Solar System Exploration: 50 Years and Counting

Solar System Exploration: 50 Years and Counting

Join Bill Nye and leading NASA scientists as they celebrate 50 years of enthralling solar system exploration, and look forward to what's to come.


6 - 12+


Earth Science, Astronomy, Engineering

NG Live

This video was filmed on October 24, 2012 as part of the National Geographic Live! Lecture series at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., United States.

Bill Nye, executive director of The Planetary Society, moderates a panel of leading NASA scientists as they celebrate 50 years of solar system exploration and look forward to what's to come. The panel includes Dr. Ed Stone, former director, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab; Dr. Margie Kivelson, professor of Space Physics, UCLA; Dr. Kevin Hand, deputy chief scientist for Solar System Exploration NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, and Dr. Bethany Ehlmann, research scientist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.

Each panelist explains his or her role in space exploration and then answers questions from the audience. Are we alone? Is there life on other planets? Why is space exploration so important?


  • Space exploration brings out the best in people (start-01:40 min.)
  • Dr. Ed Stone: space missions that change our view of the solar system (01:41-03:58 min.)
  • Space exploration is humbling (03:59-04:18 min.)
  • Dr. Margie Kivelson: magnetometers, studying Io, and Galileo (04:19-08:11 min.)
  • Dr. Kevin Hand: connecting space exploration to understanding life on Earth and the search for habitable worlds (08:12-13:51 min.)
  • Where did we come from? Are we alone? (13:52-14:15min.)
  • Dr. Bethany Ehlmann: worlds to be explored, Mars, and controlling rovers (14:16-18:26 min.)
  • The importance of speaking up for space exploration (18:27-19:27 min.)
  • Q/A 1: Can we prevent Earth from becoming Mars? (19:28-21:51 min.)
  • Q/A 2: How did matter (the elements) get to Earth? (21:52-23:11 min.)
  • Q/A 3: How do we stress the importance of space exploration? (23:12-28:41 min.)

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Page Producers
Nina Page, National Geographic Society
Samantha Zuhlke, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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