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Symphony of Science: "The Case for Mars"

John Boswell has done it again -- he's created another Symphony of Science music video, this time called "The Case for Mars." The video lays out the reasons why scientists think we should go to Mars, but it's made poetic by Boswell's auto-tuned symphonic electronica. Enjoy.

Featuring: Robert Zubrin, Carl Sagan, Brian Cox (looking dashing as always), and Penelope Boston.

Lyrics after the jump.

[Robert Zubrin]
Mars is the next logical step
In our space program
It's the challenge that's been staring us in the face
For the past 30 years

It has water, it has carbon,
It has a 24 hour day
It has geothermal energy
Mars is a place we can settle

[Carl Sagan]
There is a giant rift in its surface
5,000 kilometers long
There is a volcano as wide as Arizona

[Zubrin]
So there's the choice in life
One either grows or one decays
Grow or die
I think we should grow

[Sagan]
Mars is a world of wonders

[Brian Cox]
It has canyons, river valleys,
and giant ice sheets

[Sagan]
Mars is a world of wonders

[Zubrin]
It shouldn't be humans to Mars in 50 years
It should be humans to Mars in 10

We either muster the courage to go
Or we risk the possibility of stagnation and decay

We've got cosmic radiation
Zero gravity
Martian dust storms
Back contamination

But these are dragons that we can take on

[Sagan]
In our time we have sifted
The sands of Mars
Established a presence there
And fulfilled a century of dreams

[Cox]
The Mars rovers have really
Captured our imaginations
They genuinely are explorers
In the old-fashioned sense

[Zubrin]
If you put out a call
For volunteers for the first crew to Mars
They'd be lined up coast to coast

(refrain)

[Cox]
Mars is a dry frozen version of our home
Covered in red dust and sand

[Penelope Boston]
At one time
In the ancient past
Mars was very similar
To the conditions of early earth

[Zubrin]
There will always be people with new ideas
On how humans should live together

[Cox]
We now have "eyes" and "ears" on the surface

[Zubrin]
What's left after you go is
The good you've left behind
You have to believe in hope
You have to believe in the future

There are more and more people coming around to the point of view that
A positive future for humanity requires human expansion to space

(refrain)

We're at a crossroads today
We either muster the courage to go
Or we risk the possibility of stagnation and decay

(See previous videos: A Glorious Dawn, Our Place in the Cosmos, We Are All Connected, The Unbroken Thread, and The Poetry of Reality (An Anthem for Science). Check out the Symphony of Science website for more information, free downloads, lyrics, and so on.)

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science
Why a Howling Wind Sounds So Spooky, According to Science
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iStock

Halloween is swiftly approaching, meaning you'll likely soon hear creepy soundtracks—replete with screams, clanking chains, and howling winds—blaring from haunted houses and home displays. While the sound of human suffering is frightful for obvious reasons, what is it, exactly, about a brisk fall gust that sends shivers up our spines? In horror movie scenes and ghost stories, these spooky gales are always presented as blowing through dead trees. Do bare branches actually make the natural wailing noises louder, or is this detail added simply for atmospheric purposes?

As the SciShow's Hank Green explains in the video below, wind howls because it curves around obstacles like trees or buildings. When fast-moving air goes around, say, a tree, it splits up as it whips past, before coming back together on the other side. Due to factors such as natural randomness, air speed, and the tree's surface, one side's wind is going to be slightly stronger when the two currents rejoin, pushing the other side's gust out of the way. The two continue to interact back-and-forth in what could be likened to an invisible wrestling match, as high-pressure airwaves and whirlpools mix together and vibrate the air. If the wind is fast enough, this phenomenon will produce the eerie noise we've all come to recognize in horror films.

Leafy trees "will absorb some of the vibrations in the air and dull the sound, but without leaves—like if it's the middle of the winter or the entire forest is dead—the howling will travel a lot farther," Green explains. That's why a dead forest on a windy night sounds so much like the undead.

Learn more by watching SciShow's video below.

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Space
SpaceX's Landing Blooper Reel Shows That Even Rocket Scientists Make Mistakes
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SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launches.
AFP/Stringer/Getty Images

On March 30, 2017, SpaceX did something no space program had done before: They relaunched an orbital class rocket from Earth that had successfully achieved lift-off just a year earlier. It wasn't the first time Elon Musk's company broke new ground: In December 2015, it nailed the landing on a reusable rocket—the first time that had been done—and five months later landed a rocket on a droneship in the middle of the ocean, which was also unprecedented. These feats marked significant moments in the history of space travel, but they were just a few of the steps in the long, messy journey to achieve them. In SpaceX's new blooper reel, spotted by Ars Technica, you can see just some of the many failures the company has had along the way.

The video demonstrates that failure is an important part of the scientific process. Of course when the science you're working in deals with launching and landing rockets, failure can be a lot more dramatic than it is in a lab. SpaceX has filmed their rockets blowing up in the air, disintegrating in the ocean, and smashing against landing pads, often because of something small like a radar glitch or lack of propellant.

While explosions—or "rapid unscheduled disassemblies," as the video calls them—are never ideal, some are preferable to others. The Falcon 9 explosion that shook buildings for miles last year, for instance, ended up destroying the $200 million Facebook satellite onboard. But even costly hiccups such as that one are important to future successes. As Musk once said, "If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."

You can watch the fiery compilation below.

[h/t Ars Technica]

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