In honor of the 4th anniversary of Curiosity landing on Mars, we’re revisiting our StarTalk Live! show where we descended on The Bell House to celebrate the momentous event, with Neil Tyson, Sarah Silverman, Jim Gaffigan, Eugene Mirman and astrobiologist David Grinspoon. NEW: Extended with David and Chuck Nice discussing the Anthropocene epoch.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Skip the commercials support star talk on patriarch to listen to every episode, commercial free. Persisting with secrets in industries laziness with many questions to be answered. We find ourselves searching for those answers as the very fabric of space science and society are converging here for the first time, what woody. Are you Japanese, it's easier to me in the brain tat? Are you going to do grandma's Ass, the brain they get lab, like a brother.
Well go an amazing evening, upstart Prob ly. It is my very great pleasure sure to bring to the stage meal the grass ties This evening the topic will be the exploration of the sea
system I reached into my rolodex found. One of my colleagues here is actually a curator of Astro biology at the Denver Museum of Nature and science is an expert on the source. System and its work on the Mars. Curiosity Rover give me welcome Doktor Day David David. Welcome. Thanks go to be here. I think yet ready do. Science party. Now, I'd like to bring out the wonderful Sarah Silverman, she brought her back back.
Is there is studying a larger ladies gentlemen? Jim again. Right? Wait before we begin Jim, you came out with an album called Mr Universe. That's right, I did account, will hold you to that right. Just so. You know, I am an expert on everything in the universe, private smartest person here right now, I'm not intimidated. Just before we begin, I consulted with your bartenders in the back bar, and there is a special drink tonight called the Martians sunrise, and I confess the sunrise is just a little lemon that hanging over the edge of the cup like a little son,
Eyes, but the drink is certainly red. Sign a tiny bit of bacteria from Mars. It will kill you with a ten seconds and you'll wake up with someone that looks like a martian be able to jump really high, that last year's guy got a good we'll get to John Carter in a moment so David, it was page one story, an issue we sized Rover was plunging down on Mars, like what's up with that, but we're really glad it made it. We always skin. I say this not gonna work yeah, because you go nine months and then it wasn't just the airbags like the old ones did right. That was scary, but I got accustomed to the airbag landing this one it had like he killed in Vienna, hypersonic drogue shoot and then ritual Rock incidental hoist Craig. It was some.
Go bird would have design thinking. I don't want you Goldberg on Mars. So what is ok, video? You know Jews on Mars. Let's make her teeth. Why does it have to be an issue? Be I mean I wish they would do something a little better. Environment, but the last one was a mini cooper. Electric ass, one with solar. This one's got those though cider. So, first of all, how confident we use this whole sequence of landing devices work, I wasn't conference at all. I was shooting bricks, but I guess I'm on the science cited this thing. So we ve got our instruments. We want to get them onto the surface of Mars and places. So we can learn things in the engineering side of those guys. Tell us, don't worry this work and then we say so. Are you going to do it and they describe this thing
What's going to come in at hypersonic velocity and make these s turns and then drop off the heat shield and there's a power suit, and it's going to fire these rockets and then it's going to stop fifty meters up and hover and drop things down on this. On and we're like. You gotta, be kidding me that second of work- and it was scary, we were scared. I was not confident and this sense literally more complicated than making avatar, to put it in perspective and even an even more expensive. If you can believe that barely So will you say like twice the cost of avatar? Actually it was about ten times the cost of avatar. Now But if you tell me if it's worth ten times as much as avatar going to say I think we should measure everything in terms of the cost of avatar is
fifth avenue, we call that the EU, the avatar unit avatar so. So it landed on the marketplace? Lads back to where we were? What did you know that I had a private twitter conversation with the rover just beforehand? I don't. Its me. I had a relationship, meaning you waited there where in the rover was like hi Neil, the robot sweetie know what it was? Probably just some old guy pretending they deliver. It was like can't talk now, I'm about to seven minutes of tat, every six rockets desire to read all about that
