We’re fascinated with outer space, but there’s a place on earth that’s just as alien — and just as mysterious. It’s the bottom of the ocean, and Sylvia Earle has walked there:
"[I walked] on the bottom, two and a half hours, and I later spoke with an astronaut friend, Buzz Aldrin, and he said, ‘Well, that’s about as long as we had to walk on the moon, two and a half hours.’ But what they did not have on the moon, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong and those who came later, they didn’t have just this avalanche of life, this great diversity all around. Everywhere you looked, there were little fish with lights down the side. Of course, the corals themselves are alive. There were little burrows of creatures that were dwelling in the sediments on the sea floor. The water itself is like minestrone, except all the little bits are alive."
And that life of the ocean sustains all life on earth. Sylvia Earle takes us there with singular urgency and passion.
We’re putting the final touches on our show with Natalie Batalha, a research astronomer and mission scientist with NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. What is she searching for? Exoplanets: terrestrial planets with liquid water approximately the size of Earth that exist outside of our solar system.
But, we may not have to look that far. NASA’s Curiosity Rover transmitted back this incredible panorama (well, actually stitched-together images) of the Mars surface. Adam Mann reports on Wired:
Nevertheless, it’s edifying to know that parallel efforts are taking place to discover more about the strata of deep time and our place in this sacred universe.
NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity captured this image looking eastward over the Endeavour Crater late in the afternoon of Opportunity’s 2,888th Martian sol (day) which corresponded with March 9, 2012 here on Earth. In the foreground, Opportunity’s own shadow appears, in a sort of one-step-removed self-portrait. […] The image is a mosaic of about a dozen images and presented in false color to draw out certain features of the topography.
Apropos to our upcoming show with deep sea explorer Sylvia Earle, who reminds us that we ought to explore the depths of our oceans and selves as much as we do outer space. She’s right; nevertheless, this is marvelous.
At lectures there are always some who raise their hands. But I think it’s unethical to send young people, since there are serious health risks. You need highly trained scientists with a life expectancy of less than 20 years.
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor