This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Jahnavi Prasa...
Our goal is nothing less than the human breakout into space, the expansion of human civilization and the life of Earth beyond our world, to all worlds and all places in between.
The underlying theme of this fascinating speech is of course much more fundamental. The real issue at hand here is governance. How do we, as a species, handle impending catastrophes? How do we allocate resources to initiatives that will benefit us in the long-term?
Buying insurance is seldom gratifying. But here's a case in which plunking down cash for a policy is just ... good policy.
There is no doubt that a huge asteroid impact on Earth would be devastating to many life forms. However, we often forget that asteroid impacts may have played a crucial role in the emergence of life on Earth, and possibly even in the fact that humans are here to talk about them!
The movie 2012: Science or Superstition gathers many of these cartographers of the mystical -- as well as a few skeptics -- in a fascinating exploration of an impending apocalypse slated to arrive in a handful of days.
I'm lucky to live at a time when my species is doing such incredible things, and there are surely plenty of historic moments still to come. And I'm hopeful about Comet ISON next November...
The biblical account of constellations at play around Jesus' birth is rife with contradictions, recording astronomical events that are unusual to the point of impossible, such as supernovas, comets and conjunctions.
Watch intently as the love triangle between Edward, Bella and Jacob unfolds throughout a slew of amusing comedy sketches, animations, and remixes, including the classic Bad Lip reading, trailer spoofs, emo vampire song, Barking Dawg Paw 2 Petody and, of course, "Jacob, keep your shirt on."
The best visualization for the flatness of planetary systems is that they are somewhere in between that of a pancake and that of a crepe. Gives food for thought next time you eat at your local IHOP.
Hubble has been as big a revolution as was the first telescope built by Galileo in 1610. It has profoundly changed our view of the universe and our place in it. Now, 22 years into its life, it has outperformed even the most optimistic predictions of its builders.
Apophis' chief claim to fame is that it briefly achieved the highest level ever measured on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale before it was downgraded. Nevertheless, it still has a one in 250,000 chance of hitting Earth on its second visit.
If you want to believe the universe is out to kill you, it's easier to do it with a random piece of space rock than with a Mayan death ray from the black hole in Sagittarius.
A recent study estimated that 99% of the population of America and Western Europe never see a clear night sky unobscured by dust, smog and light pollution. In cities such as London, the firmament simply never darkens. Now imagine yourself reclining in a desert oasis on a clear moonless night, the air still and silent as you stare up at velvety black heavens carpeted with stars. Linger long enough, and you'll see satellites inching across the sky and glimpse shooting stars.
Astronomers see UFOs. In the U.S., astronomers who observe UFOs fear ridicule from other scientists and the press. Despite the aura of illegitimacy around UFOs, the data indicates that astronomers even report UFOs at noticeably greater rates than laypeople.
When I got an email saying that Dr. Charles Elachi would be speaking at MIT on September 17th, I knew I didn't want to miss it.