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La Palma & Titan

Date: 01-21-05
Host: George Noory
Guests: Linda Moulton Howe, Open Lines, Phil Plait

In the first hour, reporter and editor for Earthfiles.com, Linda Moulton Howe, provided an update on the "mega-tsunami" potential of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma.

According to geologist Dr. Simon Day, "it's almost certain" the 4-mile high Cumbre Vieja volcano will erupt this century, though no one knows how many eruptions will occur before it collapses into the ocean, triggering a "mega-tsunami." The La Palma collapse could produce waves as high as a 15-story building that would reach North and South America within 8 to 11 hours, Day said. Read Linda's full report.

Linda also reported on the latest data from the Huygens probe that shows evidence for weather on Titan. She said it rains methane on Titan, but the rain there does not require the formation of clouds like on Earth. Linda suggested the methane on Titan could provide the precursors to life. Astronomer Dr. Lyn Doose described Titan as an "Earth-like place that got frozen in time," and believes it could contain clues to how life formed on Earth. See Linda's full report.

Hubble Update

During hour two, astronomer Phil Plait talked about the White House's recent decision to have NASA destroy the ailing Hubble Telescope. Plait called Hubble an "icon of astronomy," which has no replacement. Launched in April 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has been upgraded and repaired several times. Plait suggested NASA had "painted themselves into a corner" by relying on costly Space Shuttle missions as the sole method for servicing Hubble.

Strange Things

The last half of Friday's show featured Open Lines, with a special hotline for people with stories about "Strange Things." A caller named Boots recounted a story about seeing mysterious men dressed in white sitting in a car. He said the men appeared on his way to a party and later that night on the street where he lived. John from North Carolina told George of the time his uncle discovered a rat's leg while eating a hamburger at a fast food restaurant. Another caller described the time her husband sold his soul for a piece of electrical tape.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Friday January 21, 2005

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