Carl Sagan

NASA – The Frontier Is Everywhere (Videos): Readings from Carl Sagan

12 Jan , 2011

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Check out this awesome pair of inspiring videos about NASA and Space Exploration. They are set to the ever inspiring words of Carl Sagan – reading from his book, “The Pale Blue Dot”. And these beautifully crafted videos were not created by NASA, but rather by people inspired by NASA and Carl Sagan to dream about distant frontiers even in these times of tough budgets for NASA.

The original, highly praised video – see below – was created by Director Michael Marantz, who was inspired by the words of Carl Sagan. Now a completely new version – above – by a fellow going by “damewse”, has been set to the same stirring words and music and the video has gone viral.

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“damewse” posted that he created the new video treatment because he feels NASA’s PR sucks, resulting in massive funding cuts. He pleads with NASA to use social media to relate to the public with videos like these to rekindle public interest in the space program.

Both videos are included here for all to enjoy and compare – moving and thought provoking in their own right.

“damewse” elaborated; “I got frustrated with NASA and made this video. NASA is the most fascinating, adventurous, epic institution ever devised by human beings, and their media sucks.”

“Seriously. none of their brilliant scientists appear to know how to connect with the social media crowd, which is now more important than ever. In fact, NASA is an institution whose funding directly depends on how the public views them.”

Earth: The Pale Blue Dot
The original film and comments by Director Michael Marantz

“Carl Sagan provides the epic narration to this piece. His great ability to convey such overwhelming topics in relatable ways inspired me to make this.”

The Pale Blue Dot. Most distant image of Earth, snapped by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1990 at a distance of 6.1 billion kilometers. Credit: NASA


“This piece contains readings from Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”. I have edited his words to tell this short narrative.

I took the time lapse images in Mexico and Utah.

The piano is self-composed.

Everything in this video is created by myself except for the words of Carl Sagan.

I hope you enjoy this piece, it has given me hope once again.”

– Michael Marantz

…………..
Well NASA does need to do a more effective job at PR to grab the attention of the public – especially the younger generations – and explaining the agency’s exploration goals in ways that folks will find value in and support. But it’s also true that NASA has embraced many forms of social media. Take a look at almost any NASA Center or Mission homepage and you’ll see buttons for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, flickr, blogs and more. I’ve found these sources to be invaluable, especially during beaking news events.

It hinges more I think on the quality of the presentation of the content and the organization of outstanding material at those websites. Look here for a thoughtful perspective from Spaceref Canada

The lengthy list of exciting and worthy ideas and lost opportunities for space exploration that have gone unfunded in our lifetimes, is truly sad.

Carl Sagan with a model of the Viking Lander that landed on Mars in 1976 in the search for life.

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InfinitEmptiness816
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InfinitEmptiness816
January 12, 2011 11:27 PM

Sagan is my Hero.He was one of the greatest philosophical thinkers of th 20th century.

lylemckeany
Member
January 12, 2011 11:33 PM

I think NASA has done a rather impressive job at embracing social media so far. I will be attending a Tweetup next month at the Ames Research Center. It should be a lot of fun. Follow me at @lylemckeany. I’m sure I’ll be busy tweeting away on Feb 11th.

Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
January 13, 2011 4:02 AM
While this sounds inspiring, Sagan appears to state things from a future evolutionary perspective that is problematic. Those moving into the stars will be a species “like us.” The evolutionary future of Homo sapiens is hard to project. Yet our past evolution appears to involve some genetic bottlenecks. We also may be heading into the next one, and EO Wilson lays out a pretty good case for that. A bottleneck reduces the genetic variation in a species, for the rapid reduction in a population culls out many variations. It is also unclear whether this is a selection that enhances that species. So the evolutionary future may see the continuation of our species as a much more genetically uniform… Read more »
Run
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Run
January 13, 2011 5:10 AM

I would imagine that our technology will have advanced to the point where we can fully control our genetic destiny, long before evolution has made any appreciable difference.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
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The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
January 13, 2011 6:04 AM

At the time, Carl Sagan would not have known about that, I mean after all he died some fifteen years ago. As for the words abstracted in the video, they sound more like the words of Arthur C. Clarke, and his vision of the future. I.e. “Songs of Distant Earth” (which hopefully one day will be made into a movie.
I’d think NASA should take the “Top Gun” approach, using this as a platform of recruitment of “space fanatics” for the future, just like this movie did for Naval Aviators.
Frankly in your comments I’d agree with Doris Day song, Que Sera Sera… “The future’s not ours, to see.”

