'Light Of The Stars' Looks To Other Planets To Illuminate Climate Change On Earth

Adam Frank's valuable new book looks at the history of our search for other planets — and uses lessons drawn from outer space to shed light on the effect humans are having on our own planet.

In 1960, a graduate student at Yerkes Observatory named Carl Sagan had a problem: The temperature on the planet Venus was too high. For decades, scientists had thought that Venus was covered in clouds because it was a watery world, possibly teeming with life, a slightly hotter version of Earth. Venus is nearly the same size as Earth, and a bit closer to the Sun, so it seemed reasonable to think it was just a somewhat balmier version of our own world. But in 1956, a team of astronomers

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR5 min read
A Forest Expert Team In Spain Fights Fire With Fire — Literally
This year, the European Union has had almost triple the average number of wildfires. NPR follows a special unit into the woods in Spain to see how they let them burn for prevention.
NPR6 min readPolitics
Mark Zuckerberg Offers A Choice: The Facebook Way Or The China Way
In prepared remarks to Congress, the CEO acknowledges Facebook is not "the ideal messenger" for its digital currency plan, but says innovation is essential to American financial leadership.
NPR4 min readScience
Itty-Bitty Satellites Take On Big-Time Science Missions
CubeSats are only about twice the size of a Rubik's Cube. Once dismissed as tools for students learning the principles of aerospace engineering, they're now being used for more sophisticated missions.