four stages of healing a bone fracture

four stages of healing a bone fracture

>> neil degrasse tyson: welcome back. this is the 16th isaac asimov memorial paneldebate. it’s in its 15th year. there was one year where we had two. therewas so much going on. i like learning—just briefly—for how manypeople is this their first occasion to attend the asimov panel? welcome. where have you been the past 15 years? that’sthe real question. i’m neil degrasse tyson. i’m the frederickp. rose director of the hayden planetarium. and we do this once a year in the spring. we find a topic of particular scientific vitalitythat might have some controversy, but it’s

more a topic that is on the frontier. and we bring it to you through a panel, andthat would be the isaac asimov memorial debate panel. this event was started by a bequest of thefriends and family of isaac asimov, who’s was a friend of this institution. he did much of the research for his countlessbooks in the libraries and halls of this institution. and janet asimov, his widow, as well as friendsand family, came together to provide an endowment to sustainthis in perpetuity. so, i want to just publically thank the friendsand relatives of isaac asimov.

two other quick people i’d like to thank: laura jean checki, who helped manage thisevent, as well as my executive assistant elizabethstachow. today happens to be her 60th birthday. and she’s working on her birthday becausethat’s how devoted we are. yes, she’s been 60 times around the sun.that’s how we talk about it here. that’s how we roll at the planetarium. tonight’s topic is all about water. if you’refrom the midwest, that would be water. and water is really all over the place. thereal question is: is it the kind of water we can use?

water, water, all around. not a drop to drink. famously quoted from, i believe, the rimeof the ancient mariner. and so we thought we would put together apanel to discuss all facets of what water is, where it comes from, what its future willbe. and we have a crack team of water expertsto take us there, and let me introduce them for you. we will begin with—by the way, their biosare in the programs, so i will not spend time reading the entiretyof their bio because i want to get straight to this panel.

oh, by the way, the way we’re going to conductthis—it’s not a point/counterpoint debate style. it’s really a conversation. it’s as thoughyou walked into a bar and the six of us are there talking aboutwater. and you’re eavesdropping on our discourse. that’s what’s goingto happen tonight. there’ll be no powerpoint slides, no polisheddeliveries. we’re just having a conversation, and you’reeavesdropping on it. at the end there’ll be time for questionsand answers. i’d like to first introduce a retired generalfrom the u.s. air force, who specializes in

—among other things—the protection ofstrategic assets. join me in giving a warm welcome for generalchuck wald. the next it’s an honor and a privilege forme to introduce a long-time friend of mine. we’ve servedon boards together. she is the administrator—the chief personof noaa, the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. give me a warm welcome for kathy sullivan. we need some geology discussion here, andso we combed the world to find who is some good geologists that specializein water. and we call those folks hydrologists.

and i found one who’s actually appearedas a guest on my radio show startalk. she’s an assistant professor in geosciencesat penn state university. give a warm welcome to tess russo. a lot of our understanding of water comesto us—water in the universe comes to us from space, so we needed somekind of representation from nasa here. and we found just that person; the chief scientistof nasa. give a warm welcome for ellen stofan:. and finally here there’s a long-time friendand colleague of mine. we came up in graduate school around the sametime. she parted into the solar system. into therest of the universe.

but she’s one of the—so, she stayed likeparked in the neighborhood. she is one of the world’s experts on cometsand other presence of water in the solar system. give a warm welcome for heidi hammel. so, what i’d like to do is—just so youcan hear their voices and get a sense of where they’re comingfrom in the universe—if you just spend two minutes— let me hear your name again and just whatyour official titles are and where you’re coming from. general? >>charles wald: thanks, neil. i’m chuckwald. i live in washington, d.c.

i was with the united states air force for35 years before i retired. the last assignment was deputy commander foreuropean command, u.s. european command. we had 92 countries in that command that wewere responsible for. and previous to that, i led the first threemonths of the afghan air war. currently, i’m with deloitte as a vice chairmanfor our federal practice in global defense issues. >>neil degrasse tyson: excellent. thank you.just a mic check; is that loud enough for people? do you want it a little louder? can we geta little louder on that if we could, please?

thanks. kathy, go ahead. >>kathryn sullivan: kathy sullivan. i’mcurrently the undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and noaa administrator,as neil said. i actually started my life as a solid rockgeologist, specializing in the deep sea floor. then got a magical opportunity to go fly inspace and look at this little planet with my own eyes, and that’s really where the passion to takethe science and knowledge of our planet and bring it back to earth and really makea connect to the challenges and decisions that we all face every day, was struck inme.

so, hence the loopback to noaa. that’s whatwe do. we’re america’s… >>neil degrasse tyson: we’ll check in themicrophone here. hold on. >>kathryn sullivan: oops. funny. >>neil degrasse tyson: what’s he doing there? >>kathryn sullivan: no, really that was justthe light switch. are you sure it’s on at the board? it workedin the mic check. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah, we did actuallyhave a mic check earlier. while they’re fixing her mic allow me toannounce that this day is the 25th anniversary of kathy sullivan deployingthe hubble space telescope in space.

>>kathryn sullivan: so, small inside baseballstory. i did not actually get to pull the trigger that released it. steve hawley did that. and bruce mccandlessand i were locked in the airlock where we had almost had to race outside tocrank open the solar ray that hung up for a while. so, i only worked on the telescope five years.i never got to see it deploy. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. aw. but lastweek and this week were big weeks. it was the 25th anniversary of the launchof the space shuttle mission to repair the hubble.

kathy was on that mission, and we’re allgrateful for your efforts there and the rest of your team to make that happen. hubble is an important piece of american historyof scientific history, and it’ll be remembered forever. so, i don’t know if your microphone is stillfixed. >>kathryn sullivan: no. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, it’s not. let’smove on and we’ll come back. so, yes, tess? >>tess russo: sure. my name is tess russo. i’m an assistant professor at penn statein the department of geosciences.

and i study how water moves between the surfaceof the earth and the ground water. i study the physical dynamics of those processes. most of my work is in the context of agriculturalwater management. i do a lot of work in developing countries,trying to figure out how much water they have, what the extent of their resources are, how they can use them in sustainable waysto feed themselves and make sure they have enough water to feedthe next generations. >>neil degrasse tyson: were hydrologists alwaysaround? i mean, is that a forever thing in the worldof geologists?

>>tess russo: no, i don’t think so. i think one of the earliest hydrologist wasa british fellow. but i can’t remember— >>neil degrasse tyson: how long ago? >>tess russo: like late 1800s maybe. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, okay. >>tess russo: or, no, mid-1800s because that’swhen darcy was. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. it’s olderthan the century. i was just wondering— >>tess russo: oh, yeah. >>neil degrasse tyson: the thought of whatwater is doing in its cycle

might have been an emergent thought, but it’snot. >>tess russo: no, no. they were trying tofigure out how it moves through sand and clay differently. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. cool. ellen? >>ellen stofan: i’m ellen stofan. i’mthe chief scientist of nasa. i’m actually a planetary geologist. i studyvolcanoes around the solar system. but as chief scientist of nasa, i get to lookacross all the science we do at nasa, from the work we do up on the internationalspace station every day, getting with our astronauts,

getting humans ready to go to mars, hopefully,in the 2030s, to astrophysics, the great hubble mission, which my boss charlie bolden was up with kathyand helped to deploy. >>neil degrasse tyson: her boss is the headof nasa, just to make that clear. >>ellen stofan: studying the suns, studyingthe planets of our solar system and, of course, studying our favorite planet:earth. >>neil degrasse tyson: nice. yeah, heidi? >>heidi hammel: my name is heidi hammel. >>neil degrasse tyson: uh-oh. are you on?

i am currently executive vice president ofa group called aura that runs very large telescopes, including the hubble space telescope. so,we have been celebrating this past week. my background is as a planetary astronomer,but i also do astrophysics. i’ve looked at water on comets. i’ve lookedfor water on jupiter. i’ve looked extensively at planets that have water inside them. and i recently participated in a nasa pressconference talking about the water inside jupiter’s moon ganymede. so, there’s water all over the solar systemand on planets around other stars as well. and we can talk about that as we move forward.

>>neil degrasse tyson: if water’s everywhere,why are we having a problem here on earth? yeah, it’s all your fault. also, we hearthat comets are mostly water. do we know where earth’s water came from?let’s start there. presumably, you would have the answer to that.did it come from space? did it come from volcanoes? who brought thewater here? >>heidi hammel: well, that’s a topic thatwe discuss quite a bit in planetary astronomy. certainly, some ofthe water just came from the solar nebular as it formed. there were little bits of dust and ice throughoutour solar system as it was forming initially.

and some of that water is intrinsic to ourplanet. but at the same time, we really expect thata lot of water was delivered to our planet as our solar system got stirred up. there’s some theories that say at one pointin time jupiter, saturn, neptune and uranus were the order of the planets. and there was a whole lot of icy planetesimalsout there filled with water. and at some point when jupiter, saturn, uranusand neptune interacted with one another, uranus and neptune switched places. and whenneptune did that— when it swooped out into that cloud of debris—alot of material was delivered into the inner

solar system. and that could be where some of the water’scome from. so, there’s many different places that watercould come from. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, you’re sayingthat the debris in the outer solar system went unstable in the presence of this newgravitational configuration. and when you go unstable, you lose your orbit. you descend into the inner solar system, andit’s raining rain. >>heidi hammel: it’s raining rain and rockslike when the dinosaurs— i mean, when the comets or asteroids weredelivering death to the dinosaurs.

they were delivering water as well probably. >>neil degrasse tyson: water as well. so,wasn’t it a point of controversy where whether we use the water from the birth materialof the solar system versus whether it came later? not that i know anything about it, but i rememberreading about that. >>kathryn sullivan: will my mic ever comeon, do you think? >>neil degrasse tyson: i don’t know. we’lljust stand here. and we’ll just—we can do this. >>kathryn sullivan: well, yeah. i mean, that’sthe whole point of science.

it’s just constant controversy. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, ellen, what aresome other hot places—i mean, hot as in scientifically interesting places —you have to be careful with lingo here—inthe solar system where—because nasa has a mantra, i remember. and it’s “follow the water.” is thatstill the mantra? and presumably it’s not just because we want a drink of water, but there’smore going on there. so, could you highlight that or us?

>>ellen stofan: well, and i think that’simportant. you really have to step back and say why do we care so much about water. well, let’s go back to the fact that weare mostly made of water. we rely on water. here on earth, life evolved in water. andwe actually remained in the oceans for billions of years before we managed to becomeas complex as us. so, we think that water is key to life. andit’s not just— >>neil degrasse tyson: well, to life as weknow it. >>ellen stofan: to life as we know it. butit’s not—

>>neil degrasse tyson: just trying to loosenthat up. >>ellen stofan: this isn’t completely anearth bias, though, neil, because water has really unusual properties. it’s a solvent. it’s a bipolar moleculethat we think has really unique properties. >>neil degrasse tyson: people are bipolar,but that’s a different use of the term. >>ellen stofan: that’s a different use ofthe term. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah, just to clarify. >>ellen stofan: positive and negative charge. >>neil degrasse tyson: yes.

