JUSTIN: Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!
As the New Year begins, Science finds itself in familiar territory. The frontier region between what we have learned, what we are bearing down on discovering and that unknown country from whose born no researcher returns.
Darkness has always surrounded the light of knowledge.
In our knowing of the unknown, the unfathomed, the unseen, we pushed back that darkness, revealed its secrets, unlocked its mysteries, stand tried up and upon its domesticated shores of innovation, and ahead of us?
More darkness, more intrigue and more learning awaits. The land of the unknown is vast and limitless and its puzzles, its problems, its Pandoras – Pandoras of plenty!
With so many empty boxes on the laboratory floor, we run our fingers across the lids of still more. On the shoulders of giants once again, Scientists on the intellectual hunt – testing hypothesis, taxing brains, pushing technology, re-inventing the possible and fearlessly seeking truth.
With the New Year of new challenges and new discoveries, there will undoubtedly be-new news of sciencey-note that would be dutifully dotted upon each week here on This Week in Science Best of ’07 Predictions for ’08 edition coming up next.
JUSTIN: Good morning Kirsten!
KIRSTEN: Science Alone, good morning Justin.
JUSTIN: Happy New Year!
KIRSTEN: Happy New Year!
JUSTIN: Welcome Back
KIRSTEN: Thank you
JUSTIN: From wherever you went.
KIRSTEN: From Lala Land
KIRSTEN: La la la la la, All the holidays and everything
KIRSTEN:I have to take a little breather every once in a while and get my head back into the TWIS space.
JUSTIN: What’s Wild…?
KIRSTEN: Renew my motivations. You know, the back!
JUSTIN: This whole… the whole last couple of weeks that I was sort of half temping the show I was showing up here in the morning playing…
JUSTIN: …of shows and stuff
KIRSTEN: It’s because you never leave Davis
JUSTIN: there were no students!
There were no students! The campus was like 34 – 50,000 people or something right and it was empty and it was so empty. But now, now that everybody’s back, and it’s all..
JUSTIN: Hum buzz running around caffeinated bicyclist everywhere
KIRSTEN: Right, it’s back to the normal daily grinds
KIRSTEN: Get back to work everybody, it’s the beginning of the year!
KIRSTEN: Go Go Go achieve achieve achieve! Be be be do do do!
JUSTIN: Careful, careful. Hey this is a very important news. Very important news. There’s – there’s a website – was it the Wired.com?
KIRSTEN: Oh yes!
KIRSTEN: The Wired, wired magazine’s website. yes.
JUSTIN: …and if you scroll down from their front page, there’s a part for sexiest scientist
KIRSTEN: Sexy Geeks.
KIRSTEN: Sexy Geeks 2007.
JUSTIN: Sexy Geeks 2007.
JUSTIN: and somebody submitted Kirsten and she’s already got a ton of votes on there so..
JUSTIN: But we need everybody to go and vote for.. I actually noticed that I was missing….
KIRSTEN: Yes so we took care of that.
JUSTIN: …from the list, so I’m that. I think I’ve got, I think I’ve got between me and Kirsten, I think I’ve got one vote so far.
JUSTIN: But, we’re working on it. So if you can go on you can find in it that’s where – we’re both there.
KIRSTEN: Yes. There’s some pretty sexy people on that list I mean …
JUSTIN: But I don’t, don’t know..
KIRSTEN: But not all of them are geeks .
JUSTIN: Right, and there is…
KIRSTEN: They’re all over the place and then the neat thing about the definition of geek is that Wired is defining it this year is not just a tech geek you know someone who’s.. or just someone who into like, playing role games and reading fantasy novels…
JUSTIN: What’s wrong with that Kirsten?
KIRSTEN: Nothing’s wrong with it, I’m just saying that they have brought in the definition of geek to include anyone who’s really really, really, really into what they’re doing so they are totally geeky about it.
JUSTIN: [Gingkorky] is a new word.
KIRSTEN: Geeky about sports, geeky about whatever, yes.
JUSTIN: Geeky is being over, over played
KIRSTEN: Overplayed, and God everyone can be a geek now geez!
JUSTIN: I’d be so lame because it’s such an exclusive club for so long.
