Earth’s Shields Protect Life from the Sun on ‘One Strange Rock’

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Earth’s Shields Protect Life from the Sun on ‘One Strange Rock’‘Space.comThis crazy video from ‘One Strange Rock’ reveals how bat poop keeps forests alive‘GeekWireSee Zedd’s striking video composition for Nat Geo’s One Strange Rock‘

Earth’s Shields Protect Life from the Sun on ‘One Strange Rock’

Planet Earth and the life it contains wouldn't exist if it weren't for the sun. But the sun also poses a serious threat to life, by constantly spewing harmful radiation into the solar system. Exactly how life on Earth managed to survive and thrive in the face of this danger is the subject of a new episode of "One Strange Rock," which airs tonight (April 9) on the National Geographic Channel.

Episode 3, titled "Shield," will explore Earth's natural defenses against the sun's cosmic rays. Retired NASA astronaut Jeff Hoffman — who flew on five shuttle missions and helped to repair the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit — takes the lead. [The Sun's Wrath: Worst Solar Storms in History

While Earthlings couldn't do without the sun, the vast amount of energy the star expels could also completely obliterate life in the solar system. Thanks to a combination of Earth's atmosphere and a magnetic shell known as the magnetosphere, we don't have to worry much about subatomic particles or UV radiation bombarding us. With a little sunscreen, we have all the protection we need down on Earth. In space, without our home planet's natural defenses, the sun is far more hazardous.

Take Mars, for example. Because that planet has a thin atmosphere and no magnetic fields, what looks like it could have been a cradle for lifeis, in fact, a barren, uninhabitable landscape.

Likewise, scientists believe that Venus could have supported life billions of years ago. However, Venus also lacks a magnetosphere, and its atmosphere is so thick with carbon dioxide that a so-called "runaway" greenhouse effect caused a massive temperature increase. This made Venus the hottest planet in the solar system, even though it's not the closest planet to the sun.


Not to change the topic here:

This crazy video from ‘One Strange Rock’ reveals how bat poop keeps forests alive

What do giant fruit bats have in common with Johnny Appleseed? Tonight’s episode of ‘One Strange Rock,’ National Geographic Channel’s documentary series about the interconnectedness of Earth’s ecosystems, provides an answer that’ll awe the grossologist in your family.

During each rainy season, between October and December, up to 10 million of the bats ‘ also known as flying foxes ‘ converge on Zambia’s Kasanka National Park from all over Africa.

‘It’s the largest mammal migration on Earth,’ conservationist Frank Willems says in National Geographic’s video clip, available via GeekWire as an exclusive preview for tonight’s show.’They fly out in every direction, covering an area of 10,000 square miles.’

As the bats fly back and forth, the fruit and the seeds pass through their digestive system’ and yes, National Geographic shows that part of the process, using what appears to be an internal gut-cam. Then the seeds come out the other end and drop to the forest floor.

‘The seeds might end up in a completely different place where a new tree can then grow,’ Willems says. ‘We are looking at literally billions of seeds flying all over the continent.’


See Zedd’s striking video composition for Nat Geo’s One Strange Rock

Will Smith and Darren’Aronofsky aren’t the only heavy hitters involved with National Geographic’s One Strange Rock. Zedd is also a part of the project, going back to his classically trained roots for an original composition.

After previous audio teases, the Grammy-winning DJ has unveiled his striking visual for the 10-part event series.’One Strange Rock,’which Smith narrates and hails from’Aronofsky, takes an unprecedented look at the planet and its greatest questions.

“I hope that when people hear this piece of music that I made for One Strange Rock that they will realize that I am capable of writing emotional music outside of what they think I can do,” Zedd recently shared. “And I just hope that people give this a chance and really listen to it and listen to the intricacies and details of the core progression and how this musical piece changes you when you listen to it.”


Watching: Earth Shields Protect Life, This, One Strange Rock

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