Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has cosmic questions about space and time. He'll bring it all down to earth for us.
United States


00:00:02from WBUR Boston NPR and Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook and this is on point Neil degrasse Tyson got a telescope for his twelfth birthday and says the universe called too and he's been decoding the stars ever since now he's the director of the Hayden planetarium at the
00:00:19American museum of natural history he has seven point three million Twitter of Twitter followers and a National Geographic show this hour on point everyman's astrophysicist Neil degrasse Tyson on the mysteries of the universe you can join us on air or online what do you see when you look
00:00:37up at the night sky what is Neil degrasse Tyson taught you about your place in the universe how the world really turns join us anytime it on point radio dot org or on Twitter and Facebook at on point radio joining me this hour from New York City is
00:00:52Neil degrasse Tyson director of the Hayden planetarium at the American museum of natural history in New York he's also the host of star talk a radio show turned podcast and Emmy nominated late night talk show on the National Geographic channel his latest book out today is astrophysics for
00:01:10people in a hurry you can read an excerpt at our website on point radio dot org Neil so great to have you welcome exchange for having me on like you still at the beginning your book you write that this is a small volume quote for all those who
00:01:24are too busy to read fat books yet none the less seek a conduit to the cosmos a lot of big ideas and a little book what's and what inspired this one so just to be clear it's it's this is not some curriculum that you would find at a
00:01:40at a university and somehow you know trimmed its a curated set of mind blowing it sings about the universe that are hand picked because I know they're kind of fun and interesting and you're in a hurry you don't have much time and so so someone asked me well
00:01:59did you name it that because astrophysics for dummies was taken note of this is real astrophysics and %HESITATION it's for people I think many of us have seen headlines go across the news wires right exoplanet you do do these words that might stick out exoplanet dark matter dark
00:02:18energy of that multiverse and what I've tried to do in this book is to create a coherent whole of all these bits and pieces that have made headlines so that you can come out and be conversant the next morning at the water cooler in your office and all
00:02:33right I want to be I wanna be give us one mind blowing bit from the book the you think we should now so that I think that's they're scattered throughout the book by chapter yeah but let me just go straight to the end at the top there's a
00:02:47dozen chapters and I try to tie a bow on the mall with a chapter titled a cosmic perspective and so so one of them is by the way you can get a cosmic perspective from other branches of science it doesn't have to be astrophysics for example biology so
00:03:02so here's one that by the way a cosmic perspective is a point of view where you realize how small you actually are in spite of how big you thought you were right or how important or whatever shocked so when one of them yes it's a reality check on
00:03:19our place in the universe and by the way there's an upside to that we can get to later but so they're they're more microbes in one linear centimeter of your lower colon then there are humans who have ever been borne out and so we're thinking that we're some
00:03:35at the top of some evolutionary ladder where humans are or we're in charge but to those microbes you're simply a darkened anaerobic vessel of fecal matter and if you upset them they will let you know it you will know it yes so they will tell you who's actually
00:03:55in charge and so that's an example of you know before you get too big headed about who we who you think you are in nature on earth and in this universe just just do a reality a scientific reality check on these kinds of things in this book contains
00:04:10many examples of that just in the last two minutes I get why you have seven point three million Twitter followers I still don't understand I wake up what you know should I remind these people that I'm actually an astro physicist still time to back out and I don't
00:04:26you know I I'm I'm I'm shocked every day I'm delighted but shocked but you know when a size that astrophysics need not be inaccessible you say it belongs to everyone I just want to know how it is that you're able to make these complicated subjects easy to understand
00:04:43for the average person who may not even be interested in astrophysics I would claim there never complicated in the first place what what happened yes there's some complicated things that I will never tell you because they're complicated to Coptic so that's why it's it's a curated set of
00:04:58knowledge that we have gleaned about the universe that is convey a bull in this medium and I've written other books that go dead go much deeper and and when you're no longer in a hurry you can turn to those and ideally you'd read this book and then use
00:05:13it while this triggers even more hunger at a hankering hunger that I have for the universe and so now I will get a bigger book or watch a longer documentary and make the rest of my life orbit fact you see instead of squeezing it into the interstitial times