because you were mentioning this tension between scientists and engineers. One of my last question was: how do you like better scientists and engineers you ass the rover, this nice, this of the rover, and what did she say? Yes, she she actually here it is scientists have to build a lady and send it to my day while in love she said she would not pick between the two that they are both important. Her lives. This both she loves us both. Yes, so it worked landed. Nothing went wrong. Almost nothing went wrong. What went wrong? Well, helicopter crashed into the wall. No Emily was work, since it was remarkably free of goods is actually I did. Very last question to curiosity, which is her name was mentioned- was reprimand its
See sounds very clearly. I said you type Where are you did I haven't geocities? My word party voices martian pulls out from under a rock climbs on your back and ride you like a rodeo ball. She said that was not in my briefings. Well, it's funny. We wouldn't actually know if there was life on Mars if it was just hiding behind the camera right there. On top of the rope to be completely moving behind the cameras through there might be a practical joker, Martians riding could be a door
This is starter. So you got less characters like ten experiments on this thing. What's your favorite another bit partial because part of one of the instrument teams I helped propose and design, and so by partially meaner, biased and by ok. So what I want is- which I mean the obvious thing saves the cameras, because the cameras are so cool because we all want to see in its beautiful and it's amazing and part of this site seeing, but our instrument is called rad and it is rather it's the radiation assessment detector and we are measuring for the first time that would read how likely it is what its name. I invented that ten years No we're measuring how much radiation there's serves to Mars has never been measure before it is one of the things that would possibly kill you and possibly kill martian bug, so we want to care
terrible but underground there might be water, it's a little more reasonable temperature and your shielded from the radiation. But what we're trying to figure out? How deep do you have to be if you're, a martian bug what's happening, You don't know about that. I'm not saying there are enlargement, as I'm just saying, or their margin bugging sequel, and then also are they attacking us. Well, that was a swift there. No martian bucks now like microscopic life of some. Well, that's what we're trying to figure out what the red detector would tell you, whether the radiation flux, sterilised surface and cure, but exactly probably affairs bugs microbes whatever on Mars their underground, because on the surface, there's no water, there's ultra vires. It's freezing its ass arab but underground? There might be water, it's a little more reasonable temperature and your shielded
from the radiation, but what we're trying to figure out? How deep do you have to be? If you're a martian bug what's happening to the radiation, the thing to do with the measured at the surface and then also, if it's very heavy on the surface, we gotta go a little deeper to get the box Did you guys already have ugh you're what is really awkward. I just realized now that we weren't talking about the Mars candy bars. I'll, send a memo earlier next time you already figured out the radiation. Do you have the answer then you're does not telling us is your picture. Essentially. Yes, we have data, but we haven't released yet, but it's not just because we're jerks it's because we're trying to figure out if it's right- and there are some tricky things like we mention this nuclear powers that puts out about radiation, so we have to make sure we're not just measuring that way. So you have a nuclear power plant on the rover, not a power plant, its power source,
you know my baby comin in any day and is when Neil is wrong about some things. I never just literally a joy to see his most Let's get angry now our work touchy about this, because when you use the nuclear word, people get sometimes upset, I wouldn't have. Any idea was one of those who verboten inwards. That's right. So when we use that inward we try to be carefully and it's not like a nuclear power plant with a cooling towers and the turbines and all that it's a bunch of plutonium. That's given off here and we use that to generate electricity found another thing to call it tonight spoke people were launched. We call it that not scary big power thing it's one of those good, safe nuclear power source, but you wouldn't put in the drinking water of humans. Well, but portions would why do you need
did other landers have nukes. I don't think so. I know what a thing is. This lander has more than ten times as much scientific instrumentation than anything. We still need more power needs more power, as Kirk would say. Two scotty I need more power. Andy can run. Night? It can run in any season and it should be the ones had solar panels. They can only one of the data they have solar panels. Couldn't you charge a battery and keep working at night to some degree you can, but in the martian winter the motive power goes down. If Europe
