Hey hey hey! And welcome to BigAppleSchool podcast – the weekly English show where we speak about everything under the sun. The major goal of this show is to help you improve your English and of course learn something new. My name’s Katya, I’m your host, and today with me…
The whole crowd, everyone’s here. So today we are going to discuss the topic that I gave a little bit of a teaser about already. So if you are a careful listener, then you know what the topic is gonna be.
We know there’s mostly careful listeners.
So and just as usual we want to ask these careful listeners to help us, you know, to help us grow, to help us improve. So can you do that? You can support us by subscribing to our pages on Apple, Yandex, Google, Vk or any other platform where you listen to our podcast.
How else? You can rate and review our podcast, give us stars, leave comments, ask questions and even send your ideas about next episodes. All of that really helps us to improve! So and be out there in the top. I think we are now actually in the top 10 of the educational podcasts. And all of that is thanks to you, dear listeners.
Educational podcasts on what? On iTunes?
Well, at least… I don’t think on iTunes, cause it’s international, but on Vk for sure, we are in the top 10.
That’s why I came here today to educate myself by listening to clever people.
You have a very high opinion of my intellectual, you know, abilities.
Speaking of clever people.
So we are here with Masha to listen to Benjamin and Gary talk about…
In the vain hope that there will be some wisdom here. More than you might find on 15 minutes on Wikipedia.
Wisdom and informative stuff and yeah.
Well definitely more than you can find, you know, within 15 minutes on Wikipedia, cause our podcast is about an hour long, so you know. 1 hour of best quality knowledge and information.
Best summaries of the best knowledge.
Yes, of the best Wikipedia articles.
And precious experience of life.
Exactly. So yeah. So but we are here today to talk about that thing that I mentioned last time that I saw Gary and Benjamin, which was space. But it would be, you know, maybe not fair to talk only about space today, that’s why we’re gonna have…
Too small of a topic. Let’s broaden that out, space is a little too small.
That’s right. Let’s broaden that out with what else?
With ocean. Cause you know, there’s this constant debate, what should we explore? We, as humanity, ocean or space? And I wanna start with ocean and ask you how much do you actually know about it?
So 70% of the world mass I believe is water.
And what’s interesting about that is how the human body is also 70% water.
So a cucumber is 90% water, we are basically a cucumber, covered with skin.
Well now we’re getting a little too deep here.
Let’s leave biology till next time.
Yes, that’s next time. Teaser for next time.
Listen for that next time.
Are we cucumbers or watermelons?
Well depends on your, you know, figure type . I’m definitely more of a watermelon.
Is it a topic of conspiracy theories?
Oh wow! We have a lot of things covered over here. But okay, so 75% of our planet is water. What else do you know about ocean?
And 95% of this water is not explored yet. So it means that I personally know like almost nothing, close to nothing.
Yeah, so even despite the fact that I watched some like not scientific but kinda popular tv shows when I was a child, about ocean exploration made by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, do you know this guy?
French guy who was an ocean explorer and a scientist and an inventor. Well, he was a lot of things.
But actually it’s so hard to imagine that it’s only 5%.
Well it’s a big amount of water, yeah.
Well, fair enough, fair enough. I actually have a question. Now, remember your school days.
I wish you could see Gary’s face right now.
He’s trying so hard to remember.
Remember your geography lessons. How were you taught? How many oceans are there?
Well, aren’t we all taught that there are 7 oceans. Or 7…
So Ben was not listening carefully during his geography lessons.
I love geography! I love geography!
Well 4 I guess. The Pacific, the Indian, the Atlantic and the North ocean, right? Something… I’m not sure about the fourth one, I mean, is it the ocean or is it not?
There’s not a lot of oceans actually. Pacific, Atlantic and Indian? Yeah.
Pacific, Atlantic, Indian. You said the Arctic ocean?
Yeah, cause when I was at school, we had only 3 oceans.
That was a long time ago…
When I was at school we had 9 planets in our Solar system. And now we have 8. So things are changing.
So the reason why I ask I that for example I remember being taught that there are 4 oceans, so Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic and Indian. And then I talked to some of my students and they are like, you know, we had the topic of genitive singular and genitive plural and I’m like how many oceans are there?
And they said five. And I’m like wait a second, what do you mean five? There are four oceans. They are like um, no, there is Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Indian and South ocean. I’m like….
Now I haven’t heard about that and I went to, you know, check that. Guess where?
Well where else would you go?
So and it turned to be true, there are 5 oceans. It’s just, you know, earlier they used to stick to the, you know, to the theory that there are 4. Now they have, you know, separated one of them as a separate ocean which is the south ocean.
Well there is a phrase in English, it’s the seven seas.
That’s probably why I said 7.
It might be, yeah. Across the seven seas, it’s like… Is it a metonymy or something?
Like some certain kind of…
Case I do remember very vividly hearing the word seven seas.
Yeah, it’s like the whole world. I’ve been across the seven seas means…
Everywhere across the globe.
How many seas have you been to?
Boy. I don’t know. Pacific and Atlantic.
But I mean what about the seas? I know it’s not the topic of the ocean, but I’m just curious. Since you’ve mentioned seven. Cause I’ve been to zero. I’ve never seen a sea with my own eyes.
What about Boston? Did you not check it out the coast?
Oh so you’re talking about seas now.
Yeah, seas are what the Caribbean, the Bering sea, Bering sea? Between Alaska and Russia? And of course the Sea of Okhotsk.
Well, you know how I used to think that Obskoe is a sea when I was a kid.