00:05:30as you might do with this current book do you think there's an increase in public appetite for science in this moment I let me give a slightly cop out answer I think the appetite has always been there but producers and directors and and others in charge of media
00:05:46have discovered it man I don't think they've created I think they've discovered something that was always there and maybe people didn't even know it was there you know what it is I think we as kids we are all curious we all turn over rocks and and poke things
00:06:01and put our lives in jeopardy just to be curious about our environment and I I joked about this week you know you're you're the parents spend the first couple of years teaching you to walk and talk and the rest of your life tell you to shut up and
00:06:14sit down and in the shut up and sit down part is a squashing of in native curiosity that we all have so now I claimed that as adults that amber might still be deep and mineral all you have to do is fan it and then reignited can reignited
00:06:30in adulthood it could be transformative to a person's life and and and read introduce a life of curiosity something we've long forgotten from our childhood and if you are curious and there's other things out there to feed that curiosity it's like your big it's like a room of
00:06:48a rebirth of mind and so no I don't think people are becoming more interested I think the interest is always there and it's not getting reveals as much as me this landscape is huge I've seven million Twitter followers but the the Facebook page I. F. L. S. I
00:07:04freaking love science has thirty million followers okay it's not just me the number one show on television is called the Big Bang theory yes they be caricatures but who would have thought thirty years ago if you went up to producers and said I have an idea for show
00:07:22lives been follow the the the lives of PhD scientists it'll be hilarious you be laughed out of the room they be looking for the next cop drama or the next medical drama whatever that is they thought would be the only way you could sell television that's the number
00:07:36one show the Martian the movie had marquee actors each one of them stars in their own movie came together for this with a marquee director of Ridley Scott with a marquee budget and the release of your hand it's a hit it's so so no it's not just me
00:07:54there there is a appetite being served and I think it's long overdue so I'm curious I'm curious in your years exploring the universe what has surprised you the most I'm you know when you study the universe you look being surprised is a native state it's a natural flow
00:08:15black holes who ordered that okay we got black holes owe the universe is accelerating where that come from okay well we got that %HESITATION they've they've delusions of exoplanets where they come from okay we got that all we have Jupiters planets the size of Jupiter orbiting is closer
00:08:34their whole star as mercury is to our host star who thought that up in so so we're stumped and and surprised almost daily but if not weekly or monthly so you ask me what surprises me the most nothing at all surprises me so cash I love that line
00:08:52being surprises a native state what keeps you up at night then what unanswered questions about the universe sort of old fiddler might want to get there yes I do I want to go right we have our Nordic hobnail to as you are so impatient alright I'll tell you
00:09:09but several things keep me up at night but %HESITATION and the more you can ask me that question again later but I'll give you one right now okay I'm one of them is the possibility that we are not even smart enough to know what questions to ask and
00:09:28even if we did we might not be smart enough to answer them because we're not some measure of intelligence in the universe who'd just who decided we are intelligent we did so so if there's some other species out there that's also intelligent with a judge us in that
00:09:46way we have one percent DNA separating us from chimpanzees who can stack boxes and reach a banana and we call that an intelligent chimpanzee well suppose building a Hubble telescope and having art and philosophy suppose that's not really that impressive to a more intelligent species out there we
00:10:04have yet to discover they look at us the way we look at champs would they would they called intelligent possibly not and they would have thought they would have questions we could not even ponder so I lay awake at night wondering whether the limitations of human physiology prevent
00:10:21us from even knowing how the universe really works how old were you when you became interested in science in the universe I have six percent I think all kids are scientists so so it's not a science thing it's the universe in particular I was nine in a first
00:10:37visit to my local planetarium the Hayden planetarium here in New York Boston also has a Hayden planetarium came later but it's the same family money from the Hayden Hayden foundation Charles Hayden and the scope of twelve at age twelve and that was a a a a a birthday
00:10:53gift and that's when I first saw Saturn through a telescope which is mind blowing and when people ask me why Saturn your favorite planet that tells me that they have never seen it through a telescope although they just simply wouldn't be asking me that question because they would
