Big Picture Science – Some Like It Cold

by Gary Niederhoff on December 16, 2013

Big Picture Science – Some Like It Cold

We all may prefer the goldilocks zone – not too hot, not too cold. But most of the universe is bitterly cold. We can learn a lot about it if we’re willing to brave a temperature drop.

A chilly Arctic island is the closest thing to Mars-on-Earth for scientists who want to go to the Red Planet. Meanwhile, the ice sheet at the South Pole is ideal for catching neutrinos – ghostly particles that may reveal secrets about the nature of the universe.

Comet ISON is comet ice-off after its passage close to the Sun, but it’s still giving us the word on solar system’s earliest years.

Also, scientists discover the coldest spot on Earth. A champion chill, but positively balmy compared to absolute zero. Why reaching a temperature of absolute zero is impossible, although we’ve gotten very, very close.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Francis Halzen on Antarctic neutrinos
Part 2: Ted Scambos on the coldest place on Earth
Part 3: Pascal Lee on Mars’s Arctic analog
Part 4: Andrew Fraknoi on comet ISON
Part 5: Vladan Vuletic on zero degrees Kelvin

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