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Climate and Environment

Santiago Saez Moreno
Journalist
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piqer: Santiago Saez Moreno
Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Climate Change: Is The Future Written Among The Stars?

Earth is not alone in the universe. In the immensity of the cosmos, there are innumerable other planets, each of them with its own particular geological history. And, who knows, some of them may also have a biological history, too. We don't know much of what goes on on planets beyond our solar system, but we do know a bit more about our two closest neighbors: Venus and Mars. And we know one thing for sure: We're really lucky not to be there. And there's more: We're lucky to be here and now, because Earth wasn't always so human-friendly.

But what does this have to do with climate change? Well, we can learn a lot about our own global warming by looking at the night sky. And also by listening to this excellent podcast, hosted by Elizabeth Fernandez, who interviews astrophysicist Adam Frank, from the University of Rochester.

"Here's the thing: Climate is universal! Every time you have a planet with an atmosphere you're going to get climate, and the rules are going to be pretty generic, pretty universal."

Venus is a planet with a CO2-rich atmosphere. Accordingly, its atmosphere shows a very strong greenhouse effect, which means its temperature is way higher than one could expect from its distance to the sun. On the other hand, Mars had surface water, but lost it because its atmosphere was too thin.

But let's look back at our own history. The composition of the atmosphere has changed in the past, and often because of very successful species (such as us). However, those species were not so successful after the change. Will we survive our own climate change? And is this an ordeal all successful species eventually face? The answers are not far. We just have to understand we're part of Earth.

This is a very interesting "science and fiction" (not sci-fi) podcast, full of science-based musings about alien civilizations and universal great filters. The production is serious and professional and the music is great (and open source!). Good job!

Climate Change: Is The Future Written Among The Stars?
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