00:11:09agree it's it's like objectively true that this is one of the most mind blowing things to see through a telescope and even a simple backyard telescope then also you put it on the moon you so I've seen pictures of the moon so what you put a telescope on
00:11:22the moon and the mountains and valleys and craters and hills and shadows it comes alive and it's real it's got texture almost touch it in so this can set you could set me off and I and I been communing with the cosmos ever since this is on point
00:11:51I'm Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook we're talking this hour with Neil degrasse Tyson about space NASA and missions to Mars his new book is astrophysics for people in a hurry you can join the conversation are we entering a new space age is that a good thing are
00:12:07you ready to see humans on Mars would you go here is Neil degrasse Tyson's sister Lynn explaining her brother's appeal on this week's CBS Sunday morning what he's able to do it is to demystify science and that is the ultimate equalizer I I think any person when they
00:12:28realize that they can learn something they don't see even what that mode of communication S. they just know that they've been inspired and that they've learned something and so I think that cuts through what the presenter looks like a cut through race it cuts through age it cuts
00:12:44through gender sure does here's essay at edge hill a student who participated in New York city's March for science just last month telling and why one of why he marched science is really important and all lives of America because it helps us learn more about the world and
00:13:02also it helps us care others little Neil degrasse Tyson there what a kid you know you hear kids a lot in our society Neil falling behind in math and science as compared to the rest of the world I'm curious what your answer to that very difficult problem is
00:13:19yeah I think the the first I was not as mature as that kid was how he sounded pretty young so yeah the the the part of the consequence of when you lag behind the world I mean there many layers you can cut it this but the first one
00:13:38is if you lag behind the world okay so what you lag behind the world except that in the world leads the future they innovate and they invent innovations in science and technology will be the engines of the twenty first century growth economies there's no question about this if
00:13:54you lack the world they innovate and then we have to trail behind that that's not a posture that I grew up in as an American and it's I bet it's not the posture the Congress wants to take as we and did go for deeper into the century so
00:14:11at the sooner people realize this the more we can try to take corrective action in the school system in health sciences treated or with the attitude people have toward science as though they just cherry pick it for what they want without really realizing that emerging objective scientific truths
00:14:26are true whether or not you believe in them and if you're gonna have legislation it really should be based on objective truths not what you might call personal truths that come from your religion or your politics or your own personal philosophies so yeah the night states has some
00:14:43heads has some mending to do in this regard talk more about this attitude toward science I am thinking about one of the videos that you put out recently went viral %HESITATION you talked about how the inability to agree on scientific truth can dismantle our democracy science deniers you
00:15:03say now create a recipe for the complete dismantling of our informed democracy do you believe there is an anti science sentiment in the United States right now I woke up among some yes and but I don't think it's anti science in general those same people who might be
00:15:24in denial of certain scientific truths still use a smartphone you know and you notified grandma's house on the GPS grid there there are many of them are alive and didn't die in childbirth because of advances in medicine so I think fundamentally people cannot rationally say their anti science
00:15:45what I think they object to is that as adults they have adopted a certain outlook on the world and think that denying science that conflicts without outlook is actually overturning the truth of that science should be like last week you you you gain weight and this week you
00:16:05want to repeal the law of gravity no two does not work that way sorry so so this is a and and and it's too easy to just be to adults over the head but when this is a point of misunderstanding but in fact as an educator I look
00:16:21back to K. through twelve and I notice I think what happens there is we think of kids as vessels empty vessels and you unzip their head in kindergarteners are pouring information and for twelve years and then use ibid back up slap a diploma on them and say you
00:16:37are now educated or you can continue this in to college the fact that today leave college educated adults saying they choose not to believe in objective scientific truth means there's something missing in that educational background in that educational background parrots back what they're told rather than training you
00:16:59how to think how to analyze how to process information that's what's missing including an entire course just on what science is and how and why it works if you if you fix that in the school system you can't possibly have adults standing in denial of science and not
