Science Sunday

Climate Change

In the video above, Hari Sreenivasan of PBS News Hour interviews the editor in chief of National Geographic Susan Goldberg about the lead article in the magazine’s latest issue concerning the seven facts about global warming we need to focus on going forward.

To view a very nice animation of these seven facts, click here.

 

Emails From Heaven

Robert Kuhn interviews the ever ebullient and entertaining physicist and futurist Michio Kaku on the always pressing question of whether life – and the Universe itself – has any meaning.

Kaku ultimately suggests that meaning for homo sapiens comes from what we do with our lives, and how we value our activities.

Kaku quotes Freud’s answer to this question, namely that life gains meaning through work and through love.  He speaks of more conservative scientists who say that the purpose of life – to quote Saint Ignatius – is to give greater glory to God (ad majorem dei gloriam).

Putting the two together, it seems to me that work that makes a difference in society, as well as helping our fellow human beings in a Christ like way, is doing God’s work.

I once asked my brother – who was teaching Sunday School, and didn’t know how to pop the hood of his car – where heaven was.  He knew he was in for a sparring, but his answer was nevertheless brilliant:

Heaven is where your heart is.

 

Whither the Martian Atmosphere?

In late 2013, NASA launched a mission to Mars called MAVEN.  The MAVEN spacecraft was designed to orbit Mars and try to find out what happened to its atmosphere.

The principal scientific team – out of the University of Colorado at Boulder – has now just reported what it thinks happened to Mars’ atmosphere.

Because Mars does not have a significant magnetic field, it cannot “shield itself” from the solar wind and that wind’s own magnetic field.

When the solar wind’s charged particles hit the Martian atmosphere, at speeds up to 1.8 million miles per hour, molecules in the Martian atmosphere become ionized, and can be transported into space by the solar wind’s own magnetic field.  This process is called sputtering.

If you have time for a more extended discussion of why life flourished on Earth but failed on Mars, check out this video from SpaceRip:

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The Man in the Moon

Here is an extremely well done video from the Goddard Space Flight Center showing the evolution of the Moon, from approximately 4.5 billion years ago until today.  Features we take for granted are explained in a graphically rich way.