>>ellen stofan: so, because of those uniqueproperties of the water molecule, we think that contributed to the formationof life. so, when we go out and follow the water in the solar system, out into thegalaxy, out into the universe, we’re following that ingredient—liquidwater—that we think is critical for the formation of life. so, where do we look? on mars we know therewas water on the surface of mars several billion years ago, flowing on thesurface maybe for as long as a billion years. now, that time period is important becauseit takes time for life to evolve. it takes time for life to get complex.

so, many of us in the scientific communityhave a pretty strong belief based on science that at some point life was likely to haveevolved on the surface of mars. the hard point is going to be finding it.and don’t even get me started on the outer heidi mentioned the fact that ganymede, oneof the moons of jupiter, has liquid water in its interior. so doeseuropa. so does enceladus, which is a moon of saturn. all of these placesare rich environments for us to go search for extraterrestrial life.microbes, again. not little green men. >>neil degrasse tyson: or little green women.yes, okay. tess? so, tess, there’s water everywhere. andhere on earth, yes, we have water,

but now we’re getting picky about our waterbecause some of it is salinated. some of it is not. and we can’t really usethe salinated water, and we don’t know how to convert it efficiently yet. and so this creates your profession basically,right? the cottage industry that is the hydrologists. >>tess russo: yeah. we’re doing quite well. >>neil degrasse tyson: is that right? eternalwork for you. yeah, so we take a lot for granted here. igo to the bathroom and just turn the knob and water comes out of the wall. and my parents,who are actually here this evening,

growing up—i mean, they’ve seen a lotand they were born in the 1920s. i remember we complain about something orother in the apartment, and they say, “you’re complaining and you have watercoming out of the wall?” and i’m thinking where did they get theirwater from when they grew up. i don’t know. but it apparently didn’tcome out of the wall. so, we take so much for granted here in theunited states. what is it we should know about in these developingworlds where access to potable water is scarce or nonexistent? >>tess russo: well, so in most of the areasthat i’m working in people are

either collecting their water by hand froma nearby resource, or digging a shallow well, or collecting rainwater. and the challengeis that none of those are very reliable. i mean, the fact that water comes out of thewall reliably is the key part. and so most of my work has to do with agriculturalwater use. so, how much water do people have for irrigation? and that’s becoming increasingly importantas the climate is changing and precipitation patterns are changing andpeople can no longer rely on the natural rain patterns to irrigate theircrops. >>neil degrasse tyson: what you mean by naturalis what they had

grown accustomed to in their previous traditions. >>tess russo: right. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. and so what’sthe future of this? >>tess russo: it’s uncertain. i think thefuture is— >>neil degrasse tyson: just so you know, you’respeaking to a scientist. when they don’t know something, they’llsay it’s uncertain. everyone else says i have the answer, whetheror not they actually do. yeah. >>tess russo: so, the future is working withpeople from nasa and noaa to get a better understanding of how we ashumans are affecting the climate

and how it’s changing natural. how thosetwo are working together, so that we can make smarter choices abouthow we use water. and so choosing what crops to grow, when togrow them, those are the decisions that are made. >>neil degrasse tyson: glaciers are freshwater, aren’t they? >>tess russo: yeah. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, we are alreadymelting the glaciers, so doesn’t this help out? >>tess russo: that’s true. it is helpful,i guess, in some respect.

but it’s not a long-term solution. >>neil degrasse tyson: kathy, noaa, they don’thave their own satellites. is that correct? >>kathryn sullivan: we do have our own satellites.are you kidding? i’m oh for two. >>neil degrasse tyson: if we can up the gainon that maybe. okay. >>kathryn sullivan: we do have our own satellites. >>neil degrasse tyson: but nasa launches themfor you. >>kathryn sullivan: yeah. so, what we don’thave is we don’t have

our own satellite design development acquisitionengineering cadre of people because the country’s got a fabulous onein nasa. >>neil degrasse tyson: called nasa. >>kathryn sullivan: called nasa. so, why builda second one? agencies actually, believe it or not—governmentagencies actually do do things together to make some efficiencies happen. so, thisonly goes back to the very first time the united states had weather satellites.nasa—we set the requirements now. nasa builds them for us. they contract todo the launch, and then it cuts back over to noaa.

>>neil degrasse tyson: okay. and so there’socean and atmosphere in your acronym, and so what are you trying to do for us? >>kathryn sullivan: yeah. so, this planetis actually a system of systems. when i was in school, you could look at acartoon of the earth with brown mountains the green fields and light bluesky and dark blue water. and you could pick a color and you could spendyour whole career just doing that. and around the ‘60s— >>neil degrasse tyson: your whole career workingin one of those colors. >>kathryn sullivan: yeah. i’ll just do thebrown dirt, or i’ll just do the deep-blue

ocean. and there was so much still to know and understandabout each of those domains, you could spend— and people for generations had—a whole careerjust looking at how one domain works. around the middle of the last century—inthe ‘60s particularly—we realized it’s actually the links between them thatare really critical. the oceans drive our weather and our climate. the atmosphere produces the input to the hydrologicalcycle on the freshwater side. >>neil degrasse tyson: hydrologic, that’sthe water cycle. >>kathryn sullivan: as the water cycle.

>>neil degrasse tyson: why don’t you saywater cycle? >>kathryn sullivan: we can say water cycle.they knew what i meant. >>neil degrasse tyson: no, just in my field—inastrophysics we have simple vocabulary. i’m amazed— >>kathryn sullivan: sure you do. >>neil degrasse tyson: hydrologic cycle. its’the water cycle, right? >>kathryn sullivan: it’s the water cycle. >>neil degrasse tyson: it’s the water cycle. >>kathryn sullivan: yeah.

>>neil degrasse tyson: okay. >>kathryn sullivan: so, it’s the connectionsthat matter. and noaa was created in 1970 out of existingpieces to do that integration, number one, make the science actually connectacross those fields. and, number two—and more importantly—makethat knowledge connect back to society. so, our roots always have been about makingthe nautical charts not for the sake of maps, but so that commerce could go smoothly andsafely along our shores. do the weather not just because it’s coolstuff, but because ranchers and farmers out in the midwest of the united states inthe 1870s critically needed to know when the

blue norther is coming in. >>neil degrasse tyson: i hadn’t fully appreciatedthat until just this minute. so, i had always known—i knew, but neverunderstood that noaa, in fact, ultimately reports to the secretaryof commerce. >>kathryn sullivan: that’s true. >>neil degrasse tyson: and so it wasn’tconceived as a science agency for the sake of science. it was conceived as a science agency to serveoceanic commerce. >>kathryn sullivan: it was conceived—bythe 1970s when noaa was put together,

it was conceived as a science-based servicesagency to serve the american people and the american economy. >>neil degrasse tyson: but i’m just sayingbecause if you serve the economy and there’s money involved, it means you’llhave a real budget. >>kathryn sullivan: so, we are as a countrymore fond of new toys than of the ongoing maintenance of things. >>neil degrasse tyson: right, of course. ofcourse. so, general, there are regions of the world— we think of conflict typically as political,as maybe even economic,

but i don’t know that we much think of conflictin terms of terrain or water or— can you share with us what your tea leavestell you about the future of water as a resource or as a strategic asset? >>charles wald: yeah. i mean, first of all,it’s interesting to be with all these scientists here that are doing good things for us. some may be far out, but—so, my sphere ofconcern is a little bit more near term and probably a little more focused on theearth. the issue about natural resource— >>neil degrasse tyson: i’m sorry. just theway you said it. it was so casual. yeah, i focus on near term and the earth.

>>charles wald: well, we had a good discussionbefore we came on stage about some of this. and the issue that in the military i thinkthe big thing we’re looking at today is that the world is changing significantlyin a lot of ways. some areas that we don’t— in the military—think of directly like thosethings you were talking about, which are critical. but we do have a differentworld of threats, and those threats are, i would say, hybridin some says. and some of those threats have to do withnatural resources. we’ve always had a little bit of a problem with that. we talked about oil earlier, but water becomesvery critical.

and if you look at—we talked about it aminute ago in the darfur, which is in the sudan, have had a terrible conflict there: tribalversus farming people in the darfur, all caused by conflict over land use for eithergrazing or for farming. and that’s not going to be unique. thatwill become more and more common. and from a u.s. perspective, the u.s. militaryplans for things that could happen. not 100 percent would happen, but if it’s50/50 shot, i mean, it makes sense for us to be— particularly if there’s high risk involvedwith it. so, you look at the artic, for example,

which you all work on. the u.s. military nowis paying attention to the artic because it’s an open area of conflict potentially. hopefully, it’ll be a peaceful use of thearea. but when we do procurement of systems: boats, ships, icebreakers, it’s a 30-yearproposition. and you have to guess out into those areas. we also have to be ready for things we justdidn’t predict. my contention is u.s. military’s never predictedone conflict right in the history of the world. so, you never get it right. and so you gotto plan across the spectrum. and the other thing that’s

probably a constant is the fact that you’regoing to respond to things you never guessed you would have. you look at the tsunami in the pacific a fewyears ago, or even now— >>neil degrasse tyson: indonesia. >>charles wald: indonesia, right. and evennow with nepal. i mean, the united states military is respondingin a large way because we can, because we have huge mobility. and those naturaldisasters—and water could be part of that— >>neil degrasse tyson: you okay? good. >>charles wald: but i’ll just finish withthis; the u.s., we’re going to face a lot

different threats in the near future. our concern, i think, about water is thatwe’re about 2030 away from probably a really serious crisis in the world on water. >>neil degrasse tyson: twenty, 30, you meanthe year 2030? >>charles wald: twenty-thirty. and if youlook at the perspective of what that 2030 means, right now it seems like it’s a ways off.we can probably figure it out. nine-eleven was about 14 years ago, and i think that just went like that. so,anyway, yes, we have a lot of issues that

we have to start preparing for. and probably we’re the only military inthe world that can do it because of size. we do spend a lot of money on the u.s. military. >>neil degrasse tyson: kathy, aren’t wejust one widget away from solving these water problems? it’s just some spigot. the salt water goesin one side, fresh water comes out the other. so, you say there’ll be a catastrophe in15 years. why don’t any of us have any hope or expectationthat a clever person will show up and solve this problem, so that water’s no longera strategic asset?

