FromNASA helps us understand Earth through understanding other planets. Aaron Morris, of NASA, talked to member s of local environmentalist groups, including the local Sierra Club, at The Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita Kansas, March 30. The event was a build up for Earth Day, which will be on April 22.
Morris explained his work for a department of NASA that focuses on “People of Earth.”
“You can understand Earth by understanding other planets,” he said.
Morris went on to explain that Venus used to be a lot like Earth when the two planets started out. He said an asteroid about the size of Mars camel by and it caused the Earth to spin faster and Venus to slow down. Venus’ slow speed caused the planet to lose its magnetic field and Earth kept its.
“As a results Venus heated up and the Earth didn’t,’ he concluded. “Venus is a direct anthology of Earth.”
He said that their programs for Mars are now called “follow the water.” The southern highlands of Mars may have running water to this day. Morris said that NASA has not been able to land a space probe at that site, but they hope to in the future. The atmosphere in that part of the planet is too thin and they need a probe that can land at faster speeds.
Morris explained that we learn from the outer planets as well. He gave the example of Jupiter. And its Great Red Spot on that planet.
“That is a Category 20 hurricane,” he said. “The Great Red Spot may someday dissipate. So we are lucky to have it now. We learn about hurricanes on Earth from this.”
Morris pointed out that NASA has to compete with the military for spending and the military can go to public schools across the country. Since the military gets more publicity it also gets more funding from the government.
This program was put on by the local Sierra Club and there were other speaker speakers present as well. Jacqueline Patterson, a Director for the NAACP, also spoke at the event. Also present was Lavonta Williams, of the Wichita City Council. It is rare that any representative of Wichita or any other Kansas elected body to support human rights and the environment. But Williams has been elected from the African American part of the city, so she can support progressive politics.
We have a few allies elected in to office such as Council-person Williams. US militarism is more important to our national leaders than scientific exploration, such as that carried out by NASA. Space teachers us a lot about the Earth if people in this country pay attention. Patterson talked about the dwindling crowd of “climate change deniers” who are no longer able to deny that the climate is changing. Her speech is coming to this site soon.