panels gets covered with dozens of Martian when it is very low in the sky, yet what one of them did die because the winner, because one of the two Rovers yeah, if the power goes down enough, so that you can't run the heaters at night, then you die. That already happened whenever previous rubber. So if you want to do a lot of science, you want a lot of power about events mutation when at last a long time and the odor of anywhere on my sin, nukes exactly that's what exactly? What have you there? Okay, now here's one of the experiments I happen to like the name of the also proton x rays, patrolman, you gotta love the sound of the sounds like some you know, and that man's utility Bell its ethics, illegal, you're, pregnant It sounds like seven. These version of the future speed, not the also proton x rays, patrol motor. Why? Yes, sir, what is there to force with the alpha proton x, ray spectrometer? You must
we have all my god. That's my Eugene told me not to swear, and then I was joking- and I was a kid you get so much pudding. I got in there now you get a lot of money because you can go up to any rock and go hey baby use at with x rays, and you look at the pattern of what comes back and it tells you what the minerals are made out of. What's in that rock, how much iron is its way of basically probe? the rocks not to get inside of it with you. It's not like it's away a programme for the mystery. I was either way we want no what the rocks are made out, because we want to know what the story perhaps acts with the history of that size. Well, that's a way to break the ice. Ok, I and it landed where on Mars, because a lot of places to go you pre picked a spot. We landed in a place called gal creator and I've been there
it's not just sorrels nice actually named after a friend of mine, Gale Gale that funny she that old by a martian, I might add, is by far the coolest place we ve ever landed on Mars because Universe has been their cooler blaze back me up here. It's a cool place Ryan because it's an ancient greater that used to be a lake and has already sediments in it. They tell us about the ancient past on Mars and it's gonna five kilometer as three miles for you, Americans, three mile high MA, in the middle of it that we're going to climb up, and it's like going up. The Grand Canyon on Mars. Every layer is from a different time and martian histories can tell the whole story, so it's not just amount that lifted up surface material. It has laid bare its
here's. What looks that way? It looks that way from orbit and now we're seen it in the distance as we start to approach it and it's like utilised as all these layers and canyons and juicy stuff Mormons Mars. Bobo everyone via my way. Next somebody's can be helped in that greater. So you ve got this great, have what's the diameter, the greater its bout a couple hundred kilometres across it, a big greater so like a huge stadium sized. Yet ok, but it's big for a rover back very late, very huge native when you compare exactly as hundreds of kilometres to a stadium, four hundred metres sort, two hundred kilometers,
Yes, what is? It is nice to know its eyes like a nine million keystone arena? It's it's a big crater! I was asked by a thousand, who is it happens all the time it happens all the time, so you go hundred million miles to Mars and land and a crater that's a hundred miles cross. That's a really good home in one year, not only that we actually landed in of landing ellipse, which is the area that issued for that was only about fifty miles across and that's a first that we ve been able to control our landing to that with that crazy cockamamie leaves us with the engineers. Did forty exactly an airbag, which is about its way out of the crater, and it would be no good to you, but that's why, Able to land in a much more interesting place than we ever landed before, because before you need a landing he lives, so we ve actually takes the most boring places on Mars, demanding work as you want to be safe. So you pick some we're really flat, but you want to go to the mountains, the canyons that great
but we haven't dared do that before I got a little flat area between the mountainous recycling and the values percent. We have to do that, and so now we can see this mountain in the distance and we're gonna get them. We never been too I gotta know many times when we landed on Mars before, let's see successfully or ride, I believe in yes, I know how many we send the thing and it is it the site. I guess we have what five successful man exporter I gave you the murderers. No, I do. Viking Sojourner, Phoenix E Commerce, tumors seventh over you're, just enable comic book here. So it this is number seven, but we have as many attempts and the Russians have dozens of attend, they have failed to government well, but they they did better. It needs all Putin's find it better at Vienna, tat Russians from Mass of air dunk getting venereal an aerial. That's the technical, scientific, near hers.
