What first attracted one of the world’s foremost astrophysicists to the night sky? Are we alone in the universe? And how can scientific thinking benefit us all?
Tagged with “space” (140)
This month, on Eureka, Uma visits Singapore’s ArtScience Museum to check out their latest exhibition - NASA: A Human Adventure - with curator Jukka Nurminen. After that, he speaks to Dr. Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science, to get his thoughts on where were are, about our plans for the future, and about how we need to be excited again at the prospect of venturing beyond our shores.
The day might well be approaching when humans set foot on Mars. We’ll be driven by a desire to find life — or what remains of it — and to colonize the planet. Stephen Humphrey and a stellar crew of authors, astronauts and Mars scholars confront the hazards, risks and challenges of getting humans to Mars, and then of surviving — and living — on the Red Planet.
In the summer of 1961 the upper stage of the rocket carrying the Transit 4A satellite blew up about two hours after launch. It was the first known human-made object to unintentionally explode in space, and it created hundreds of fragments of useless space junk. Some of these pieces were pulled into the atmosphere where they burned up but around 200 of them are still up and orbiting today. At the time, people were not all that concerned about a few bits of metal floating around in the vastness of space. But like the ocean and other frontiers, space isn’t endless as it first appears
Less than a year before NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft were scheduled for takeoff, astronomer Carl Sagan and SETI researcher Frank Drake received an intriguing proposal from the space agency: Would they be interested in crafting a message to alien civilizations to accompany Voyager on its interstellar journey? Over the next nine months, Sagan, Drake, and a small team of scientists and artists scrambled to compile a unique document—part time capsule, part interstellar greeting—to send to the stars. The Golden Record was born.
Over the next three weeks, Science Friday is celebrating the legacy of the Golden Record, in anticipation of Voyager’s 40th anniversary next year. And we’re asking you: What would you include on a Golden Record?
This week, we explore the Golden Record’s history with two of its creators. Ann Druyan was the creative director for the record project (she would go on to co-write COSMOS: A Personal Voyage with her husband Carl Sagan). And Drake, author of the Drake equation, helmed the record’s picture sequence. Together, they join Ira to remember those frenzied months when they compiled the Golden Record—a “best of” collection of science, art, and ingenuity.
Is the Earth too perfect? The Moon too grey? Mars too dusty? Then how about setting up a human colony in the depths of space?
Richard Hollingham travels to the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in Chattanooga, Tennessee to meet scientists, engineers, doctors and anthropologists planning human colonies in space and spaceships that will take humanity to the stars.
These are not dreamers - although they all have an ambitious dream - but well qualified experts. Several work at Nasa, others have day jobs at universities and research institutes.
Richard hears of proposals to build giant space stations and worldships - vessels packed with the best of humanity. These caravans in space might be lifeboats to escape an approaching asteroid or perhaps the first step to colonising the galaxy.
In the latest ‘Geeks’ Guide to the Galaxy’ podcast, Simone Caroti discusses his critical survey of the Culture series by sci-fi author Iain Banks.
Kevin Fong explores the success and failure of NASA’s missions to Mars
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Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss comets, the ‘dirty snowballs’ of the Solar System. In the early 18th century the Astronomer Royal Sir Edmond Halley compiled a list of appearances of comets, bright objects like stars with long tails which are occasionally visible in the night sky. He concluded that many of these apparitions were in fact the same comet, which returns to our skies around every 75 years, and whose reappearance he correctly predicted. Halley’s Comet is today the best known example of a comet, a body of ice and dust which orbits the Sun. Since they contain materials from the time when the Solar System was formed, comets are regarded by scientists as frozen time capsules, with the potential to reveal important information about the early history of our planet and others.
Monica Grady Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University
Paul Murdin Senior Fellow at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge
Don Pollacco Professor of Astronomy at the University of Warwick
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the origins, science and mythology of the moon. Humans have been fascinated by our only known satellite since prehistory. In some cultures the Moon has been worshipped as a deity; in recent centuries there has been lively debate about its origins and physical characteristics. Although other planets in our solar system have moons ours is, relatively speaking, the largest, and is perhaps more accurately described as a ‘twin planet’; the past, present and future of the Earth and the Moon are locked together. Only very recently has water been found on the Moon - a discovery which could prove to be invaluable if human colonisation of the Moon were ever to occur. Mankind first walked on the Moon in 1969, but it is debatable how important this huge political event was in developing our scientific knowledge. The advances of space science, including data from satellites and the moon landings, have given us some startling insights into the history of our own planet, but many intriguing questions remain unanswered. With:Paul MurdinVisiting Professor of Astronomy at Liverpool John Moores UniversityCarolin CrawfordGresham Professor of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge Ian CrawfordReader in Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck College, London.Producer: Natalia Fernandez.
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