>>kathryn sullivan: well, there might be onewidget, but there’ll be nine billion people by the year 2030 that chuck’s talking about. and so thereare a number of factors. one is that widget takes electricity to run.and with the technology we currently have to do— >>neil degrasse tyson: or sunlight. >>kathryn sullivan: or sunlight. but you gotto make water for nine billion people. you got to make water to irrigate it in anarea the size of the central valley or some of the areas where tess works.

you’re going to need some serious powerdensity to make that all happen. so, our widgets today that can take the saltout of seawater consume a lot of electricity to do that. and, guess what, it takes a lot of water toproduce a lot of electricity. so, getting the economics to work where you’rereally making some economic sense and getting the water cycle to where it’smaking some sense to suck in seawater to turn out a gallon of fresh water. and then, oh, by the way, since i do havethat ocean word in our agency title, what’s left when you’ve sucked the saltout of seawater is a really dense salty brine.

okay, that just became your waste stream. what do you do with that? well, you couldput it back in the big ocean where it came from, except all the things that live in the bigocean that 20 percent of the people depend on for food globally, they don’t like reallysalty water like that. so, there’s the power density. there’sthe competing use of water for electricity, and electricity to make water. there’s thewaste problem, and then there’s just getting started

improving some things to the appropriate scaleand moving out on it. so, one widget against nine billion peopleis still a pretty tough proposition to scale. >>neil degrasse tyson: offline we were talkingabout how much water it takes to make a bottle of water. could you just share with us that? >>kathryn sullivan: yeah. so, when you buya bottle of water—little pet bottle of water, it took twice as much water to make the bottleas you have in the bottle. and depending how the water was filtered—assumingit actually was filtered and it’s not just a fake label—dependinghow the filtering was done it took three to

nine gallons of water to make one gallon of that bottled water,which then goes into plastic bottles that took twice as much water to make as they, you got to get those scales and those efficiencies. and did any of youknow that before right now? i didn’t know it before. >>neil degrasse tyson: kathy, i’m neverdrinking water ever again in my life now that you tell me this. >>kathryn sullivan: municipal water is reallyfine. >>neil degrasse tyson: new york, yeah.

>>kathryn sullivan: and we’re in the unitedstates. it’s really fine. >>neil degrasse tyson: it’s really good;new york water. and, of course, even in new york restaurants they keep pushing bottled water on my wheni sit. i said, no, whatever comes out of the wall, that’s whati’m drinking today. >>kathryn sullivan: penn & teller did a socialexperiment one time where they created a wine bar. i think it was in manhattan actually. butit was a water bar. and they did a menu with all the differenttasting things, and they wrote up all these

fancy descriptions about the aroma from the one from the artic.and, of course, it being a tv show they showed the waiters taking the empty waterbottles to the garden hose in the back and filling them again. but all the patronswere like lock, stock and barrel bought in on it. “oh, the nose is so good.” >>neil degrasse tyson: tess, what do you guysuse to clean water? you don’t have devices, right? you just have wells and regional clear waterlakes. is that what’s going on? you don’t have technology helping you.

>>tess russo: in the developing areas— >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah, in your places. >>tess russo: yeah. they’re just pumpingwater right out of the ground or catching what they can in a barrel offtheir roof. some places use some types of filters. you can build a clayfilter that takes out a lot of the particulates, but you’re left with biological activitythat could still be a problem. >>neil degrasse tyson: i like that. biologicalactivity. it’s a euphemism for stuff that’ll kill you. >>neil degrasse tyson: nasa has a lot of scientistsworking on a lot of projects.

is there anybody trying to desalinate things?if we’re going to go to another planet and we want to live there— i’m told there’s water on the moon. howdo you— >>kathryn sullivan: there is. >>neil degrasse tyson: if you’re going togo there, you want to clean it up so you can drink it. and, presumably, astronauts in the space station— is it not true that they recycle their ownurine and drink it? is that correct? >>ellen stofan: we do. right now on the spacestation we—

>>neil degrasse tyson: you’re on earth. >>ellen stofan: okay, i’m on—we nasa. >>neil degrasse tyson: don’t say we. >>ellen stofan: we nasa. >>neil degrasse tyson: we nasa. good, okay.kathy drank her own pee. is that right, kathy? >>kathryn sullivan: that would be so not right.we made water from fuel cells on the space— >>neil degrasse tyson: from fuel cells, okay.all right. damn, i thought i had that one. >>ellen stofan: up on the iss right now werecycle about 85 percent of the water by purifying urine. to go to mars—eight-monthjourney there, eight-month journey back—

we’re going to need to probably get to thepoint where we’re recycling about 95 percent of the water. so, we’re not quite at the system that we’dlike to be. so, we’re still working on that. >>neil degrasse tyson: unless you find wateron mars, and then you refill when you get there. like a water filling station. >>ellen stofan: right. and we know there’swater at the poles of the moon. we know there’s water on mars. so, we have whole programs of research rightnow called in-situ resource utilization,

or isru, because we love acronyms. >>neil degrasse tyson: we had an entire [unintelligible]panel on that very subject. it was cool. >>ellen stofan: so, obviously, we need waterto drink. we can’t live very long without. so, that’s one possible use of the water.but even more importantly rocket fuel is basically made out of hydrogen and oxygen. so, we wantthe water for the astronauts to drink potentially, but even more importantly especially at marswe want that water to be turned into rocket fuel to help launch them up off thesurface and get them home safely. >>kathryn sullivan: so, ellen, as one of thefolks that once upon a time thought she might be on the list that got to go doone of those things, the problem i had was

there are not lakes on the moon that you justdip a bucket into. you’ve got to extract it from huge volumesof the surface material of the moon or mars. so, i never heard anyone talk to intelligentlyabout what am i supposed to do from the time i land to the time that the other 700 rocketships with all the supplies arrive to build the thing that will extract the water to maybe makewater? and if that doesn’t work, then what arewe doing? >>ellen stofan: that’s a great question,and something we’re actually working on right now.

we are working on a whole thing called thejourney to mars. how do you get humans to mars in the 2030s, have them beable to land there safely, return home safely and live for some period of time on the, the idea is— and while we’re working on these isru technologiesso hard right now— that you would preposition an isru plant,say, in the surface of mars somewhere near where the astronauts would be. you demonstratethat you can make rocket fuel. you demonstrate that you can do water beforeyou ever send humans. so, that’s one of the reasons it’s goingto take us to the 2030s at least to get humans to mars,

because we have a lot of technology development,a lot of work to do, to make sure there’s resources on the surface of marsby the time humans get there, or it wouldn’t be viable. mars isn’t like sending humans to antarcticaor even to the iss, the international space station. it’s a pretty harsh place. it’s not alive-off-the-land kind of place. >>charles wald: you got to wonder if you canmake that practical to some of the work we need here on earth. >>neil degrasse tyson: well, that’s whati’m thinking the whole time. you get the

smartest people to solve the space-borne problem, and thenyou realize that has huge applications down here on earth. >>charles wald: absolutely. >>neil degrasse tyson: that would be for peoplewho might not necessarily have humanitarian blood flowing through them,but they like the really interesting engineering or science problem. then theysolve it for space, and then it comes back. >>charles wald: one of the problems we hadin afghanistan was that if you look at— most people probably paid a little attentionto this—there was this issue with ieds,

improvised explosive devices. they were allin convoys. >>neil degrasse tyson: what are those again? >>charles wald: improvised explosive devices. >>neil degrasse tyson: ieds. >>charles wald: made-up bomb that hits a vehicleand does bad things to it. eighty-five percent of our casualties in afghanistanwere in convoys. those convoys were carrying water and fuel.the fuel to the battlefield is upwards of $400 a gallon, and they’re using 22 gallons of fuel persoldier. and the same thing with water issue.

and some of that technology we’ll use’ll just be natural. but they’ll be some things that are reallygoing to help the human race come out of these things, too. bloom energy is one of them, for example. >>heidi hammel: but talking about some ofthe things we discussed before this, nasa usually does things in a one-off way.i mean, they’ll come up with some great ideas and they’ll do an amazing thing, but theword scalability is the words that you were using—

both of you—earlier today. and certainlyin the military world, that’s something that you have to thinkabout. as you just described, you’re talking about supply lines. i thinkthat’s one of the disconnects that we might have if we tried to take a nasa thing and scaleit up. >>kathryn sullivan: but i’m with neil. idon’t think you ask the guy who’s trying to figure out how do you sustain peopleon mars—i wouldn’t ask that person, that gal, to solve that problem, too. askthem to change the equation radically and let the other smart folks say, oh, nowthat only costs 1/1000th of what it used to,

look what i can do with it. >>ellen stofan: right. and that’s been thestory of nasa. we estimate for about every dollar spent atnasa, about $4 gets returned to the u.s. economy. and that’s through innovative— >>neil degrasse tyson: in manna from heavenor something? what are you talking about? >>ellen stofan: innovative new applicationsof technology. >>kathryn sullivan: tang. >>neil degrasse tyson: the economic valueof the innovation. >>ellen stofan: yeah.

>>neil degrasse tyson: i want to back up fora minute. heidi, the astronauts went to the moon. therewas no water there. so, lately there’s been this talk aboutwater on—how did it get there and where is it and why? >>heidi hammel: the question of where’sthe water, what is everywhere, but the problem is that it’s in forms thatare not easily accessible. for example, on the moon—as we were talkingabout—there is for sure water on the moon, but it’s tightly bound up in clathratesand you can’t just get that water out. >>neil degrasse tyson: is clathrate some kindof—is that a geo word for something?

>>heidi hammel: yeah. it’s a geo word fora mineral lattice, and then the water is trapped inside the lattice. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, okay. so, it’slike a water bottle. >>tess russo: it’s like a cage. >>heidi hammel: on a microscopic scale. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay, all right. so,this is a point that was just made. the water may be there, but you need somekind of device where you dump in the stuff with water in the latticeand out comes a cup of water on the other side.

>>heidi hammel: yeah. much like we’re talkingabout our desal techniques when you’ve got the salt water going inand the fresh water coming out. except it’s soil instead of salt water. >>neil degrasse tyson: now, ellen, there aremany people talking about the value of water in space. so, that if youcould go to a comet, extract water from it, and then deliver it to astronauts in spacethen nasa doesn’t have to launch the [unintelligible] of water to get to them.because that cost still how much a pound? >>ellen stofan: a lot. >>neil degrasse tyson: to launch any amountof weight into space, it’s like $10,000

a pound. >>ellen stofan: yeah, it’s huge. yeah, it’sa huge amount. so, for us we’re always trying to minimizehow much we have to launch off the surface of the earth because we haveall this gravity. so, you need a big rocket to get things offthe surface. that’s why if you can find things out in the solar systemand utilize them, all the better. now, catching a comet, mining it for water,that’s a bit difficult. it’s a lot easier to go to mars where unlikethe moon water on mars is probably much more accessible.

we think there’s probably ice under someof the dust on mars. there’s ice under the surface. there’sice at the poles. >>neil degrasse tyson: but i want to go toa comet. what’s wrong with going to a comet? why can’t we do that? >>ellen stofan: i love comets. >>heidi hammel: we’ve gone to comets. >>neil degrasse tyson: no, but lasso it andput it out in the thing and go get it when you need it and put it in the sudan,so there’s not a war going. >>heidi hammel: yeah, that’d be great. ican imagine that. you target it and—

they did that experiment in russia not toolong ago when chelyabinsk hit. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, you’re talkingabout the—in february 2013. >>heidi hammel: exactly. >>neil degrasse tyson: they unwittingly didthe experiment. okay. >>heidi hammel: yeah, nature did the experimentdelivering volatiles to us as comets or asteroids impacting our atmosphere. >>neil degrasse tyson: there was an asteroidbasically the size of this stage that collided with earth at 40,000 miles anhour, exploded in air over the town of chelyabinsk injuring 1,600 peoplewho all basically got cut by

shattered glass because they saw this hugeburst of light and they all went running to the window to see what that was, forgettingtheir physics 101 that light travels faster than sound. and so they go to the window, then the shockwavehits, and then everyone gets cuts. it was like the band-aid collision. but that’sa collision with earth. i’m talking about parking it somewhere,and then drawing from it. why is that so hard? >>heidi hammel: well, i don’t know, sounds like science fiction to me, but if we could think of a way to do that,sure. but we’re just working on recycling urineat this point.