So, what's the warranty on curiosity rover? Well, you know we ve been paid, reliable without guarantees before, but this was the last two years, two years I'm leaving, reliable in that these last longer. Engineers really did related purposes genuflect in front of them. Now, immersed last robbers were spent on Mars exploration, rollers. The last two rivers we're supposed to vast ninety days. One of them still go in eight years later now. These are spoken of ass, two years, but the power source, but last more than ten, and so we don't get overconfident, but potentially we could be there a long time. So let's go down the list of the cool things that Mars has in common with earth. What's the top of your list, I am, I was too will compare but stop Iulus? Should we not just in Karachi about figures, one of my reports of Mars? Is they put a shake check in there? I would lie
No one is whether we want to go you're, not gonna, go now two years to get there, but their lines, there's no I may have like a camera serve, you could check it online, there's gonna be they ordered. I would have stayed a cool thing. Is the river beds their dried up, but they speak to us of growing water with they may andor said there it was water on my yes, there will be no water and not like liquid ammonia. Well, if one point, when we just had pictures from orbit, people said what they look like rivers, but could be a moment. Liquid sea or two. You sure it's not! I don't remember you sure, yeah well, we can impose their pockets limp dick state where there was life while their Skype Percival all that's wastefully, what he said hundred years ago. So you should tell me where equal, yeah, but Sarah really abides by, whereas we are now having a problem that was a fear
that Mars was sort of dying civilization and that's where the rivers came from, but people thought well. How do you know it's water, but now that we ve been there with these other rovers? That was the main. Finding the exciting thing we found rocks on the surface, minerals that are only made by flowing water, so we ve gotta now that one with the last robbers thought there is only made by standing water, yes, well, we ve found signs of standing and following a ripple, mom You can make minerals are flowing water standing what're you to talk, makes me feel so does not now, but that. But then I thought you could say that it makes you feel alive lock. Look, I know we found Mister Fogg GM. Precisely these sulphur minerals there's no way to make em. We don't know of any way to make them other than than sort of precipitating out of, while actually teach them get adult unpleasant automatic minerals, Nevertheless, some like the polar icecaps you gotta love the ice cap. We got icecaps like ice caps
now is located in twenty four hours. We will take twenty four hours right, actually, not quite twenty four hours. What's the exact weapons, Narses idly slower, it's like a half an hour longer in the day, which is strange, so the people studying Mars or their earth time on Mars time there on Mars time actually without their last week, where a gmail or not on Mars. While I was more for them let me remind you, are proposing laboratory in Pasadena where we're running the rover from and the day is on Mars time which changes compared to California time and its really an article about its time they must govern it, I'm well. Sometimes it is, but it's what is passed, that ours is down by half an hour a day which is convenient if you're stuck in traffic, but actually it's very weird because it gets to the point where it's completely the opposite and its fine. If you, you know a grad student or whatever you just
not, but if you have a family or whatever it leads to like divorces and psychosis, and you no bad thing Germany, Mars Divorces, has there been? I can't give you a precise number, but I can tell you not zero, but what it's about a twenty four hour day and Mars is tipped on its axis about the same degrees that we're tipped on our access to Mars has seasons. That is the cause of the seasons, but because we get closer. Son farther from just saying: how do I know you didn't know how much we thought they didn't know. Never so you could think this through cause. You knew that the southern hemisphere has opposite seasons to us and if earth were closer to the sun, one too. Heavier than another. If that's what made summer,
and all of us would have summer at the same time and we don't sore distance. The sun can have nothing to do with your job as the artists, but on Mars distance citizen changes. The season to Mars has a non circular orbit in southern summer on Mars is about hotter than northern summer, because Mars is weird in that way. So it's it's. It's combination, The two on Mars money does just. Do you mind if you mind we're talking so one thing. Sarah viewed mentioned you're residents with Percival LOL yeah, he thought he saw canals and what s the famous martian canals bullied. Plumy ask what will probably be will know, there's no, but a success if it happens it is tragic that says. Yes, he said, there's polar cat zeal with no water
we're on our way we used to think back. In the days of your body Percival, we used to think the polar caps were water, which is kind of makes sense, because that's where poor caps are made out of but turns out Mars is really called in there. Ice, its frozen or too there's a little bit of water there, but it's mostly dry ice I should have liked a pretty good wording. Yoga pay. So so the Phoenix Lander went to the ice caps right. It went pretty close, so we had one lander that we actually sent right up to the edge and found ice in the soil, which was really cool water ice and this, or rather yeah yeah, so so there is an honorary, actually happens in all. We found ice cap, it's what we there are still water on Mars. There's frozen water of jest underneath the soil and the high latitude, but we'll regular water
