Bob McDonald's blog

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  • Artist’s impression of the interstellar asteroid `Oumuamua

    Bob McDonald's blog: Interstellar asteroid shows uncanny parallels to sci-fi storyline

    The first sighting of an unusually shaped visitor from another solar system is a scenario that fits almost exactly with that portrayed in the science fiction novel, Rendezvous With Rama.

    Posted: Dec 03, 2017 9:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Dec 03, 2017 9:19 AM ET
  • Pachliopta aristolochiae interposita

    Science imitates nature to improve solar cells

    To make the surface of solar cells less reflective, and therefore absorb more light, scientists turned to a black butterfly for inspiration.

    Posted: Nov 19, 2017 5:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Nov 20, 2017 11:53 AM ET
  • Rainer Weiss

    Blog Nobel laureate tells science like it is

    by Bob McDonald

    Science is a group effort, and this year's Nobel Prize in Physics could have been shared with thousands.

    Posted: Oct 07, 2017 5:00 AM ET
  • Deep Space Gateway

    Analysis U.S.-Russia moon station agreement proves space has no borders

    by Bob McDonald

    A new agreement between American and Russian space agencies proves space is a truly international regime, notes Bob McDonald, host of CBC's Quirks & Quarks. He looks back at how the two countries evolved from rivals to partners in space exploration.

    Posted: Sep 29, 2017 2:23 PM ET
    Last Updated: Sep 29, 2017 2:27 PM ET
  • Mr. Spock

    Blog The problem with Star Trek aliens: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    If we ever discover alien life, it's a good bet they'll look far stranger than we've imagined.

    Posted: Sep 24, 2017 5:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Sep 24, 2017 5:26 PM ET
  • TiME (Titan Mare Explorer) illustration

    Scientists want to sail the seas of Saturn's moon Titan

    by Bob McDonald

    Saturn's moon Titan has oceans made of methane. What would it be like to explore them, and how would we do it? CBC's Bob McDonald looks into the possibilities.

    Posted: Sep 20, 2017 3:10 PM ET
    Last Updated: Sep 21, 2017 10:23 AM ET
  • voyager

    'We sent a spaceship to the stars!': Remembering Voyager 2

    by Bob McDonald

    Forty years ago, NASA launch the Voyager 2 spacecraft on a multi-million-year journey. CBC's Bob McDonald recounts what it was like to be there for that historic moment and reflects on the message from Earth the spacecraft carries into interstellar space.

    Posted: Sep 11, 2017 12:09 PM ET
    Last Updated: Sep 13, 2017 10:02 AM ET

    Blog It's worth the drive to totality: perspectives from an eclipse chaser, Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    A veteran eclipse chaser gives a preview of the solar eclipse that will be visible in the U.S. in August.

    Posted: Jun 23, 2017 3:32 PM ET
    Last Updated: Jul 07, 2017 1:19 PM ET
  • Poplar plantation

    Blog Planting trees can't counter carbon emissions: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Trees absorb carbon dioxide, but we just can't plant enough to absorb all our fossil fuel emissions.

    Posted: May 26, 2017 5:05 PM ET
  • Synchrotron

    Blog Science knows no borders in the Middle East: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    A new light synchrotron to be constructed in Jordan signals scientific cooperation in a region plagued by conflict and rivalry.

    Posted: May 19, 2017 3:20 PM ET
    Last Updated: May 23, 2017 9:10 AM ET
  • Galludet 11 on a vomit-comet

    Blog How 11 deaf volunteers helped launch the space age: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Eleven deaf volunteers underwent astronaut stress training because of their unique immunity to space sickness.

    Posted: May 12, 2017 12:28 PM ET
    Last Updated: May 15, 2017 9:10 AM ET
  • cassini saturn moon

    Blog Robots boldly go where no one has gone before: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    For space exploration, robots deliver a lot of bang for your buck.

    Posted: Apr 28, 2017 4:40 PM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 30, 2017 11:03 AM ET

    Blog A note of optimism on a day of worries: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The very long list of woes affecting the Earth can generate a feeling of hopelessness and dread about the state of this unique blue planet we live on. But if hopelessness prevails, change will not happen.