I was very disappointed when it turned out it isn’t. Yeah. Alright, and…
Yeah, I don’t know what other seas. There’s probably would seem that there is even more than 7 if you start…
Oh yeah there are so many of them. So many. Yeah. Okay. I just got curious, you know.
South China sea, yes? The South China sea? That’s off of China and goes into Malaysia.
Yeah. Have the contested area and warships.
Okay next time we have a map in front of us.
I think it would help actually, yeah, I think it would.
No, no. That would ruin the spontaneity.
Masha I’m with you on this one.
I just desperately want to have a map.
So and what about the history of ocean exploration? So what do you know about it?
Mister Thomas Cook that’s one famous name that we can add to it. Christopher Columbus.
Can you, you know, give us the time frame maybe? I mean, what century was that? I mean Columbus was 149…
The 15th century, the end of the 15th century.
I actually opened a real book, you’ll be pleased to know.
Not Wikipedia. But I opened a real book with pages in it.
That’s the kind of commitment it takes to have a great, one of the top 10 podcasts.
On Vk. But anyway, the exploration… There was a little bit about this, it was a 15th century, it’s when it started. Columbus was 1492, famous date. The Portuguese were kind of the first to really get systematic about it. I learned this from this book.
And there was a fellow named Henry the Navigator in Portugal and this became a national project of Portugal which is kind of a small country and it faces the Atlantic and so it doesn’t face Europe and it’s kinda looking out by geographical position.
And led by this, I guess he was what? King of theirs, he was interested in exploration. They began to explore down in the Africa, there was some kind of a war there with the Muslims at the time and then beyond which indicated there was a lot of wealth there.
Because it happens that the place that they won the battle and it was full of all kinds of wealth that had come across Africa through all these trade routes that were already there. And so this intrigued him for a variety of reasons and so they began to just explore down the coast of Africa gradually, gradually, gradually.
And over 150 years of this kind of a national project, they ended up finally going around the Cape of Good Hope, which is the bottom of the Africa and then up toward India where there were already trade routes. From East Africa.
This is why Angola speaks Portuguese, why Mozambique speaks Portuguese, you have many different colonies.
Yes, there’s Goa, in India, and Macau.
But anyhow, that was kinda the eastern…
Wait, you’ve mentioned the Cape of Good Hope – was that the voyage of Vasco da Gama?
In like the 15..something?
I think it was the late 15…
1598 I have some… I have put that down. The voyage of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer.
He’s the one who travelled around the world? Is that… Anyway, I hope I’m not giving bad information.
I wonder what his boat was like. What… How he survived on that boat for all that time. Because obviously nowadays we have such luxuries that we could not…
Well they were of course stopped… They were as I understand, they were hugging the coast.
So they never went into, you know, into the…
Well after a while they did go out which is by the way how the Portuguese ended up in Brazil.
Was that one of their boats kinda went off course and it was trying to go around Africa and Africa and South America.
Well of course at that time they did not have that advanced navigation.
No. They were at the mercy of the events of natural forces and so that’s how the Portuguese ended up involved in Brazil. After that…
But of course, you know, if we think about, you know, all these like water exploration, it all started even before that. I mean, you know, people have been interested in what’s down there in the water since like 4000 BC when they started, you know, diving, you know, to see what’s there. And then we had in what? 900 AD we had Vikings expeditions.
You know, to explore what’s out there. To conquer the countries. So where did they go? They went to Iceland, to colonize Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland.
So they ended up being in Canada and North America, yeah.
Yeah. But it is, you know, it is indeed interesting how all these ships looked and what they were like. Cause, you know, when I think of Vikings, you know, I imagine these huge ships that are impossible, you know, to destroy. But maybe that’s because, you know, of different books and films and whatnot.
How those ships were powered by pure human strength, what, this is Viking ships…
It was rowing oars, right. I think… Did they not have sails? Didn’t they have sails? Portuguese of course had sails, I think, you know.
It’s fascinating. And I’ve just seen… Many years ago I remember looking at a book and reading about surgeries on old ships and for instance if something bad happened to you, you have your arm or whatever limb amputated on the ship and it was just… Well it was horrible.
Well it was either that or be thrown, you know, above.. What is it? Overboard? Overboard.
Overboard, yeah, overboard, yeah.
Yeah. So it’s kinda like the lesser evil in this case. To be eaten by a shark, to drown or to have your limb cut off.
It’s an old medieval situation, standard medieval choice.
You know what’s interesting though? So Vasco da Gama, it was 1598. But then in 1622, which was only 22 years later, there was the first submarine that was invented. Of course it didn’t look, you know, the way we would imagine it now, but it was, you know, a wooden submarine shaped thing, which was reinforced with metal and then covered with leather.
Yeah there’s nothing as solid for a submarine as a good leather covering.
Right. But of course, you know, it was not, well, it was the human force, so they had the oarsmen, yeah.
So how deep would that go? What, a meter deep?
To be honest, when I read about that, I thought that it would just go all the way down and never go up.
That’s what it probably did, yes, right.
You know, all the metal, and you have no engines.
The plan was not to go back.
Just a weird looking coffin basically.
Well they never said, you know, that they would go up, you know, you would explore the ocean.
We just never said you would go up.
Take all your secrets to your grave.
Right, yes. Your watery grave.
You know, speaking of submarines, not connected with exploration. But I have a story, so. When my mom and I, we were going to China in 2011, we tried to get our father with us and we were like come on, let’s go with us, you’ve never been abroad. And he said I have been abroad. We’re like ho you haven’t.
