Eruption at Fimmvörðuháls at dusk.
Eruption at Fimmvörðuháls at dusk.

Cosmic Queries – Volcanoes & Life in the Universe

Boaworm, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

Have we disproven the idea of a “goldilocks zone”? Neil deGrasse Tyson and comedian Paul Mecurio learn about space geology, magnetic fields, volcanoes, and the origins of life with cosmochemist Natalie Starkey, PhD.

Could different forms of life be made of the amino acids from comets? We discuss planetary protection, chirality, and finding amino acids on comets. What’s the relationship between active geology and magnetic fields? Do planets with chriovulcanism have magnetic fields?

What are the differences between space volcanoes and volcanoes on Earth? Learn about supervolcanoes and what makes space volcanoes go dormant. Is there a pressure difference between Earth and space volcanoes? We explore the ways we are looking to detect life on other planets and the ongoing missions to visit the moons of Jupiter. How will JUICE and Europa Clipper change what we think about our own solar system?

Could we harness the energy of a planet’s core? Find out about Lake Vostok in Antarctica and how it’s helping us practice for Europa. Could we bring our own water to Mars? What would happen if a volcano erupted on the moon? Finally we discuss the ways we look for life and our biases.

Thanks to our Patrons EmskyArt, Alex James, Mariette Kalinowski, Skye Lincoln, Matthew King, and James Senior for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

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