Comparative Planetology, with Ellen Stofan

Infrared view of Titan, captured by Cassini in Nov. 2015_Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Idaho.
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About This Episode

What can we learn from other planets that will help us understand our own? Astrobiologist and StarTalk All-Stars host David Grinspoon, a.k.a. Dr. FunkySpoon, reunites with comic co-host Chuck Nice as they welcome Dr. Ellen Stofan, former Chief Scientist at NASA, to discuss the benefits, process, and appeal of comparative planetology. Ellen has been involved with numerous interplanetary spacecraft missions, including the Magellan spacecraft, and as David says, is a “planetary geologist extraordinaire” so her expertise and insight are just what we need on StarTalk All-Stars. Join us for a discussion on Earth’s climate: using space exploration to talk about climate change; the impact of climate change on human health; applying climate models to other planets, volcanos and their climatic impact; and much more. Explore Ellen’s favorite celestial body in the solar system, Titan, including the geological mechanics of Titan’s ice volcanos, and what David call’s Titan’s “anti-greenhouse effect.” You’ll also hear about geoengineering and why David and Ellen say there are easier ways to solve the climate crisis. All that, plus, our gang discusses cyanobacteria, biomimicry, and the environmental ethics of our solar system. They also answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries ranging from, “Could we use Mars and other planets as a dumping ground for trash and nuclear waste?” to “Is there any way to reverse global warming?”

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  • Tommy Hermansen

    Low level audio. You might need a technician

  • Sam

    David looks like a turtle, constantly holding headphones with his neck 😀

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