playlist

What makes Earth so special?

There’s something special about our busy, blue marble of a planet. These talks explore why we should make strides to preserve our shared, galactic home.

  1. 13:42
    Dave Brain What a planet needs to sustain life

    "Venus is too hot, Mars is too cold, and Earth is just right," says planetary scientist Dave Brain. But why? In this pleasantly humorous talk, Brain explores the fascinating science behind what it takes for a planet to host life — and why humanity may just be in the right place at the right time when it comes to the timeline of life-sustaining planets.

  2. 16:17
    Frans Lanting The story of life in photographs

    In this stunning slideshow, celebrated nature photographer Frans Lanting presents The LIFE Project, a poetic collection of photographs that tell the story of our planet, from its eruptive beginnings to its present diversity. Soundtrack by Philip Glass.

  3. 15:49
    Kenneth Lacovara Hunting for dinosaurs showed me our place in the universe

    What happens when you discover a dinosaur? Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara details his unearthing of Dreadnoughtus — a 77-million-year-old sauropod that was as tall as a two-story house and as heavy as a jumbo jet — and considers how amazingly improbable it is that a tiny mammal living in the cracks of the dinosaur world could evolve into a sentient being capable of understanding these magnificent creatures. Join him in a celebration of the Earth's geological history and contemplate our place in deep time.

  4. 11:55
    Anjali Tripathi Why Earth may someday look like Mars

    Every minute, 400 pounds of hydrogen and almost 7 pounds of helium escape from Earth's atmosphere into outer space. Astrophysicist Anjali Tripathi studies the phenomenon of atmospheric escape, and in this fascinating and accessible talk, she considers how this process might one day (a few billion years from now) turn our blue planet red.

  5. 19:26
    Carl Safina What are animals thinking and feeling?

    What's going on inside the brains of animals? Can we know what, or if, they're thinking and feeling? Carl Safina thinks we can. Using discoveries and anecdotes that span ecology, biology and behavioral science, he weaves together stories of whales, wolves, elephants and albatrosses to argue that just as we think, feel, use tools and express emotions, so too do the other creatures – and minds – that share the Earth with us.

  6. 14:53
    David Griffin How photography connects us

    The photo director for National Geographic, David Griffin knows the power of photography to connect us to our world. In a talk filled with glorious images, he talks about how we all use photos to tell our stories.

  7. 18:19
    Robert Ballard The astonishing hidden world of the deep ocean

    Ocean explorer Robert Ballard takes us on a mindbending trip to hidden worlds underwater, where he and other researchers are finding unexpected life, resources, even new mountains. He makes a case for serious exploration and mapping. Google Ocean, anyone?

  8. 5:50
    Lucianne Walkowicz Let's not use Mars as a backup planet

    Stellar astronomer and TED Senior Fellow Lucianne Walkowicz works on NASA's Kepler mission, searching for places in the universe that could support life. So it's worth a listen when she asks us to think carefully about Mars. In this short talk, she suggests that we stop dreaming of Mars as a place that we'll eventually move to when we've messed up Earth, and to start thinking of planetary exploration and preservation of the Earth as two sides of the same goal. As she says, "The more you look for planets like Earth, the more you appreciate our own planet."