Beyond Earth – talking about space travel


This week we’re learning more about space travel and planetary colonization. Charles Wohlforth discusses his new book, Beyond Earth, and answers questions about humanity and its potential for reaching new worlds. It’s a scientific, and economic, examination at what it would take for humans to leave this planet to explore new worlds and possibly colonize them.

From a leading planetary scientist and an award-winning science writer: a propulsive account of the developments and initiatives that have transformed the dream of space colonization into something that may well be achievable.

We are at the cusp of a golden age in space science, as increasingly more entrepreneurs — Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos—are seduced by the commercial potential of human access to space. But BEYOND EARTH by Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix, Ph.D. (Pantheon Books / November 15, 2016 / $27.95) does not offer another wide-eyed technology fantasy: instead, it is grounded not only in the human capacity for invention and the appeal of adventure, but also in the bureaucratic, political, and scientific realities that present obstacles to space travel—realities that have hampered NASA’s efforts ever since the Challenger fiasco. In Beyond Earth, the authors offer groundbreaking research and argue persuasively that not Mars, but Titan—a moon of Saturn with a nitrogen atmosphere, a weather cycle, and an inexhaustible supply of cheap energy, and where we will even be able to fly like birds in the minimal gravitational field—offers the most realistic, and thrilling, prospect of life without support from Earth.



  • Charles Wohlforth, has authored ten books, and is winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology, among many other awards. Charles graduated Magna Cum Laude from Princeton University with BA in English in 1986. His books include: Beyond Earth, Discover, Outside, and The New Republic. Charles was a member of the Anchorage Assembly from 1993-1999. He has received more than two dozen national, state and local awards for writing. In 2004 he was the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology. Charles always knew he would be a writer; he comes from a literary family with many writers, and his parents have been leaders in local and state affairs since the mid-1960s.


  • Deborah Smith, Chair of the board of directors of Alaska World Affairs Council

HOST: Alaska World Affairs Council


RECORDED: Friday, February 03, 2017 at the Hilton Hotel.


Eric Bork, or you can just call him “Bork” because everybody else does, is the FM Operations Manager for KSKA-FM. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the FM broadcast. He produces and edits episodes of Outdoor Explorer, the Alaska-focused outdoors program. He also maintains the web posts for that show. You may have heard him filling in for Morning Edition or hosting All Things Considered and can still find him operating the soundboard for any of the live broadcast programs.

After escaping the Detroit area when he was 18, Bork made it up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he earned a degree in Communications/Radio Broadcasting from Northern Michigan University. He spent time managing the college radio station, working for the local NPR affiliate, and then in top 40 radio in Michigan before coming to Alaska to work his first few summers. After then moving to Chicago, it only took five years to convince him to move back to Alaska in 2010. When not involved in great radio programming he’s probably riding a bicycle, thinking about riding bicycles, dreaming about bikes, reading a book, or planning the next place he’ll travel to. Only two continents left to conquer!

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