    Posted: Apr 22, 2017 2:01 PM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 24, 2017 3:07 PM ET
  • earth stratosphere

    Blog Blocking out the sun to fight global warming: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The concept of geoengineering is controversial but proponents say we have no choice.

    Posted: Mar 31, 2017 5:55 PM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 03, 2017 9:29 AM ET
  • Trump

    Blog Trump's proposed NASA cuts take aim at Earth science

    by Bob McDonald

    Officials at NASA were delighted that U.S. President Donald Trump's budget proposal allocates $19.1 billion for the agency, down only 0.8 per cent from last year, but the proposal also cuts several programs to study the Earth.

    Posted: Mar 24, 2017 4:02 PM ET
  • A boy drinks water from a public tap in Solukhumbu District

    Blog Waste not on World Water Day: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Our water supplies seem to be running low because we keep taking from the source. It's time to turn our attention to another huge source, the water we throw away.

    Posted: Mar 22, 2017 1:21 PM ET
    Last Updated: Mar 22, 2017 1:24 PM ET
  • SpaceX Dragons

    Blog SpaceX moon mission as daring as first voyage: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Elon Musk wants to take a giant leap forward with a new rocket and a similar trip around the moon during a time of political unrest.

    Posted: Mar 08, 2017 5:47 PM ET
  • Surface of TRAPPIST-1f

    Blog Finding life on 7 exoplanets will be a challenge: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    New high-powered telescopes will probably have to detect signs of life rather than life itself.

    Posted: Feb 24, 2017 4:21 PM ET
  • Planet 9

    Blog Citizen Science: You could find Planet 9

    by Bob McDonald

    Anyone with an internet connection could join the ranks of Columbus, Magellan and Galileo.

    Posted: Feb 17, 2017 5:04 PM ET
  • Algae on ISS

    It's Alive! Algae Survive 16 Months Exposure To Space

    by Bob McDonald

    Algae was exposed to extreme heat and cold on the outside of the International Space Station and survived.

    Posted: Feb 10, 2017 5:20 PM ET

    Blog Hatch that trapped astronauts in deadly fire on display: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The Apollo 1 fire in 1967 was the first accident in the U.S. to involve the loss of a crew. Lessons learned from that tragedy helped the space program get to the moon.

    Posted: Jan 30, 2017 12:02 PM ET
    Last Updated: Jan 31, 2017 9:44 AM ET
  • Trump Protests

    Blog Science 'Trumped' by belief: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Donald Trump has stated clearly that he believes climate change is a hoax and that vaccines cause autism, two topics that have been clearly proven by science to be untrue. Now, he has a team of players that are carrying these beliefs to other levels of government.

    Posted: Jan 20, 2017 3:40 PM ET

    Blog Spelunking on Mars: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Exploring the deepest caves on Earth could help us find life in outer space.

    Posted: Jan 13, 2017 5:46 PM ET

    Blog Preparing for the big strike: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Our living world has been sterilized by encounters with large space rocks that slammed into us. It's time to prepare.

    Posted: Jan 06, 2017 5:43 PM ET

    Blog Climate change as seen from space: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    NASA's climate science is under threat, but new animation released by the agency illustrates how important it is that research continue.

    Posted: Dec 16, 2016 4:53 PM ET
    Last Updated: Dec 20, 2016 4:31 PM ET
  • Virtual Reality Headset

    Blog Virtual reality a sickening experience

    by Bob McDonald

    A new study shows that women experience more virtual reality-related motion sickness.

    Posted: Dec 09, 2016 4:29 PM ET
  • hi-tokyo-quake-study-852-8col

    Blog A planet's worth of human-made things has been weighed

    by Bob McDonald

    The collected weight of everything human beings have made — from buildings to ballpoint pens — is staggering.

    Posted: Dec 02, 2016 5:22 PM ET
    Last Updated: Dec 05, 2016 12:48 PM ET
  • In the Shadow of Saturn

    Blog Cassini's grand finale: a death dive into Saturn

    by Bob McDonald

    The Cassini mission proves that robotic spacecraft are the true explorers of our solar system.

