Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Recap 5/18/14: Season 1 Episode 11 “The Immortals”

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Recap 5/18/14: Season 1 Episode 11 “The Immortals”

Tonight on FOX Carl Sagan’s stunning and iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science, COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY returns to FOX with a new episode called, “The Immortals.” Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about why civilizations perish and the possibility of beings that live forever are explored. Also: a look at what can be learned from science about the future.

On last week’s episode we traveled to 19th century England and met Michael Faraday, a child of poverty who grew up to invent the motor and the generator. His ideas about electricity and discovery of magnetic fields changed the world and paved the way for future scientists to make giant strides in the world of high technology and instantaneous communication.

On tonight’s episode The Ship of the Imagination travels across the cosmos to discover the possibility of beings that live forever and explain why other civilizations perish. Then, visit the Cosmic Calendar of the Future and contemplate what lies ahead with a hopeful vision.

Tonight is going to be another interesting episode of Cosmos for sure and you’re not going to want to miss a minute. Tune in at 9 Pm EST on FOX and we’ll be recapping it right here for you but in the meantime, hit up the comments and let us know your thoughts on the show so far.

RECAP: Our ancestors marked the passage of time by the moon and the stars, but it was the people that once lived here that started chopping up time into smaller amounts of time, into hours, minutes and seconds; this place is Iraq. It was here that we learned how to write, it gave us the power to reach across the millennium to speak to those in the future. Edwina signed her name to her work; she was the first person who we can say that we know who she was and what she did. Gilgamesh was the story of the first hero, before Luke Skywalker, Frodo and more. HE fought monsters and built a giant wall that no king could ever match, he was a hero who went through all kind of sufferings and traveled many distant lands searching for eternal life. HE encountered a man who told him about a flood, this man told him to build an arc to save on of each gender of animal. The earliest account of the survival of the flood was in Mesopotamia, we still read the epic of Gilgamesh; all heroes and superheroes follow the same path, they are immortal because they are stories. A message that every one of us scribes, the genetic code is written in an alphabet that consists of four letters, each word is three letters long; it’s written by nature and edited by evolution. Who knows how this happened, maybe it happened in the water; a carbon rich molecule made copies of itself and the competing molecules became more elaborate, which started evolution. Maybe life could have started in the searing heat of a volcano on the sea’s floor; Neil then tells us a story of a traveler from another world. A man was interrupted in the morning while farming; he found a meteorite that had a message written in it; many years passed before someone could read it. NASA landed on Mars later on in the 1900’s, a few years later when scientists decided to track the water in the meteorite; the kind that hit the Earth years ago could only come from one place and that was Mars.

Neil welcomes us to Mars, over a billion years ago a volcano erupted on Mars; hundreds and millions years later Mars had water, but an asteroid landed and ruined everything. Much of the debris was launched into space, and it found its way into Earth. Meteorites can hold microscopic cargo, the seed of life. Microbes spend a year and a half sitting on the international space station, some of them were alive and kicking when back brought to Earth. If life can endure the hardships of space, it could ride the planetarium travel system and land. Large asteroids were bombarding the Earth for several years, each collision would have sterilized the planet for thousands of years; we know that bacteria was evolving during this period, so how could life survive such a lethal amount of blows? Many boulders were launched into space carrying life within it. Noah’s ark means that life doesn’t need to start off again, it can pick off from where it left off. Venus was once like Earth at first; does Earth carry any proof of planets sharing rocks? We know that rocks can carry life from planet to planet, but can the same be done from star to star?

Neil picks up a dandelion, around thirty years ago the dandelion evolved throughout space and time; he blows on it sending seedlings around. These seedlings then go into the air and can travel dozens of kilometers; evolution has changed it into a flying machine. The seed is another arc ensuring the survival of its species; each seed carries a character and a story. IS it possible that life could survive the journey, from star to star? Space is so vast that it would take billions of years for a rock ejected from Earth to collide in to a star. There is a plausible scenario where life could live go from star to star, our sun takes two hundred and twenty five million years to complete an orbit. Galaxies are world making machines; our Milky Way creates tons of new stars and planets. Our sun is accompanied by a trillion distant comets. Some comets can be hurled out between the spaces in between the stars, while others will plunge towards into the sun. Some of them may collide with the planets, the high speed impact of the comet will launch boulders into space like rockets; many of those rocks will carry many microbes and can fall like meteors into other planets. IF the stowaway microbes come in contact with water, they could revive and reproduce. These new worlds touched by life will make their birth cloud and go their own separate ways. Imagine if this process repeated from world to world, each world bringing life to others. Life with a slow chain reaction throughout the galaxy. This could be how life came to Earth, we do not know for sure; are there other beings out there like us asking the same questions as us share the same fears and have the same heroes and adventures? Where are these people and how do we make their presence known?  How did we first announce our presence into the galaxy and that was at the end of the Second World War. American engineers bounced radio beams at the moon and heard echoes, this was the first interstellar message sent. Traveling at the speed of light, it takes one second for a radio wave to reach the moon; after a travel of 2.5 seconds it’ll then go around and reach our planet. The parts that miss the moon will bounce off and continue to travel. Our world is radiating stories, our ancestors etched the story of Gilgamesh into clay tablets, we’ve put our stories into Television and Radio; we’ve been sending our stories for over 70 years to other planets. If this world has radio telescopes then they could know that we’re already here, but what if other worlds are doing the same? For all we know we could have missed an alien signal, we’ve only listened to a very small amount of stars throughout the galaxy. Radio and Television broadcasting could only be a brief passing of our technological advancement. Civilizations slightly more advanced than ours could have already moved into a more advance way to communicate with others. There’s another more troubling possibility, civilizations only live for so long; what is the life expectancy of a civilization?

