[07/10/08 - 01:15 PM]
See What Happens When 'What If' Meets 'Why Not'
Look for "Discovery Project Earth" to premiere Friday, August 22 at 9:00/8:00c.

[via press release from Discovery]

See What Happens When 'What If' Meets 'Why Not'

DISCOVERY PROJECT EARTH Re-Engineers the Planet's Possibilities World Premiere Series Airs Fridays, Beginning August 22 at 9 pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel

SILVER SPRING, Md., July 10 -- You've heard the dire warning; you've seen the detailed PowerPoint; you've even bought that light bulb with the swirls, but how about some real action? Now the world's leading scientists meet three uncompromising visionaries to put the most ambitious geo-engineering ideas to the test, tackling global climate change in DISCOVERY PROJECT EARTH premiering Friday, August 22 at 9 pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel.

From covering acres of Greenland's glaciers in protective blankets to stop it from melting to constructing space rockets to send tiny reflective lenses into orbit to planting thousands of saplings via a mass aerial drop to reforest barren areas, these are experiments on an epic scale. Each one will push the boundaries of science and technology, but will they produce groundbreaking environmental results?

Working with the scientists on these innovative experiments is the DISCOVERY PROJECT EARTH task force, each with a unique specialty: Jennifer Languell, the tough talking eco-house-building engineer; Basil Singer, the scientific boy wonder; and finally, the businessman who can fund the impossible, venture capitalist, Kevin O'Leary.

Bank of America is the presenting sponsor of DISCOVERY PROJECT EARTH.

"DISCOVERY PROJECT EARTH is an experimental thrill ride of trial and error, of cause and effect, of asking tough questions about our environment and finding the brightest minds and most innovative approaches to tackle these challenges," said John Ford, President and General Manager of Discovery Channel. "These ideas sound outrageous, but they are 20 years ahead of their time. This is science in the making."

DISCOVERY PROJECT EARTH spans the globe, pinpointing areas of both concern and opportunity in confronting climate change. The experiments include:

Stop the Melt

Dr. Jason Box, a glacierologist from Ohio State University wants to prevent glaciers from melting by covering them with blankets that will reflect the power of the sun. Jason is convinced that his specially chosen material is resilient enough for Arctic conditions but just how indestructible is it really?

Raining Forest

Following the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, thousands of acres of Louisiana mangrove forests were left bare. The huge swath of land presents a perfect proving ground for scientist Mark Hodges' idea to use an aircraft to drop tens of thousands of canisters, each holding a tree seedling to repopulate the forest.

MARS Turbine

Fred Fergussen, a Canadian engineer specializing in airships, has designed a revolutionary wind turbine that will use the constant winds that exist at 1,000 feet above sea level to produce a renewable energy. To pass the test it will need to remain in the sky for 24 hours and provide the necessary energy to power a water purification unit.

Shiny Clouds

John Latham, an atmospheric physicist based at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, and Stephen Salter, an Edinburgh University engineer, believe that by changing the size of water droplets in clouds they can increase the clouds ability to reflect the sun and stop global warming. Their vision is to build a flotilla of ships that will roam the world's oceans and seed clouds with minute particulates.

Scrubbing the Air Clean

What if we could solve the problem of global warming by just scrubbing the air clean of carbon dioxide before it has the opportunity to add to the blanket of greenhouse gases smothering the earth? Canadian professor David Keith - the 2006 Canadian Geographic Environmental Scientist of the Year - believes he can with a machine that sucks in ambient air sprays it with sodium hydroxide solution and then expels it as clean air.

Ocean Pipes

Oceans cover 70 percent of our planet and are the most important carbon sink we have, but the phytoplankton that converts carbon dioxide into living matter is dying off from climate change. Dr. Brian von Herzen of the California Institute of Technology will deploy five wave-powered pumps in the rough Hawaiian surf in an attempt to restore this critical natural mixing effect.

Space Sunshade

Astronomer and professor Roger Angel thinks he can diffract the power of the sun by placing trillions of lenses in space and creating a 100,000 square mile sunshade. See how the lenses are constructed and the rocket delivery system is tested in this audacious experiment to reduce the planet's warming.

Space Solar Power

We could have a source of never-ending power and, at the same time, reduce our carbon emissions to virtually zero by sending thousands of satellites into space, which will gather energy from the sun and then beam them down to earth as a microwave. Former NASA physicist John Mankins puts his theory into practice.


Kevin O'Leary - The Entrepreneur

Kevin O'Leary is an out and out business giant. He hungers for the big deals and attacks them like a speeding freight train. One of Canada's best-known businessmen turned TV investment stars; Kevin is featured on ROB TV's popular investment show, 'Squeeze Play' and 'Dragons' Den'.

As with all entrepreneurs, Kevin's success story began with a big idea and no cash. It is a rags to riches tale where from the basement of his house he launched The Learning Company, which developed software to help kids learn to read and do math. In 1999, Kevin sold his company to the Mattel Toy Company for a staggering $3.7 billion, one of the largest tech deals in Canadian history.

He is also a cofounder and investor in Storage Now, a fast growing storage company and a director and Shareholder of Environmental Management Solutions. Kevin is on the investment committee of Boston's prestigious 200-year-old Hamilton Trust.

Dr. Jennifer L. Languell - The Engineer

Dr. Jennifer L. Languell is a trail blazer. Not only is she a female engineer in a field that is still largely a man's world, but she is also leading the way in revolutionizing the real estate, design and construction industries through her multi award winning company Trifecta Construction Solutions.

She is a specialist in the implementation of sustainable construction techniques, programs. Jennifer is an award winning author who has developed a guide for green residential construction in Florida and cost guidelines for materials and building systems for Florida's public education facilities.

Jennifer is co-founder and Vice President of ConstructGreen and the Director of Planning for Florida Gulf Coast University's Green Building Demonstration & Learning Center.

Dr. Basil Singer - The Scientist

A quantum physicist, science geek, television presenter, skateboarder and kite surfer, Dr. Basil Singer is a man of many talents. Not afraid of adventure, he is an "extreme scientist" equally adept at freezing atoms to the point of absolute zero or catching monumental air with his kite board.

When he's not filming science shows or explaining the physics behind break dancing, Basil can be found in the lab at the family business, Singer Instruments Co. Ltd, in Somerset, England. As both Manager and Senior Physicist it is Basil's job to build and develop robots and scientific instrumentation which is sold to institutions worldwide to aid research into cancer treatments.

A self confessed nerd, Basil has a profound passion for science and particularly physics. During his PhD Basil froze atoms to 3 micro Kelvin, that's 3 millionth's of a degree above absolute zero, the coldest temperature in the universe. The results of these experiments could, one day, help develop teleportation devices and super computer brains the size of a grain of sand.

DISCOVERY PROJECT EARTH is produced for Discovery Channel by Impossible Pictures. Tim Haines is executive producer for Impossible Pictures. Paul Gasek is the executive producer for Discovery Channel. Gasek also serves as Senior Science Editor for Discovery Channel.

About Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications is the world's number-one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks.com. Discovery Communications is owned by Discovery Holding Company (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB), Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, Discovery's founder and chairman. For more information, please visit http://www.discoverycommunications.com.

  [july 2008]  


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