Their models when he water there may be a scientific committee. We get a club so Jim. If you have the water and you have to make clubs Jim is like. Now, can I be honoured, me: are. Hey I've got no secret for you. I'm gonna, consider singing all of the ads on this show. There's just one way to get out a hearing. There go to
patriarch arms last startled and supporters at the five dollar level or higher to listen the star talk ad free. You can download all current episodes into your favorite parkers player and never hear another commercial on star talk ever again. You will definitely not have to hear me seeing if you're supporters Patria Dark coms. Last our talk, radio, I mean I'm just sing it I mean I'm just saying. I'm working the secrets of your world and everything orbiting around it. Stereotypes. So what
I go at the boundary of the March have shrink and grow depending on winter. They shrinking growing, there's a whole history there of climate change on Mars in layers and the cap so by China investigate extra take your fee. We can learn about the long term, climate history and just getting to that. One ice was it when you sign strict geography. Worry you be layers. I mean layers but it sounds more science, if I say strategic, no one is denying. Can I ask you something Mars is read: how do we know? That's not all What is what many take for Jim Mars is red ones are the same. He's in your blood is right.
Yeah, it's rust. Essentially, the blood is red cause. It's like oxidized iron, yeah, hey My renounce accidents is handling is on Mars. Gas can ask you bet another route like. Why is cause mileage in cosmetology What do they share?. It's the same thing. It's basically the same thing: thirty nine one uses make up and the other concerns itself with the origin of the universe. Otherwise, it's saying in which which again so now, how come they always couch? The mission statement in ways that, were there not actually saying we're looking for life, we can look for warmer than could be like we're. Looking for minerals that could
Are you the water that why all the subterfuge? Because we know how to look for life Try that once and we realized we didn't know what we were doing. Where do you mean? How do we try it? What we had a mission called Viking, our first ever There are eighteen, seventy six and did all these experiments. Email is no one responding, the experiments worked and then afterwards we said don't really enough. We found life as we didn't even know what questions ask, and then we realized decades later what we gotta go back and do this rumour, more internet understand the history of Mars and what kind of life there my could it be that you cannot ask what something is if you only have one example of it,. Yeah, that's big problem with Astor by cannot characterize. Life is as much as biologists seller.
What they call biodiversity. At the end of the day, all life has common dna and common origin you're dealing with a sample of one, and when you have a sample of one you don't really have a science. Do you now you ve hit on problem. That's what I want. I said myself, but this is a major problem for asked or biology is worrying, something we have one example. How scientific is that what you define what life? Please? Can we? One example is that there are legal. Some silicone base thing Madrid and upon somewhere in California, is simply that I saw that episode. I know that when I It was vague. But where there is like one thing that was found that had different all your time. Other arsenic based life. Sorry are you know that was really the baseline was really hyped and possibly interesting, probably wrong, but it will.
In another kind of like that stuff was still carbon basis is maybe had a different kind of dna. So at night the partial credit for you can only learned room USA. Today, if I may elaborates on that example, Why that arsenic result, if it had really been shown to be true, was so interesting, is that in life phosphorus, is fundamental to but you're metabolism or other functions within what it is to be alive as we know it and have been allocated dna in your body count that is important rights. Now arsenic kills ass, wise arsenic kill us, because
It sits exactly below phosphorus on the periodic table and if you are in a line on the periodic table, give the same number of electrons in your outer orbit, which means you combine in the same way make the same. Damn molecules your body cannot tell the difference between phosphorus and arsenic, because this as the same valence electrons Arsenic comes in your body, didn't tell the difference. You end up dead, so if you have a microbe that can uptake arsenic, just as happily as it up takes phosphorus than you have widened, net for what you would use to search for life in the cosmos? Have you not now you have funny thing. Is it's probably wrong, because arsenic is really unstable on earth? Arsenic, dna, we just fall apart, but accidentally they may have found something that would work
Tightened, the moon of Saturn Moon of Saturn, where its way to call for our kind of dna but Arsenic DNA it turns out, is stable on tightened You want to live the future of space and the secrets of our planet reveal. This is start. I. First.
