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‘Mars’: Behind the Scenes of National Geographic Channel’s Global Event Series
The six-part series from executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer will premiere Nov. 14 in the U.S. and Nov. 13 internationally in 170 countries and 45 languages.

Behind the scenes of NatGeo Channel’s MARS featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk, Robert Zubrin and Andy Weir

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Hunting for Starships

In SETI research, there’s a subset of astronomers searching for evidence of distant starships. 

Since we know from Einstein that photons of light have momentum, they also have energy. The Planetary Society’s putting a spacecraft into orbit in May that will be able to traverse about space by simply reflecting light off reflective mylar, the way wind moves a kite through the air.

Naturally, such spacecraft are highly visible (their reflectiveness is proportional to how efficient they are).

Another key aspect to the sort of starships astronomers seek is how they slow down. With solar sails you can reach incredible velocities simply due to the fact that you’d be constantly accelerating on starlight.

How could such a civilization slow down?

In the 60′s Carl Sagan suggested searching for civilizations with large “scoops” made of magnets which could attract and catch plasma, which may then be used as fuel. He thought this plasma could be harvested out of interstellar space and used to then feed a fusion generator on the starship.

Later Dana Andrews and Robert Zubrin discovered that such a thing would actually create so much drag that it would actually slow the starship down… which may actually be the point of such a magnetic sail.

SETI astronomers, now on the lookout, have determined that a magnetic sail traveling through interstellar space would create signatures in the visible portion of the light spectrum. These signatures are called “bow shocks” and they exist naturally (significantly confusing the search).

So the next time you look up into the sky with your 20+ inch telescope, if you see a bow shock and no neutron star… you might want to call your local observatory.

(Image credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, T. Pyle (SSC), ESA and Steve Bowers)

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Dr. Robert Zubrin with a brilliant answer to “Why Should We Go To Mars?”

If you watch the film The Martian, you’ll see Hollywood explosions and special effects galore, but you’ll also see some serious science.

“The Martian has almost all of its technical details correct,” says Robert Zubrin, the head of The Mars Society, which advocates sending people to explore the planet. Zubrin, who has written nonfiction and fiction books about going to Mars, points out there have been many other accurate books written about missions to Mars. What makes The Martian special he says, is its simple man-versus-nature plot. “It’s about one person, one human mind, one human heart,” he says.

How ‘The Martian’ Became A Science Love Story

Photo: Giles Keyte/EPKTV

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(Part 1 of 2)

Excellent video that everyone should watch. Interesting for people interested in space, even more important for people who know nothing about it.

I do not believe we’re about to run out of resources on Earth any time soon, but so long as we are confined to the Earth, this argument has the appearance of credibility. “There’s only so much to go around, therefore somebody has got to be crushed.” Well, we open up space, we open up Mars as a new world, we’re proving that human creativity has the capacity to open up a universe of resources to human kind. In other words, we are completely blowing the top off this anti-humanist argument. We’re showing that everything we have comes from human creativity. The ultimate resource is not land—in fact, land was not a resource until people invented agriculture—, it’s not oil—oil was not a resource until people developed oil drilling and petroleum refining and automobiles and other kinds of engines that could use gasoline–, it’s not uranium—uranium wasn’t a resource until we developed nuclear power—, the ultimate resource is human creativity, and this is what can open up the universe to us. The reason why we need to go to Mars is to show that there [are] no limits and that human beings can be free forever.
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Symphony of Science - ‘The Case for Mars’ (ft. Zubrin, Sagan, Cox & Boston) (by melodysheep)

In the 1970’s, there was a cooling trend in climate; and the anti-humanists made much of this, they said, “Look, there’s gonna be a new Ice Age, and it’s caused by pollution, industry, too much economic growth, it’s out of control, it’s got to be put under control, put us in control.” Then, in the 80’s, the climate shifted to a warming trend. They said, “Oh, there’s Global Warming, it’s being caused by industry and too much economic growth, it’s out of control, it’s got to be put under control, put us in control.” The problem is always different, the solution is always the same. That’s what people don’t understand. Global Warming isn’t about the weather. It’s about liberty or tyranny.
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The Case For Mars - Symphony of Science

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¿Por qué debemos ir a Marte?

El Doctor Robert Zubrin responde a la pregunta.

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Dr. Robert Zubrin answers the “why we should be going to Mars” question in the most eloquent way.