Torbjorn Larsson OM
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Torbjorn Larsson OM
January 15, 2011 4:09 AM
Um, you may want to study up on evolution. Its pathways are contingent, so there is no “destiny”, no predestination; certainly no control. We can perhaps over time learn to introduce new genes (say, in the beginning taken from other populations) and weed out small populations of damaging ones (say, minor cases of genetic diseases). But currently our large population size makes selection horrendously effective (since the SNR ratio diminishes), and there are results showing that new genes are driven to fixation at a rate of ~ 5/generation. It will take a long time to catch up with the “appreciable difference” that evolution makes today. (And as for taking common genes out of a population, it seems like… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
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Torbjorn Larsson OM
January 15, 2011 4:12 AM

“taking common genes out” – taking common alleles out. Taking genes out is another order of difficulty altogether…

Aqua4U
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January 13, 2011 11:07 AM

We’ve come so far and yet have so far to go… I like where Carl Sagan reminds that we are a nomadic species. That we are ‘hardwired’ to expand and explore. I like that!

In future, perhaps a digital archivist will stumble across these conjectures and postulations and smile at our naivete and petty differences? Then returning to her star ship, she will pocket her samples and enter the stasis chamber for the trip home.

Aqua4U
Member
January 13, 2011 11:11 AM

Even saying it can make it so… somewhere… HELLO!

HeadAroundU
Member
January 13, 2011 8:34 AM

Oh, look LC is depressed again. grin

Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
January 13, 2011 11:19 AM

It is not about being depressed. If you look at things honestly it becomes apparent that our situation is not as certain and upwards as we might want it to be. Our powers are limited, and we are not going to control our evolutionary future as suggested above. We might try, but almost certainly it will not work out as planned. There is a history of unexpected consequences, and we seem to have a huge denial about that. In fact, that denial is probably the biggest threat we face.

LC

HeadAroundU
Member
January 14, 2011 6:48 PM

Well, I think that the negativity is the biggest threat.

Andy F
Member
January 13, 2011 2:28 PM

Sagan was just so damn cool, and a real master in inspiring the public in science. A real hero of mine!

Michael Sage
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Michael Sage
January 14, 2011 3:32 PM
Professor Sagan was a man of vision with confidence for tomorrow. However, I personally think that the future will not be as clear and bright as so many prognosticate because man seems unable or unwilling to understand what needs doing, in order, to ensure his survival long into the future. We will someday realize trips to other worlds and even establish roots on mars, providing we have not destroyed the only inhabitable world we currently know. First, we must devise new educational and economic systems that work for all earth’s citizens regardless of nationality, culture, race, or religion. The continued underfunding of NASA will remain as the over populated earth moves deeper into chaos and closer to nonexistence… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
January 14, 2011 3:52 PM
There is an interesting paper by Darvies: http://lanl.arxiv.org/ftp/quant-ph/papers/0703/0703041.pdf where he argues there are 10^123 bit flips in the entire universe. There are 400 to 500 bits and possible 10^123 entangled bit flips corresponds to the total number of elementary particles, or string modes possible. The E_8xE_8 has 2×248 = 496 particle states. The implication is that the universe may only contain one of every type of elementary particle. So the electrons running around the circuit board in my computer, is the same as all the electrons in the entire universe. This holographic projection of fields onto the AdS boundary, or equivalently the cosmological boundary, is a form of Feynman’s original concept of the path integral where a particle… Read more »
wjwbudro
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wjwbudro
January 14, 2011 4:15 PM

So what you are proposing is that every particle is a projection of itself?

Torbjorn Larsson OM
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Torbjorn Larsson OM
January 15, 2011 4:51 AM
I loath reading something of deist Davies, because I know that he will have smuggled his gods in there in his incessant search for patterns that fits his preconceptions. And he doesn’t disappoint, he does so in the beginning with his clockwork universe (forgetting QM!) and in the end with his “unreasonable effective” math and “Goldilock’s enigma”. All trying to find physics as “not enough” or “preordained”. Unfortunately for him it doesn’t seem likely that there can be a fundamental bound on the dimensionality of Hilbert spaces (his eq 17), see for example the works and opinions of physicist Sean Carroll. As for the bound on quantum states as opposed to classical bits, he makes the unrealistic and… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
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Torbjorn Larsson OM
January 15, 2011 4:56 AM

Actually the dimensionality requirement of Hilbert space is a funny tidbit. I have to rush, and I’m only vaguely remembering this from one of Carroll’s paper, but IIRC unless you have infinite dimensions you will not be able to recognize “time” in QM. (Conversely, with them you can understand time a bit better.)