found Mars is like a controversial place to remember back in the seventies. Was it the Viking orbital that took a picture and it was a face on Mars. Remember that it was like tat eyes and a nose and a mouth. So what's up with that, one, Looks like a face from a certain angle with certain blurry next to the picture so looks like a Simeon face. Here looks like a human face and, of course our brains are designed to recognise faces. So people went hey, there's something up here, so if we would jellyfish, we would have not noticed it at all, probably not, but if we went up, I would have seen there's a lot of other features on Mars. Do look like we were got. Would we then have noticed it? Quite possibly it took me a better way to do that base.
While you were there, waiting lie at the showers actually waiting for a phone call from meal, and I started just doodling. So we went back with another spacecraft and took more closely photographs and there was actually big debate. Should NASA go back and shoot the face because that was giving credence to, but, of course we should look at it and we would just to be clear. Your face was not just a finger painting in the surface, it was eight topography. Do as a top. A logical structure, like other mountains, like a mountainous structure, was huge right, a huge structure I'd, like I sockets knows, and about at that particular way. It would take you a good data hike up the face. So that's the first time that sentence has ever been uttered three of the world, with a view to a height of the face. That's cool sentence, Laval, what's funny
we went back we photograph in more detail with better angles and guess what it's a big eroded mountain! That's it because the Martians covered it up once they learned. We were well say the conspiracy theories, that's what they said. They said NASA the face, your Bush do that base was gonna happen or not, does not approve of the face NASA faked. The pictures George Bush, If you really want to believe there's a face than no amount of data is going to convince you, otherwise you just interpret it in your own way, but actually Jim Garvinus used to be the chief Mars scientist at NASA. He did make a hiking map for the face and instructions which included bring plenty of oxygen. So, with this face, you take higher resolution images and others angles, and it didn't look like a face. So the only thing that looks like a face, all solar angles there's a face, so it required just special angling to make that happen. So did you convince the unknown
You know you can google face on Mars in your fine lots of websites of true believers, who you know it just deepens, wouldn't they early someone like made a face known? Yes, yes just makes nobody big. Just under the figs ago, a guy's got that cloud looks like let's absolute, exactly Peru, with immense measured? Loading methods to us rose people are exhausting the they are, but their amusing. Sometimes so you got these other features. There's valorous Marineris, which is for what reverently of Latin America, how big companies Mariner Valley is ridiculously big. It's about As long as the Continental Yon Harry, there's wise yeah, you could take our Grand Canyon and put it in their sideways across it, and it would fit well you so you take our entire grand canyon.
Pregnant sideways, put it in sideways and would fit in. Yes, is like a bridge across this actually- and it's got Lucas minds, that's latin for mountain with honour limpets as a volcano. That's a volcano is the biggest man in the solar system, it's about three times as high as Mt Everest, its massive, but if you're on the edge of it, it wouldn't even barely know you're on a slope, its largest sloping, its massive big man yapping minds I want with its amongst so in, like a geologic features smack down, we would lose to Mars. It depends if you just want size than absolutely Mars, have bigger volcanoes, bigger canyons, but they're all have someone gave it they're volcanoes are just sitting there
not a rubbing avenue rapid in words, and I won't try harder. We had knight rider. We have so many things. They never had absolutely Jack Nicholson, yeah we're the remit of night rider, not re, but we added. If we don't know what kind of movies have on Mars, women explore damage its probably ablaze with a bunch of old age as states there, the product coverage of blood, splatter films. He can't you don't look so water was once more. How long ago you got your driver badgered layers, Powell, billions and billions of years. You didn't say it right yeah she has to come out. I want to hear the whole audience on three June out. One two three say take some lessons from Brooklyn here right, so we know it's been a long time, because Mars is covered with creators.