By the first time Edwina got the credit for writing the first thing, the world was already several years old; the civil war of Mesopotamia ended up setting them back, causing decline. 3,000 years later, the climate would change erupt for Central America, the Mayan civilization died out? Today we have a single global civilization, how long will it live? A super nova could end Earth with its cosmic radiation, stars won’t be going super nova anytime soon though. Every million years or so a super volcano erupts on Earth it happened 74,000 years ago. The eruption loaded the upper environment sulfur gasses blocking out the sun for several years, this so called volcanic winter resembled a nuclear winter without the radiation. The global human population must have rebounded when this volcano erupted; Neil hopes that in the future we could find a way to know when a super volcano would erupt and how to stop it. We can advance throughout the years to stop a danger that could end the Earth, but what happens when the Earth ends unexpectedly?

It began with Columbus; they brought diseases to the Native Americans which affected a ton of the Indians in Central and North America. What about civilizations that self-destruct? Our economic system was formed when all of our natural resources seemed infinite. Every company is profit driven and have one similar goal. The prevailing economic systems have no built in mechanisms to protect themselves a hundred or thousand years from now. We are ahead of the people of Mesopotamia; we understand what we’re doing to our Earth in which they didn’t. Our civilization though is in denial, being able to adapt our behaviour to challenges is something that’s great about us. If our intelligence is the most recognizable trait of humans, then why don’t we use it to help ourselves? We should use our intelligence to aid ourselves, to sharpen it and make it the tool of our survival; if we do this we could solve any problem we’ll be encountering in the next thousand years. Converge; giant elliptical galaxies may be the oldest that can be found. A red dwarf star is by far the most plentiful star in the cosmos, they will continue to provide light and warmth for trillion of years; what would people do if they had an eternity to live, would they discover many new things. What is our own future, what would the cosmic calendar for the next fourteen billion years look like?

Science makes it possible for us to foretell certain astronomical events such as the death of the sun, it will one day exhaust its oxygen becoming a red giant; if we apply our intelligence our descendants will depart from Earth. The next golden stage of achievement starts here, people will stop dying from poverty and the polar ice caps were restored as they were; by the time we are ready to settle to other planets we will have changed. Necessity will change us, we are an adaptable species; it will not be we who will begin interstellar travel, but species like us who are more advanced. What will we accomplish in another generation and another; how long will our nomadic species venture several years into the future?

  • trbilbo

    Stop the sick political messaging. Cosmos was and should be an education of our cosmos that amazes and enlightens and inspires. Not a paid political agenda advertisement that duns the dumb into believing the unfounded drivel this administration is making billions off of.

    The first several episodes showed us Sagan’s vision expanded by virtue of those with TRUE vision who invested in SCIENCE…. unlike this poly sci version of science the current social engineers would have us accept by guilt…NOT science.

    The upcoming episodes selling Global warming as FACT we ALL must accept and deal with by sacrifice… relegating economic expansion to a crime… is truly a sick bastardization of Sagan’s insightful Cosmos.

    This so called ‘scientist’ should be ashamed…. and accept that he has fallen from Science to be nothing more than an environmental activist.

    Spare us… and use the money to re-find your roots as an entertainment and educational network.

    Leave the pseudo-science political brain drubbing to your bought competitors.

    At least have enough moral turpitude to quote the FACTUAL counterpoint of science from those with equal or superior credentials like Professor Lennart Bengtsson.
    Honestly…. we all had such high hopes…. but this is one dismal failure at the expense of Sagan’s legacy.

    • vAnD3rx

      Well someone’s pretty mad,did global warming tick you that much?Noone gets concerned about something untill it affects them directly like in China lol.
      he’s not selling global warming as fact,It’s a fact.And relegating economicc expansion to a crime?Well I don’t even know what your going about after that and I’ll leave it at that.
      But you need to chill down and enjoy the show It’s a documentary series about science I just watch it to research on the things mentioned which is what I believed everyone did but I guess different people view things differently.
      Sorry for my grammar typed this from phone.

