Everyone is always talking about exploring space, from the moon to Mars, and beyond our solar system. NASA constantly discusses the topic of future space exploration. But the funny thing about all this is that there's no actual exploring being done.
This is basically how Burt Rutan (who happens to be a legendary spacecraft designer) begins his TED Talk. He says that we need to continue sending manned spacecraft so that we can actually explore the final frontier, and that our younger generations need to be participating in this instead of looking forward "to a better version of a cell phone with a video in it". I agree wholeheartedly, because honestly: who needs another smart phone? We've got enough of those already filling people's heads with junk; we don't need another one. Anyway, he talks about how NASA isn't really supporting any new exploration ideas, and jokes around saying that the next time we'll go to the moon will be in fifty years, but we won't even do anything new to learn anything new.
Burt then went on to talk about how aviation first began, and that many famous people involved in aviation were inspired during the Aviation Renaissance from 1908 to 1912. He himself was inspired when there was a big jump in aircraft performance, and instead of doing what most teenagers do (dating, hanging out, etc.) he would build model airplanes. He has even created a couple of companies that develop different types of airplanes, and he is still coming up with different models today. But the main point of his talk, he reiterates, is that there is no real progress being made. NASA isn't trying anything new.
Burt gives some ideas of how to change this, and how to do something new, something that hasn't been done. One example would be to fly people up into space so that way they can get a good suborbital view of the planet Earth and even the moon, which simply means that they'll be in these structures (such as space hotels or whatnot); one will be orbiting the Earth and another will be orbiting the moon, and so if you look outside you can see either of them zooming by, and the view will be breathtaking. He predicts that this might happen by 2020. He also says that there will probably be another "space race" amongst countries. He even believes that we might try to colonize ourselves in space, whether it be on the moon or other planets in our solar system or beyond.
I liked this TED Talk, and I liked Burt Rutan's way of thinking. I liked how enthusiastic he was about the whole thing, and his ideas were really interesting and very probable. I also liked how he said that younger generations such as our own need to be getting involved in this type of stuff. Not necessarily space exploration, mind you, but we need to be getting involved with exploration of all sorts of fields and levels. Sure, it's nice to have the newest smart phone, but what exactly are you going to accomplish on it? Improving your social status?
I thoroughly agree with Burt Rutan, and I believe that we need to be exploring space instead of just talking about how we're going to be doing it. There's a quote that goes like this: "Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today"; and that's exactly what we need to be doing.
In my first reflection, the TED talk I did it on was about whether or not there is life on the planet Mars. Well, I'd like to revisit that topic-extraterrestrial life-only this time it's about whether or not there is life at the outer rims of the solar system, on planets and moons farther away from the Sun, and therefore cooler than Mars.
Freeman Dyson is a physicist who believes that we should start looking for life on planets, moons and other celestial bodies that are farther from the Sun. Some of these bodies are Jupiter's and Saturn's moons. For example, Europa-which is one of Jupiter's moons-has an icy surface that appears to be floating on a body of water, and so we've come to the conclusion that there is, in fact, a very deep ocean on Europa. However, the ice is too thick, and so we can't explore it and see if there is any life there and, if so, what types of organisms live there. He then went on to say that if there's life on Europa, then it might have originated from the ocean and will eventually come onto land, the ice, and this is just what happened on Earth. Freeman then started talking about what these land organisms would like, and what sort of characteristics they would develop in order to survive. He also says that they'd need powerful reflectors in order to reflect more heat onto the moon's surface from the Sun in order to survive because Europa is so far away from the Sun. But what he hopes is for people to start looking for life in these regions, where it's colder and farther away from the Sun, and that the reason no life has been detected out there as of yet is because no one has even bothered looking out there. He concludes his talk by stating that if humans start living in space, and if there's no life out there, then we can create life and make it "much more rich and beautiful than it is today".
The thing I liked most about Freeman and his talk is how open-minded he is. He talks about there being life in places that hardly anyone even considers or thinks probable. But I think that he's on to something: we need to look for life elsewhere in the universe. And we can't just look in certain areas. We need to look everywhere, because different forms of life live in different conditions, and we can't restrict them to certain lifestyles. Our own planet is a perfect example of this. Some organisms breathe in oxygen while others breathe in water; some live in more extreme environments than others. So why can't there be organisms farther out in the solar system and farther from the Sun? If we can survive from this distance to the Sun, then why can't there be life that survives at a further distance from it? To think this impossible would be an ignorant thing to do.
I really liked this TED Talk. It proves that life is possible farther out in our solar system, and we can discover it, if only we dare to look.
Scores of movies and hundreds of comics have been made that depict human-like machines called androids that look, act and think exactly like a human would. But this isn't just the work of science-fiction.