KIRSTEN: That’s right but Wired.com we’re also, I’m also going to put a link on our, in our show notes so you can either go to Wired.com and take care of it if you file like voting us up as sexy geeks.
KIRSTEN: Or if you’d like to do it later at your own leisure when you’re perusing our website
JUSTIN: What later – I mean do it now!
JUSTIN: Do it now minions!
KIRSTEN: Yes, no the show notes I will put a link
JUSTIN: You can even vote against me actually…
KIRSTEN: Yes you can
JUSTIN: …if you don’t think I’m sexy
KIRSTEN: It’s a Digg model so you can vote up or down
KIRSTEN: I have about equal numbers up there right now
JUSTIN: Mm hmm.
KIRSTEN: There are people who..
KIRSTEN: They’re haters
JUSTIN: Yes I think..
KIRSTEN: They’re trolls, they’re haters! I don’t understand..
KIRSTEN: Why not just vote for?
KIRSTEN: Just don’t vote.
JUSTIN: I think it’s the other women in that contest voting against you multiple times because they’re so jealous.
KIRSTEN: They’re jealous, they’re jealous.
JUSTIN: Yes that’s it!
KIRSTEN: Well last year around this time we gave our predictions for what was going to happen in 2007.
JUSTIN: Oh, how did that turn out?
KIRSTEN: I don’t know , I didn’t hear it, it’s here and there, you know.. Last year I predicted that there was going to be a huge hurricane season and Justin like collaborated that and said “Yes there’s going to be class 6 hurricane that hits Texas” and neither one of those happened.
JUSTIN: Yehey, what, see that’s a good thing to be wrong. Yes.
KIRSTEN: Well, we’re actually very happy to be wrong on those accounts. I said that it was something I had prior knowledge about but I predicted that there would be a report on the human effect of global warming, that – a giant report would come out suggesting that…
JUSTIN: Nice softball.
KIRSTEN: …that global warming was caused by human effects
JUSTIN: mumble, it did.
KIRSTEN: …and well the IPCC report came out and last year – it was a huge year in the climate world.
JUSTIN: Somehow there were several reports. Yes.
KIRSTEN: That’s right. Justin along those lines predicted that there was going to be a major sporting event that people would drink beer and eat chips.
KIRSTEN: I think that happened.
JUSTIN: I think it happened, yes. Well I mean I think it probably follow it up your prediction with a prediction that – I wanted one the same I’m going to get.
KIRSTEN: The same level, yes
KIRSTEN: I predicted that the bird flu was not going to take over the world and become incredibly virulent. And Justin predicted that the vaccine will be produced that would make it more virulent. I was correct. Justin there was a vaccine but it did not cause a huge pandemic.
JUSTIN: …then why did they stop using it?
KIRSTEN: They didn’t stop using it. They [sounds] – I predicted that the large hydron collider was going to be turned on and that we would not be sucked into a black hole, Justin
JUSTIN: This is my prediction from before I think.
KIRSTEN: That’s right. Yes that was yours.
JUSTIN: We’re – it was going war of the world a year before it came online because it was so powerful.
KIRSTEN: Right, glad it did not happen, and Justin predicted that even if it did come on we would be no closer to understanding gravity. I was wrong on both counts. The LHC did not go online this year as planned. I predict that it will go online next year. And Justin was right!
JUSTIN: So not this year? This year yes, ok.
KIRSTEN: No this year 2008, yes this year. I’m still confused, I’m in that transition period between years still, mentally. Anyway, you were right we’re no closer to understanding gravity. Woohoo good prediction.
I predicted that there would be evidence of human and Neanderthal inter-breeding. The evidence – lots of evidence came out about the genetics of Neanderthals this year , this last year 2007.
But the evidence pretty much suggests, that there was not interbreeding because the y-chromosomes are so different than what they have seen so far. However, there was evidence that ancient man interbred with chimpanzees so it was close.
JUSTIN: Oh lord.
KIRSTEN: Not quite though …
JUSTIN: There was a report that said that Neanderthals likely – a good percentage of them had red hair.
KIRSTEN: Yes there was that, there was that, which is similar to a lot of northern…
KIRSTEN: …Northern races.