>>ellen stofan: well, i must say— >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. well, get backto work on that then. what, ellen? >>ellen stofan: we do have a plan to go geta piece of an asteroid and bring it back to the vicinity of the’s called the asteroid retrieval mission that nasa’s working on right now to do inthe 2020s, which would go get a piece of an asteroid and bring itback— >>neil degrasse tyson: so, test of conceptthen? >>ellen stofan: you could say that. and asteroidsactually have a lot of water. in fact, some scientists think that it wasactually asteroids that delivered

most of our water to the earth, not comets. >>neil degrasse tyson: this is that latticewater that you’ve been talking about. >>ellen stofan: yes. >>neil degrasse tyson: i’ve always wondered.i look at an asteroid and it’s just like a dead rock to me. thenthe geologists get all excited that it has water— excuse me, [unintelligible]. >>heidi hammel: we’re actually finding asteroidsnow in the main belt that have tails and comi like comets. andthey call them main-belt comets,

but they’re asteroids. so, let’s justget a little terminology here straight. an asteroid is a dirt ball with some ice mixedin. and a comet is an ice ball with some dirtmixed in. >>neil degrasse tyson: that’s the kind oflingo i’m looking for here. thank you, heidi. >>heidi hammel: so, no, but there are somechallenges with comets that are a bit distinct from asteroids. and one of the challenges is that most ofthe comets that we have visited now with nasa spacecraft with esa spacecraft—

>>neil degrasse tyson: european space agency. >>heidi hammel: european space agency. theytend to be somewhat fluffier. they are icy, and so their tensile strengthis lower. so, it’s a little bit more challenging, i think, to think about towingone back because comets often just fall apart on their own. i mean,just sunlight makes it fall apart. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, they don’t havemuch structural integrity to go reach out and grab it and put it inone place or another? >>heidi hammel: that’s right. >>neil degrasse tyson: this is the problemyou’re saying?

>>heidi hammel: it could be a problem, yeah. >>kathryn sullivan: towing your snow cone. >>neil degrasse tyson: that would be hard. >>neil degrasse tyson: to tow a snow cone.okay. >>heidi hammel: so, why don’t we tow icebergs? i actually wanted to ask our water resourceperson why don’t we just— we have alaska. there’s a lot of ice upthere. can’t we get some big chunks of it and towthem down to california? >>neil degrasse tyson: well, just a sec.

weren’t there plans in previous wars tomove icebergs around as a source of water? >>charles wald: sure. we’ve already doneit. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, we’ve alreadydone it. excuse me. i’m late in the coming here. >>charles wald: no, i’m learning more stuffabout comets and asteroids. this is amazing really. >>neil degrasse tyson: excuse me, i want toknow what the military did moving icebergs around. >>charles wald: no, i mean—

>>neil degrasse tyson: we’ll get back tothem in a minute. >>charles wald: i mean, saudi arabia purchasedan iceberg, and they were going to bring it to saudi arabia.they never did it, but— >>neil degrasse tyson: wait, wait, wait. whosold them the iceberg? that’s what i want to know. i’ll get inon that one right here. >>charles wald: i think it was noaa. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, you attach an icebergto some ship and drag it somewhere? >>charles wald: right. >>neil degrasse tyson: and then what happens?

>>charles wald: melt it and use it. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay then. so, tess,what? >>tess russo: well, so the issue with that—andthe same with the desal—is that— >>neil degrasse tyson: desal is desalinization. >>tess russo: desalinization. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, you’re a nicknamebasis with the technology. >>neil degrasse tyson: desal. okay, go. >>tess russo: is that you’re only providingwater right at the coast. and if you think about the u.s. where mostof our agriculture is—

it would have to cross a mountain range toget to central california, and have the country to get to the high plains. and so moving that water requires more energythan it would take to desalinate, which is our initial problem. and so we need to think about more than howdo we provide drinking water to the people on the coast, but how do we provide waterfor all the agriculture and building our clothes and electronics and all that stuff. >>charles wald: there is some semi-good news. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. let me hear it.

>>charles wald: the bad news is that, again,between now and 2050, the urbanization of the littoral of the coastlinesof the world is grow dramatically. that’s where people are going to move to.and so there is a transportation issue. i get it. but— >>neil degrasse tyson: just to be clear, you’resaying this trend has been going on in fact for the entire 20th centurywhere cities are becoming more populated relative to rural and suburban communities. >>charles wald: yeah, absolutely. absolutely.and you’ve read all the size of the cities. the marine corp—as a matter of fact, theirmajor strategy for the future is urban warfare

along the littoral. >>neil degrasse tyson: along the what? >>charles wald: the littoral. >>neil degrasse tyson: what is that word?that’s a new word for me. >>charles wald: really? >>neil degrasse tyson: say it again. >>charles wald: is that military word. l-i-t-t-o-r-a-l. >>heidi hammel: no, that's a science word. >>ellen stofan: it’s a science word.

>>neil degrasse tyson: am i the only one?a science word? >>kathryn sullivan: it’s a science word. >>neil degrasse tyson: i’m sorry. have youheard of this word before? littoral. or is it just me? i don’t know. >>kathryn sullivan: it’s an earth scienceword. >>neil degrasse tyson: earth science. so,tell me—i’ll get back to you in a minute. let me get this word defined. go. >>kathryn sullivan: coastal zones. the coastlinesand shallow seas fringing the coasts. >>neil degrasse tyson: would that includebeing on a coast if you’re on a river?

>>kathryn sullivan: it’s about being onthe coast of the sea. >>neil degrasse tyson: of the seas and theoceans? >>neil degrasse tyson: okay, fine. littoral.thank you. >>charles wald: i thought that was a common-used— >>neil degrasse tyson: no, i’m sorry. >>charles wald: but desalination or icebergsit’s perhaps called it could be— so, this is more than a one-solution issue.i mean, i think. so, that could be part of it. and moving thewater inland is very problematic. but talking to some friends i have that workwith u.s. water and other areas,

the big push they say is a couple things inthe near term. not long term. i think long term’s going to be some spacesolution of some sort, no doubt about it, in a lot of ways. but i think in the near term it’s goingto be a realization that water is cost, which has always been kind of a moral issue. and number two is we’re going to have touse wastewater and recycle everything we have. >>kathryn sullivan: no, neil, we’re worriedabout getting drinkable water. and in this country we use drinkable waterfor our lawns and our laundry and our toilets. the biggest water treatment plant in southerncalifornia pumps trillions of gallons

of treated water that’s drinkable standardsexcept it would probably offend us all, pump it into the sea because it’s been treated,and because we built our system to be one way. that could probably water all the lawns insouthern california. that could do all the laundry. that could power power plants, but we justdump it into the ocean. so, before we go doing widgets and gadgets,we might want to look at how we’re using what we got. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. so, what comesfirst?

thinking of water as a strategic—potablewater as a strategic asset because we’re running low on it, or interfacing with thedifferent stages of cleanliness of the water in a more intelligent way. at what pointdo you say i don’t want to do that? i don’t want to fight a war to get accessto clean water. or do you turn the problem back inland andsay let’s fix how we’ve ever intersected with our own usage of water, beit for watering plants, cleaning clothes, drinking or taking a shower. >>charles wald: i think you have to make watera holistic issue. and right now businesses a lot of times ithas to do with just purely with a bottom line,

which is a motivation. there’s no doubtabout it, but i think it has to be much more sophisticated. it hasto be more holistic and it has to be done fairly quickly. i mean, as we were talking earlier about thegaza, which last summer the israelis— >>neil degrasse tyson: by the way, when everyonehere has been saying we were talking earlier, we just had a minipress conference with seven members of the press. and so a lot of this came up then. this isthe referencing to earlier. it’s not something that you missed thatyou’re wondering—so, continue.

>>charles wald: but i like your questionsbetter than the press. but in the gaza, as we all know, it’s thesize of washington d.c. that’s very strict structured as people are closed in. and wateris of the essence. they live on the water, but they don’t havea desal plant there. they get their water from israel. and they’reusing so much water that in two years the the aquafer is going to salinate and theywon’t have any water. now, that's going to be a crisis in the makingright there. and we talk about what— >>neil degrasse tyson: you see that comingalready. >>charles wald: we see it coming.

>>neil degrasse tyson: so— >>ellen stofan: well, and i’d like to bringit back to california. and this is where i think the u.s.— >>neil degrasse tyson: and you’re from california,right? >>ellen stofan: i used to live in californiabecause i worked at the jet propulsion laboratory out there for a while. >>neil degrasse tyson: in pasadena, california. >>ellen stofan: right. and i guess to me thefrustration i see is this is such an opportunity for us to leadbecause we look at the situation in california

right now— that it’s suffering a severe drought. they’repumping out their aquafer to grow food for all of us in the centralvalley of california that we all eat. so, if you think, oh, it’s california’sproblem. it’s not my problem. it’s all of our problem. that’s whereour food comes from. and there’s a real issue. reduce becauseof the drought, less snow pack, less water, it’s not recharging the aquafer,it’s not refiling the reservoirs. so, we’re in a crisis right here, and it’sconsistent with climate change. these mega droughts like we’re seeing thesouthwest is consistent with climate change.

so, we have to start valuing water as a preciousfinite commodity here. and, face it, we have the technology. we have the knowhow to lead the rest of theworld. but we need to do it. >>heidi hammel: how can we turn that [unintelligible]around so that water’s not being thrown away, and who makes thatchoice? is it our choice? could we write petitions? >>neil degrasse tyson: do you, as head ofnoaa, suggest that on tv to the rest of the world the way the surgeongeneral used to get up there and tell america how stuff went down?