00:17:15nor would you elect anyone with that posture so that's why I don't be politicians on the head I would back at the electorate my fellow Americans we played this interview for you and get your perspective on the other side this is a fox news Sunday last month host
00:17:32Chris Wallace grilling EPA director Scott Pruett over Pruitt's claim that carbon dioxide was not a primary contributor to global warming after showing Pruitt scientific reports that contradicted it's via Wallace improve it had this exchange this what if you're wrong see look let me say to CO two contributes
00:17:51to greenhouse gas has a greenhouse gases that affect and global warming as nothing to us %HESITATION and other types of gases the issue is how much we we contribute to that from him actively perspective it near the grass Tyson oh yeah was that a question you will be
00:18:09react I do so Abraham Lincoln in eighteen sixty three when clearly he had other priorities in front of him arm in that year he signed into law the creation of the National Academy of sciences because he knew when you look at Europe and what role science was playing
00:18:27in building the industrial becoming the foundation of the industrial revolution they created such economic prosperity in Europe over the over the time that this was a celebrated %HESITATION activity of of all the nations he said I we need some of that here in America so the National Academy
00:18:45of science was established to advise Congress and the president of all the ways that the emerging scientific truth can influence sage policy okay by the way Abraham Lincoln was a Republican of the first of such and so the national can be such as been going strong ever since
00:19:04and this is the most respected scientist who repair who prepare reports in the service of policy and these reports and I know why is all the research that has been conducted and come forth with scientific consensus not a consensus of opinion a consensus of observations and experiment and
00:19:24one of them is that humans are warming the earth's now and then there's a whole report about this and the consequences and what how great is happening and what we need to do is an entire report so if you now work for the government and going to deny
00:19:41what the National Academy of sciences tells you they go back to Abraham Lincoln say a beaut and know what the hell you were talking about and I do go back go tell me go ahead and and and ask yourself why are you in any position of power in
00:19:56this country if the health wealth and security of this country is a priority because without any understanding of how science works you are jeopardizing our health our wealth and our security let's get Brenda in here from ache in South Carolina hi Brenda here on the air with Neil
00:20:13degrasse Tyson hi Jane hi doctor Tyson yes hello I'm calling in praise of your humility not only on your own behalf but for all of us humans all my life I have believed and always will that if we could be more humble if we could act sap the
00:20:41place that we actually occupy on planet earth and in the universe we would grow exponentially in our knowledge and understanding and in part we're able to accomplish if we could give up the arrogance that we rule the universe then I believe that we could explore it much faster
00:21:13and more effectively but %HESITATION the way we behave toward each other and toward other species and and the way we abuse other species and and are planet home I believe that if we are able to colonize other planets we will behave the same way there on land use
00:21:42Brenda she learned but doctor Tyson is trying to tell us Brenda thank you thank you very much should Brett has captured thank you Brenda that she's she's summarized what the cosmic perspective actually is consider that your ego often drives from the belief that you are different from everyone
00:22:04else in a way that makes you better and what the cosmic perspective does is says first you are not better than anyone else and in fact you're largely the same as everyone else but what I want to do is turn the table on that and say in the
00:22:19universe where we discover that are atoms of our body come from stars were not made of special ingredients in fact we are made of the most common ingredients in the universe hydrogen oxygen carbon nitrogen and so so you can look in the universe and say I'm special not
00:22:37because I'm different but because I'm the same it is that sameness that makes you a participant in the great unfolding of cosmic events and so to learn that no you are not different from other humans you're the same genetically and and and we have genetics in common with
00:22:56an oak tree with an octopus with a dog this sameness changes you as you recognize that no we are part of an eco system we our planet part of a solar system we are a bit orbit a start as part of a galaxy yes this can transform civilization
00:23:18and how we and an end to end all wars there would never be wars with astro physicist leading each other into battle that will never happen Brenda thank you very much for the call you've had some unusual mind blowing fact in a in a few minutes due out
00:23:35once when it okay so I went and read all right arm there are more molecules of water in a glass of water then there are a couple of order then there are cups of water in all the world's oceans okay said that again say it again okay there
00:23:52are more molecules of water in a Cup of water then there are cups of water in all the worlds oceans what this means is there's enough molecules in one Cup to scatter to all other cops that you could dig out of the ocean which means if you drink