    Posted: Nov 25, 2016 3:09 PM ET
    Last Updated: Nov 25, 2016 3:30 PM ET
  • New Zealand Economy

    Blog World leaders wade into water to fight climate change

    by Bob McDonald

    Leaders at the United Nations COP 22 Climate Summit move water to the forefront because when the effects of global warming show up, we usually see water behaving in some destructive way.

    Posted: Nov 18, 2016 3:47 PM ET
  • APTOPIX 2016 Election Trump

    Blog Donald Trump needs a science education: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Scientists worry about the impact of Trump's views on everything from climate change to vaccines.

    Posted: Nov 11, 2016 5:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Nov 11, 2016 10:02 AM ET
  • E.T.

    Blog Alien contact? Don't jump the gun: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    According to two Quebec astronomers, unusual signals coming from 234 sun-like stars suggest that alien civilizations could be reaching out. If true, this would have a profound effect on our understanding of our place in the universe. But here's why we can't rush to that conclusion.

    Posted: Oct 28, 2016 5:41 PM ET video
  • Generation Mars - Mars 1976

    Blog Why it's so hard to land on Mars: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Almost 60 per cent of robot missions to Mars have failed for one reason or another. Here's why it's an enormous challenge to land safely on the Red Planet.

    Posted: Oct 21, 2016 5:44 PM ET

    Blog For want of a better battery: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Battery technology has a long way to go to meet the rising demands of our electrical devices and vehicles. After decades of neglect, is a new battery revolution under way?

    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 5:19 PM ET
    Last Updated: Oct 14, 2016 9:01 PM ET
  • Waterloo Advanced Technology Laboratory at Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology

    Blog Nanotechnology on the cusp: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded this week for developments in nanotechnology heralds a new era in science, akin to the discovery of electromagnetic induction 185 years ago. And like electricity, nanotechnology could influence the world in dramatic ways, not even imaginable today.

    Posted: Oct 09, 2016 8:07 AM ET
  • Rosetta impact

    Blog Rosetta boldly went where no one has gone before: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The Rosetta spacecraft by the European Space Agency was the first to rendezvous with a comet. The mission which ended this week was a remarkable success, proving once again, that robots are the true explorers of our solar system.

    Posted: Sep 30, 2016 5:42 PM ET
    Last Updated: Oct 03, 2016 2:34 PM ET
  • Caribou near Meadowbank Gold Mine

    Blog Polar bears not the only animals affected by disappearing ice: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    This year saw yet another dramatic loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. The iconic image of a polar bear stranded on a small ice floe has come to symbolize this change in the North, but many other animals and even plants are feeling the changes as well.

    Posted: Sep 23, 2016 4:27 PM ET
    Last Updated: Sep 23, 2016 4:32 PM ET
  • HMS Terror captain

    Blog Discovery of Franklin expedition ships pits science against tourism: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Measures need to be taken to ensure the wrecks of the Franklin expedition, the most recent of which - the HMS Terror - was found this past week, are protected from tourists and looters, writes Bob Macdonald.

    Posted: Sep 16, 2016 5:23 PM ET
    Last Updated: Sep 16, 2016 5:25 PM ET
  • Film Star Trek Who's Captain Kirk

    Blog Star Trek at 50, fiction meets fact: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Host Bob McDonald reflects on technologies Star Trek predicted that we saw come true.

    Posted: Sep 09, 2016 5:19 PM ET
    Last Updated: Sep 09, 2016 8:36 PM ET
  • Hkg9335283

    Blog Give yourself a No Device Day this summer: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The sun is blazing and the breeze is soft. Now that summer is officially here it's time to put away those screens and look up.

    Posted: Jun 24, 2016 11:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Jun 24, 2016 3:14 PM ET
  • BC Transit's hydrogen bus fleet

    Blog Hydrogen continues to be a fuel of the future: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Hydrogen holds promise as a replacement for fossil fuels, but it is being held back by a lack of infrastructure for producing it cleanly, and for storing and transporting it safely.

