About Miles @milesobrien
Miles O’Brien is a veteran, independent journalist who focuses on science, technology and aerospace.
He is the science correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, a producer, director, writer and correspondent for the PBS documentary programs NOVA and FRONTLINE and an aviation analyst for CNN. He owns MOBIAS Media, Inc., a production company that creates award winning documentary films primarily for PBS as well as several educational and corporate clients.
For nearly seventeen of his thirty-nine years in the news business, he was a staff correspondent and anchor with CNN, based in Atlanta and New York. He served as the science, environment and aerospace correspondent and the anchor of various programs, including American Morning.
While at CNN, O’Brien secured a deal with NASA to become the first journalist to fly on the space shuttle. The project ended with the loss of Columbia and her crew in 2003 – a story he told to the world in a critically acclaimed sixteen-hour marathon of live coverage. He later served for ten years as a member of the NASA Advisory Council, offering strategic advice to the NASA administrator.
Prior to joining CNN, he worked as a reporter at television stations in St. Joseph, MO, Albany, NY, Tampa, FL and Boston. He began his television career as a desk assistant at WRC-TV in Washington, DC.
O’Brien is an accomplished pilot and is frequently called upon to explain the world of aviation to a mass audience.
He has won numerous awards over the years, including six Emmys, a Peabody and a DuPont.
He has produced, written and directed nine films for PBS NOVA: Mind of a Rampage Killer (2013), Manhunt Boston Bombers (2013), Megastorm Aftermath (2013), Why Planes Vanish (2014), Nuclear Meltdown Disaster (2015), Fifteen Years of Terror (2016), The Nuclear Option (2017), Inside the Megafire (2019) and The Great Electric Airplane Race (2021).
He also produced, wrote and directed FRONTLINE Coronavirus Pandemic (2020) and was a writer and correspondent for four FRONTLINES: Flying Cheap (2010), Flying Cheaper (2011), Nuclear Aftershocks (2012) and Dollars and Dentists (2012).
In February of 2014, a heavy equipment case fell on his forearm while he was on assignment. He developed Acute Compartment Syndrome, which necessitated the emergency amputation of his left arm above the elbow. Despite the loss of his arm, he has completed two marathons, several ultra-distance bike rides, a half Ironman, and has returned to flying airplanes.
Born in Detroit and raised in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, he is based in Vero Beach, Florida. He was a history major at Georgetown University. Miles has two grown children. His son is a US Navy Lieutenant stationed in Catania, Italy and his daughter is a social worker in New York City.
Miles’s Recent Stories
Science Nov 26Unrelenting drought leaves millions who rely on Colorado River facing an uncertain future
The Colorado River is a critical resource for the western U.S. But a megadrought, one significantly exacerbated by climate change, is jeopardizing the river's future and threatening to upend how its water is used and longstanding agreements between states. Miles…
Science Nov 24Can asteroids be veered away from Earth? New NASA spacecraft aims to find out
NASA has launched a satellite into orbit on a mission to smash itself into an asteroid, in a test to see whether it is possible to knock a speeding space rock off course — if one were on a collision…
Science Nov 04WATCH: Tipping Point – The Colorado River Basin
Join PBS NewsHour's Miles O'Brien for a special hour-long live event exploring the relationship between climate change and the fate of the Colorado River Basin.
World Oct 21Group aims to reintroduce Jaguars — once nearly hunted to extinction — to Argentina
The Jaguar, the biggest cat in the Americas, was hunted and poached to extinction in parts of Argentina about 70 years ago. They are in critical danger of vanishing completely. Only a few hundred are left in the country. Rewilding…
World Oct 06Florida has a dengue problem. The solution may be more mosquitoes
In a major milestone, the World Health Organization endorsed widespread use of a vaccine aimed at stemming the effects of the parasitic disease malaria, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Miles O'Brien looks at efforts to tackle other diseases carried by mosquitoes…
Health Sep 01How sensors, rewiring nerves could help prosthetics feel and function like real limbs
New technology is changing the way we think about the human brain. Miles o'Brien gives us a personal look at how rewiring the mind with the aid of machines is transforming the lives of those with amputated limbs. It is…
Science Aug 11Experimental technology works to bring back sense of touch for those living with paralysis
Experimental research is aiming to help paralysis victims regain their sense of touch. Miles O’Brien reports on a project run by the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center, which is a consortium of the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, MetroHealth…
World Jul 21The world is striving to fully adopt clean energy. Will we succeed in time?
The consequences of extreme weather are evident and unmistakable. Scientists say human-caused climate change is making these events more frequent and severe. Miles O'Brien looks at a pivotal upcoming moment in addressing the climate crisis with Alok Sharma, president of…
Science Jun 23Recycling plastic has been an uphill challenge. Could chemical recycling change that?
Plastic pollution is a global threat on our lands and seas. Since World War II, we have created over 9 billion cubic tons of it, yet its recycling remains extremely limited. As part of our "Breakthroughs" series, Miles O'Brien looks…
Nation May 26Could electric airplanes propel a third revolution in aviation?
Major oil companies Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell took some hits legally and among their shareholders Wednesday. The hits come amid growing pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fuel for transportation. So what are the available alternatives to achieve…