David Hanson is a man who has created robots that make facial expressions based upon what mood you're showing. He had brought in a robotic head (which to me resembles Albert Einstein) to demonstrate this. Whenever he smiled, the "Einstein" head who smile back, his lips curling upward in a grin, his eyes squinting happily, and the wrinkles around his eyes and mouth creasing like a human's would. Whenever David frowned, the head detected his "sadness" and frowned as well. David explained that machines that understand and display empathy could prove as a major breakthrough in science and robotics. After all, the military and army want all of these powerful war machines, but they haven't even considered robots that could empathize and get along with humans. David has created other androids, and he said that the whole idea, the whole concept first inspired him upon watching the movie "Bladerunner", and then the gears in his head started turning, and the whole thing just sort of took off. There's even a smaller android in development that he says will be for kids that have direct access to the Internet; they'd interact with the kids, and their intelligence would advance as the Internet advances.
I liked how David got so into his speech, and I found it funny when he started making those facial expressions and "Einstein" mimicked him. I found this topic really interesting and cool because it shows just how far we've come with robotics and engineering, and all the things we can accomplish. I mean just think about it! David created these robots that can display empathy correctly just by looking at you. Then there's all those Audio-Animatronics at Disney, the more impressive ones being at the Carousel of Progress and The Hall of Presidents. They might not show empathy, but for decades they have been able to mimic human movement so perfectly that you forget that they aren't "alive".
I'd just like to take a moment to thank all of my teachers for helping me get this far. Without them, I wouldn't have achieved nearly as much as I have with their assistance and guidance. I've learned so much throughout this school year, and I've enjoyed every moment of it. Thanks again for being amazing teachers!
Mars: the red planet, fourth planet from the Sun in our solar system, and completely dry and void of life-right? This may not be the case, for there is evidence claiming that there may still be life on Mars, and it might actually hold the key to the origin of life on Earth.
In her TED Talk, Nathalie Carbrol talked about how billions of years ago, asteroids and comets hit the Earth and Mars, and as a result pieces of Earth flew onto Mars, and pieces of Mars flew onto Earth. This means that both planets may host similar life and planetary conditions. After all, Mars used to have rivers, oceans, and deltas. But as Earth began to host life, Mars wasn't doing so well. Its atmosphere was stripped away; it lost its magnetic field; UV and solar rays beat down upon the planet, heating it up; and water was cast off into space, but some of it escaped underground. Nathalie and her team travel to extreme environments on Earth that are very similar to the conditions on Mars, and they recently discovered a lake that was home to millions, perhaps even billions, of microbes, and they lived in the water so the UV rays wouldn't affect them as much; they cannot be exposed to too much of it. That's when Nathalie realized that something similar was happening on Mars: when the water disappeared on the surface, microbes had no choice but to travel underground and live in the oceans beneath the surface, and they still reside there today. This opens us up to new opportunities, where other planets in our solar system and beyond might host microbes and other forms of life, and we are one step closer to learning who we are and where we come from.
As I watched this TED Talk, I was instantly captivated from the moment Nathalie Carbrol began her speech. She spoke in a firm and certain tone, like she knew what she was talking about, and she emphasized the most important details so one would be sure to remember them. She was clear and precise, and I found the topic even more interesting just because of how she presented it. She would occasionally make hand gestures to emphasize certain points. As for the topic itself, I found it really interesting. Just imagine: Mars might be the future vision of Earth. Not only that, but there may still be life on the red planet after all, and not just in science fiction. Microbes, microscopic organisms, are currently living underground in underground lakes and ponds, and there is evidence that there's life on the planet's surface. I find this really fascinating, and I think that we should look into this more so that we can learn once and for all whether or not we are alone out there, and I'd like to work in that sort of field when I'm older.
All in all, I found Nathalie Carbrol's TED Talk to be very interesting, as well as extremely informative. Her and her team's research has opened another door to our view on space and extraterrestrial organisms, and it opens us up to new opportunities to explore space and life and their ongoing mystery.
Hi! My name is Cheyenne Stevens. I'm in 9th grade and I currently attend West Orange High School.
The reason I'm creating this blog is this: in our English class, we are to talk about what we are passionate about by watching Ted Talks and presenting to the class.
I have a few different passions. I love reading and writing novels (I'm still working on the first novel of a series, which I started two years ago), and I enjoy listening to music and playing the violin. However, one thing that I've always been fascinated about is space.
It's called "the final frontier". It's massive, with trillions of stars and millions of clusters of galaxies, and it's constantly expanding. I've always wanted to go up there and look upon the Earth in all its glory and magnificence, for photos and films pale in comparison to the real thing. It cannot capture its true brilliance, or at least so I've heard. I also find the topic of extraterrestrial life rather interesting. I fully believe in there being life on other planets, and that's one thing that I've always wanted to discover and plan on doing.
Another interest of mine is engineering and robotics. That's why in 10th grade I'm going to start taking a computer and engineering class because I know practically nothing about technology, so I want to learn as much as I can before graduating. Maybe I can combine my two interests and become a space engineer and work on the satellites and NASA space station! Man, that would be something!
Anyway, through this project I want to learn more about the mysteries of space and extraterrestrial life, and about the future of robotics and engineering, and how both topics will affect our lives. I'm glad that we're being asked to do this project, because now I can finally truly express myself and my passions.