    Posted: Jun 17, 2016 12:59 PM ET
    Last Updated: Jun 17, 2016 5:22 PM ET
  • Upernavik Glacier in Northwest Greenland

    Blog Warming temperatures and melting glaciers are accelerating Arctic warming: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    2015 was a record year for high temperatures and melting glaciers in western Greenland, an effect that is amplifying itself and could lead to accelerated warming in the Arctic.

    Posted: Jun 10, 2016 11:48 AM ET
    Last Updated: Jun 10, 2016 12:17 PM ET
  • Oil vs Renewables

    Blog Investment in renewable energy exploding — but not in Canada: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    For the first time, worldwide investments in alternative energy have exceeded investments in new fossil fuel projects, but Canada is still behind the major players, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: Jun 03, 2016 1:16 PM ET
    Last Updated: Jun 03, 2016 1:17 PM ET
  • Mars Hubble

    Blog Mars: from God of War to habitable planet: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Our fascination with Mars has gone from myths to our best hope for life on another world, and perhaps for a new home for humans. On May 30 the Red Planet makes its closest swing past Earth in 11 years.

    Posted: May 27, 2016 12:36 PM ET
  • Wood Mountain

    Blog We can't fight climate change without tackling agriculture emissions: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Agriculture is responsible for roughly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and two new reports released this week found that unless we change our farming and practices and consumption habits, we won't meet the reduction targets we've committed to.

    Posted: May 20, 2016 1:17 PM ET
    Last Updated: May 20, 2016 1:34 PM ET
  • TMT

    Blog Finding habitable planets is one thing, finding life quite another: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    There appear to be more planets in space than stars. But proving that life is out there will be difficult; connecting with it, nearly impossible.

    Posted: May 13, 2016 10:21 AM ET
    Last Updated: May 13, 2016 11:54 AM ET
  • Transit of Mercury

    Blog Mercury transit a rare celestial event, but don't look directly at it: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The planet Mercury will pass in front of the sun on Monday in a rare event called a transit. It will be visible across Canada during the day, but don’t look directly at the sun with your eyes to see it, Bob McDonald writes.

    Posted: May 08, 2016 5:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: May 09, 2016 12:06 PM ET
  • James Webb Space Telescope

    Blog New space telescope's giant gold mirror unveiled: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble, will launch in 2018. But it will be too far away to be repaired, so everything has to go right, Bob McDonald writes.

    Posted: Apr 29, 2016 9:39 AM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 29, 2016 10:05 AM ET
  • Justin Trudeau at Perimeter

    Blog Politicians need science awareness: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's attempt to explain quantum computing is a symbolic and welcome change from the anti-science stance of the Harper government, Bob McDonald writes

    Posted: Apr 22, 2016 11:38 AM ET
  • Breakthrough Starshot

    Blog Forget the Enterprise — starships of the future will be small: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Space exploration in the future will be done by tiny spacecraft, not giant ships like the Enterprise.

    Posted: Apr 15, 2016 9:46 AM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 15, 2016 11:00 AM ET
  • Falkland Islands King Penguin

    Blog Citizen science helps with big data: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Volunteer citizen scientists can help researchers collect and analyze tons of data on many topics.

    Posted: Apr 08, 2016 12:45 PM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 08, 2016 12:49 PM ET
  • BEAM inflated space module

    Blog Inflatable module headed to International Space Station

    by Bob McDonald

    In space, weight equals money. So lightweight inflatable modules might be the future of space exploration and living.

    Posted: Apr 01, 2016 1:31 PM ET
  • United Church Renewable Energy

    Blog Why we need a green industrial revolution: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Green technology is expanding — some reports have suggested at a faster pace than any other sector of the Canadian economy — and if we support related industries in Canada, it could grow the way the fossil fuel industry did, with new jobs and skill sets, Bob McDonald says.

    Posted: Mar 24, 2016 3:07 PM ET
    Last Updated: Mar 24, 2016 5:03 PM ET
  • Water flows from domestic tap

    Blog On World Water Day, do something to conserve our most precious resource: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    As the climate warms, the world may face a water crisis. But there is much that can be done to conserve the valuable resource, Bob McDonald writes

    Posted: Mar 18, 2016 11:31 AM ET

    Blog Cashing in the energy chips in Las Vegas: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    There is no shortage of clean energy on Earth, just a shortage of technology to capture it. But if those technologies are truly going to make an impact, they have to make economic sense as well, Bob McDonald writes.

