Scientist, TED, Ted Salon discussed on TED Talks Daily
This. Ted talk features. Planetary scientists Sarah T Stewart recorded live at Ted salon. Imagine if twenty nineteen. Hey, TED talks daily listeners. I'm Adam grant, I host another podcast from Ted. It's called a work life. And it's about the science of making work not suck on the latest episode. I get to meet people who are exceptionally good at that. Like Olympic marathoner, Amy crack we finished and I hear Chalene go was hard. I t's blood, and then she goes, so awesome. As like, you know, what I'm going to find out. Exactly what I made of here. Turn your rivals into your allies at work. That's on the next episode of work life without him Graham. We live in a world. That's creating a enabled everything a world with more not devices than people today technology has never been smarter. But smart only matters when you put it to work where it matters when we put smart to work, we can help save species increase crop yields and make progress, but not just for a few of us for all of us. So let's get to it. Let's put smart to work. Find out how at IBM dot com slash smart. Nobody likes to make a mistake. And I made a whopping one. And figuring out what I did wrong led to a discovery that completely changes the way we think about the earth and moon. I'm a planetary scientist, and my favorite thing to do is smash planets together in my lab, I can shoot at rocks using cannons. Like this one. In my experiments. I can generate the extreme conditions during planet formation and with computer models. I can collide whole planets together to make them grow. Or I can destroy them. I want to understand how to make the earth and the moon, and why the earth is so different from other planets. The leading idea for the origin of the earth and moon is called the giant impact theory. The theory states that Amar size body struck the young earth and the moon formed from the debris of disk around the debris disk around the planet. The theory can explain so many things about the moon, but it has a huge flaw it predicts that the moon is mostly made from the MARC's planet that the earth and the moon are made from different materials. But that's not what we see. The earth and the moon are actually like identical twins. The genetic code of planets is written in the hopes of the elements the earth and moon have identical isotopes that means that the earth and moon are made from the same materials. It's really strange that the earth and the moon or twins all of the planets are made from different materials. So they all have different isotopes. They all have their own genetic code. No, other planetary bodies have the same genetic relationship only the earth and moon are twins. When I started working on the origin of the moon. There were scientists that wanted to reject the whole idea of the giant impact. They didn't see any way for this theory to explain special relationship between the earth and the moon, we were all trying to think of new ideas. The problem was there weren't any better ideas. All of the other ideas had even bigger flaws. So we were trying to rescue the giant impact eerie. A young scientist in my group suggested that we try changing the spin of the giant impact maybe making the spin faster could mix more material and explain the moon. The mar- size impact or had been chosen because it could make the moon and make the length of earth's stay. People really liked that part of the model. But what is something else determine the links versity? Then there would be many more possible giant impacts that could make the moon. I was curious about what could happen. So I tried simulating faster spinning giant impacts. And I found that it is possible to make a disc out of the same mixture of materials as the planet. We were pretty excited. Maybe this was the way to explain the moon. The problem is we also found that that's just not very likely most of the time the disk is different from the planet, and it looked like making Arman this way would be an astronomical coincidence. And it was just hard for everyone to accept the idea that the moon special connection to earth was an accident. The giant impact Serey was still in trouble. And we were still trying to figure out how to make the moon. Then came the day when I realized my mistake. My student, and I for looking at the data from these fast bidding giant impacts on that day. We weren't actually thinking about the moon. We were looking at the planet the planet get super hot and partially vaporized from the energy of the impact. But the data didn't look like a planet. It looked really strange the planet. Was weirdly connected to the disk. I got that super excited feeling when something really wrong might be something really interesting. In all of my calculations. I'd assume there was a planet with a separate disk around it calculating, what was in the disk was how we tested whether an impact could make the moon. But it didn't look that simple anymore.