The most important planet in the solar system is our home, the Earth. It is the only planet we know that harbors life. This episode looks at the growing understanding of the Earth’s complex climatic systems and the part on-orbit observation plays in the growth of knowledge about our planet.
Join Steven Johnson and consider how the invention of the mirror spurred on the Renaissance, how glass lenses allow us to reveal worlds within worlds and how, deep beneath the ocean, glass is essential to communication. Johnson learns about the daring exploits of glassmakers who were forced to work under threat of the death penalty, a physics teacher who liked to fire molten glass from a crossbow and a scientist whose tinkering with a glass lens allowed 600 million people to see a man set foot on the moon. The link between the worlds of art, science, astronomy, disease prevention and global communication starts with the little-known maverick innovators of glass.
The Boeing 737 twin-engine jetliner was to become Boeing's greatest success. It had one of the lowest approach speeds of any jet transport, a great asset when landing at smaller airports with shorter runways. It also required minimum equipment for use in refueling. However, despite all its advantages, the 737 was soon overshadowed by the new, improved 747 Jumbo Jet.
The Sun is our star. Its energy enables life on the Earth to thrive yet we know so little about the solar weather and the 11-year solar cycle. Modern technology can be adversely affected by giant coronal mass ejections and there appears to be a link between sunspot activity and climatic conditions.