    Posted: Mar 11, 2016 12:38 PM ET
    Last Updated: Mar 11, 2016 12:38 PM ET
  • Selfie

    Blog Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko's year-long mission a crucial step on road to Mars

    by Bob McDonald

    We can adapt our bodies to the challenging environment of a long trip to Mars, but adapting our minds will be a bigger challenge.

    Posted: Mar 04, 2016 10:03 AM ET
    Last Updated: Mar 04, 2016 11:48 AM ET
  • hi-k-cup-recycling

    Blog Dealing with another plastic problem: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    In Canada, we do a pretty good job of hiding our trash underground, but we could do a better job of reducing the amount that goes in there in the first place. It's time for industry and governments to step up.

    Posted: Feb 26, 2016 10:51 AM ET
    Last Updated: Feb 26, 2016 1:09 PM ET
  • tp-virgin-space-9565472

    Blog Despite tragedy, Virgin Galactic presses on: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Space tourism company Virgin Galactic unveils its new space plane this week, a successor to one destroyed in a tragic accident in 2014. The company is forging ahead, despite serious setbacks, confident it can make space travel safe for citizens.

    Posted: Feb 19, 2016 11:37 AM ET
    Last Updated: Feb 19, 2016 12:08 PM ET
  • SPACE BLACK HOLES black hole engine NASA

    Blog Detection of gravitational waves marks new era in astronomy: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The announcement Thursday that elusive gravitational waves have been detected for the first time heralds a new era in astronomy that could be as important as Galileo’s first use of the telescope.

    Posted: Feb 12, 2016 5:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Feb 12, 2016 5:15 PM ET
    read comments video
  • Fusion Energy

    Blog Why fusion power is the ultimate clean energy goal: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed the startup button on a new fusion reactor this week, raising hopes that truly clean energy may finally be only a decade or so away. But it’s a promise that’s been '10 years away' for the last half-century.

    Posted: Feb 05, 2016 5:11 PM ET
  • Space Shuttle Challenger 30th Anniversary Photo Gallery

    Blog Challenger Disaster: 30 years later, there's no room for complacency

    by Bob McDonald

    This week marked the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, a tragedy that might have been avoided if the people in charge had not become complacent.

    Posted: Jan 29, 2016 10:30 AM ET
  • Planet 9

    Blog How did we miss Planet 9? — Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    While scientists are excited about the latest evidence of a new planet beyond Pluto, actually seeing it will be more difficult than spotting galaxies at the edge of the universe.

    Posted: Jan 22, 2016 9:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Jan 24, 2016 3:00 PM ET
  • Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser

    Blog Why competition is good for the space race: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Space flight is in a transition from hugely bureaucratic, over-budget government contracts in the past, to private companies that must deliver a product efficiently or they are out of business. Competition keeps the costs down and will make space flight more widely available.

    Posted: Jan 15, 2016 12:40 PM ET
    Last Updated: Jan 19, 2016 11:54 AM ET
  • Bob McDonald in the Atacama desert of Chile

    Blog Visiting Mars on Earth: Bob McDonald tours the Atacama desert

    by Bob McDonald

    One of the best places on Earth to test spacecraft destined for Mars or the moon is the Atacama desert in Chile. Visiting there certainly feels like a trip to Mars, but it is definitely still planet Earth.

    Posted: Jan 08, 2016 2:23 PM ET
    Last Updated: Jan 08, 2016 4:02 PM ET
  • Pluto New Horizons

    The top science stories of 2015: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Bob McDonald compiles the most significant science stories that he covered this past year on CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks.

    Posted: Dec 30, 2015 5:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Dec 31, 2015 4:56 PM ET
  • Stormtroopers

    Blog Fiction, fact, fantasy: We need them all in the movies

    by Bob McDonald

    Once again, Hollywood has captured the imagination of the world with the release of the latest Star Wars film, following on the success of The Martian in the summer. One is pure fantasy, the other science-based, but both can inspire young people and scientists to reach higher.