JUSTIN: its kind of, yes, curious
KIRSTEN: Justin predicted that something as extinct would live again through genetics. Something mammalian or bird. Pigeon holes.
JUSTIN: Yes I put myself in holes it did get retrovirus and stuff that had been around but I wanted something big.
KIRSTEN: Nope, nope nothing big was brought to life again. I predicted that there would be more endogenous retroviruses that were going to be produced you know the Frankenstein viruses that are being created.
There are a bunch of those in 2006. I predicted there would be more of those but they would not cause a pandemic around the globe.
KIRSTEN: Thanks. Good I think I did alright on that one.
A listener called –in and he predicted that the hobbit would be found to be a separate species…and that didn’t….
JUSTIN: I think I agreed with that.
KIRSTEN: You agreed with that one and I said no, I was right.
KIRSTEN: I win, ching ching ching!
JUSTIN: Yey! So much more fun if it’s a separate species.
KIRSTEN: I know. What else? I thought that there would be a continued debates of the definition of a planet yet no decision would be made however …
JUSTIN: How do they even worry about it?
KIRSTEN: I don’t think there was anything last year about what a planet is. It wasn’t even brought up.
JUSTIN: Now, now, well the thing is now Pluto is in all the book – still as a planet.
JUSTIN: …with the little asterisk, that’s all they did screaming asterisk portion.
KIRSTEN: The asterisk portion of the books. Let see what else they said. I said that viruses would be evidence that viruses are precursors to modern cells.
That’s not necessarily true, however at the very end of the year in December, a study came out that looked at RNA and gave some further evidence as to how modern cells might have evolved.
So hopefully I’ll be able to get into that to get somebody in to talk about that at some point this year because its pretty interesting, the whole evolution of like how cells came to be.
How little molecules started to stick together and turn into things that were tools and you know little motors that could…
Yes that’s pretty wild.
I’m still trying to figure out how it is that we discovered feathers on a number of dinosaurs like velociraptors and early T-Rex and how T-rex is similar DNA to like a chicken.
Right. That was this last year.
Yes.. But the weird thing is, those were Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptors – those are not the bird heads dinosaurs. Which I’m still confused about.
Because then that means that the structure, there is similarities, but the structure. If that wasn’t the structure of the same.. That’s where that the bird [hips]… The ones that didn’t have a bird hip had the feathers and ..I go huh?
Justin is confused!
We need like a palaeontologist around here…
Alright! Alright. So this year cell evolution, palaeontology..
Feathers and bird hip dinosaurs.
Feathers and bird hips…
And I think my final my final prediction was that there are going to be efficient affordable solar panels – become completely available to the public and make a huge difference in the market. And…
JUSTIN: And they are.
KIRSTEN: They are becoming more and more available as we go along, so! But it wasn’t like a huge thing that came up last year.
There wasn’t.. there wasn’t anything that was just like (screams) “Oh my god everyone can afford solar panels.” But there were some major breakthroughs like flexible solar panels …
KIRSTEN: Solar panels – they are starting to produce solar panels that are basically things that are like sheets of paper like wallpapers that rolls over. So neat!
JUSTIN: And they are being able to mass-produced them at a pretty good rate too.
KIRSTEN: Yes. Well do you wanna hold off on our predictions for next year until the end of this show and get to what the big stories of 2007 were?
JUSTIN: Yes sounds good.
KIRSTEN: Awesome.. Yes. And if anyone wants to call in while we go over what we thought were the big big things from this last year.
JUSTIN: The Top 11 stories
KIRSTEN: The Top 11 yes! That’s right. Everyone does top 10 we do top 11.
JUSTIN: We give you 10% more!
KIRSTEN: One more. One more story. Because you always want to know. What else would have been on that list?
JUSTIN: What’s just missed?
KIRSTEN: What’s just missed? Well we’ll tell u. The phone number here is 5307522777.And if you like to call down to the station and debate our choices .(laughs)or not…You know I don’t like debate.
JUSTIN: …A really hard time. Normally I have, like all my stories in a computer and I can go back and look through the folders of various months.. But I’ve…
KIRSTEN: You had computer issues this year.
