Astronomer and author Jeffrey Bennett discussed possibilities for life in the universe, as well as space travel and exploration. A functioning space elevator, a concept first proposed by Arthur C. Clarke, is described in one of Bennett's books. The docking station would be positioned in geosynchronous orbit with a cable attached to the earth. Traveling at 800mph, the elevator ride would take three days, he explained.
While Bennett doesn't see evidence for past civilizations on Mars, he believes there's a high probability for microbial life to be found there. Europa, a moon of Jupiter, appears to be a true ocean world, he said, and may also harbor some form of life in its waters. There are as many stars in the universe as there are grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth, he said. This suggests to him that life beyond Earth is inevitable, and we are not the center of the universe.
A "UFO agnostic," Bennett said he hasn't seen strong enough evidence to prove that Earth has been visited by extraterrestrials. Civilizations that develop the ability for space travel also have the technology to destroy themselves through wars and weaponry-- they must pass first through this "bottleneck" before making it outwards to explore and colonize the galaxy, he noted.
First hour guest, geologist Jim Berkland spoke about earthquakes. There's an 85% probability of seismic activity during the window of Dec. 12 -13th, 2008, due to a full moon and very high tides, he said. Normally active areas such as the West Coast would be the likeliest locations for earthquakes during this time.
The genome of the Ice Age woolly mammoth has been pieced together using DNA from a hair sample preserved in the Siberian permafrost. Most scientists, however, are doubtful that ancient DNA could be used to bring back an extinct species. More at BBC News.
Bumper music from Thursday November 20, 2008