    Posted: Dec 18, 2015 12:17 PM ET
  • China Face Mask Fashion Photo Package

    Blog If China cleans up its smog, we all benefit: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Stifling smog conditions in Beijing this week closed schools and factories and forced people to wear masks in the streets. If China cleans up its air as London did, after the Great Fog of 1952, we get a boost for climate change as well.

    Posted: Dec 11, 2015 11:40 AM ET
    Last Updated: Dec 11, 2015 12:00 PM ET
  • COP21 Patagonia Perito Moreno glacier melt Nov 27 2015

    Why a climate tipping point matters: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Warming the atmosphere two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels may cause irreversible changes that could lead to global disasters, Bob McDonald writes.

    Posted: Dec 04, 2015 12:20 PM ET

    Blog A low-carbon future doesn't mean losing our lifestyle: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    People fear that weaning ourselves off fossil fuels means giving up the very comfortable lifestyles we have enjoyed for the last century. Not true, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: Nov 27, 2015 12:55 PM ET
  • World Toilet Day Nigeria river outhouse Oct 2015

    Blog World Toilet Day is no joke: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    More people worldwide have mobile phones than toilets. It’s a problem that especially affects the health of women and children.

    Posted: Nov 20, 2015 2:42 PM ET
  • hi-space-junk-852

    Blog Space junk problem needs to be dealt with: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The mantra 'reduce, reuse, recycle' has been employed for decades to handle our garbage here on earth. It’s time now to apply those same rules in space, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: Nov 13, 2015 12:14 PM ET
    Last Updated: Nov 13, 2015 12:18 PM ET
  • Climate change

    Blog Can Canada avoid the Fossil Award at UN climate talks?

    by Bob McDonald

    Canada's new government has a chance to polish our damaged reputation at the upcoming UN climate talks in Paris.

    Posted: Nov 06, 2015 1:51 PM ET
    Last Updated: Nov 06, 2015 4:20 PM ET
  • Cassini Enceladus

    Blog Forget life on Mars, how about life inside moons?

    by Bob McDonald

    There has been a lot of focus on searching for life on Mars. But its surface is very inhospitable. Icy moons, on the other hand, provide warm, wet environments that are much more comfortable for life, and those oceans exist today.

    Posted: Oct 30, 2015 8:51 AM ET
    Last Updated: Oct 30, 2015 3:51 PM ET
  • Bob McDonald in his Wonderstruck days

    Blog Quirks & Quarks at 40: Celebrating science, the discoveries to come

    by Bob McDonald

    So much has changed in our scientific knowledge since Quirks & Quarks went on the air in 1975, but so has the way science journalists gather that science news. Despite the technological developments, enormous challenges remain for humanity, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: Oct 16, 2015 5:00 AM ET
  • Fish-eye photo of the SNO Detector

    Blog Canadian's Nobel Prize in Physics highlights why basic science matters

    by Bob McDonald

    Basic science, such as understanding the nature of neutrinos, is fundamentally important to society,writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: Oct 09, 2015 5:00 AM ET
  • mars body of water

    Blog Spelunkers, cliff climbers needed for Mars mission: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    NASA announced this week that it had found direct evidence of flowing water on Mars. But if we are to search for life in that water, it's going to take mountaineering and caving skills that are beyond the visions of both NASA and Hollywood.

    Posted: Oct 02, 2015 9:39 AM ET
    Last Updated: Oct 02, 2015 10:21 AM ET
  • blood moon in Auckland, New Zealand

    Blog Blood moon eclipse - lunacy and literacy come together Sunday: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    This weekend's "blood moon" eclipse is not a sign of impending doom, but rather a rare celestial event that should be enjoyed.

    Posted: Sep 25, 2015 12:25 PM ET
    Last Updated: Sep 26, 2015 3:50 PM ET

    Blog We need a 'fuel gauge' for marine fish levels: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    A report released this week says the number of fish in the oceans has halved since 1970, in a plunge to the 'brink of collapse' caused by over-fishing and other threats.