JUSTIN: I’ve had computer issues all year and am on a new computer so I don’t have it all there. And so I worked back and started, you know previewing just the show notes and I’m like amazed at how much stuff happened this year.
I keep thinking stuff was. …that was last year and this was this year. This year was huge for science.
JUSTIN: We did like 50 hours..50 hours of reporting.
KIRSTEN: Fifty hours of reporting and we left stuff out!!
JUSTIN: Tons of stuff was left out. It’s just wild.
KIRSTEN: It was a big year and I think this year is gonna be big again it was.. it just gets bigger and better every year. And , I love doing this show.
KIRSTEN: Dude I love working with you Justin. Happy New Year. Lets have another great year. yes?
JUSTIN: Its one of my predictions .
KIRSTEN: One of your predictions?
JUSTIN: TWIS will survive
JUSTIN: …Another year.
JUSTIN: KIRSTEN: (together)- Number 11
JUSTIN: Ethanol. Ethanol was very interesting this year. It started out as whoooo.. Bio Fuel.
KIRSTEN: It’s going to save the planets.
KIRSTEN: JUSTIN: together:
KIRSTEN: Yes maybe not so much.(laughs) maybe no. I don’t think so
JUSTIN: Once we finally started looking at ethanol we realise that its going to make us compete against food. Its gonna create u know Fuel versus food.
KIRSTEN: That’s one. That’s one thing that there is fuel versus food controversy. But then there’s also the fact that it might actually be dirtier to produce.
JUSTIN: Dirtier to breathe.
KIRSTEN: Dirtier ..dirtier to breathe. It might have a lot of little particulates that get up into the air that are not so good for you.
JUSTIN: And then also they were looking at the effect it would have on the 3rd world who replace ,who are already on the brink of starvation.
JUSTIN: ..who – then the people who run those nations going for fuel finances versus food for people and chopping down some rainforests-es and all sorts of different ways that ethanol can just NOT help the system of energy.
KIRSTEN: Yes, yes. Lots of things so it went from the boom. It boomed and it busted all in one year , which is pretty interesting. Well however there is a lot of research into ethanol and there are a lot of people who are pushing for more, more ethanol cars on the road.
And I think that as long as we don’t stick with the silver bullet – looking for the one solution for everything I think we going to be ok.
JUSTIN: I think we’ve got one solution for everything. I think it’s the algae. But that’s …
KIRSTEN: I think that as long as we spread out our resources and put all our eggs in one basket’s we’re going to do fine. If we were only to try to depend on ethanol we’re going to end up in trouble.
If we only depend on oil and now we are in trouble as well. Why don’t we spread everything out? You know and move on to on to electric.
JUSTIN: I say we take out all of our eggs from the breadbasket which is our food producing ability. But you know, the thing is that I think there’s a political angle involved .
KIRSTEN: Ethanol is great in the Midwest.
JUSTIN: Well it’s not great in the Midwest. It’s just politically viable there. Because you are supporting – you’re getting votes by spending money on ethanol. That’s what I think. I think that’s what, that’s what it comes down to.
KIRSTEN: Everything comes down to the votes and the dollar.
KIRSTEN: Colony-collapse disorder.
JUSTIN: Awww ..bees.
JUSTIN: Awe bees! Bees! You know how hard it is to make pollinate with the bee right? We’ r talking about this.. Its just very difficult to get a bee …
KIRSTEN: Plants spent millions of years evolving along with the pollinating insects to get them to be attracted to their little flowers and get the pollen all over their back legs.
JUSTIN: That’s actually an incredible great story all by itself.
JUSTIN: Is the flowers and insects co-evolving…
KIRSTEN: Flowers and plants.
It’s just amazing what has evolved in our world .The system and how efficient it is. And there are particular plants that are specifically built to attract particular insects. But – like the honeybee .The honeybee we depend on quite a lot for a lot of our crops.
JUSTIN: Mm hmm
KIRSTEN: Almonds, walnuts, cherries. You know fruits, nuts. You name it.
JUSTIN: Billions and billions of dollars worth of work these bees do for us. That we can’t, we can’t reproduce.