>>kathryn sullivan: yeah. there’s a bullypulpits are the power of the pulpit opportunity certainty. but water management in the united statesis one step up above the surgeon general. it tends to be municipal and state, it's not federal controlled. it’s not federal regulated, and it’s noteven really most of the data about water usage in the u.s. is actually state and local data.a lot of the many thousands of wells in the country are not listed anywhere. wedon’t know what the real count is, and they’re not metered. so, you don’treally know the usage. so, that plant in southern california builtback when it was built is in the very southern

part of the l.a. area mainly because you wantedit out of your way. it’s an unsightly thing, so they put itout where people didn’t live at the time. and that’s actually slightly downhill. boy, you wish it wasn’t at this point becausenow to turn that plumbing around and be able to reuse some of that water wouldbe tremendous. vegas has had to do this for years. the bigresorts with all their fountains are all closed-loop, not using any freshwater.they’ve got— >>neil degrasse tyson: what’s that informationyou gave us about the per capita consumption

of water in vegas compared with new yorkers? >>kathryn sullivan: yeah. the per capita consumptionof water in las vegas— the number is from a couple years ago. it’sprobably still very close to true. twice the per capita consumption of wateras you have here in new york, but it rains 10 times as much rain in newyork. let me pick up on the point that both tessand ellen have made, too, with another little piece. agriculture’s the biggest use of water innevada. it’s like 90 percent of nevada’s water use.

the agricultural sector in nevada employsabout 6,000 people. the mirage hotel singular in vegas employsmore people than that. so, there are all these odd scale factors. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, the colorado riveri’ve read that— or any river consider it. the river has freshwater because it’s basically rainwater collecting into a basin and finding its wayto the ocean where it’s salty there. and so i have a river adjacent to my town,my county, my state, and i start taking water from the river. ican do it directly from the river, or from my aquifer,

which feeds the river. isn’t that correct,if i understand the little bit of geology that i know. if that’s the case, you’re downstreamfrom me. the river now has less water in it because i’ve sucked it out and used it formy agriculture and you’re a different state. is this the beginnings of state warfare? eventually,what is the flow rate of that river 10 states down the line? and isn’tthis actually happening? >>heidi hammel: yeah. why are you saying thisin a hypothetical way? >>kathryn sullivan: so, the des moines, iowamunicipal utility is in the process of suing three upstreamcounties for failure to manage their feeder

system off the farmlands that’s dumping too muchnitrate into the raccoon river that feeds des moines municipal water. think up land, urban users down land. you’re doing something to the water that’saffecting my ability to use the water. it’s happening in 35—35 states in thiscountry are fighting with each other over water today. >>charles wald: i mean, [unintelligible] coloradoriver, but i was just in ethiopia a couple weeks ago, and they’rebuilding a huge dam on the nile. the nile actually flows toward the mediterranean,obviously, into egypt.

and it’s a big issues with egypt. i mean,they’ve threatened war over this thing because [unintelligible] accommodate how muchare they going to take out. but they’re going to keep it for electricityactually. but they’re stopping the water. and that’s the future. i mean, that’swhat israel having an issue with the jordan river and all that for a long time. so, water warsare not—first of all, they’re not new, but they could be exacerbated, i think. >>neil degrasse tyson: well, what’s goingon— is something in syria going on related towater as well?

>>charles wald: well, they had a dam therein syria at mosul, or the dam that went from mosul down into iraq. and the isisfolks took it over. they got it back. i used to fly over it. but,again, you’re talking about water distribution into iraq, which, again, has a huge moralityissue to it, has a huge strategic issue; a lot of influence. and so those are—we’veseen this in the middle east with some of the activity going there. there is notmorality to the war there. i mean, in some cases. and water certainlyis a target. >>neil degrasse tyson: that’s just an interestingsentence. there’s no morality in that war. it’sjust interesting to me.

>>charles wald: no, i said that war there. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, war there. >>charles wald: well, no, wait a second. >>neil degrasse tyson: no, i was just— >>charles wald: no, you’re right. you’reright. okay, freudian slip. >>neil degrasse tyson: no, no, no. that’sfine. >>charles wald: i’m a military guy. everything’sthe nail. i’m a hammer. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah, i got you. igot you. and we expect that. this is why you exist. tess, let me ask—idon’t really understand aquifers.

and i’m just wondering could you—i sawa map that compared—was it 10 years ago or 20 years ago—the volume of aquifer waterin california relative to today. was it lower or less or where did it go? whyisn’t it there? and could you just give me aquifer 101 because—plus, if we’re goingto find life on mars, isn’t it going to be in an aquifer beneath the soils because on the surface youwouldn’t expect that. so, could you just give me a 101 on this? >>tess russo: sure. aquifers are ground, when you drill a well,

you’re drilling into an aquifer. and anaquifer by definition means that it can provide enough water to be useful. it’sbasically—like if my cup were full of sand, the part that the water goes up to is theaquifer. it’s filling all the pore spaces in betweenthe sediments and the rock, fractures. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. that’s aquafer101. >>tess russo: oh, the california. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah. so, california—becausemy naã¯ve thought is there’s water in the ground. i take outthe water. i water the plant, and the plant uses some of it, but the rest goes in thesoil. and doesn’t it go back to the aquifer?

and i pull out of the well and i drink itand i pee later and it goes back in. where’s the water going? i thought it wasall just one cycle. >>tess russo: so, that’s what the farmersin india that i work with— they think it’s okay to overwater my fieldbecause the rest of it just goes back to the aquifer. but we have to remember the other thing that’shappening: evaporation— >>neil degrasse tyson: but that goes to acloud that then rains later. >>tess russo: right. but the time that ittakes the water to go back into the aquifer is longer than it takes you topump it. and so—

>>neil degrasse tyson: oh, so it’s out ofequilibrium. >>tess russo: yes. yeah. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, that’s different. >>tess russo: and so there are aquifers thatare in equilibrium and that we’re pumping at a reasonable, sustainablerate. and those are fine. and then there’s ones that we’re pumpingfaster than recharge goes back in. we’re actually pumping water that rechargedin a previous ice age. >>neil degrasse tyson: whoa. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. so, why isn’tthat causing earthquakes?

>>tess russo: why is it or— >>neil degrasse tyson: is it not. >>tess russo: oh, it is in some places. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, okay. that’sthe answer. good, all right. >>kathryn sullivan: it’s causing massiveland subsidence in some places. >>kathryn sullivan: you can find telephonepoles in the imperial valley in california where people would put a sign on the groundand take a picture of it. and they come back 10 years later, and thatsign is here and it’s like 100 feet of subsidence from pulling the ground waterout.

>>neil degrasse tyson: well, i missed thesense of where the sign was. so, the sign was high, and then it was low. >>kathryn sullivan: you put a sign on theground. you come back 10 years later. because the land sank, the signis now 10 feet above the current ground level. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, the land sank. >>kathryn sullivan: the land sank. so, youput another sign, you come back another 10 years and there’s100 foot of subsidence from water [unintelligible]. >>neil degrasse tyson: i was just in veniceand they have really too much water there.

venice, italy. and everything’s’re walking on a floor and they said this is the floor of the last century. butfour centuries ago the floor was five feet below you. and so everything’s just sinking, returningto the earth. >>tess russo: but the other thing is in californiait’s sinking, but it’s also rising because they’re pumping all this water outof the ground, which makes it lighter. and then so that crust material that’s floatingon our mantel is now lighter, and so it is more buoyant and it floats up a littlebit. and that’s what’s causing the earthquakesthat people have been talking about in california.

>>neil degrasse tyson: oh, that’s complicated. >>tess russo: yeah. it’s coming up and it’sreleasing the pressure on parts of the san andreas, and so it makesit easier to sink. >>heidi hammel: so, what i’m hearing isthe word disequilibrium, and that sounds like a pretty important word herefor water usage, for just how people are interacting with our planet rightnow is that we are driving it into disequilibrium by where the people aregoing and how much of the resources they’re using. but we’re not actively trying to mitigateit yet. what will it take?

>>neil degrasse tyson: no one’s thinkingabout equilibrium here. it’s not a thought. we don’t know. now,but i’m still in the aquifer thing here. before i flesh that out some more, if we’regoing to find life on mars it’s going to be in an aquifer. why do youthink there are aquifers on mars? >>heidi hammel: well, we have a lot of goodreasons for thinking that. when we take our rovers there and we lookat the geology, we can see— >>neil degrasse tyson: marsology. >>heidi hammel: mars— >>neil degrasse tyson: geo means earth. i’mjust saying.

>>heidi hammel: the marology. >>neil degrasse tyson: marology, yeah. >>heidi hammel: mar— >>neil degrasse tyson: that word sucks. okay,stick with geology. i got you. okay, i’m with you. we look at rocks. andwe look at the rocks and we see layers in the rocks, and the layersin the rocks tell us that at times there could be standing water. it’s notjust layers. there’s also structures that we see— small-scale structures—that we know fromanalogies—studies to earth

that must have formed in standing water. there’schemistry. there’s chemistry we see that we know isindicative of water in the past. and so there are many lines of evidence fromthe spacecraft we’ve sent there that tell us that water is there. but we know it’s not on the surface’s dry on the surface now. dry as a bone. however, we do know when someof the spacecraft have scooped up soil and when they look at it initially, it’svery white and reflective. and then it dissipates. it sublimes. it’s gone. so, it’s strong evidence that there is waterice underneath the surface.

>>neil degrasse tyson: okay, but it’s’s not liquid then. >>heidi hammel: oh, it’s probably not liquid,no. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. so, you wouldn’texpect life as we know it to thriving in ice? >>heidi hammel: not right now. maybe in thepast, though. i think as ellen said, we aren’t lookingfor plants and little green men and women. we’re looking for the traces of biologicalactivity in the past. >>ellen stofan: yeah. so, we’re mostly lookingfor fossilized life, fossil evidence of life.

>>neil degrasse tyson: evidence of life havingonce thrived. >>ellen stofan: exactly. though, there arepeople who believe that scientists who think that life could havegone underground. so, that if you did pump water from deep enough—becauseif you go deep enough down, it actually gets warmer as you go deeper intoa planet. >>neil degrasse tyson: is that true in marsas well. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, so there’d bea point where you’ve liquefied— >>ellen stofan: yeah. there should be actuallya water table deep in mars. >>neil degrasse tyson: i didn’t know that.

>>ellen stofan: if you drilled down to thatand pumped out— >>neil degrasse tyson: about how far? >>ellen stofan: couple kilometers down. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh, that’s all? >>ellen stofan: so, it’s—yeah. we don’thave the technology right now to drill that deep. but you actually have to get a couple metersbelow the surface on mars to get away from the radiation. there’ssolar radiation and cosmic radiation because mars doesn’t have a protective magneticfield anymore.

it used to in the past. it doesn’t now.and so the surface of mars— >>neil degrasse tyson: this would be radiationthat’s hostile to life. >>neil degrasse tyson: to molecules that compriselife. >>ellen stofan: as we know it. but on theother hand, we— >>neil degrasse tyson: if we were all tardigradesthis would not be a problem. >>ellen stofan: exactly. >>neil degrasse tyson: the little water bears. >>ellen stofan: the little water bears. >>neil degrasse tyson: the cutie little—

>>ellen stofan: cute. >>neil degrasse tyson: you ever see the tardigrades?they’re like this big, and you could step on them and they’ll radiate them, squeeze them, heat them, freeze them, freeze dry, microwavethem. did i leave anything out? >>ellen stofan:pretty much you can—they’ll live through anything. take them into space. they live. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah. >>ellen stofan: and that’s one of the things—that’swhat makes us so optimistic

about finding life off the earth because whatwe’ve learned over the last 10 to 20 years is life— we’ve found life in the oddest places hereon earth: extreme cold, extreme hot. life lives in—there’s bacteria that livein radioactive waste. so, life is very tenacious, and that’s whywe wonder could that life on mars have migrated to a point where there is still—andthat’s something we worry about for exploring mars because certainly we wouldn’twant to bring that back to earth. >>charles wald: get a little trifled mixedup here a little bit. >>neil degrasse tyson: what’s that? tellme. straighten me out.