    Posted: Sep 18, 2015 1:54 PM ET
  • Pluto New Horizons

    Blog The long and winding road to Pluto: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The historic flyby of Pluto this past July, by the New Horizons spacecraft, was just the latest in a 50-year series of robotic missions to explore our solar system.

    Posted: Sep 10, 2015 11:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Sep 16, 2015 2:54 PM ET
  • CALIFORNIA DROUGHT July 23 2015 Bakersfield valley dry

    Canada's action on climate change still 'inadequate': Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Canada is lagging behind other countries on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. So why isn't climate change an election issue?

    Posted: Sep 03, 2015 4:13 PM ET
    Last Updated: Sep 09, 2015 11:33 AM ET
  • New Horizons spacecraft approaches Pluto

    Pluto, Ceres and an exciting summer for space exploration: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Four robotic spacecraft will be exploring alien worlds during this summer season - each one very different from the others.

    Posted: Jun 26, 2015 1:53 PM ET
    Last Updated: Jun 29, 2015 10:46 AM ET
  • Philae lander

    Philae's bad luck could be a bonus: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Scientists at the European Space Agency were delighted this week as the robotic comet lander Philae phoned home. Its survival after seven months in hibernation could extend its life beyond expectations.

    Posted: Jun 19, 2015 11:45 AM ET
  • Sunset near Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, USA

    Blog Hawaii shows world the way to a zero-carbon future: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Hawaii's new law requiring it to be 100 per cent dependent on renewable energy for electricity generation by 2045 sets an example for the world, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: Jun 12, 2015 11:19 AM ET
    Last Updated: Jun 12, 2015 12:00 PM ET
  • Was2673900

    Blog Ozone treaty a success - now how about climate change?

    by Bob McDonald

    An international agreement to ban ozone-depleting chemicals, signed in 1987 in Montreal, is showing results in the atmosphere. The Montreal Protocol is considered one of the most important climate treaties in history. But can we do it again with climate change?

    Posted: May 29, 2015 1:59 PM ET
  • classroom

    More science funding for schools key to our future: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The non-profit organization Let’s Talk Science has received $12.5 million from the federal government for the next five years to extend its hands-on science activities to students and educators across the country. This is a big win, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: May 22, 2015 11:27 AM ET
    Last Updated: May 22, 2015 2:51 PM ET

    Act locally to counter climate change: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Scientific papers on climate change, environmental activism and criticizing the government are not the way to move forward towards a low-carbon lifestyle. A new report says real change comes from the community, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: May 15, 2015 1:59 PM ET
    Last Updated: May 22, 2015 2:53 PM ET
  • Progress spacecraft

    Blog Space junk roulette: What are the odds of being hit?

    by Bob McDonald

    The fall from space of an out-of-control Russian spacecraft into the Pacific Ocean this week relied on fairly good odds that no one would be hurt by debris raining down from the sky. We got lucky this time; but it's time to start taking action on space junk, Bob McDonald writes.

    Posted: May 08, 2015 12:48 PM ET
    Last Updated: May 08, 2015 3:33 PM ET
    read comments
  • NASA Messenger Spacecraft

    Blog Mercury, Pluto probes: Life and death at opposite ends of solar system

    by Bob McDonald

    One robot spacecraft ended its life on Mercury this week, while another set its sights on Pluto, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: May 01, 2015 11:58 AM ET
    Last Updated: May 01, 2015 4:53 PM ET
  • Hubble Space Telescope

    Blog Happy birthday Hubble, but Canadian astronomers are making you obsolete: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    As the Hubble Space Telescope ages , Canadian technology will enable huge telescopes on the ground to see ten times better.

    Posted: Apr 24, 2015 1:18 PM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 27, 2015 10:26 AM ET
  • Mosul Museum

    Analysis ISIS's archaeological vandalism destroys knowledge and history: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The willful destruction of the ancient Iraqi city of Nimrud by ISIS militants earlier this month has been condemned by UNESCO. As Bob McDonald writes, this archaeological vandalism is another attempt to erase, then re-write history.

    Posted: Apr 17, 2015 8:28 AM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 17, 2015 4:12 PM ET
  • Other Earths

    Blog Are we getting closer to finding alien life?: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    If the chemicals for life are common across the galaxy, and water, essential for life, is everywhere, why haven’t we found any alien life-forms out there?

