Sunday, July 23, 2006


I attended a lecture titled, "Water in Space" by astronomer, Dr. David Grinspoon (author of Venus Revealed: A New Look Below the Clouds of Our Mysterious Twin Planet and Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life), at the New York Museum of Water. It was the first ever event that I had participated in by the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, which hosts regular lectures on astronomy at American Museum of Natural History, as well as night sessions for telescopic observation of the heavens. For months I had wanted to check out some of the AAA's events, but for this or that reason failed to until Monday. Dr. Grinspoon's presentation was fabulous. He was engaging, entertaining, and well-organized. At the conclusion of his talk, he opened the floor to questions. I asked him about his opinion of panspermia and questioned his argument that in the long run (billions of years in the future) water will become more a danger to life on the planet as a greenhouse gas agent than carbon dioxide, although carbon dioxide is indeed a serious challenge at the moment.

It felt so wonderful being there. Finally, I had made it to one of the AAA's events and was making real steps to fulfilling my long time interest in astronomy and earth science.

On a side note, the NYT had an interesting article recently about a change to NASA's mission:
NASA’s Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet

In addition to this article, you can listen to what I think is a marvelously engaging interview of Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium, here. He talks about the future of science education in America, the space program, and his personal history as an African-American astrophysicist and the chief of such a preeminent institution. I read Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, which he wrote and about which there's a PBS documentary with the same title.


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