Avery Keatley

This story originally aired on Sept. 24, 2021.

In 1971, Joe Elliott was 12 years old, and he was going to his first rock show. The band was T. Rex, touring their latest album, Electric Warrior. Pushing through the venue's swing doors with porthole windows, Elliott found himself in a rollicking, ecstatic crowd that screamed itself into his memory. Fifty years later, he recalls it with ease.

The reason it's so hard to kill a mosquito is that they move really well.

Scientists are trying to build a robot with that kind of agility. And these tiny but mighty flying robots could be used in life-and-death situations, such as finding people in a collapsed building.

Kevin Chen says he spends "a lot of time looking at the flapping-wing physics, that is understanding how an insect can flap their wings and generate lift and drag forces."

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Chris Herbert was in a hurry. The vocalist and musicologist was studying the Ephrata Codex — an 18th century music manuscript — in the Library of Congress, which meant he was on the clock. Herbert was working on digitizing the Codex. He flipped through the pages, taking pictures of each one, with no time to pause.