    Posted: Apr 10, 2015 11:22 AM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 10, 2015 12:02 PM ET
  • Full Moon

    Blog Howling at the moon, and at scientific myths

    by Bob McDonald

    Myths and legends, such as those about the full moon, are an important part of culture. But when direct scientific evidence proves the contrary, we have to make a choice between what we believe in and what evidence tells us is the truth, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: Apr 03, 2015 5:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 04, 2015 4:31 PM ET
  • Twins in Space

    Blog Astronaut twin study could provide valuable data for Mars mission

    by Bob McDonald

    American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend a year aboard the International Space Station. Meanwhile, Kelly’s identical twin brother Mark will be monitored on the ground in the first twin study of its kind.

    Posted: Mar 27, 2015 10:31 AM ET
    Last Updated: Mar 27, 2015 4:40 PM ET
  • Solar Germany technology

    Blog Fossil-fuel-free future plan pitched by Canadian scientists

    by Bob McDonald

    A report by more than 60 Canadian scientists points to a realistic, clean, sustainable future for our country, one that won't destroy the economy, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: Mar 20, 2015 1:24 PM ET
    Last Updated: Mar 23, 2015 10:18 AM ET
  • Christopher Columbus landing in America

    Was 1610 the start of the Age of Man? Bob's Blog

    by Bob McDonald

    A group of scientists is suggesting the year 1610 as the beginning of what has become known as the Age of Humans, a new epoch in the Earth’s history in which the dominant agent of change is humanity, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: Mar 13, 2015 1:21 PM ET
    Last Updated: Mar 18, 2015 11:51 AM ET
  • Dawn at Vesta

    Blog How Dawn, New Horizons cross huge distances: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    The New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Dawn mission to Ceres demonstrate two approaches to space travel - the brute power of rockets, versus advanced solar-powered ion propulsion.

    Posted: Mar 06, 2015 10:37 AM ET
    Last Updated: Mar 09, 2015 11:04 AM ET
  • Cold weather

    Cold weather doesn't mean climate change isn't happening: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    It’s hard to think about climate change while most of the country is in a deep freeze. But while this part of the planet is freezing, other parts are baking, which is why climate change requires a global perspective.

    Posted: Feb 27, 2015 1:06 PM ET
    Last Updated: Mar 02, 2015 9:08 AM ET
  • DSCOVR Satellite Rendering

    Blog DSCOVR satellite to offer Earth a much-needed selfie

    by Bob McDonald

    A new satellite called the Deep Space Climate Observatory that launched this week will provide a unique picture of the whole Earth, as well as valuable data about the planet, writes Bob McDonald.

    Posted: Feb 13, 2015 10:18 AM ET
    Last Updated: Feb 13, 2015 11:17 AM ET
  • New Horizons spacecraft approaches Pluto

    Blog Pluto, Europa missions could reveal alien life: Bob McDonald

    by Bob McDonald

    Two ice worlds, Pluto and Europa, are closer to being explored by robotic spacecraft, and both could be our best bets for finding extraterrestrial life in our solar system.

    Posted: Feb 06, 2015 11:33 AM ET
    Last Updated: Feb 09, 2015 1:50 PM ET
  • The Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.

    Blog Fire at Mars test habitat shows dangers of manned mission

    by Bob McDonald

    A fire at a simulated Mars habitat, located in the Utah desert, demonstates the dangers that a manned mission to the Red Planet might face.

    Posted: Jan 30, 2015 1:13 PM ET
    Last Updated: Jan 30, 2015 4:11 PM ET
  • Youth and Teen Center summer camp,  MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif

    Blog Face time, not Facebook time, essential for kids

    by Bob McDonald

    Childhood obesity, too much screen time, sedentary lifestyles, and cyberbullying are the new threats to the health of young people. One solution is to tear the kids away from their devices and tell them to go outside and play … with other kids.

    Posted: Jan 23, 2015 10:32 AM ET
    Last Updated: Jan 23, 2015 3:28 PM ET

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