>>charles wald: well, i mean, first of alli love what you guys are doing. and i think that's what america should doand the world should do. we should explore and find out. and who knows?we may have to go live there someday, is the point, i guess. in the nearterm, you’re talking about why don’t we do something in earth. it’s amazing thingbecause you just can’t get people to have consensus around the world. i mean, it’slike in america. okay, well, we’ll give up half our waterfor somebody else. i don’t think so. and so you have this really interesting dynamicin the world right now. and we talked again, previously with the—sorry.

but this dynamic where you almost have tohave, unfortunately, a crisis, i think. >>heidi hammel: the crisis would have to bei’d turn on my tap and the water doesn’t come. >>charles wald: yeah. or you get real thirstyand you die. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah. that would— >>charles wald: but there are places thatthey spend their whole day trying to get water. i mean, and— >>neil degrasse tyson: just to be clear, youcan go a month without food, but you’re dead in 10 days without water.

>>neil degrasse tyson: is that about fair? >>charles wald: if you’re lucky to go 10. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah, if you’re lucky.right. >>charles wald: so, i guess my real questionthere since i— it was a question embedded. what are we doingabout all the cool things you guys are doing? i mean, really tremendously cool. i get firedup hearing about it, to make life here on earth better. >>ellen stofan: well, everything we do atnasa we feel comes back to the earth, whether it’s through technology, whetherit’s through the direct research we do

with our 19 satellites that we do with ourpartners at noaa and our international partners to measureall these things to try to figure out what’s happening on the earth right nowbecause climate change is happening right now. there are streets in florida that flood athigh tide. mega drought in california. the arctic ice is melting. come on, people,what more do you need? climate change is happening. >>neil degrasse tyson: you’re in new yorkhere. that’s fine. we already get it. we got that. all right.

>>ellen stofan: so, certainly we’re workingon that, but the amazing thing is all of this research we do, whether it’s thehealth research we do on the astronauts up on the international space station, a lotof that we bring back to help people right all this technology ultimately helps our ownplanet. >>kathryn sullivan: so, the trick is—thishas been principally a scientific conversation. it’s as you know, chuck, just within thelast not that many years it began to be a national security conversation. andit’s really only just starting to become an economic conversation, i remarkedin our earlier session. the great line that characterized this partof the issue to me was—guess who—

stephen colbert, who said, “hey, if my body’s60 percent water, how come i’m only 2 percent interested?”and you know what, the reason is because it comes out of thewall and it’s essentially free to you right >>neil degrasse tyson: comes out of the wall. >>kathryn sullivan: so, it’s just the takenfor granted routine. and since you only have 10 days to get seriouslyworried about it when you hit a wall, it’s going to get really ugly when you hita wall. this is not going to be sitting quietly inyour living room until you pass away. this is going to phrase society incredibly—

>>neil degrasse tyson: but strategically heresuppose there’s water elsewhere in the world and somehow we runout of water here. that becomes a strategic asset presumablyno different than oil. we’ll start having federal governmentalpolicy related to the acquisition and the protection of that asset. my question to you is, as was discussed earlier,you could bring some fresh water to— now, you have to bring it inland and takeit to the crops. and the distribution of it is a whole otherfrontier than just simply getting access to it in the first place.

>>charles wald: i think there’s a dynamicabout water that it’s hard to even imagine the emotionof it. but i think all of us here would probably do something pretty drasticif we didn’t have water and somebody else did. that’s a terrible thing to think about.i mean, and that would— >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah, but you’repaid to think about that. >>charles wald: well, and i think people dohorrible things when they’re pressured. so, again, i mean, this is one of those thingswhere we talked about energy a little bit and oil.

you could probably work around that could probably live— if it was totally cut off, it wouldn’t workvery good. but if you start cutting off water, this is like maslow’s theory here. i wantmy air. i want my water. and everything else after that is gravy. >>neil degrasse tyson: who— >>charles wald: maslow’s. the maslow’stheory of hierarchy needs. >>neil degrasse tyson: i’m sorry, i didn’t—wemust be reading different books. but that’s a very sensible philosophy. ineed my air. i need my water. after that, life is gravy.

>>charles wald: air, water, food, clothing,shelter, those are the priorities. >>charles wald: and we’re all living prettygood. >>neil degrasse tyson: sex is in there, too,for the species. >>charles wald: it’s there. but you talkabout these problems where in times we’ve got plenty of water is good for us mostly, and we’re not really—i mean, we can gripeabout things that are happening in america, but you go around the world andthere’s some problems out there. and water will be an exacerbator, no doubtabout it, in a big way. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, you don’t reallyhave any hope for the situation.

>>charles wald: no, i absolutely have hopebecause— >>neil degrasse tyson: where you—in fact— >>charles wald: here’s where you have hope— >>neil degrasse tyson: we have to bring thisto closure. i want to hear where everyone’s got somehope. by the way, i try not to have hope because it implies that i want an outcomefor which i have no control over it. and so i’d rather think about things i canaffect, and then you don’t have to hope for it. you can make the change. so, that’s justmy relationship to the word hope.

>>charles wald: i love churchill’s’ve heard it, right? >>neil degrasse tyson: what’s that? >>charles wald: “america gets it right everytime after eliminating every other possible solution.” so, i thinkit’s going to be— it’ll be a pressure issue. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. so, this cameup earlier. we’re going to have to be up against thewall, hitting bottom, whatever is the metaphor. then we’ll respondin some way that will sensibly solve this problem.

that’s what you’re thinking. >>charles wald: yes. >>charles wald: i hate to say it. >>neil degrasse tyson: no, no. we pay youto be real. that’s what that is. >>charles wald: that’s a good point. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah, okay. kathy,as head of noaa don’t just tell us what’s going wrong, fix it. are you in thesolution business or telling-us-what’s-wrong business? >>kathryn sullivan: i think we’re in thesolution business. we certainly have

the science data that paints the landscapethat describes the issue. but going back to our roots to make this informationmatter and make it connect to real-world decisions. so,i get some hope because i think these kinds of issues and the sensitivitiesand the risks they pose to society and to human kind are beginning to connectto the economic world that we live in. and i think—i agree with chuck. pressurepoints that become really demanding is one way this gets solved. economic signalsis another way to change the equation on with what speed are we actingabout this. so, the bloomberg trading terminal—my meeting before this event waswith guys from bloomberg today.

they’ve incorporated water scarcity intobloomberg— >>neil degrasse tyson: this is bloomberg financialmarkets. >>kathryn sullivan: the bloomberg financialmarkets and their business information circuit. so, folks that are in investment banking orthey’re doing big construction projects or they’re doing mining or they’re citinganother business. you can now overlay and say, hey, this takes x gallons of waterto do your business process. and you think you’re putting it there. that’snuts. it’s too risky for your business’s too risky for me to finance you. it’s too risky for me to insure you.

>>neil degrasse tyson: because the data containsthe content in the aquifer from which it’s drawing water. >>kathryn sullivan: it contains a total pictureof total water scarcity and water— look, water stress can be the availabilityof the resource. it can be political instability. it can be regulatory uncertainty.all those things go to how reliable is that water supply that you’re— >>neil degrasse tyson: that’s a new featurein your capacity to make a business decision on the bloomberg terminal. >>kathryn sullivan: it starts to change howthe big economic drivers

of our world are shaping their decisions,i think, is a second pathway to start entering social decision making andpolicy decisions. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, my wife told meearlier that she thinks just the way to solve this is make sure everything costs exactly whatit actually cost. >>kathryn sullivan: make sure it cost anythingclose. anything above zero would be a good thingin water. >>neil degrasse tyson: and then people willthink about how they’re using water. >>kathryn sullivan: yes. you’ll start weighingthat against other things that are important

to you. when you find out that, hey, if i use thiswater twice—once for my dishes and once through a filter to put it on mylawn—it saves me $10,000 a year. >>neil degrasse tyson: people would do itlike that. >>kathryn sullivan: yeah. and they can dothe equation that says, hey, that’s worth the $500 water filterthat otherwise i probably wouldn’t bother with. >>neil degrasse tyson: the key phrase thereis they can do the equation. is that what you’re assuming?

>>kathryn sullivan: people could do— >>neil degrasse tyson: this is america we’retalking about. >>kathryn sullivan: yeah, they can do theirhousehold consumer budget. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. if they coulddo the equation with home mortgages, we wouldn’t have—they can do the equationis a big step, i think. tess, you study these problems, but what areyour solutions? >>tess russo: well, so i’m working on anumber of solutions, but i agree with chuck that we’re going to have to hit the wallbefore people are taking action on this. but the good thing about that is that hydrologyis really local,

so that people are hitting the wall alreadyin certain places. and it’s not catastrophic, but farmers incertain parts of texas and certain parts of kansas are already making decisions abouthow to better manage their farms and what technology they should be’s just going to spread. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, not everyone ishitting the wall at the same time. >>tess russo: exactly. so, you have a littlebit of time. it’s not just 10 days to die. it’s like your neighbor is going to startadopting something because his well goes dry first, and then it’ll spread. orthat’s what i think. so, there’s a bit of hope.

>>neil degrasse tyson: okay. and what is the—wecan say it and we want it to be true, but we kind of have to wait until we see itto then agree with you that all this investment in high technology made bynasa applies back to earth eventually. so, is there any focusing of this expenditurewhere we can then say, yeah, i’m going to wait? that's going to be agood one that’s going to help—let’s keep an eye on that one. >>ellen stofan: you don’t have to wait.that’s the good news. because, for example, just a couple monthsago we launched a satellite called the soil moisture active passive mission.that’s getting data on what fields

are wet, what fields are dry, what regionsare wet, what regions are dry. that’s just one of the many sensors we have— >>neil degrasse tyson: wait, this is satellitethat’s monitoring crops. >>ellen stofan: it’s monitoring the groundto help understand not just weather and climate, but to helpfarmers make decisions about crops. that’s just one of the many satellites thatwe have working, again, with noaa with usgs. >>neil degrasse tyson: is that because farmershave been overwatering crops, for example? is that a problem? >>ellen stofan: yeah. because if they don’tknow—if they think,

well, i don’t know if the field— >>neil degrasse tyson: doesn’t the farmerknow when the corn needs water? >>ellen stofan: they know, but they can getit to a much more precise level. there’s an incredible amount of water inagriculture that’s actually wasted. and so if you can fine-tune the amount ofwater you make, you actually make a huge difference. we have that technology. working with allour partner agencies, we’re gathering it. and i think what kathy was alluding to, evenmore importantly, there’s people who now see economic value.this isn’t just data for scientists. it’s information that a company says, well,i can work with farmers

and actually make money off of this. and that’s what i hope is going to drivea lot of the change, is when the private sector says, ah, there’s money to be made in that helps all of us. it becomes a virtuous circle. we start usingless water. we still are growing crops to feed the world, and we’re all better off. and we’re notjust doing this. we’re not just providing this in the our own farmers. we’re doing it for farmers around the world.kathy’s agency and nasa work together

through multiple programs to help farmers,to help scientists around the world use this data. so, it’s not just the u.s. benefiting fromit. >>neil degrasse tyson: just to cap beforei get back to heidi here, kathy, what percent of all freshwater is used forcrops? >>kathryn sullivan: so, the total freshwateron the planet it about 2.5 percent of the total water. the rest is salt and other things. >>neil degrasse tyson: it’s only 2.5 percent?

