Believe it or not, it’s been 40 years since Star Trek first lifted off the launch pad, bringing TV audiences a positive vision of the 23rd century. But with four decades of hindsight, can we conclude that Gene Roddenberry’s space opera was important, or merely campy?
We look at the legacy of this popular show, talking to a Star Trek actor, scientists, writers, and even the occasional Klingon. What would the holodeck really be used for? And what about those flip-lid communicators… were they the inspiration for today’s cell phones?
From light-years to femtoseconds to 11-dimensional vibrating strings – our understanding of the universe is completely dependent on measurement. As any scientist will tell you, “to measure is to know.”
How safe is our future? With millions of rocks careening around the solar system, what are the chances of a major impact wiping out a city, a country, or all life on Earth?
We’ll talk to NASA scientists about how they’re hunting for asteroids that might slam into our world, and what they’ve found so far. Are there any signs of immediate danger? Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart tells us what sort of defense might deflect a rock that’s “incoming.” Finally, journalist William Burrows describes why he thinks NASA could be doing a lot more to safeguard Earth.
Poor Pluto – talk about losing your identity. This punk world was hailed in 1930 as the first planet found in the 20th century, only to be dismissed as a hunk of icy rock by the start of the 21st. Now, astronomers have changed their minds: Pluto and three other solar system bodies are official members of the planetary pantheon. But, for how long? We’ll hear the new definition of a planet as proposed at the International Astronomical Union meeting in Prague.