Friday, March 8, 2013

Meteors, solar flares, and U.N. action

It's time for three videos about risks from space, all of which are from NASA Television on YouTube.

First, here is what NASA has to say about the Russian Meteor in ScienceCasts: What Exploded Over Russia?

Two weeks after an asteroid exploded over Russia's Ural mountains, scientists are making progress understanding the origin and make-up of the unexpected space rock. This week's ScienceCast presents their latest results.
Next, Science@NASA describes the unpredictable nature of the current solar maximum in ScienceCasts: Solar Max Double Peaked.

Something unexpected is happening on the sun. 2013 is supposed to be the year of Solar Max, but solar activity is much lower than expected. At least one leading forecaster expects the sun to rebound with a double-peaked maximum later this year.
The saying is that everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.  It turns out that isn't true for terrestrial weather any more, so it shouldn't be a surprise that people are preparing for space weather, too as Science@NASA describes in ScienceCasts: Stormy Space Weather.

Forecasters say solar maximum is due in 2013. To prepare, the UN is organizing an international response to stormy space weather.
I describe the protective effects of the atmosphere against both meteors and space weather in my Environmental Science class every semester, so these videos might come in handy.  Also, I'm glad to see the U.N. doing something for the good of all humanity, especially protecting the planet against threats from space.  After all, there are more threats to civilization than resource depletion and pollution.

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