Where have you been? He’s like in Vietnam, we just didn’t go to the surface. So he was on a submarine in Vietnam. Like that does not count! So.
Yeah I guess if you fly over a country it doesn’t count, so I guess…
It doesn’t. I would even say if you’re at the airport of the country it doesn’t even count.
Yeah, it doesn’t really count.
That is to all our listeners who’ve been counting their countries.
So I have a question to Benjamin. Do you remember anything about Cutty Sark? Cause it also… I remember visiting it…
Oh yes, a Cutty Sark. In London, in Greenwich.
In Greenwich. So what role did that play? What was it used for?
To be honest I’m quite embarrassed, I actually can’t say. But I just remember playing next to the boat. It’s quite a fun boat to look at. It’s in Greenwich, it’s right by the river Thames. And it’s just docked there. Well, is it the one in Greenwich or is it a boat by… On the South Bank?
It is in Greenwich, so it is the Cutty Sark, yeah. I just remember loads of kids who play around it and go…
It’s huge, it’s like a museum now.
It was like from the end of the age of sail, right. And so it there was a thing to race to India, right.
I remember it was used as… To bring the, you know… That’s why I try to remember – did it go to China or to India? Cause I remember it was bringing, you know…
Cause I remember when you’re inside there are a lot of interactive exhibits for the kids. Well, I was very curious, you know, for me as well. So I remember seeing big, you know, huge boxes with the word tea on it. And then you know I remember something about silk, but I don’t remember when it was used. So I hoped you would remember.
I actually do not know. I really should know to be honest.
I’m gonna guess, based on nothing that I was… Based on almost nothing that it was maybe like 19th, well it was before powered engines which was like, maybe… It would have to be the 18th century, have to be the 1700. Like that.
But it’s a very big and beautiful ship. You can go inside.
Yeah, the ships were beautiful, yeah.
There are a couple of ships, I can’t remember the name of the other ship, there’s also a great ship on the South Bank in London for anyone who goes to London, definitely check it out. If you’re a school child, you can spend the night there on the boat which is pretty cool.
Yeah, I remember my brother had a sleepover or something on the boat with some school friends, I think it was a little school-organized event.
Wow. Have you ever been maybe in a museum or something in a submarine? Like have you ever had a chance to go like inside?
I believe I did, I can’t remember which one it was, but submarines are so fascinating, they are one of my favorite.
I mean it’s just a scary thing to get involved with them. So fascinating.
Yeah. Remember all of these like movies about catastrophes happening on submarines.
I’ve been fascinated by the documentaries about U-boats, the Nazi U-boats and how terrible they were. But how vicious they were at fighting and how… I mean…
They were really destructive, yeah.
Yeah they were a really scary experience.
So they were Nazi submarines that essentially attacked merchant ships travelling from America to the UK to bring over supplies. And they would sink all the supplies cause obviously the UK relied on the US for food and other weaponry et cetera.
And the U-boats were vicious and absolutely terrifying to be on. So yeah. I mean, essentially there would be times when there were no lights inside and they were all just cramped together in this tiny metal coffin and yeah. It was… Check out the documentaries on Youtube.
Yeah U-boat is like under sea boat. Untersea boat or something, German.
If you ever go to Baikal, by the way, you can get a chance to go inside, in a museum, to go inside in a submarine, you know, it’s tiny. Which are used to explore, you know, the deep lake life. You know, so yeah, you can get inside and now they’re working on the interactive, you know, screen so they can show you what the explorers and the scientists saw at the bottom of the Lake Baikal.
So if you ever go, check this out.
Actually, was this the boat that President Putin went on? She went to the bottom of the sea, I remember seeing a video like that.
It might be. Yeah. It might be so. Alright. So and then if we continue talking about exploration of the ocean. I’m sorry, I wish you could see Masha’s face right now. Are you absorbing…
She’s learning so much, yeah.
That’s the look of someone really learning a lot.
Enlightened, being enlightened.
So and then in 1853 they started researching the deep sea life, cause until then, you know, there have been a lot of debate as to whether, you know, sea life is present under, well, 500 meters and lower. So and then there was a coast survey that examined, you know, the east coast of the US and they did find indications of life in depths over 6000 feet which is like 1800 meters.
So and that was in 1853. So and I think that’s fascinating, you know, that they could go…
How… Did they go that deep? They didn’t go that deep.
Well… I don’t think they went in like a submarine, but… What was the question?
How would they measure that at that point?
That’s a good question! Something to look up.
Actually, maybe they were doing something as weird as putting out a rope with the weight on it.
Yeah, just… I mean, literally, a physical, not a rope, but a steel cable.
But how would that give them, you know, an indication of sea life?
Oh they’re looking for life?
Yeah so they indicated that there is sea life. Deep sea life.
Well I guess if they pulled something up? I don’t know. I don’t know how you’d do that.
Well something to look up I guess. And then in 1925 they started the mapping of the ocean floor. So it is still, you know, a work in progress of course given that we only know about 5% of the ocean. So yeah. And they started with the German vessel Meteor which sailed around the Atlantic ocean taking these, you know, detailed measurement.
There is a word for the profession, oceanographer. Is that one…?
Yeah, I think so. So my sister’s friend right now is in… Oh my goodness, what is the sea that is above Murmansk? In the North of Russia.
The White sea? Is that the white?
Anyhow, so my sister’s friend right now is working on the mapping of the sea floor. Not the ocean floor. The sea floor, yeah. In that part, yeah.
