. The took out the word “food”
from the title and kept the name “Space and
The program continued under that name for many years even as it moved to a different broadcast day. It was
heard on Wednesdays, Tuesday nights in Latin America. In April, Nineteen-Ninety-Six, the name “Space and
was changed to “Explorations.
The staff members of Special English believe the name
really tells more about this program, which explores almost every subject.
“Space and Man”
began broadcasting programs about exploring space. It also included programs about
medicine, science, culture and other subjects. As the years passed we discovered that this was really a program
The name “Explorations”
just seemed to fit the program because we try to explore many different subjects and
Now, we have a secret to share with you. The staff of Special English has not written two-thousand programs for
We really do not know how many we have written. Some of our programs have been repeated.
A few of them many times.
A good example is a program about the sport of parachuting. It tells about what it feels like to jump out of a plane
with a parachute. The facts do not change. And it is still an interesting program. We might repeat it every few
years. Other programs are similar in this way to the parachuting program. They are worth broadcasting again.
Each time a program is going to be broadcast again the facts and information are examined to make sure
everything is still correct. The program is given a new number. So
today we are celebrating the two -thousandth
Some of the programs we repeat are about subjects that have become important in history. For example, some
programs followed the progress of the first humans to leave Earth and travel into space. These programs included
the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space flights.
Other programs about space flight are continually added. We have followed the development of the space shuttle.
We have told about the beginnings of the International Space Station and its progress.
We have told about the launch of important satellites and space vehicles sent to explore the far reaches of our
solar system. And we have taken our listeners along as humans attempt to explore the universe.
American Astronaut Neal Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the Moon. That event took place on
July Twentieth, Nineteen-Sixty-Nine.thirty-three years ago. Many of us can remember that day.
Others were not yet born. One of the reasons we repeat some programs is to let
younger listeners feel the excitement of hearing such moments as Neal Armstrong
say the first words from the Moon. He said those words as his foot left the moon
lander vehicle and touched the surface of the Moon for the first time. He said,
“That’s one small step for man.one giant leap for mankind.
Listen closely as
Mister Armstrong says those words in our program about the landing on the Moon.
((“THAT’S ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR
One of the most popular subjects on “Explorations”
has been the progress of the Hubble Space Telescope. The
space telescope orbits six-hundred kilometers above the Earth working to provide new information about our
Our programs followed the excitement leading up to the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in Nineteen-
Ninety. We also reported that mistakes had been made in Hubble’s glass telescope. One mistake affected the
telescope ’s mirror. It would not permit the telescope to produce clear pictures.
But the telescope was the first object in space designed so that astronauts could make repairs. So we have told
about the three trips astronauts have made to the Hubble Space Telescope. Each time they have replaced older
equipment with new modern equipment that permits the Hubble to do better work. We will report on the last of
these trips to repair the space telescope. It is planned for July, Two-Thousand-Three.
This Special English program has closely followed the invention of the computer. Several members of our
Special English staff remember when we had to learn to use computers to do our work. We quickly understood
how important these new machines were and how very important they would become in the future.
In this program, we told how computers were invented and the progress being made in their development. We
told how early computers were helping make business easier. Our stories examined ways that computers could be
used to gain information.
Every few years we added new programs about computers. We told how people throughout the world were
becoming connected with the use of computers. We told about the invention of the communications technology
that became the Internet.
Today, if you have a computer and can link to the Internet, you can print copies of this program or most other
Special English programs broadcast recently. You can make a copy of the Special English Word Book .the
English words used to write Special English programs. And, you can often see pictures of some of the people or
places we discuss on our radio programs.
News about developments in computer technology has been a very important part of this program. We know it
will continue to be in the future.
The computer has helped us link with many of you who listen to “Explorations
and other Special English
programs. Many listeners have become friends over the years.
A listener in China is a good example. Chun -Quan Meng works with a university’s computer center. He also
collects science information for students who study at the center.
He has often e-mailed us asking questions about our programs. He has even suggested ideas for programs. One
subject he suggested was about the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Each winter thousands of people around the world are killed or severely injured by carbon monoxide gas.
Kerosene or gas heaters or stoves that do not work correctly usually cause these terrible accidents. Our friend in
China thought it would be a good idea to explain this problem to our listeners. We did too!
Giving our listeners valuable information about a problem is the kind of program we think is important. We
would like to thank Chun -Quan Meng again for a very good idea. Our program about the dangers of carbon
monoxide poisoning is one that will be repeated.
What does the future hold for “Explorations”? Well, the name will not change again. We feel it describes the
program very well.
What will “Explorations”
programs be like in the future? That is a good question. We hope to continue with
programs that tell you about interesting places, events, people or subjects. Future programs will continue to deal
with new technology or ideas we think will interest you. We hope you will enjoy hearing two-thousand more
broadcasts of “Explorations
during the next forty years.
This Special English program was written by Paul Thompson. It was produced by Caty Weaver. Our studio
engineer was Efim Drucker. This is Steve Ember.
And this is Mary Tillotson. Join us again next week for another EXPLORATIONS program on the Voice of
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