      • trbilbo

        Pointless post which disregards the 99% of SCIENCE that disproves global warming as a man made or even a man affected phenomena. Drawing parrells between Mayan’s disappearing due to climate change (NOT a fact and even a poorly supported hypothesis….NO ONE nows why the Mayan’s left) and our need to stop using fossil fuels is cheap political theater as is expected from the cheap eats in this administration. what is sad is that they continue to hype ‘science’ why disregarding the REAL science in the world that so ar has debunked Gore’s ‘warming’ models… and as of the 12th of May SCIENCE in the form of the esteemed climate physicist team headed by Bengtsson refuted the Obama funded “latest UN Report on Climate Change’ but their paper….. published in the Climate World’s top 5 journals was refused presentation in the UN even tho it is apolitically financed SCIENCE that disproves Obama’s Lame attempt in the UN to make another political grandstand BY none other than a ‘peer review committee member who told the UN Select committee on global warming’… that the report would “‘be harmful to our warming agenda”. QUOTE. Disgusting.
        Try Facts Bucky. and as far as being upset…only a fool wouldn’t be when politicians turn SCIENCE into their tool for financial gain (Gore, Obama, et al) at the expense of generations to come who will feel the deceitful impacts of ignoring simple truths. Sad you seem to be one destined to smile and love this government destroying your world while they dance in delight … owning you just that much more….. over lies you won’t even question or demand counterpoint facts for.
        Truly sad for you.

    • Ken Ham Sandwich

      Sounds like you need a friend. You should call Rush Limbaugh He’ll share your shortsighted views on and ignorant belittling of human advancement.

      Good job on naming the one scientist who disagrees with the overall concensus of the other 99+% of them by the way.

      • trbilbo

        Sounds like you are content in the company of the mindless 1% who accept the disproven BS and hype this administration force feeds the foolish like you. Obama has turned “SCIENCE’ into another political aide… a blathering community of paid activists with heretofore respected degrees… while REAL SCIENCE like the peer reviewed works of the Bengtsson Team… ACCEPTED in the worlds top 5 Climate Physics Journals is denied airing at the UN Review where Obama’s FUNDED study will be announced as ‘gospel’ once again for fools blind enough to accept political theatre as ‘science’…. like you.
        Truly sad.
        By the way… Bengtsson represents the 99% of world’s climatists who cannot get press because clowns viewing tripe like Cosmos actually “think” there is basis in fact …blatantly and fraudulently using Sagan’s legacy to “imply fact”…. and are too ignorant to even seek or ask for the counterpoint. Remember… Global warming.. happened… and THEN they built models. Today we’ve had 11 years of global cooling… yet Obama will not spend a penny to find the impacts of that earth cycle… as THERE IS NNO MONEY OR POLITICAL BENEFIT to do so. None the less…. it is FACT. Unlike man made global warming… unsupported by every model today. And if you know of one… POST FACTS. Not your uptopian BS which seems satisfied to relegate Science to a political foil for corrupt politicians.

    • ST

      You need to re-watch the original “Cosmos” again. Sagan talked about global warming as fact back then as well. Sagan gave four steps to dealing with global warming:

      1)Efficient use of fossil fuels

      2)Developing safe alternative forms of energy

      3)Reforestation on a grand scale

      4)Bringing the poorest populations to self-sufficiency to curb population growth.

      • trbilbo

        YOU do NOT know Sagan… I KNOW Sagan… you don’t. Sagan never advocated ‘alternative’ energies at the expense of fossil fuels as this lame administration is attempting as he understood global economics and was a patriot first and last. He believed in ‘safe forms of energy’ amongst which he included hydrogen fuel cells and professed it would take 6 or more years of true investment….NOT even in this administration’s vocabulary. Wind and Solar and KNOWN to be grossly inefficient… with the exception of space based solar…. which this administration refused to fund even tho ALL aspects of that tech are proven and in hand. Those who proposed.. myself included were told… “we are not interested in global programs that take more than 10 years to mature.”. FACT. QUOTE.
        Reforestation on a grand scale is a must…. and has ZERO to do with the global warming stupidity you chose to uselessly insert in a discussion of scientific FACT. While warming was a cycle that ended 9 years ago… global cycle of warm and cool will go on unheeding man’s miniscule impacts…. as the 99.9% of REAL science models confirm. The original models were debunked… tho Gore made millions. And now the UN’s latest report (FUNDED in no small part by the Obama Administration to support his next run at trashing our economy with the religion of ‘warming’…has also been debunked
        I gave you the esteemed Dr Bengtsson’s Team of irrefutable climate physicists (FACTS) and the “Obama select peer review team’ refused to even publish this paper as it ‘would be harmful to the nature of global warming’. A QUOTE from the UN Reviewer!!!….PROVIDED by the O’s own administration. Sickness in science as zealots and activists profess policy despite REAL DATA. You prefer soundbites it seems. Typical indeed.
        Yes… that enrages… as it should you to see science relegated to a political tool to fool even semi intelligent posters like yourself.
        And last Sagan was a believer in educating the poorest nations to bring them to self sufficiency…NOT class redistribution of wealth to satisfy utopian social ideals.
        YOU…. don’t know Sagan.
        and Cosmos does him a sickening injustice with this political tripe.

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