And isn’t the deepest part of the world, isn’t that Mariana Trench or something like that?
It’s crazy deep, I think something like 7 miles deep which is…
I think it’s like Everest is vertically above ground it’s like 35 thousand feet which would be about 7…
Yeah that’s the altitude of a commercial airliner flight.
11 kilometers? Oh you and your feet!
Yeah, probably 11 kilometers, sounds…
Anyone in aviation uses feet essentially. I believe Russian pilots use feet, have to use feet too.
Might be so, yeah. But we, you know, simple people who do not understand this. So but yeah, the Mariana… What is it called? The Mariana…
I can’t remember the exact… But it’s bloody deep, it’s really deep.
Yeah. Have you ever heard about any crazy discoveries? I mean something that was discovered in the ocean or found in the ocean?
Like the Bermuda triangle or something? Something scary, mysterious?
I mean we are definitely going to talk about it! We can talk about it now! So what do you know about it? So what was it? What is it?
Well I Just know a lot of aircraft and a lot of boats that have approached that particular area have disappeared.
Well actually it’s been a long time since I last read or heard about it. I thought that maybe they finally explored it? But well…
I think they just avoid it, you know, when they plan the route, like the, you know, when you go on a plane or on a boat, they just try to…
So it’s still a mystery, isn’t it?
I believe it is a.. Yeah…
I think, you know, people think like…
Yeah, yeah, restricted air space, yeah.
It sort of became a thing I think in the 70s maybe. It became a pop, a popular phenomenon.
Wait, so first of all, where is it?
Well Bermuda is off of Florida, it’s in the Atlantic, would that be North Atlantic ocean?
I’m not sure it’s around Bermuda, I think its point starts from Bermuda, maybe it’s somewhere between… It could be around Bermuda.
It is between Bermuda, Miami and Puerto Rico.
Oh wow. That’s lower than I thought it was. Okay.
So yeah. And what is… So yeah, and the idea is that a lot of airplanes…
Strange things happen there.
Strange things… That actually gave rise to a lot of guess what? Conspiracy theories.
So what theories have you heard of?
Oh, to be honest I haven’t heard of any theories. I mean, maybe something to do with UFOs perhaps?
I don’t even know if they had it, that’s it…
Like the aliens kidnap ships and crafts from there? Maybe.
That’s one of the theories.
That’s what I just… Ah, okay.
That’s actually one of the main theories that’s like supernatural.
That’s a solid theory. The rest of them are pretty speculative, but this one sounds pretty solid.
That’s exactly what is happening, of course, of course. How else would you explain it?
Right, there’s no explaining except that. I’m satisfied.
Wanna go explore? Meet the aliens?
Okay, kinda far. It would take a lot of time.
And that’s how the ocean is connected to space by the way.
See? See what Maria has done over here?
That’s right. Still waters run deep. And she was holding back, pretending that we know a lot about oceanography and here she is, uniting space and water.
I was looking at Maria like do you have anything to say? And I can see you’re like not my time to shine yet, not my time to shine yet. Now is my time to shine!
Now! Get out the sunglasses! Or you could be completely blinded!
But you know, funny as it may sound, actually a lot of people believe this theory that, you know, since there is no explanation as to why the aircrafts have, you know, disappeared or ships have disappeared, they say oh, this is supernatural. This is definitely supernatural, it might be the aliens, it might be the…
Well, it’s one of the theories about the aliens. One more theory is that there is some kind of a, you know, deep sea monster who devours, you know, the ships and whatever. So, maybe the stories about Cthulhu and all that, you know, they’re not fake, fiction. You never know, you know.
But the scientists say that most likely it’s about the hurricanes and changes in weather, you know, that happen in that area. So but yeah, but it’s still up to the debate. Yeah I guess a lot of people are just thinking better safe than sorry, we are not going there.
Well there are quite a few restricted air spaces, for instance over Everest around that southern part of China and around Nepal it’s restricted air space because if anything happens, you could end up dying and I guess Bermuda…
There are a lot of situation when you’re flying in an airplane where you can end up dying. But okay. I mean if you have an air crash, you know…
No I mean… I should’ve explained it better – if you crash there is no way of being saved, it’s really difficult to be saved.
Yeah and when an aircrafts fly over large ocean, they need to have special ratings. I think it’s called e-tops rating.
See how Benjamin got us back to the aviation?
But we’re still keeping about oceans here. If you fly over the Pacific ocean, just imagine if there is an emergency with the plane, for instance, you can’t just land anywhere in the ocean.
Thank you so much Benjamin. That’s exactly what I’m going to think about.
If you wanna fly from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, I definitely…
You know it’s like, it’s like, you know, your friends before you go, you know, fly, they are like have you seen the news? It’s like when I was taking the train, remember I told you? I think I might have told you about it, when I was taking the train from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle. It was Amtrak.
Before my train, just one week or even like 5 days before that, the same very train, going the same very route, got off the track, so there was a crash. And they’re like have you seen the news? Have you seen the news? I’m like I haven’t, but I hate you right now.
So all my way from, you know, from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, I was looking out of the window and I was thinking, cause most of the way is – you have a mountain on the right, like, literally, I mean it’s like one meter away from you. And ocean on the left. And I just kept thinking – okay, if we go off the rails now, I’m dead. So, Benjamin, that’s not what you say to people. Cause now I’m gonna be paranoid when flying.
Well it’s not like you are going to fly tomorrow. You will forget.
Right, yes. The wonderful…
Just don’t listen to this podcast before you fly, that’s all.