KIRSTEN: We can’t do it on our own and without them we’d land up in some serious nutritious trouble.(laughs) economic trouble.
And the terrible thing this year that has been coming out or the last few years is colony collapse disorder, which is, this process by which bee colonies just die. The bees disappear. They go away. Where do they, where do they go when they die?
They think that there are there are lots of many different possible reasons as to why this is happening. And this is happening on such a major scale that its become – it’s of high interest and important for us to figure out what’s going on right now so that we can stop it from continuing.
Because otherwise we going to lose our pollinators. And the colony-collapse disorder is thought to be maybe a virus. It could also be a fungus. Most of the evidence is pointing towards a virus at this point.
But they’re still not sure. Virus itself could be a secondary symptom of something underlying the un-healthiness of a colony.
JUSTIN: And that is all of your agriculture! Everything that’s a food or vegetable that you eat is by help of bees.
KIRSTEN: (Laughs) Lots of it. Yes. Lots of it. So lets save the bees! This year has been a big year for trying to save the bees and understand the colony collapse disorder
KIRSTEN: Move on to number nine
JUSTIN: Number Nine! Dark matter!
KIRSTEN: Toot toot toot.
Yes dark matter is stuff that’s around us that we don’t know its there, but its really is the majority of the mass of our universe.
JUSTIN: Most of the mass of the universe, invisible to the spectrums of the light…
KIRSTEN: Yes. 2006 was a big year because they started actually finding evidence for dark matter out in the universe.
They were starting to actually see a separation of gases and you know the solid parts of the universes and the not so solid parts of the universes.
The things that have been ripped apart and where was the mass? Oh! …not necessarily with the planets and the suns .(laughs)
JUSTIN: So strange!
JUSTIN: Gravity and the void!
This year however the reason its on our list, this year is that they started mapping it.
JUSTIN: Yes! Taking pictures of something you can’t see.
KIRSTEN: Right. They.. I mean it’s not a lot they have mapped. They mapped a 2% strip. This guy a researcher Tony Tyson, he mapped, and he is a researcher here at UC Davis actually. He took part in mapping 2% of the dark matter in our universe, which actually is quite a lot.
JUSTIN: And ..And then perhaps even discovered that there is not just a singular matter, dark matter but that there is maybe different forms of this mysterious ..whatchamacallit.
KIRSTEN: Right, right. They were doing their usual.. “hey lets look at this galaxy and ..and see whether or not its been stripped apart and where the dark matter is and where the actual solid matter is.”
It didn’t look like they expected it to. The matter actually was something that was not where it should be according to the rules of dark matter that we’ve got so far.
And so if there are postulating that there might actually may be two kinds of dark matter, which makes it even more complicated..(Laughs)
So this year the year was discovering even more about the substance that makes up this universe that we live in.
JUSTIN: It was fascinating stuff. I like; I like knowing more about you know, and the universe I am in…..the world I am in….. It’s also very helpful in the morning if you turn on the light.
KIRSTEN: So you can see it?
JUSTIN: Yes…..I totally- I…
KIRSTEN: And you don’t trip over something in the bedroom?
JUSTIN:I … no I kick like standing table out in the living room ,that I just – It sort of stands up against one wall. So it’s like a short little table thing. But anyway, I don’t know how I managed to…. I just absolutely kicked it this morning …walking.
KIRSTEN:(laughing) That‘s awesome .Number 8.
KIRSTEN: Tam . . . Tam……Tam
JUSTIN: Are they good diseases? What do we have good/bad diseases?
KIRSTEN: Oh I don’t I think they are pretty bad disease there.
JUSTIN: That why they are called diseases.
KIRSTEN: Yes it is not so good.
KIRSTEN: This year was a crazy year for…I mean the year started out and everyone was worried about Bird flu.
JUSTIN: Not me.
KIRSTEN: We weren’t worried.
JUSTIN: Not you. Minions weren’t worried. I know.
KIRSTEN: Minions weren’t worried because they have been much mean to us, but bird flu was a big thing…la…la. And then it all turned into very different disease outbreaks than we had expected – E-coli in our spinach.
JUSTIN: Yes TB.
