Cradle of Life As We Know It
Earth is the only place we know of in the universe that harbors life. Ours is the largest terrestrial planet in the solar system. Our rocky, volcanic world is coated in a thin veneer of liquid water, living things, and translucent atmosphere, whose complicated interactions make Earth's surface into a place of constant change. We humans have only had fifty years of perspective on Earth as a planet, of seeing it as a "pale blue dot" floating in the black vacuum of space.
With that perspective, we know precious and unique our planet is. We know, too, that we are having measurable effects on the complex interactions of ocean, land, life, water, and air, changing our climate. But predicting the future of our climate is hard. Understanding how Earth's systems work by studying the way they operate on other worlds is a major goal of planetary exploration. Mars, Venus, and Titan all have (or had) active geology, hydrology, and weather -- but, as far as we know, they don't have life. Is Earth really that unique? Are we truly alone in the universe? We won't know unless we keep searching.
News from Earth
Posted by Neil Patrick Stewart on 2012/02/16 02:17 CST
Last week, I received a�press release�with the headline "Big Bend National Park Designated As International Dark Sky Park." I asked my brother Neil to write something about this announcement for me.�
Posted by Pat Donohue on 2012/02/03 10:02 CST
Guest Post: Patrick Donohue: Six days in the crater (day one)
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/02 04:06 CST
This weekend is SpaceUp unconference in San Diego, and I'll be attending on Saturday. You can still register if you want to attend, but if you can't, some part of the unconference will be webcast on Spacevidcast.