Cosmos: Heaven and Hell

We take the stability of our lives and our surroundings for granted much of the time, and we seem to share the collective belief that the universe is somehow uniquely suited and designed to sustain life. In fact, that's the lucky exception and not the general rule: we know of only one place, one tiny place in the entire universe where we would not violently die in a matter of seconds, and we happen to live in that small cosmic Alcatraz.

Still, there is no guarantee that we won't be pulverized any minute now by the collision of our planet with some massive celestial object, or by the eruption of a super volcano, or even by our own stupidity and lack of foresight.

In today's documentary, Carl Sagan explores the conditions that make our neighbor Venus one of the most inhospitable places in the entire solar system. Sagan then meditates on some of the lessons we could all learn about our own planet and the way we treat it. Our children will inherit this pale blue dot... are we leaving it a better place than we originally found it? Is the sum of our trivial satisfactions and luxuries worth the cost of the health and safety of future generations?

Maybe we could all learn a lesson from Moctezuma and shoot all the astrologers whose predictions turn out to be false, and while we're at it, why not also go after investment bankers too? :)

Check out more episodes from this great documentary series.
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