Don’t review that. What was that thing that was so dangerous again? My flight’s tomorrow.
No no no, I was supposed to forget that. Okay. Let me not think about that.
Let me not lower that one on my…
On my phone. Yes. Listen to it all the way to the airport.
Yeah. And on the way, you know, on the plane. So any crazy discoveries do you know of?
Well there’s multicolored fish at the bottom of the sea, you know that fish that have electronic LED lights. And it’s absolutely insane.
Having a party over there.
Yeah, that <…> What do they call them?
Lumina? Luminous? Not luminous, but there’s something…
Sounds about right actually.
But they’re absolutely amazing, they look like a Tokyo building. It’s absolutely amazing.
I know that, you know, for a long time there have been theories that there can’t be any, you know, life too deep down there. But then, when they discovered, you know, some fish that live nearly at the bottom, like the blob fish.
I was actually gonna mention the blob fish, yeah.
Yeah. And what about the immortal jellyfish? Have you heard about the immortal jellyfish?
So it lives for how long?
It’s in the word immortal. Make a guess.
But how long does it… I mean…
So it’s literally immortal. So they don’t think that it can, it ever dies. Because they have found this jellyfish and apparently it has the ability to revert back to its, how do you call it? Like polyp stage, so its juvenile stage when it faces, you know, any kind of danger. So basically it escapes death, so every time it’s some kind of death danger, it reverts back to being a juvenile, just tododo. Goes and lives for as long as it wants to, until it faces, you know, death again.
So if you believe in reincarnation, you don’t want to be reincarnated as this immortal…
But you know, the scientists… The scientists, when they discovered this, they have a lot of hope. Cause now they’re trying to, you know, research this jellyfish cause they believe that this may hold the cure to cancer.
Cause, you know, if they find the mechanism that helps it to regenerate, to revert back, they might use it, you know, to apply to our cells. So they have a lot of hope about this jellyfish, so they are doing a lot of research on it. So yeah. Okay.
I know tortoises live a long time too. But maybe not immortal.
Yeah they just… How long can they live? Like 5-6…
Over 150 years I believe. They live a long time.
But you gotta be a tortoise all that time. So it’s not all glamorous.
It’s a dream of an introvert. Slow, don’t see other, you know, people or something. Especially if you are somewhere on Galapagos – dream life of an introvert, really.
Alright. But don’t be discouraged to introverted listeners. We’re not comparing you to a giant sea tortoise.
They are marvelous creatures!
If you… I would take it as a compliment, you know. Like if I’m compared to, like, a cow, that might raise some questions.
Wait-wait. Tortoises don’t swim, they don’t swim, yeah.
Turtles swim, tortoises don’t.
Well in Russian they’re called сухопутные, so dry part. So yeah.
Yeah. But both of them, both tortoises and turtles, live a long life. Like more than a hundred-something years. And now let’s use that way, passage from the Bermuda triangle to space. And talk…
I hope you, podcast listeners, were listening carefully, right, to that.
I’ve been waiting to, you know, use this joke since Masha has mentioned this, so.
You know, you know. Doing my best.
I’m not a very funny person, but I’m trying. Sometimes.
Well speaking of space, we just have Jeff Bezos, we had just had Richard Branson and who else?
Just the two of them I suppose.
I believe there was a third, no?
Elon Musk, yeah, exactly, Elon Musk.
But he is a little bit behind right now, yeah?
He’s lagging, he’s lagging.
Well let’s say he’s not behind, he just has different priorities.
So he would never, you know, go that low as to go to the surface of the… No. No. But Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson - what about them?
Well I know Jeff Bezos went up with an older lady.
And he spent 10 minutes in space I believe.
Well, technically it was not space.
It was like the edge of space.
So technically… You know, he did that and he said that he wanted to get that… You know, the pin that the astronauts get when they go to space, you know, they get this pin from NASA, like I’m an astronaut. So but the NASA said that…
Right on it, I’m an astronaut. But they say that he cannot call himself an astronaut cause technically he never went to space. And then later, they restricted the rules and now they say that an astronaut is not only somebody who just went into space, but also somebody who has, you know, helped the industry or helped the research somehow.
So and Jeff Bezos did nothing like that. So he never helped, you know, never helped NASA, never helped any research. He did nothing like that. He just flew to the edge of space. And that’s what he did. So they say we can’t accept that.
Sorry. No I’m astronaut pin.
No, no. Not even a postcard, you know, nothing like that.
A mere tourist, but a very rich one. Actually…
Do you mean mir as in the MIR space station? Or do you mean like…
So what else do you know about Bezos/Branson?
Well I read that Bezos went higher, but Branson spent more time in space or on the edge of space. Like about an hour. Yeah. And actually they went almost together, within like one week difference which is interesting.
Right. Well, I think the way that worked is that Bezos had announced, months ahead that he’s gonna do this thing. And then Branson decided well if you’re gonna do that thing, I’m gonna do the same thing, but a little bit earlier.
Yeah. Have you heard about Bezos and NASA? So right now NASA, you know, the NASA space exploration program is working together with Elon Musk. And they are paying him 200 million I think. So in order to, you know, create the rockets and, you know, provide all of that.
So Jeff Bezos said if you work with me and my company, I will pay you 300 millions. So and now NASA is seriously considering, cause now they are paying Elon Musk 200 million. And if they work with Bezos, he will pay them 300 million.
Alright. Well this is the kinda thing you can do if you’re worth $100+ billion.
