Enriching Education

Climate Change: A Planetary Perspective, Prof. Oded Aharonson



Video from TEDxWeizmannInstitute

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences.

In the midst of the heat of the climate change debate and the chill of winter storms, humans are learning about the natural phenomena and workings of other planets, thus gaining perspective on their own Earth. We live long enough to notice our climate change over decades, but changes on timescales of tens of thousands of years require a geologic eye. Other planetary objects, like our near neighbor Mars, or Saturn’s enigmatic moon Titan, are natural laboratories for scientists to examine such changes in a broader context. Spacecrafts probing these objects offer a glimpse of worlds with changing atmospheric dynamics, waxing and waning polar caps, histories of seas now gone, and complex orbits that influence conditions at the surface in surprising ways. In his talk, Oded describes the evidence for climate change on other planets, and attempts to add perspective to planet Earth’s place within these worlds.

Oded Aharonson is a professor of planetary science at the Weizmann Institute of Science. His research focuses on planetary geology, geophysics, and dynamics. He is a member of many spacecraft investigations of solar system bodies, including the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Cassini mission to Titan. He was also the mission scientist for the first Israeli mission to the Moon, SpaceIL. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in applied and engineering physics from Cornell University, served in the Israeli Air Force, and, after earning a PhD from MIT (2002), served as a professor at Caltech for a decade. Recently, Aharonson returned to Israel and directs the Center for Planetary Science established at Weizmann.

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