9 episodes

From lunar robots to extraterrestrial life, from cutting-edge science to space tourism to stargazing — an enlightening exploration of the world beyond our world.

Space and the Cosmos The Aspen Ideas Festival

    • Science

From lunar robots to extraterrestrial life, from cutting-edge science to space tourism to stargazing — an enlightening exploration of the world beyond our world.

    • video
    Space Travel: Are You Virgin Galactic's Next Passenger?

    Space Travel: Are You Virgin Galactic's Next Passenger?

    Virgin Galactic is the world’s first commercial spaceline. How did this project first see the light of day? With the help of stunning images and footage, Stephen Attenborough will chart its progress to date, including the latest from the ongoing test flight program. Is Virgin Galactic the spark that could light the fire of a vibrant new industry that could help to meet some of the most pressing challenges faced on Earth in the coming decades? Will you be the company’s next customer on a trip to space for an exhilarating, life-changing experience?
    Speakers: Stephen Attenborough

    • 1 hr 3 min
    • video
    Uncharted Territory: From Deep Oceans to Deep Space

    Uncharted Territory: From Deep Oceans to Deep Space

    Thanks to powerful new technologies––and the good old inborn drive to explore––human beings are now investigating places once assumed to be inaccessible. We hear from an oceanographer pushing the limits of technology to explore bizarre “lakes” in the deepest recesses of our oceans; a planetary geologist using images from orbiting spacecraft to explore processes shaping the surfaces of planets, such as dunes migrating across the surface of Mars; and an astrophysicist trying to solve the mystery of the solar wind by building a probe that will fly right into the blazing atmosphere of our sun.
    Speakers: David Gallo, Maria Banks, Justin Kasper, Paula Apsell

    • 53 min
    • video
    Extraterrestrial Life: Are We Alone?

    Extraterrestrial Life: Are We Alone?

    It's a question that we have pondered for years: is life on earth really the only life that's out there in the universe? Turns out there's a good chance it's not just us. With research indicating that other planets might be able to host life, how should we be thinking about interactions between extraterrestrial and Earth life? Planetary protection involves avoiding contamination of other locations in the universe with Earth life, as well as preventing unpleasant things happening when possibly-inhabited material is brought to Earth from other planets. How can we tell the difference between extraterrestrial and Earth life? What do we need to keep Earth safe, and other planets safe from contamination by us?

    Speakers: Dimitar Sasselov, Catharine Conley, Tracy Day

    • 58 min
    • video
    Expanding Our Horizons: Matter, Space, and the Universe

    Expanding Our Horizons: Matter, Space, and the Universe

    This session explores the almost unfathomable scales of theoretical physics, from the mysterious properties of dark matter to the depths of our universe and beyond. Experiments, like the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva that smashes together protons at high energies, tell us about the smallest length scales we can observe today while measurements of the universe stretch our observations of large length scales to their limits. Theoretical physicists like Lisa Randall tie the results of these experiments to mysteries about our universe. Professor Randall will tell us about the Higgs boson discovery and its implications. She will also explore possibilities for the nature of dark matter and of space itself. Can there be an unseen extra dimension in our universe? Theoretical physics truly knows no bounds

    Speakers: Lisa Randall

    • 54 min
    • video
    Deadly Asteroids: Can We Spot Them in Time?

    Deadly Asteroids: Can We Spot Them in Time?

    The relatively small asteroid that exploded in the skies over Siberia last February, injuring over 1,000 people, was a shocking reminder that our planet is a target in a cosmic shooting range. Larger asteroids, from the width of a football field to the size of a small city, have the potential to be killers on a massive scale: in previous collisions with Earth, they have set off deadly blast waves, raging fires, and colossal tidal waves. Fortunately, space rocks like these can be deflected––if we have enough warning. But whose responsibility is it to survey for, and protect against, these potential doomsday bringers? Leaders of governmental and private organizations discuss the defense against the next strike.
    Speakers: Lindley Johnson, Ed Lu and Paula Apsell

    • 1 hr 1 min
    • video
    Far Out, Up Close: Visualizing the Invisible

    Far Out, Up Close: Visualizing the Invisible

    Telescopes, satellites, probes, and rovers have transformed how we perceive the universe and helped make the invisible, visible. New technologies now enable us to visualize the cosmos in even greater detail, understand our home planet in new ways, immerse ourselves in alien environments, and even see through the eyes of robot explorers. Expert speakers discuss how to bring the far out of our universe, up close.
    Speakers: Charles Alcock, David McConville, and Richard Hollingham

    • 54 min

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