KIRSTEN: Yes Tuberculosis on planes. You know there were a lot of scares that popped up that made people -I think for the first time in a while really start to take notice of the safety precautions that are in place. The requirement that different organisations that we rely on for health and safety. What they have in place and how the systems that protect us actually work.
So I think it was really, you know – it’s not a good year but it was good because it actually maybe made people take notice again.
JUSTIN: Yes and in it’s the whole MRSA thing that’s been going on.
KIRSTEN: Right the whole multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
JUSTIN: Naturally – that’s showed up in school .I mean it’s been in hospitals .We’ve been talking about it a little I don’t think we’ve probably done it justice yet.
KIRSTEN: We didn’t talk much about it. Yes but MRSA is really – it’s pretty amazing that this bacteria has gone to a point where it is resistant. It’s mutated and mutated and mutated. It’s resistant to nearly every single antibiotic that we have.
And its got in into the schools .It’s like it started to pop up in places where it never popped up before. I mean it used to be that MRSA was something you found in hospitals, you know.
KIRSTEN: Not that that’s a great thing but that was one of the places that you would find it there and you could find it…
JUSTIN: Right and you could find in a place that is constantly sterilized right? And that what keeps remaining there after the sterilization is going to be that which can resists being sterilized.
JUSTIN: You know little bits and now overtime they get to grow. You know get bigger and more strong and then they’re resists – and just because they switched their DNA and so then you end up with strains that are only resistant. Basically that is the short version.
But you know …
KIRSTEN: And then there are lot up these things are like E-Coli and MRSA those are things that you can prevent by washing your food. Making sure that you do wash your vegetables. Wash your hands.
JUSTIN: How do you wash a frozen pizza? I don’t understand. Never forget it.
KIRSTEN: Hopefully there won’t be E-coli in the frozen pizza . Cook it. Cook your frozen pizza at a very high temperature and then all the bacteria would die. Yes a lot of bacteria are not….
KIRSTEN: Yes that are preventable if you cook things up to a particular temperature. If you wash things. Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom. You know that’s something that boys don’t do but they should.
JUSTIN: Yes that was the study .Yes that’s funny Yes we saw that.
KIRSTEN: That was the big study this last year.
JUSTIN: Guys like don’t wash.
KIRSTEN: And they should because washing hands prevents disease.
JUSTIN: That’s why I always wash my hands before I go to bathroom.
KIRSTEN: It basically removes, Yes… [everyone] touching things when you are at …I mean for kids in school it’s really important that you teach them to wash your hands
KIRSTEN: These are all very important but simple safety precaution’s that anyone can take. The TB scares now that’s something that’s a little bit different (laughs).
KIRSTEN: Yes anyway this year was a big year for disease.
JUSTIN: …and Chlamydia.
JUSTIN: Chlamydia had a huge year in the United States its like we got Chlamydia in record numbers this year.
KIRSTEN: …which one you are talking Chlamydia.
JUSTIN: The disease one.
KIRSTEN: The disease actual –
JUSTIN: We got both Chlamydia ,we got climedia .I don’t even know it. Now I am confused.
KIRSTEN: Yes Chlamydia started making a resurgence as well so there is some sexually transmitted diseases that started coming out.
JUSTIN: Now it’s quite a sexually transmitted diseases you know.
JUSTIN: And its just a good old fashion sexually transmitted disease not like the new modern age ones you know that kill you off and everything. That ones is treatable with good old fashion penicillin. If its …
KIRSTEN: Seriously. Moving on.
KIRSTEN: …is number seven!
KIRSTEN: This year was a huge year for space 2007.
JUSTIN: Space is always having a huge year.
KIRSTEN: Well it gets bigger and better and like I mean okay one statistic or comparison that I read just a kind of it brought it home. Twelve years ago we did not know of any other planets outside of our solar system.
JUSTIN: How many?
JUSTIN: Twelve years ago?
KIRSTEN: Twelve years ago.
KIRSTEN: So 2000 I mean 1995 so we did not know of any other planets – any planets outside of our solar system.
JUSTIN: Carl Sagan told me they there were billions of them!
KIRSTEN: Oh sure but they were gas stats. We had never seen anything.
