How do we find meaning in the universe?

“So many cosmic things had to happen for this moment to be here.”

I’m so pleased to share this beautiful, thoughtful episode of Dispatches from The Well from Big Think in which host Kmele Foster discusses the future of our planet and humankind with Sean Carroll, Kevin Kelly, and me. This is the last episode in the seven-part series. I loved every single episode, and have found myself thinking about many of them long after I finished watching.

At the Monaco Yacht Show 2023

It’s not every day that I find myself at the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM), but in late September I had the pleasure of representing the science of the Explorers Club as they signed a new agreement with YCM committing to shared environmental and scientific goals on the opening day of the Monaco Yacht Show. I was invited to say a few words about what we can learn about Earth’s oceans from the geologic histories of our nearest neighbors, Mars and Venus.

From La Gazette de Monaco (translated from the French by our friend Google):

A “sustainable” commitment to the planet

This agreement once again reflects our Club’s commitment to environmental issues but also the link that unites Monaco and The Explorers Club ,” underlines Bernard d’Alessandri, general secretary of the Yacht Club. “ Our desire is to bring together witnesses to climate change and those who are working to combat this problem, ” he added.

The ocean is not “an eternal and unlimited resource”

Also featured at the luncheon was Dr. Nina Lanza, Space and Planetary Exploration Team Leader in Space and Space Remote Sensing and Data Science (ISR-6) at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “ The ocean has long captured our imagination. We have always considered it an eternal and unlimited resource. But appearances can be deceiving. The oceans are much more ephemeral than we often think ,” explained the researcher. “ The oceans are probably the cradle of life. This is why exploration is so important: it teaches us about ourselves and our future ,” the scientist continued.

Sir William Roseman, Dr Nina Lanza et Bernard d’Alessandri © mesi_BD

Lift the Ice

I’m so excited that Lift the Ice is now released! Many of you may recall that I seemed to spend a lot of time in the Arctic last summer. I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the far north twice. One of those times was to film for this incredible new series out now: Lift the Ice.

This is a six-part documentary about six aspects of the Earth’s cryosphere.

You’ll find me in episode 4, “The Ice Is Alien,” for which I traveled to Axel Heiberg Island in the Canadian Arctic to better understand how icy, habitable environments on Earth can be analogs for planetary environments on Mars and beyond.

On Earth, life finds a way (🦖) to thrive in these seemingly inhospitable places with incredibly sparse resources—could similar environments on other planets also harbor life? What kind of signatures should we look for? Come with me as I explore these remarkable places with outstanding polar scientists as we lift the ice on Earth to catch a glimpse of what life might be like on Mars. Streaming on Curiosity Stream.

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Dr. Nina Lanza

Dr. Nina Lanza is the Team Lead for Space and Planetary Exploration in Space and Remote Sensing (ISR-2) at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She is the Principal Investigator for the ChemCam instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and a science team member for the SuperCam instrument onboard the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. Her current research focuses on understanding the origin and nature of manganese minerals on Mars and how they may serve as potential biosignatures. Dr. Lanza has authored or coauthored 50 peer-reviewed publications, including two first-author book chapters. Read full bio

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