It tells us is an ancient surface and you can t have all the rivers are because their covered with greater too and there are no young surfaces with river. So it was a long time ago it was when Mars was a young baby planet. It was a more earnest like place. The atmosphere escape the waters, gone and integrity enough for a long time. A teen fifty like yours, for that matter, so art so Mars, was once wet and presumably fertile. Let's keep it please try. I sit Anthony answered any says. Why is it that when you talk about the universe, I gave warning.
What unlocking the secrets of your world and everything orbiting around it. Stereotypes welcome back there Our task listening to one of our classic episodes. I'm doctor funky spoon, Astor Biologists, David grinned spoon. And now I'm back I'm calling into the studio from my home to give you a little bit more I call House chalk nice job thanks for joining us for this, of course, doctor Ok spoon, have you been man?
I've been great. How are you don't? You know I'm all right, just trying to keep the dream from becoming a nightmare. You know I'm sandy. That's all it's great to see you you're. Looking very cosmic, I have to say that yes, yes, that is what is that in the background? What what what Galaxy I don't I can't tell would like meal, would be able to look at this, and we like that, You know whatever would only guy, I think that's one of ours is that when a bars, ok, cool out, believe you, because you know you're you're, an actual doktor, so it's good to see a man good beyond and continual yet no are you? What are you Now I know you got a new job, I'm now I'm a, but I saw about planetary Science institute. Which is a really wonderful place without a lot of people. Do an interesting work all around the solar system. And, although we're all located on earth were studying, but I saw around the solar system
and I actually just finished up a book. The book is called earth, inhuman, hams earnestly. Basically, on this time, of doing away with ourselves. As pilot hurricanes yeah? You know in its admitted, I'm so happy wrote the book because, quite frankly, I think that that type of respect This is what is necessary to change and drive our political direction globally. As I think that a lot of people don't understand that it is you know it's not Science is science in politics, drives. The behaviour of human beings with respect to how we treat the globe and you know without altering our political views
about the place, we live this little space ship that we're on were never going to alter our behaviour and how we treat this planet and right now we're not doing a very good job. So that's pretty awesome. So what? What is the focus of the book? Did it well. It is very much what what you just saying it's it's about. You know how we need to think about these problems. I don't really get into politics as far as specific, ah wrecked conditions on policy, but it's all about how we need to think about these least these. Genes and and what are trying to do is situated ass humanity in the sort of deep space and deep time and then what is happening to earth now as a result of human actions are what we sometimes call it we're going out. The answer the scene epoch
How does that fit into the big story of earth and what kind of change is happening? There's something unprecedented happening on earth now and if we, if we go the whole story, but I think we can in some way see ourselves more clearly and achieve that long term timescale that we need to have in order to do a good job. Managing this planet No, it's not do me only raw policy and untiring about perspective. I'm trying to promote a planetary perspective on how we deal with the problems that, read it for ourselves here and you know, that's that's what I meant when I said politics more: the perspective that we have that shapes the politics that we actually enact, but go back a little bit for me man and talk to me about the Antwerp scene. Epoch is that it because I may you said that, like You said that, like you were saying Tuesday afternoon,
workers about Tuesday afternoon, better known as the end to perceive epoch, but tell me about their front from the earth's perspective. It is kind of Tuesday afternoon is just another blip in earth time, but you don't. We have this. You ve seen this geologic. A time scale with all these different layers of rock, that we give different name Two in that represent different times going into the passing I've heard about your other Jurassic than the Triassic. All that an epoch there we now have been something that we ve called the Holocene, which is twelve thousand years, basically all over the I, since the last ice age and a proposal always the morning a new phase. The geological history called the anthropocentric, which is character. Eyes by a mood geological force, which the earth and, under article four right, yeah, it's hence the anthrax which is, but that's that's, pretty fascinating
it is a very, very small period of time, doktor funky spoon to have such a great impact. The chase sort you saying that in that twelve thousand year period there our presence has been enough to alter the of the future of this plan and that sort short period of time, because normally, when you look at these, when you look at these ages, when you, when you look at these, you know these periods they're, pretty damn long. You know they seem to last for significant sums of time will you Talkin about twelve thousand years you Talkin about. I mean it literally. Is a blink, that's a blink! So do we really have that kind of power and impact? Well, it's a great question One thing you can definitely say we ve already left our mark. We ve already done things to the earth that will