Oh yeah if you have a lot of zeroes in your account, yeah, that’s true. Now he’s trying to steal the spotlight.
Something about this doesn’t appeal to my sense of the way space should be.
What is it? Let me guess. Hm.
Well, I remember… I know it’s on our outline, but I remember…
That could be a smooth transition Gary.
Well it probably won’t be. But I remember the space program when it was a space program in the 60s. And that was extremely serious, it had political aspect, it was a kind of a national mobilization. It was extremely… People respected the danger of it.
They respected the accomplishment that was involved. It took like I don’t know… 10% of a budget for like 10 years, the entire federal budget. It just… 200 000 people were involved in the whole thing to make it happen. I mean it was just an extremely serious sober thing. And this, the way it is now, it’s sort of a…
Yeah it’s an entertainment.
Well but there’s still, there’s still a lot of research being done, they still, you know, they still need a lot of funding. But what is different now I guess is that they need even more funding than they used to need. Because now it’s further, you know, they have bigger goals. They need more resources. And well, money is one of the most important resources they need.
Yeah. And there’s plenty of money on the private sector. I mean I understand why they’re doing it.
And it is, I’m sure it’s put dynamism in the process that wouldn’t be there if it’s the government trying to do something, you know. But it’s just the atmosphere of it, you’ve got branding and, you know, everything’s got…
I would say that most of the, you know, most of science, no matter what kind of science that is, is now financed by the private sector whether we want it or not.
Well obviously you have the Chinese government too which…
Yeah which is… Now there’s a political aspect kind of.
Well the Chinese government has… Well China has its own space program as well.
Do you know anything about it?
Not too much. I believe they have aspiration to go to the Moon.
I believe they do, I’m not sure exactly. Maybe for satellite.
Cause I remember we once talked about it when we talked about the conspiracy theories that now basically, you know, there’s no need to go there to the moon. Cause the point was just to prove a thing.
Now it’s not like it was. There’s… It’s not even not a real space race. Not at this moment.
So they have some kind of a different goal then?
Maybe, perhaps, to disrupt telecommunication systems of superpowers. Perhaps that could be a reason why, if you have that power leverage over a country, then perhaps it’s worth a couple of rockets.
Yeah and it’s just the old national pride, you know.
Does not sound very promising to our safety as a world, but okay.
It does not, it does not, yeah. But it’s also just national, it’s still just national pride and China is the new guy on the block. And the proverbial elephant in the room. I mean but everybody’s talking about them so it’s not like they’re not known.
But so I think they’re… The US went to… I think China has recently landed on the other, the dark side of the moon. Which other countries had not done, they’d done that. I think they went to Mars. A lot of people went to Mars at the same time. United Arab Emirates went to Mars.
Wait wait wait wait wait.
No, not a human. Nobody has gone to….
What they sent like a robot module kind of thing.
Oh yeah there have been plenty of them. Like a poor Curiosity who sings Happy Birthday to itself once a year.
Have you heard about how when they… How do you call this thing like Curiosity? Like, what is it? A station? It’s not station. How would you call this?
It’s not a module, is it?
I was gonna say module, yeah.
Okay, let’s call it a module. So have you heard a story how before Curiosity the, well, NASA was sending another module to Mars. But there was a little bit of miscommunication when they thought that the data was in miles and feet and pounds and everything, so they applied that.
But it was initially in kilograms, kilometers and whatnot. So and they crashed the module on the surface of Mars. It never did anything, it just crashed upon landing. Because there was miscommunication in the, you know, in all that. So yeah. Can you imagine crashing a multimillion dollar module? Because you misunderstood something, oh my goodness.
It does, but that’s possible.
You know what I was surprised about? It’s that space is, you know, we have the same situation with space as we do with the ocean – only 4 to 5% of visible universe is explored. So, only 4%.
I would be surprised it was even that much.
That would feel like it would be .0001.
Yeah but we’re talking about visible universe and then…
Even the visible universe, it’s just…
I feel it’s more than the ocean if we compare like the numbers, kilometers and years.
Oh yes, oh yes. It’s like millions and millions and million times…
So we know more about space.
Well I mean if you compare it to the ocean, I mean space is bigger, you may say so. But if we talk about, you know, about percentage, about the percentage. 5% of the ocean, 5% of the space, so. But why don’t we talk a little bit about actually the exploration of space? So just the key moments in history. Just very briefly, to revise them.
It was 57. And then 61. You should learn that for your exam.
Okay. Then what was next?
Like Apollo Moon landing?
1969. When I was a… I remember being in first grade, which would have been 1961 and I think I remember the wield in the television and we watched John Glenn, this was the first US man I think orbit…
Well there was in 1958, there was the first US satellite that went into orbit and then in 1961 there was Alan Shepherd who became the first American to fly into space.
I think this was John Glenn…
And then in 1962 it was John Glenn who had the flight…
Yeah but he was the first to orbit the earth.
To orbit… Yeah I think I sat there and watched that in my little world. And I definitely remember, I’d already mentioned this in our podcast, I mentioned taking photographs of the Moon walk. Yeah, which was a big event. And then I was old enough to sort of understand what’s going on and be interested in it kind of.
Yeah and then later it got more advanced, more detailed. So we managed to get, you know, the detailed images thanks to the Voyager space craft of Jupiter and Saturn, and their rings, and their moons. And have you seen these, you know, the pictures. The pictures that they used to have, something like, you know, in a telescope of… I think it was Jupiter and Saturn, you know, being just a blob basically. And they’re like see this dot? This is a planet. And how detailed the pictures are now!