So Davies may be advocating a “frozen universe” on top of his “genetic destiny” (grin) universes.

Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
January 15, 2011 6:10 AM

My answer to this for some reason ended up below

LC

damian
Member
January 14, 2011 5:50 PM
If humans are going to travel in space to Alpha centauri it wont be as biological entities. Our bodies are part of the earth biosphere and reliant upon it. Building self sustaining habitats for generational voyages is a kind of pertinent idea, but our current social political and most importantly financial system is not terribly conducive to the notion. The only motivator might be survival of our species. The real revolution is space exploration will come with technology that allows us to alter our own biology to the point where we live for much longer. Having a lifespan of a 1000 years (as an example) will change the human perspective in regards to long term space travel. If… Read more »
wjwbudro
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wjwbudro
January 14, 2011 6:33 PM

Very introspective post Damian.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
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Torbjorn Larsson OM
January 15, 2011 4:26 AM

None of that seem very realistic.

– As for our species start migrating, we can do that almost immediately by Oort cloud jumping. Hollowing out comets for habitats as we go or travel with them, and Oort cloud of stars seem to overlap. Apparently comets provide enough fissionable material for todays reactors. We may want to hone up on our microhabitat skilz first though. (Likely need a tad more closure.)

– As for “simulation universes” I believe QM trivially kills them, no hidden variables.

damian
Member
January 15, 2011 5:18 PM
Micro habitats is where its at, we are far more likely to populate our solar system then travel great distances. However building such things is easier mused upon then realized. I have said so before and will again, Once humans leave a gravity well of a planet there will be little need to go back down one. All the raw materials we might require in the short terms are available in terms of asteroids and Oort cloud bodies. However as many Sc-Fi writers speculate the conversion of available mass in our solar system is finite, at some point with exponential growth we may convert our planets as well. (fear mongering perhaps but a valid extrapolation) Habitat Building is… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
January 15, 2011 3:56 AM
So that was Sagan. Yeah, well, maybe he was interesting for previous generations. Seems like a rather boring presentation today, doesn’t it; maybe someone should gather some statistics on presentation techniques and see if this is still efficient. Also, as Lawrence I was hit with how Sagan is wrong on evolutionary issues, and trivially so. – Evolution doesn’t “improve” species over time except contingently so (say, if they started out badly adapted). The specie that will emigrate to the stars will likely be less well adapted for their traveling and colonizing habitat than today. Contrary to Lawrence I see no certain threatening bottleneck scenario on Earth (on the contrary we will easily be able to feed 9 G… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
January 16, 2011 6:38 PM
Evolution does not have a goal as such. Using terms such as improving, or “more highly evolved” are somewhat misleading. A selection mechanism can “improve” a species or its lineage in its ability to survive an environment, or make better use of that environment. There is also an apparent increase in complexity of life with time. Yet none of this has a particular goal in mind, or some purpose with respect to betterment of life in general. The future evolution of our species might make us better adapted to survive the climate chaos we are setting up. A few thousand years after our global warming has ended it is likely there will be a glacial period — the… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
January 15, 2011 6:09 AM
The weak anthropic principle only says that the universe must be configured in such as way as to permit our existence. The debate over the source of solar energy back in the early-mid 20th century was much the same. The role of consciousness is unclear, and it is interesting to ponder whether or not there is some metaphysical element involved with conferring ontology to existence. Davies’ deistic ideas are quirky, but I don’t think there is anything with these parallels with religious ideas which impels us all to believe in Christianity. It is maybe similar to Capra pointing out the parallels between certain satori, or dualism, notions in Buddhism and complementarity in quantum theory. Care is of course… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
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Torbjorn Larsson OM
January 15, 2011 8:44 AM

Seems we are in agreement on these things. Maybe I was unclear on Davies’ entanglement, I meant that the problem is that entangled systems are not generally fully describable separately. (Coarse graining emerges from that in nice cases such as observation, fortunately.)

Information and bits are relative to a system, and Davies’ problem comes only if you ascribe reality to bits instead of quantum states.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
January 15, 2011 7:08 PM

In a funny sense reality is classical. Quantum mechanics is nonlocal and not real in a standard sense. The GHZ state illustrates Bell inequality violations for a single system, so it is not just a statistical result. So the appearance of a classical existence, even if on some level it is a bit of an illusion, is what we call “reality.”

LC

dewgee
Member
dewgee
January 15, 2011 8:16 AM

His message really hits the heart everytime i hear it….

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