Most scientists agree that using nuclear explosives to deflect an incoming asteroid is a bad idea. But Astrophysicist David Dearborn from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been heating up the debate with his theories about how nuclear explosives could be used effectively to nudge an asteroid into a new orbit that causes it to miss the Earth entirely.
Everyone knows that eight planets orbit the Sun. But thousands of other objects, including icy comets and football field-sized asteroids, are also zooming around our solar system. And some of them could be on a collision course with Earth. QUEST explores how these Near Earth Objects are being tracked and what scientists are saying should be done to prevent a deadly impact.
Ever wonder how to make krill shakes, squid tacos or fishy sausages to tempt the taste buds of a 400-pound mola mola? The chefs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium prepare such meals daily to feed thousands of species, from otters to octopi to sharks. Find out what it takes to come up with nutritious and tasty meals for diners with wild appetites.
Photographer Laura Watt has lived in the Bay Area for most of her life but it was not until she started sailing in San Francisco Bay at age 35 that she began to appreciate the patterns, textures and colors of the precious water that surrounds us all. Self-described as "trawler trash," she lives aboard her boat in San Rafael's Loch Lomand Marina, granting her a front row seat to the dynamic body of water that she captures so well in her moody, intimate images.
In 1935, the USS Macon went down in 1000 feet of water off the coast of Monterey, California. Now, as scientists study the recently-discovered wreckage, dirigibles are returning to the Bay Area. But these aren't the same dirigibles – these are new and improved.
By April 1, the vast majority of California's 11,000 gas stations must have new, state-of-the-art fuel pumps that keep toxic fumes from escaping. State officials say the new pumps mean cleaner, safer air, particularly for those suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases. But, amid a recession and record unemployment, will the new rules force mom and pop gas stations out of business?
The intertidal rocks at Natural Bridges State Beach are covered in life: sea stars, seaweeds, urchins, and crabs are just some of the area's intertidal inhabitants. Visit them in their tidepool homes down in Santa Cruz, California.
It's been 150 years since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. Yet his ideas remain as central to scientific exploration as ever. QUEST follows entomologist David Kavanaugh, who predicted that a new beetle species would be found on the Trinity Alps. Find out if his prediction came true…
As the Bay Area has become more urban, many wild animals have disappeared. But not mountain lions. These large cats live surprisingly close to us, and yet they're not as dangerous as many believe. Now, researchers in the mountains north of Santa Cruz are using new technology to learn more about these elusive animals.
Humans and dogs have been partners for thousands of years. Now our canine friends are joining the fight against cancer. Researchers are training dogs to smell cancer in the breath samples of human patients. And by studying cancers in dogs, we may discover new treatments for cancer in human and canine cancer patients.
If you're looking to buy an all-electric car you can drive on the freeway, your options are limited. $100,000 will buy you an electric sports car from Tesla. But an affordable all-electric vehicle remains elusive, due to the difficulty in making a battery that is powerful, long-lasting, and cheap. QUEST visits a local battery laboratory and investigates the odds of a breakthrough.
In Monterey Bay, scientists have successfully launched a deep-sea laboratory unlike anything in the world. The $13 million, unmanned lab is expected to revolutionize the way ocean research is done. Scientists ran 32 miles of cable from the shoreline to collect data and to provide uninterrupted power to remote robots, seismometers and real-time video of a world deep below the ocean.
Foster City photographer and naturalist John Albers-Mead describes visiting the tide pools near Half Moon Bay as "a treasure hunt that changes by the minute." QUEST joins Albers-Mead on Moss Beach at low tide as he captures these sometimes-sunken treasures with his digital camera.
Last week, NASA declared the Mars Phoenix Lander mission completed as the lander succumbed to Martian winter and lost radio contact. NASA scientists are already preparing their next mission: to send a rover to search for evidence of life on Mars. But to help decide what signs to look for, scientists are studying extreme life forms on our own planet.