This is fascinating! You can basically see what the surface looks like.
Yeah, I mean you can watch a video of one of these vehicles, right, rolling around on Mars.
I mean full, you know, 4K probably or something. I don’t know, really high quality video.
Can you imagine telling, you know, people from the past, from like 1950, even like, just 1950 when there hasn’t been any kind of a, you know, flight into space or around the earth. Nothing like that yet. That just in 70 years time, 80 years time we’ll be able to see that. Unbelievable! Just wow!
Yeah. So and what do we know about our galaxy? So our galaxy. Wait, what is our galaxy? Is it Milky Way?
I looked this up and it’s… I didn’t know that I understood this or forgotten or whatever, but yeah, we’re in the Milky Way galaxy. Is that how you understood it? Does that sound..? Our galaxy is the Milky Way.
And then we have 8 planets now?
So we have the solar system, e have the galaxy and we have the universe, it’s like…
Can you dumb it down to me?
So we have the solar system on our 8 planets, with Pluto, which is the 9th.
Then bigger is the galaxy which is the Milky Way and bigger bigger is the universe.
It has multiple galaxies.
Yeah so we still don’t know whether it’s finite, you know, it might be infinite. But so in the galaxy… So we have the solar system. But it’s just a part of the galaxy. So does that mean it can be, that there are other systems?
Well our Sun is, with the solar system around the sun, that’s a star, it’s a star. And when we’re looking out there… But I looked this up, I mean, it’s from Wikipedia, so anyway… It says that just in our galaxy, just in our galaxy, there’s other galaxies, it’s estimated to contain between 100 and 400 billion, with a B, stars. Okay.
You know, sometimes people compare themselves to a speck of dust, you know, in the bigger picture. We are not even that.
We’re not even an atom in the bigger picture.
Yeah I have done my thing on this where I said I’ve done this here, but this is a comparison that is an actual fact. It’s a way of visualizing stellar distances, meaning distances between stars. And have I done this? Does this sound familiar? Okay. What you do is you take and you get out your printer and you print a, with a 12 size font, you print a period on a piece of paper. And put that here. Okay.
You take a tennis ball, you take a tennis ball, okay, and that’s gonna be… That’s the sun. Now, okay.
Dot is the earth, the tennis ball is the sun. Now, we’re not in a very big room but if you take a room a little bit bigger than this, it’s maybe 6 meters across and I stand on one side with my piece of paper with a 12 font dot. And you stand over there with your tennis ball that’s the sun. The question is where is the nearest star? Where…. Just we’re talking about the proportions. Okay. Where is the nearest star?
Krasny Prospekt maybe. I don’t know.
На Урале. It’s in the Urals.
That’s the nearest star. One star. One star.
I think we need to stop the podcast and need to go have existential crisis.
Everybody needs to lay down on a pad, that’s the way I feel. And there’s 200 to 400 billion stars.
That’s crazy. I thought I was being ridiculous by saying Krasny Prospekt. But it’s actually… It’s the crazy part.
No, no, I mean, that’s preposterous. I mean it’s just so far.
To be honest, I think my human brain cannot even process that.
Yeah, I know, this makes me sick.
You know, they say that once a person starts to understand, you know, things about life and something, they go crazy. So I’m afraid if I actually imagine this, I’ll go crazy.
Well I tried to do it when I was a teenager. I used to ask lots of questions. But I don’t know why, but for me, to me it sounds calming, It makes me calm down, like… Oh, everything is so big and I’m so small.
For some reason it makes me…
It makes my head spin. Yeah, it really bothers me. I mean if I really…. It really bothers me if you think about that, for me anyway.
I know, it does bother me too. I’ve looked at videos of space before and it’s terrifying, yeah.
No one denies that. Yeah. But it’s also terrifying in this way how tiny, unimportant we are. Yeah I do, I do start having existential crisis, so yeah. Okay.
Before I fall into this void..
If life falls apart for ya after this, you’ll know where it started, yeah.
It all started, you know, right here. That very moment. Yeah. So, wait, so what are the goals maybe or the objectives of space exploration now? So do you know what they want to do next? What they want to find out?
To find a proper planet to colonize…
So we can just give up on Earth. We have already spoilt it, so okay, let’s go to next one.
I think NASA has actually, you know, suggested that Mars could be a suitable…
Well I think that’s what Elon Musk…
Well he’s going… Well not only is he thinking, he’s going to Mars in 2024 and he’s selling tickets for that now.
I would believe that. And it’s just, you know, to think that Mars is going to be a great idea as opposed to the Earth I think is not very clear thinking. He hasn’t thought that one through.
You know, it’s weird how he says you know, yeah, we need to go to Mars and something-something, I’m selling tickets, it’s a one-way ticket, we’re not coming back. And he’s like yeah, a lot of people are gonna die during the colonization process and he laughs. And you’re like now, that looks a little bit creepy, but okay.
I mean there’s plenty of people that would do crazy things like that if you think about it. There are over 7 billion people in the world, there’s always some crazy person out there.
Well, but this crazy person has a lot of money, status and he knows how to make people interested in all of that.
He does. And he also knows how to do the mechanics of it.
He can bring the rockets back and reuse them and all those wonderful things. But I mean are we ready? Is anybody really gonna live on Mars?
Maria do you remember when we talked about different universes, we mentioned the universe… Well not the universe, oh we were talking about sci-fi, we talked about Ray Bradbury. And we discussed how in his books he described different inventions that people laughed at at the time. You know, like earphones, things like that. And people were laughing at him like that would never happen, that would never appear. Tadam! We have these things.