>>kathryn sullivan: it’s only about 2.5percent and only about .4 percent of the total water on earth is the drinkable, usable water. and 90 percent roughly globally of that isused for agriculture. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay, so— >>kathryn sullivan: so, we’re living onless than half a percent of the total water on the planet. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. let me just getyour percentages in the right sequence here. so, 2.5 percent is the total amount of waterwe’re talking about right now. >>kathryn sullivan: freshwater.

>>neil degrasse tyson: of the 2.5 percentthat is freshwater, 90 percent of that is used for agriculture. >>kathryn sullivan: basically, yes. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, the remaining 10percent of 2.5 percent— >>kathryn sullivan: wait, wait. correction. >>neil degrasse tyson: busted. all right,tess, what do you have? >>kathryn sullivan: get it right, tess. >>tess russo: no, so the 2.5 percent is thefreshwater. two-thirds of that is in icecaps. a thirdis underground.

>>neil degrasse tyson: busted, okay. icecaps,all right. >>kathryn sullivan: what she said. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. i was askingthe wrong person. tess. >>tess russo: no, but kathy’s right. it’s70 to 90 percent of the freshwater consumed in the world goes to agriculture. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay, could there bea day—if it all goes to agriculture, could there be a day where we no longer drinkwater? that our water is completely consumed viathe water content of our food. >>kathryn sullivan: oh, now you’re askingphysiology questions?

>>neil degrasse tyson: yeah. i don’t know. >>heidi hammel: you don’t have the rightpeople on this panel. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay, sorry. all right.i was just wondering. just wondering. >>tess russo: oranges, coconut water? >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah, i don’t know. >>heidi hammel: watermelon has a lot of water. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah. it does. allright, coconut water. yeah. we’ll solve this problem.

>>tess russo: coconut water’s— >>neil degrasse tyson: before the night’sover. so, heidi, i know you don’t build machines such asthis, and you think about water in the solar system. do you have any really long-term thoughtsabout how we might use the water that’s out there? or is it really just an exploratory frontierfor you without the practical application? >>heidi hammel: so, the exploration of thesolar system i see as science and engineering. that’s what we do at nasa. we do scienceand engineering.

and i ask the question: what do you need tosolve these problems that you’re talking about? you need young people who are educated inscience and engineering. and so it seems to me that there is a naturalconnection. and i don’t mean that just because i geta lot of my funding from nasa. there’s actually economic studies of engineers.forbes had a survey of engineers— thousands of engineers. and they asked: what’syour dream job? and they all said— many. i think it was something like 70 percentsaid working for nasa. now, these are not engineers that actuallybuild spacecraft, these petroleum engineers

and engineers who are developing automotivesystems and all kinds of engineers. but nasa’s what’s inspiring them. so,i view what we do as bringing that into the equation. somewhere out there right now there is a littlegirl, and in about 20 years— right about the timescale we’re talkingabout that we need someone to help solve these problems— she’s going to be there. she’s going toher school library right now and i guarantee you she is not getting a bookabout desal. she isn’t. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah, i’m with youon that.

>>heidi hammel: and she’s probably not goingto be studying aquifers. she’s not looking at resource utilization.and i know these things because i have kids and i’ve worked in their libraries. they’regetting out books about black holes, which are just as esoteric as those otherthings, but kids love that. so, nasa plays a very important role for ourcountry, inspiring people, inspiring kids. i mean, the kind of stuff— >>neil degrasse tyson: this is where the musiccomes in as you— >>heidi hammel: so, sorry i don’t have theanswers, but i’m trying to get the people out there who will have the answers.

>>neil degrasse tyson: yeah, i got to agreeentirely with heidi on that because the universe is quite the force ofattraction for kids in middle school and high school—a gateway science, if youwill, to think—you know i’m right. you just know— >>kathryn sullivan: hey, i was one. >>neil degrasse tyson: right. we only havea couple more minutes here. general, let me ask you a question. do youreally foresee wars over water going forward? i mean, are your people who are still at thepentagon—are there whole situation rooms where they’re plotting what kind of warwould occur in the presence of scarcity of

water? >>charles wald: yeah. >>charles wald: no, so it isn’t the typeof war it would be. it is a war. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, what you’re sayingis it’s a strategic resource. >>neil degrasse tyson: therefore— >>charles wald: so, i think there’s a highlikelihood—unless something changes— there will be serious conflict over waterin the not too distant future— 15, 30 years. maybe before that. and i thinkthere’s already been conflicts over water in different ways.

>>kathryn sullivan: that’s what i was goingto say. there’s some convincing evidence that libyaand syria and the unrest there has got an underpinning of water stress anddisruption of livelihoods. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay, i know i’veasked that question, but i’m going to go back to heidi for a happy thought to end the eveningon. i know i asked for that, but i’m going to try to get a happy thoughthere. so, do you see this movement into attracting kids into space sciences as—could it really bethe solution to all our problems?

especially since space has unlimited resourcesand unlimited energy. would you agree? >>heidi hammel: well, yes. i don’t thinkthe movement is to get kids into space sciences. the movement is to get people thinking scientificallyand appreciating science, appreciating engineering. they don’t needto be astronomers. they don’t need to be space scientists.but they need to be educated people. that’s the goal. >>neil degrasse tyson: ladies and gentlemen,let’s thank our panel. i think, heidi, you could end any panel onthat we need to be educated. that’s what that is. if we bring up thelights a little bit and we’re going to take

some questions. i think we actually have the question microphoneup here on stage. so, if you walk up i can hand the mic there.we’ll take questions of the panel. oh, we do have a microphone right here. isit live? it’s going to be in a moment. so, you can come on up. i don’t know ifwe’ll have a second one on this aisle. we’ll spend about 10 minutes in q&a justso we can hear what you’re thinking about what just unfolded.why don’t we start here? someone come on down, and i’ll hand youmy microphone. come here. okay, go.

>>question: okay, so i just—a lot of thepanelists were saying how america has to lead the world. but how are we bringingthese developing countries who don’t necessarily have the resourcesto maybe follow in this technological path? how are we bringing them on board into somethingthat requires this long-term investment? >>neil degrasse tyson: how old are you? >>question: thirteen, mr. tyson. >>neil degrasse tyson: whatever you’re doing,keep doing it. all right? yeah, sure, ellen. >>ellen stofan: i just got back a couple weeksago from south africa where

i was speaking at a science festival for kidsthat about 70,000 kids came through. and i was working with the ministry of scienceand technology in south africa, and they said their principle focus rightnow is human capital development. how can we get our citizens—we talk aboutstem education, the importance of having stem education. >>neil degrasse tyson: stem, science, technology,engineering and math. >>ellen stofan: engineering and math. andcountries that i visit around the world, that’s a huge focus. theylove to have people from nasa come because we have a great brand and weactually get kids excited not just in the

u.s., but all around the world. so, countries understandthis. and then we have programs— we work with nasa. we work with the u.s. agencyfor international development. this one program we have called servir wherewe go and, again, we take our data. we help scientists, engineers in those countries— in countries that are really struggling howto use this data. so, we’re not just throwing it over the transom and saying goodluck, world. we’re actually out there working with people.noaa does this. nasa does it. it’s really important that we actually getout there and help people use our data.

>>neil degrasse tyson: and led off with thefact that a big piece of this is the intellectual capital as well. >>charles wald: let me go back to the question[unintelligible]. why is it only the united states? are we theonly people that can lead? no. but we need to provide leadership. ifyou look at our foreign aid budget, for example, you’re talking about how doyou make other countries help themselves. our theory when i was in the european committeewe had africa in our area of responsibility was help them help themselves.not lead for them. not do it for them. help them become self-sufficient.our foreign aid budget is—

most people take a guess. i mean, what doyou think our foreign aid budget is? >>neil degrasse tyson: every time i hear it,it always was lower than i thought it would have been or should havebeen. >>charles wald: it’s 1 percent. >>neil degrasse tyson: one percent of thefederal budget. >>charles wald: one percent of the federalbudget. we put $40-some billion a year into foreign aid. and the amount ofability for countries to take care of themselves to be more stable, which isreally what we’re looking for— i mean, our job in the military is get outof the business.

>>neil degrasse tyson: exactly. >>charles wald: and so, yes, 100 percent weshould do more and more of that. and, by the way, none of these problems areever going to be solved by the united states alone ever. i mean, it’sgoing to have to be a global issue. so, that’s your job. >>neil degrasse tyson: you’re [unintelligible]into this. but you briefly mentioned something that’sa famous—it’s an adage or an epithet. the ultimate task of a general is to lay downhis sword. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah. put yourselvesout of business.

yes, over here, go. >>question: okay. you’re talking about—isthis coming through? >>question: okay. you’re talking about thewater shortage, which is really aggravated by global warming. most scientistsagree—or actually nearly all of them agree— that it’s real. that you get politicianswho are ignoring it and actively denying it. it’s like they were being paid off by thefossil fuel industries. why is there such a controversy about theoccurrence of global warming? what is preventing people from realizing howreal it is? >>kathryn sullivan: i’ll take a shot atthat one.

>>neil degrasse tyson: okay, go. >>kathryn sullivan: two-prong answer. oneis it is such a massive disrupter that human inclination to really want proof,proof, proof positive, which means you’re going to wait too long.but there’s another dimension to this question. change is happening. it’s clear in the’s clear on the ground. noaa has an agreement, for example, with thewestern governors association centered on water and water data. so, these same folks will ask me when i cometalk with them to please not say the c word, but they also know their ranchers and theirfarmers and

their municipal water managers are seeingchanges now. they know that they can’t—the statistics, as neil saidbefore, the patterns they were used to that worked for decades when they built theirbusinesses or built their water system, those patterns are falling apart because thepatterns are changing. that’s real. it’s being seen. that’s becoming partof what’s undoing slowly the political backlash against accepting humanforcing. look— >>neil degrasse tyson: the pope just talkedabout climate change today, i think. is that right? >>kathryn sullivan: well, and look whetherit’s the planet itself or i did it

or you did it or god did it or whatever, ifthe patterns are changing underneath a country of 300 million people and the economy thatwe have, that is all at risk. at some level it doesn’t matter what theunderlying cause it. the society as we know it, the economy aswe count on it, is at risk from these pattern changes. no business, if they saw their forward prospectshifting this much, would ban the word price change. they’dgo try to get information about what the nature of the risk might be and howto prepare for what’s coming. and that’s slowly—too slowly—beginningto happen.

>>neil degrasse tyson: so, what you’re sayingis they’ll catch up once further evidence of this affects their pocketbook. >>kathryn sullivan: they’re responding tothe symptoms now. the resistance to shift the energy economyis just so disruptive economically that’s a tougher pill to swallow. >>charles wald: probably got to worry aboutclimate change is there’s a zipper effect. if you get down the road too far you can’trecover. and so for anybody in the world that thinks climate change is a hoax or somethinglike a couple of our people in washington do, it’s almost immoral.

>>question: but they keep doing it becausethey’re getting paid off. >>neil degrasse tyson: yes. question righthere. >>question: i was wondering if in terms ofthe negative of the economic cost, if that outweighed the small abundance ofwater that you receive from the planets and having to build the toolsand the crafts to actually get up to the planets and if the economic cost outweighed the abundanceof water you actually received and had brought backto earth? >>neil degrasse tyson: man. >>kathryn sullivan: are these guys all fromthe same school?