KIRSTEN: 1995 we had never seen anything you know….. We can see the stars but we could – we hadn’t gotten to the point where we actually visualized anything going around them to actually prove that there were other planets out there.
JUSTIN: But scientist knew because they are so smart!
KIRSTEN: Because we’ve got planet around our own stars so why would it not happen in another places too.
KIRSTEN: But this year was a bumper year for finding planets-Extra solar planets not to mention Matt Gliese ,Gleuace ,gleuice I always pronounce it incorrectly.
JUSTIN: May be Earth-like but perhaps.
KIRSTEN: 581C right, its water containing planet so both you know revolving around a big star.
JUSTIN: Potentially with the water.
KIRSTEN: I think its red water.
JUSTIN: Anyway it’s one of those …
KIRSTEN: I mean it’s not necessarily habitable but containing – having water and so water being one of the things that we think is important for life. It could be a very important resource or place to go study or to look at in the future.
KIRSTEN: When we can actually get places more quickly then we can right now.
Nations heading into space this year we saw China, Japan, India. Three nations that have you know.- they have been kind of working into the space race they really got their game on this year and both China and Japan sent a lunar orbiters.
JUSTIN: Yes they are going up to look at the moon. Everybody ,that’s like their first step now I guess is to send a probe to circle the moon and take pictures.
KIRSTEN: Yes and if we don’t get on our game, they are going to get up there before we do. (Laughs) A base on the moon people come on USA .Let’s go. Let’s do it.
JUSTIN: USA….. USA.
JUSTIN: You know what they can.
KIRSTEN: Space race lets go.
JUSTIN: They can have the moon I don’t care.
KIRSTEN: Yes but lets see also the Cassini mission brought back some amazing pictures of Saturn this year. We saw Saturn’s rings. We saw evidence of liquid-like oceans on the moon Titan.
We saw – they started getting, they started looking at the rings of Saturn and getting evidence as to why they formed the way that they have. Where the structures within the rings actually came from.
So this is been a huge year for understanding planets as in Saturn with its rings can be a model for even how our own solar system formed. So from the ring like coalescing compounds.
JUSTIN: Hmm cannot we get we broke another way; another pioneer went through the heliosphere.
KIRSTEN: Right yes Yes the Heliopods.
JUSTIN: Very cool leaving Yes our solar system.
KIRSTEN: Leaving our solar system. That’s so great and I think there is a new mission – new horizon mission is well on its way to Pluto. So that was another big milestone this year and Mars the little river that could, those little rivers keep going…
KIRSTEN: Going and going and going .We thought that they have a 90 day time limit on the more on something…
JUSTIN: Yes its just a few months .It was first of all very thankful of how well they worked if they did it all. And you know I think you know that NASA really lowered our expectations…
KIRSTEN: And they are still going.
JUSTIN: …a lot on that one and to pay off is been awesome. They should always do that.
KIRSTEN: (laughs)…we are not going to – we’re just you know – well let’s blow up a few things – like loose a few probes.
JUSTIN: Yes we’re going to …
KIRSTEN: And then hey we are going to knock your socks off.
JUSTIN: Just don’t tell us about and tell after that something has landed there.
JUSTIN: Oh by the way …
KIRSTEN: By the way we’re really doing something really well finally.
JUSTIN: … just landed on Jupiter. Yes thought I’d let you know.
JUSTIN: Thanks (Morrison).
KIRSTEN: Yes and our Mars just last year there was physical evidence, lots of physical evidence for the past existence of water and like in the forms of lakes and rivers and that kind of stuff and additionally structures that suggest that there really might have been life on mars at one point of time so….really fascinating.
JUSTIN: Hmm but all that evidence might get wiped out as Mars is somewhat in the range of risk of getting meteorites smacked into it.
KIRSTEN: Right. Right Mars may get smacked.
JUSTIN: We’re moving. We’re only on number seven.
KIRSTEN: We’re on number six. But we have to go take a break now so we have to get through the last six in the next half hour. We will be back in just a few moments. Oh I have to reset these buttons.
JUSTIN: Push button and make it go boom! We’ll be back in just a few moments of This week in science…