NG Explorers Answer Your Questions

NPR’s Talk of the Nation
returned to National Geographic’s Washington, D.C. headquarters Thursday,
January 6 for a second free NG
Live event
and radio broadcast, this time addressing the issues of rising
population and the future of exploration. In attendance were employees of both
organizations, members of the general public, and several groups of students
from high schools and universities in the D.C. area.

The first hour focused on “The Next Two Billion: Can
the Planet Take the Strain?” and featured Robert Kunzig, senior Environment
editor for National Geographic and author
of this
month’s cover story
. You can read more about and listen to that entire
program on


The second half of the program, titled “Exploration in the 21st Century: What’s the Role of the Explorer Today?,”  featured marine geologist, archaeologist, and NG Explorer-in-Residence Robert Ballard, NG photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols, and Iowa State biological anthropologist and NG Emerging Explorer Jill Pruetz (seet at right) known for her work studying chimpanzees that live not in the forest, but in the open savanna.

I caught up with Bob Ballard and Jill Pruetz afterwards and
posed them questions sent in by some of our 4 million fans on Facebook.

Daniel Lira Lozano asked:
With all the technological advances how has exploration changed in the last decade?

Michelle Erkers asked:
Is there any part of the world that is completely untouched, unmapped, or otherwise unvisited? Are there still places left to explore?

Final Question:
How does exploring through space help us to explore time as well?

Anne Drake asked:
The role of exploration of remote areas seems to have changed focus from, “I was here first,” to one of exploring and recording the science of the environment. Are there places where explorers can still be first or do explorers say, “While it was still pristine, I was here last”?

What new technology or techniques help us to explore the lives on animals in new ways?

Final Question:
Do you get a sense that by exploring the lives of chimps, we’re also getting a chance to explore the lives of early human ancestors?

Thanks to everyone who posed questions. Join us on the National Geographic Facebook page and become part of the conversation!

Changing Planet

Meet the Author
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn