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July 17, 2013
NASA 360: Stories of the Solar System: Looking Forward


Caleb: With 50 years of solar system exploration under our belts, each new discovery raises more questions than answers.

Molly: So what's next? NASA will continue to raise the bar as it further expands our understanding of the solar system around us as well as our place within it.

Dr. Jim Garvin: We have flown by. We've orbited. We've landed. We've roved. And we have returned samples.

Dr. Michael Mumma: We have come so far in our understanding, and yet we have so far to go. There's so many questions we don't have answers to yet.

Dr. Stamatios Krimigis: Can you imagine, if we never explored, where we would be as a species?

Jody Davis: I think we explore because it's in our bones. I think it's something that humans were born to do.

Dr. Shawn Domagal-Goldman: I think we explore because we're alive. I think it is the nature of life to explore.

Dr. Nicky Fox: Humans are just naturally curious. We always want to know more, and I think that every time we do a mission, instead of answering all of our questions, it actually opens up more questions to us.

Dr. James Green: And in fact, there's a major realization going on now that the solar system is still evolving. It's still changing in major ways.

Dr. Stamatios Krimigis: And it turns out that we continue to learn things about our own planet by looking at the other planets.

Dr. Shawn Domagal-Goldman: We look at Venus, one of our nearest neighbors, and that has profound implications for climate change, for the greenhouse effect.

Dr. Ralph McNutt: Understanding about chlorofluorocarbons and their role in ozone destruction actually came out of the planetary program trying to understand what exactly was going on with the upper atmosphere of Venus.

Dr. Shawn Domagal-Goldman: The things we learn about Titan and its atmosphere are having strong influences on how we understand Earth's atmosphere evolved.

Dr. Noah Petro: Earth is an incredibly special place, and the more we study these other planets, the more I think we appreciate how really special the Earth is.

Dr. Daniel Glavin: For me, I think exploration boils down to one thing: our curiosity, you know, the ultimate question. Are we really alone here? I know I don't want to be.

Dr. Jim Garvin: How do we detect the fingerprints of biology off planet Earth on really tough places?

Steve Price: Whether we're looking for life in the sedimentary layers on Mars or in the oceans of Europa or trying to find the pale blue dots around other stars.

Dr. James Green: Is there life beyond Earth? And to understand that, we have to understand how the origin and evolution of the solar system has got us to where we are today.

Andrew Chaikin: Everywhere we turn, the solar system is trying to tell us, "you know, "if you think you've got it all figured out, you better think again."

Dr. Ralph McNutt: All this eventually informs us about where this little blue dot that we live on came from, and that's what all of this is all about.

Caleb: It took over 60 years to go from the Wright brothers' first powered flight to landing humans on the moon.

Molly: And in just 50 years, we've gone from the first successful planetary mission to the Voyager spacecraft reaching the very outer edges of our solar system.

Caleb: Now, imagine what's possible in the next 50 years.

Molly: That's right. Well, that's it for today. I'm Molly Mckinney.

Caleb: And I'm Caleb Kinchlow.

Molly: Thanks for watching NASA 360 presents: I Love the Solar System.

The Story Continues: www.nasa.gov/nasa360

Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: Tom Shortridge