We recognise the ball by anybody. You don't digging up the rocks from our time. Even millions of years in the future, the way we in the atmosphere and change the climate, we change the the the nature of the surfaces of the planet. We we bought the hydrological cycle in this huge way, there's five times as much water in reservoirs. Behind dams now them then in all the natural streams of earth and rivers, so with with altered these major physical properties of planet. Now. Is that gonna last for geological significant a month time, while our signature will last you neither lit the trash with them, if you will then mark we left, if we all went away to Morrow and the effect on the climate would last for hundreds of thousands of years now well are society or or something that we create out of it. Last for geological post Giovanni with significant
That is a really interesting question. When I think about hinges on what happens in the next couple of centuries, if we'd her figure- How to do this? This thing trying to do which is to have a civilization with the technological power to change the planet that good do us in order to allow us to survive for a long time. There are ways we could use a technology that that would allow us to stick around, so we were at an interesting branching point. I would say when we could, because this could be the beginning of a long term change in the earth where, where cognitive processes, tab, ethnological life becomes uninfluenced for a long period of time- or this could be just you know- a burst of of cleverness bit then rights its own appetite,
you know. So. The future is unwritten. That rang enough there's no fate by what we make, but we wish we could go one or two ways. We can do to be like J C brilliant and have longevity com, yea, flash of brilliance and then just blow your cell phone. So now let me it this because of this, what I wanna know from an actual biologists standpoint, so you talk about certain things when it comes to human impact, like ok, climate change, when we look at the amount of me
pain and the amount of carbon dioxide that we are releasing into our atmosphere. The parts per million are, you know, just way too much and of course, that's going to have an effect juxtapose that against the amount of plastic and pollution that we are dumping into the ocean, which one of those two things will have a more long, lasting, because I know that climate change will be more immediate but which one will be more long, lasting in terms of vice. Leading our ecosystem when you, when you think about it by their isolation in comparison to different kinds of phenomena, other plastic, physically, materially plastic,. A long time and there are even rocks there's a new class of rocks. That's been identified, enable plastic glamour, its work, which has placed the comrades like plastic conglomerates, wow and
and their their rocks that are found on some islands, where they ve made bonfires where plastic has melted together with rock and then warned literally a new kind of rock that will those plastic comrades will be in the geological record, For you know I don't know millions hundreds of millions of years into the future. Those are, basically, you know, almost permanent features of earth that people will dig up A long time from now are ordinary people, but whoever is investigating earth will say there was a race at that time. That made plastic that is kind of permanent. Now whether the climate change is if we stopped right now with our mission these are out of control emissions of co2 and methane, their dear pure? about a hundred thousand years or a few hundred thousand years less than a million where the earth would draw that back. Now
the equilibrium, carbon, the natural carbon cycle of the earth? Would regain control and climate would pull itself back to normal. So as far as the threat to the well being of the biosphere. I'm gonna say that that that climate is a bigger problem can argue about. Plastic is something we have to deal with for sure, but it's not in others under certain species that are being drastically affected by sea birds on certain islands or ever really hard time without our garbage, but ah, but as far as a global threat. It's really those gases. You in the atmosphere that we have to pay the most attention to and sort of regain control. All of our cell, so that the earth can can kind of do what it does and cyclical we take care of its own kind. Man called man. I wish we had more time to talk about this. We are where job, but we, you know it's always
When talking to you, I just love it straight. Talk you jack, always you'd been listening to star talk, I'm doctor, funky spoon, a David principle with shock nice and thank you so much Science like dollar may, adopt the organs? which you can listen. The star talk, commercial free joint start talk on Patria for as little as five dollars per month and the ads will disappear. Learn more at patriarch dot com last star talk, radio,
Transcript generated on 2020-01-24.