What humanity will gain by going to Mars

The greatest space program spinoff? Human collaboration.

  • It might take going to another planet for different nations to finally, once and for all, learn how to get along with each other.
  • What will we eat on Mars? We can't live off of a diet of potatoes alone. There are huge problems to solve, but recent technologies like 3D printing might help things move a lot faster, and be a lot less dangerous.
  • Leland is a featured big thinker on season 2 of Mars on the National Geographic Channel. You can find out more information about the show here.
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Why humanity owes a lot to Jupiter

Our friendly neighborhood gas giant serves as a cosmic catcher's mitt.

NASA
  • In 1994, a comet struck Jupiter, exploding on the gas giant's surface in an incredibly violent fireball.
  • Such collisions are not uncommon for Jupiter. What is uncommon, however, are solar systems with planets like Jupiter.
  • Without Jupiter, life on Earth might have been obliterated by comets and asteroids before it even got a chance to begin. The fact that Jupiter-like planets are so rare might be one of the reasons why we haven't found intelligent life yet.
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Where might we find aliens? Ice moons, methane oceans, and the red planet

We may not find Klingons, but what we do find will blow our terrestrial minds.

  • Want to place a bet on when we'll discover alien life? NASA's Michelle Thaller thinks it'll be within the next 50 years.
  • "I actually have a bottle of champagne chilling because I think it could happen almost any day, when some of our rovers or some of our satellites around other planets come back with really interesting data," says Thaller.
  • What will our first proof of alien life be like? Most likely microbial, but even those microbes will reveal so much: Does it have DNA? Is it similar to us? Is it different from us? How else can life evolve? These questions—and answers—will change our view of the universe forever.

Harvard scientists suggest 'Oumuamua is an alien device

It's an asteroid, it's a comet, it's actually a spacecraft?

(ESO/M. Kornmesser)
  • 'Oumuamua is an oddly shaped, puzzling celestial object because it doesn't act like anything naturally occurring.
  • The issue? The unexpected way it accelerated near the Sun. Is this our first sign of extraterrestrials?
  • It's pronounced: oh MOO-uh MOO-uh.
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Scientists create the 5th form of matter for 6 minutes

It's exotic, incredibly cold stuff.

  • It was the first Bose-Einstein condensate made in space
  • Creating the condensate in low gravity allows it to hold longer
  • Scientists hope Bose-Einstein condensate will allow finer detection of subtle quantum phenomena
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