7 Unsung Space Innovators Who Boldly Went Where No Human Had Gone Before

john wilkins

It only took us 200,000 years.

In the 200,000 years of homo sapiens, we poked around down here a bit and then marched off our blue-quilted rock to greet the stars. For all our faults, making it to space in a fraction our planet’s lifespan is pretty, pretty good.

Of course, we can’t all be a Galileo or an Armstrong. Behind every “small step for man” are thousands of men and women working in laboratories, classrooms and control centers. We partnered with Christopher Nolan’s #Interstellar, in theaters & IMAX November 7th, to salute the lesser-known engineers, scientists and dreamers that changed the space game — not to mention all of human history. If it only took 200,000 years for human ingenuity to get us this far, who knows? Our greatest accomplishments in space may come sooner than we think.

John Wilkins

John Wilkins probably would’ve hosted Cosmos, had it aired in 17th Century England

If you thought the space race began around the time we had airplanes or, you know, steam engines, we couldn’t fault you. Even we were surprised by John Wilkins, the space pioneer of Jacobean England.

Born in 1614, the Oxford-educated Wilkins lived —> Read More Here

Pancake Sharks – The Cousins are in Trouble

Most people are aware that sharks are heavily fished. But their cousins, the batoids (rays and skates) are often found right alongside them in fish markets. Photo by Demian Chapman.

Reversing overfishing, climate change, and population growth can seem insurmountable. Safina Center Fellows strive to amplify the global conservation discussion and, in targeted ways and places, overcome some of these obstacles. They bring a wide range of skills, engaging in every way from primary research to policy to popular media. They make a difference.

Where the rubber meets the road to change, the drive to redefine the future of our damaged oceans starts with the belief that progress is possible. —Carl Safina


The following interview with shark experts and Safina Center Fellows, Demian Chapman and Debra Abercrombie explores sharks less iconic cousins, rays and skates, aka, pancake sharks.

What do you mean by pancake sharks?

Demian: It’s just a term I use to help people realize that sharks, rays and skates are all related. When you talk about rays and skates, many people are just not that interested. If you say they are “flat sharks” or “pancake sharks,” people are automatically more interested because people tend to like sharks (or at least feel strongly about them). There are actually more rays and skates than there are sharks, in terms of species, and they are by themselves interesting, ecologically important and commercially —> Read More Here

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