Well, lots of science fiction writers were real visioners.
But the reason why I mentioned him is that he has a whole series on Mars colonization, you know. So, who knows? Maybe he was the one who actually…
But in his books Mars was, well, had the same problems as the Earth.
That’s true. Well because…
No matter where people go…
They take themselves with them.
And well, I’m not sure about Elon Musk, I think that maybe he’s more of a dreamer and a businessman than a scientist. So maybe he just…
Well, I know, but still… We need to… We need to try to keep the earth. Because that’s the planet for us. And we need to explore and try to save it, really, because I’ve heard… I’ve listened to an interview with an Astro… Like, guy who explores space. What do we call them?
No, he doesn’t go to space, he explores it. Like….
Yeah, kind of astronomer, and he says that well, Elon Musk is a great guy, but he’s a dreamer because we will not be able to live on Mars. We only have the Earth, so as an astronomer, he says like let’s keep it for us, let’s save it.
Okay, alright. So let’s come to the first and the biggest question then. So what do you say – should we explore the space or the ocean?
I mean space is cool, but the ocean, yeah, it’s right in front of us.
Space is cool and romantic, it brings lots of questions and lots of dreams, but ocean can be really helpful source for us. Like it can be a source of different, well, we can make lots of discoveries in the medical science, in biology, in, well, like climate science and everything.
Because for example ocean can absorb CO2 emissions, ocean can be the source of food. And the source of useful, like, bacteria which can lead to drug development and so on.
Even the, you know, this immortal jellyfish – who knows? What if it really, you know, what if it really helps to find the cure? You never know! Gary, what do you think? Space or ocean?
Well, I’d go for both. How about that?
Oh no, you can’t do that.
I think space needs a vote here, so I’ll give my vote for space.
I actually have written a little list of why people tend to vote for space rather than ocean. Do you wanna hear it? Do you wanna? You don’t look very enthusiastic, but you know…
You don’t have a choice, so I’m gonna say… So but I have noticed that in general, you know, space stories are generally positive whereas ocean stories tend to be rather, well, negative. You know, how space stories they trigger your imagination, you know, for example, wouldn’t that be amazing to find life on other places?
Or wouldn’t that be amazing to know what’s out there? Whereas ocean stories are more mundane, like, oh, we are overfishing, how are we gonna feed 9 billion people by 2050. Cause, you know, by 2050 they say we’re gonna have 9 billion people.
And they say by 2040 there is going to be more plastic in the ocean than fish. So you know, that’s what they are trying to, you know, to prove, to say. So and people, you know, don’t like that. They want the romanticism as you’ve said.
And people maybe tend to think that space promises something and the ocean doesn’t promise anything. Because it’s on our planet so… What is there that we don’t know? It’s just so boring. And deep. And here it’s like space is something above, maybe someone will come and help us. Or something like this.
Yeah. Will you say that space research is very effectively marketed thanks to that, you know. Just think about all of that, whereas, you know, ocean tends to be more scientific. Cause it’s all about, you know, science and how we can use that. And it’s not really, you know, interesting to the public as such.
Yeah. Okay. I would also say that usually when it comes to space exploration, there is no call to action, it’s just look how beautiful it is, we should do it! We should do it! Whereas when people, you know, the oceanographers who explore the ocean, they usually after any research they make, after every expedition they have, they have a call to action, like stop polluting!
Stop, you know, reduce your plastic usage! Stop dumping things into the ocean! They always have these, you know, desperate cries. So and people also, you know, tend to move away from that to the promising…
So what you’re saying is that ocean has bad PR.
Oh very! Very! Marketers who are responsible for ocean exploration – do your job better! Attract people!
Stop showing the seagulls and the plastic in their mouths.
Yeah. So yeah. I believe that, yeah, they should change, you know, the promotion maybe. And also space is amazing, of course, it’s beautiful, it’s hard to… It’s impossible to understand the whole of it, of course. But ocean is right here and we need it to survive.
We might not, you know, we might live long enough, you know, to have enough of water or whatever. But what about future generations? They might not have enough clear water or fish or anything like that too soon. So yeah, I would vote for ocean. So 3 versus 1. Sorry.
Well alright, well, I’ll…
That’s right, we’ve decided, we need to tell the heads of the countries that we’ve decided that.
Let them know that it was 3 to 1.
So will the budget be bigger now on the ocean exploration because we have voted for it?
Of course, I hope so. Actually there have been, if you ever have spare time, watch the debate between NASA astronauts and oceanographers. So there have…
So there really is a debate?
There is a debate and it’s, you know, they have been public and it’s, you know, that was brutal at times. You know, it’s even… Well, I can’t say funny, but there’s more action than in political debates sometimes. I mean, yeah.
And I actually wonder what our listeners think. So do you think there should be more of space exploration or should we explore the ocean? And why do you think so? We are really interested in getting to know what you think. Is that so? Right?
Am I the only enthusiastic person? Like please, I wanna talk to people.
Yes, guys, let us know, let us know.
Yeah, that’s right. Let’s see that vote thing, let’s see those hands go up across the Internet.
You may help, Gary, you know, win this. So.
Yeah, help me out here. Right. Feeling a little strange here with all these ocean people and I’m looking out to space.
Alright. Alright so that was the BigAppleSchool podcast and today we discussed space and ocean. Thank you for listening and remember, if you struggle to understand our conversation, you are always welcome to our website, which is…
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