On June 5, our sister planet Venus will slowly slide across the face of the sun. This will be the last transit of Venus until 2117, so there’s no subsequent chance to observe this celestial spectacular for anyone alive today.
Join us for a special episode devoted to this rare event. Two centuries ago, nations were locked in a race to be the first to measure the Venus transit. From the first observation by the “father” of British astronomy to Captain Cook’s Tahitian expedition in the 18th century, meet the pioneers who were trying to nail down the scale of the cosmos
Plus, tips for observing the 2012 transit … how the Kepler spacecraft uses transits to detect Earth-like worlds … and could there be life floating in Venusian clouds?
We are all Martians … or could be, if, billions of years ago, Red Plant microbes fell to Earth and eventually evolved to us. Okay, that one’s a big “if.” But microbes can survive space travel. Meet the NASA officer whose task is to keep Earth, Mars – and the entire solar system –safe from hitchhiking bacteria.
And, even if we’re not Martians (darn!), did life once thrive on the Red Planet … and does it still today?
Plus, why meteorites may be happy habitats for life.
ENCORE Random is as random does… makes sense doesn’t even that anyway in tune hear to randomness how lives rules.
Brain chaos the drives, restoration role of help insight ecology may into randomness the, numbers sense of make statistics can’t why we or, ants not seem of erratic behavior why the may but is.
First released January 10, 2011
If two is company and three a crowd, what’s the ideal number to write a play or invent a new operating system? Some say you need groups to be creative. Others disagree: breakthroughs come only in solitude.
Hear both sides, and find out why you always have company even when alone: meet the “parliament of selves” that drive your brain’s decision-making.
Plus, how ideas of societies lead them to thrive or fall, and why educated conservatives have lost trust in science.
Descripción en español
So you weep at sappy commercials and give drivers the bird. Have no regrets: emotion is what makes us human! Discover the survival value in feeling disgust … why humans are terrible liars … and how despair fuels creativity.
Also, mis-firing emotions and the emotional consequences of facial paralysis. And why E.T. will need to feel fear and joy to survive.
Time keeps on ticking, ticking … and as it does, evolution operates to produce remarkable changes in species. Wings may appear, tails disappear. Sea creatures drag themselves onto the shore and become landlubbers. But it’s not easy to grasp the expansive time scales involved in these transformative feats.
Travel through millennia, back through mega and giga years, for a sense of what can occur over deep time, from the Cambrian Explosion to the age of the dinosaurs to the rise of Homo sapiens.
Let there be light. Otherwise we couldn’t watch a sunset or YouTube. Yet what your eye sees is but a narrow band in the electromagnetic spectrum. Shorten those light waves and you get invisible gamma radiation. Lengthen them and tune into a radio broadcast.
Discover what’s revealed about our universe as you travel along the electromagnetic spectrum. There’s the long of it: an ambitious goal to construct the world’s largest radio telescope array … and the short: a telescope that images high-energy gamma rays from black holes.
Also, the structure of the universe as seen through X-ray eyes and a physicist sings the praises of infrared light. Literally.
And, while gravity waves are not in the electromagnetic club, these ripples in spacetime could explain some of the biggest mysteries of the cosmos. But first, we have to catch them!
It’s always a surprise to sort through Seth’s cabinet of wonders – who knows what we’ll find!
In this cramped cupboard, tucked between shelves of worm gears and used clarinet reeds, we discover a forgotten U.S. sea floor laboratory … copies of the new Cosmos TV series … evidence of science fiction’s predictive powers … software that may replace scientists … and tips on surviving a deadly poison (hint: it helps to be a snake).
Tune in, find out and grab a duster, will you?
The future is no mystery… according to psychics who say they have special access to tomorrow's events. For example, adherents to the Mayan doomsday prophecy warn that when 2012 ends, so will the world.
Discover what's behind claims of prognostication, and why – if it really works – no one is making a killing in Las Vegas.
Also, could science divine the future? Programmers with the Living Earth Simulator say that with sufficient data, their billion-dollar computer project can predict world events.
It's Skeptic Check… but don't take our word for it!
“Follow the water” is the mantra of those who search for life beyond Earth. Where there’s water, there may be life. Join us on a tour of watery solar system bodies that hold promise for biology. Dig beneath the icy shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa, and plunge into the jets of Enceladus, Saturn’s satellite.
And let’s not forget the Red Planet. Mars is rusty and dusty, but it wasn’t always a world of dry dunes. Did life once thrive here? Also, the promise of life in the exotic hydrocarbon lakes of Titan.
Science-fiction author Robert J. Sawyer joins us, and relates how these exotic outposts have prompted imaginative stories of alien life.