>>neil degrasse tyson: what’s in the watersupply? is that what we’re talking about here? heidi,why don’t you take that? >>heidi hammel: yeah, sure. so, to make surei understand your questions— i’m paraphrasing it—you’re asking isit cost effective to go and get water and bring it back here because it cost somuch to get out there? >>question: yeah. i mean, it cost so muchto build the crafts to actually mine the water and build so much to build the craftsto get up on to the planets to retrieve the water. i was wondering ifthe— >>heidi hammel: you’re coming back to thescalability question.

does it even make sense to do that? and, yes,it does cost a lot, but the goal is to—i would imagine—here’slong-term thinking. not 20 years. not 30 years, but maybe 50 or100 years. if there was a way that we could develop aninfrastructure— >>neil degrasse tyson: okay, this is whenyou’re 63. this is what she’s talking about. all right,go. >>heidi hammel: but life expectancy will bemuch longer 30 and 40 years from now. so, build an infrastructure wherewe don’t have to rely on one-offs. and then you could think more reliably aboutgetting some of this water back to us.

or maybe by that time—i’ll pass this overto ellen—nasa will have a system that we can actually be exploring some ofthese places and going to places we know there’s lots of water like europa, for example. then we don’t have to worry about bringingit back here. but we will, i think— to address the concerns at the other end ofthe panel, we will have to be solving problems righthere on earth. i don’t think that nasa is going to be able to solve earth’s waterproblems by bringing water to earth. i think we need to change. we need to adoptmitigation strategies here on earth on how we’re currently using water, andmake sure that the cycles that we have are

robust. >>neil degrasse tyson: i can tell you this,if you go to europa and bring water back— whatever it cost—you could probably sellit for a lot of money. imagine bottle water from europa. oh, my gosh,that would totally rock. >>heidi hammel: awesome. >>neil degrasse tyson: i’d— >>kathryn sullivan: you’d buy that one. >>neil degrasse tyson: i think i’d buy.i want to say if you ever find life on europa, they would be called europeans, right? isthat what that—

life on europa. it’s europeans. >>heidi hammel: i think that was already usedsomewhere. >>neil degrasse tyson: oh. time for just acouple more questions. sir, yes? get up nice and close to the microphonethere. >>question: al right. this question’s actuallyfor dr.— >>neil degrasse tyson: closer to the mic,yeah. >>question: this question’s for dr. russo.i guess it’s more of an idea-based thinking. you were talking a lot about how it’s about700 million people who don’t have access to clean water now, which means—

>>neil degrasse tyson: is that right? >>tess russo: it’s way more. >>question: it’s more than that by now,right? >>neil degrasse tyson:try keeping it in front of your face. >>question: just trying to get an understandingof if there was a product or a widget or an infrastructure that wasbased solely to fix that issue, where would it start? would it be the transportation of the waterbecause of the amount of time it takes— the amount of time they spend getting to thatwater source and bringing it back home?

would it be in the filtration process, usinglow-end, low-budget options to make that happen? something like that would bepretty effective as a product. >>tess russo: right. so, most of the placesthat i’ve been— >>neil degrasse tyson: thank you. >>tess russo: —people are walking far toget to clean water. so, they’re walking past dirty water toget to the clean water source. so, i wouldn’t say it’s in the transportationof clean water from that. it’s in some method of filtering that dirtywater, treating that local dirty water source. and there’s a lot of really neat technologies.there are little straws that you can put

in the dirty water and drink through and lowcost technologies for filtering. so, i think there are a lot of people workingon that, and they’ll be making progress. >>neil degrasse tyson: i’m surprised everyday i walk into a grocery store and there’s a kiwi there for $.50 that camefrom new zealand. if you can bring me a kiwi for $.50 from newzealand, why can’t you move water around? >>tess russo: i don’t know. >>neil degrasse tyson: i’m sorry. we havetime for only two more questions. i’ll take one from this aisle and one fromthat one. sorry for the rest of you. yes, go ahead.

>>question: so, you were talking before aboutgrabbing a comet and taking the water from that comet. but yousaid parking it somewhere. how would you—if you somehow managed tograb ahold of the comet, how would you manage to stop it? because there’snot a lot of friction in space. >>neil degrasse tyson: you’re not supposedto ask that kind of question. i was just coming up with an idea. i was justtrying to solve it. now, you got to get all technical on me. howold are you? >>question: thirteen. >>neil degrasse tyson: you’re how much?

>>neil degrasse tyson: thirteen. where didall these 13-year-olds come from? damn. what’s going to—what are we goingto—what? why am i walking that way i have no, is there an orbital thing we can solve here, ellen? >>ellen stofan: yeah. so, when we were firstlooking at the asteroid retrieval mission, the option we’ve gone to is one that wouldgrab a boulder off a large asteroid and bring it back. but the first concept we looked at—fastenyour seatbelt—was to go and bag an asteroid. >>heidi hammel: a big bag.

>>ellen stofan: a big bag. no, small asteroid,big bag. but the cool thing is, first of all, you have to match—the asteroid’smoving and tumbling, so you take your spacecraft there and youget your spacecraft to be doing the same thing the asteroid is doing. >>neil degrasse tyson: well, you have to catchup with the asteroid first. >>ellen stofan: you catch up with it. >>neil degrasse tyson: it’s got its ownorbit around the sun. >>ellen stofan: right. and then you get intoorbit around it, and you synchronize your motion with its usingyour retro-rockets.

then you bag it, and then you slowly, slowly—so,that you don’t rip your spacecraft or the asteroid apart—start firing yourrockets to get it to start doing what you want it to do. and they actually did all the physics andmath to work all this out. and they actually said we could actually dothis. it was really cool physics, angular momentum, all kinds of cool math that you might thinkis not so fun. really cool stuff. >>heidi hammel: and i just want to mention,too, that we’ve actually done something— we humanity. i’m using we in a very largesense here. we have done something like this.

the europeans actually sent a spacecraft rosettato a comet, went into orbit around it, deployed the little lander. how many of youwatched that little philae lander? i mean, how cool is that? so, we do have thetechnologies, as ellen said. your question like where would we bring itto, well, that’s the part of the equation we haven’tsolved yet. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. but you haveto orbit it around earth in some near distance. >>heidi hammel: maybe. >>ellen stofan: you could put it around themoon. you could put it in orbit around the moon,or you could put it at a lagrange points.

>>heidi hammel: you could put it lagrangepoint. >>neil degrasse tyson: the lagrange point.there are five lagrange points. you want to tell us what they are? >>heidi hammel: sure. l-1, lagrange pointone is the easiest to understand. we’re just talking about the earth and themoon. >>neil degrasse tyson: yeah. so, here we are. >>heidi hammel: yeah. so, you’ve got theearth here and the moon there, and you could imagine that there is a pointin here where the pull from the moon— the gravitational pull from the moon—isthe same as the gravitational pull

from the earth. so, if you put a little beadthere or a spacecraft or a comet, it would just sit there. that’s a gravitationalstable point, lagrange 1. lagrange 2 is on the other side. yeah. didyou hear any of it? >>heidi hammel: lagrange 1 is here. lagrange2 is here. and i can’t remember which are three, fourand five. they’re scattered [unintelligible]. >>kathryn sullivan: three is a million milesaway from the earth on a line to the sun. we have a spacecraft on its way there thatwill arrive in june. >>neil degrasse tyson: so, these are gravitationallystable points where you can put stuff and it’ll just stay there. andin fact we are exploiting this fact with our

spacecraft. james webb space telescope, the follow-onfrom the hubble, is going to l2. that’s the earth’s sun l2, i think. >>kathryn sullivan: yes, that’s correct. >>neil degrasse tyson: not the earth/moonl2. so, you put it there and it hangs and it doesn’t fall, if we’re going to lasso a comet— if we’re going to bag a comet, you stickit there. you go up, scoop out some water, go back as often as you want. >>heidi hammel: earth/moon l1. we didn’tanswer the gentleman’s question

about accomplishing the orbit change. >>neil degrasse tyson: he’s 13. >>heidi hammel: kind of put his finger righton those [unintelligible] spot. >>neil degrasse tyson: okay. how do you accomplishit? and, by the way, the bagging part—not to speak for you, buti want to get this out there— remember we said earlier the structural integrityfor many of these objects, first, is unknown to the precision we need, but alsothe ones we do know about it doesn’t take much to break them, you can’t just start tugging these things around

and expect them to stay as some solid piecewherever you put them. so, that’s a big issue here about how you’regoing to move around stuff in the solar system these smaller rocky bodies. >>ellen stofan: but once you control its spinand its orbit, then you fire your rockets and you change its, it’s all in bringing a lot of fuel with you. >>neil degrasse tyson: you are the last question,so it better be awesome. the pressure’s on. okay, go. >>question: okay. so, i don’t know if anyof you are fans of musical theater, but there

is this— >>neil degrasse tyson: that’s a segue foryou. i’ve heard that one. whoa. >>question: there’s this musical calledurine town, and basically it’s about a severe water shortage in thistown— >>neil degrasse tyson: urine spelt u-r-i-n-e? >>question: yes. >>neil degrasse tyson: yes, okay. >>question: yes, pee town. and basically there’sthis class system based off of who can afford water and whocan’t. and it’s like there’s this whole

song dedicated about how it’s a privilege topee and you have to pay to go to the bathroom. and then there’s riots about it. so, doyou think that system like that where water will become so scarce and valuable thateven if you had access to it, it would be only in the higher echelons ofsociety? and then the lower echelons would just be peeing in bushes and not—drinkingtheir pee and stuff like that? >>neil degrasse tyson: so, the new class system.the rich people get water. the poor people don’t. the reason why that’sunstable is because the rich people need the poor people to mow their lawns. they’llhave to keep them alive.

that’s my solution to that. what do yousay? >>kathryn sullivan: well, you touched on agreat point because a premise of water globally has been there’s a publicgood, there’s a moral public good dimension to even if you start putting price on thewater, somehow we have to make sure that even the least of us have the water neededto survive. so, chuck and i have talked and alluded to a bit, it’s a penny a gallon.that’s nonsense. it’s more precious to us than that. howdo you put a price signal on it that starts to change behavior and incentivize the kindof technology investments we’ve been talking about without creating the moral andsocial problem that you’re talking about?

no one knows that answer yet. but it’s one of the real tension pointson the decision about do you price water. do you turn all the municipal, publicallyfunded water systems and let them all become private sector operated, which willjust be pricing tiers and subscription services? and too bad if you can’t affordit. or can you somehow build into that a public obligation even for the private sectorcompany to make sure that everyone’s got some key needs met? and then who gets to define what the somekey needs are? >>charles wald: i’ll just tell you thatwe have got—never get even close

to that because human nature is such thatpeople can be really ugly when they get to that point. that would beawful. >>neil degrasse tyson: quick reminders ofour jungle roots, our caveman roots like that. what we call civilization is in fact fragile. what i’d like to do—if i have the wholepanel toast you, the audience, with a sip i don’t have a glass, so i got to use thething. all of you thank you for coming for this, the 16th isaac asimov panel debate. we toastto you all. we’ll see you again next year. thank you.


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