00:24:11that Cup and that those molecules come back out of your body through sweat through Peter whatever then you are liquid affluence is are now shared with the entire earth and what that means is every glass of what do you do drink contains molecules of water that pass through
00:24:31the kidneys of Abe Lincoln of Genghis Khan of of Joan of arc of Jesus so we are connected through the very molecules of water that we consume my dad because my perspective that is a cause and that is a mind blowing cosmic perspective well that's right type that
00:24:51I'd advertising without Neil degrasse Tyson is my guest I'm Jane Clayson this is on point do you think we'll ever make contact or encounter other life forms out yeah yeah I mean life owners got under way almost as quickly as it possibly could have and as I have
00:25:08already detailed we made of the most common ingredients in the universe so that should tell you that there's no reason to think that what happened on earth is separate and distinct and special an uncommon in the universe at large our catalogs of exoplanets planets orbiting other stars has
00:25:26now risen through three thousand and a subset of those are planets that orbit the temperate Goldilocks zone where the water can be kept in liquid phase and we know liquid water is pretty important for life as we know it so so yeah I don't see anything in the
00:25:44way what possibly in my lifetime will find microbial life if not in our backyard the solar system but on some exoplanets nearby enough to get good measurements and I wouldn't know if in my lifetime but I'd like to think that one day we do contact what we would
00:26:00call intelligent life in the universe are our biggest hope should be that they think of us and as intelligent as well right because in the book they wouldn't CSS intelligent life Saralee now yeah what you mean by that how so well well well it's just if you just
00:26:16compare so getting back to the champion comparison is about one percent difference in DNA between the two of us and we do great things that we we say we do great things in the champ stacks boxes and reaches a banana and so you say well what a difference
00:26:31that one percent makes will maybe that one percent difference is not all that large even intellectually we tell ourselves that but maybe it isn't let's just continue this experiment find any other life form that has one percent genetic difference in the same direction of intelligence as we are
00:26:49from chips what would we look like to them one percent one percent will the smartest of us they would roll Stephen Hawking forward and say this one is slightly smarter than the rest because he can do astro physics calculations in his head like little Timmy over here who
00:27:06just came home from preschool this is the alien to me with one percent more DNA than we have in the intelligence spectrum so tell me what did you do today although I derive the fundamental laws of calculus all this debt on the refrigerator with a magnet yes because
00:27:19the smartest James do what our toddlers can do so why should we think that the smartest humans wouldn't do simply what the toddlers can do of this other hypothetical species that I just told you about so they would not possibly think of us as intelligent and their simple
00:27:37slots they would be capable of communicating to us in the same way you cannot tell a champ home yeah out at three o'clock in taking an airplane to Tokyo and we have a business meeting tomorrow morning and Good could you order the lunch that is impossible construct for
00:27:54it a chimp to understand yet is one of the simplest things you might say to another human being so yeah odd weird we'd we should not think ourselves at some measure of intelligence in the galaxy about thirty seconds to the next break Neil degrasse Tyson get when the
00:28:09music comes in like in the Oscars yeah but before we get that before we get there one more mind blowing fact please click okay so the same works with air so there is many air molecules in a breath of air as there are breaths of air in all
00:28:24the earth's atmosphere so when you exhale there's enough molecules to scatter into every other possible breath that anyone takes so again when you take a breath veered molecules of air in your lungs that had been hailed by Sigmund Freud by Beethoven by Billy the kid so we are
00:28:46connected in ways that you would you like to think you were separate and distinct know this goes this podcast in the following Messager sponsored by blue apron partnering with sustainable farms fisheries and ranchers to deliver all you need to create incredible home cooked meals ingredients come pre measured
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00:29:29plus free shipping at blue apron dot com slash OP this is on point I'm Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook everyman astrophysicist Neil degrasse Tyson is my guest this hour his new book out today is astrophysics for people in a hurry you can join the conversation here are
00:29:52you still upset with his verdict on the once planet Pluto does the fastness of the universe overwhelm you doesn't excite you or comfort you you can follow us on Twitter minus on Facebook at one point radio in September at the international astronomical Congress in Mexico healing must could
00:30:10describe why he wants to send humans to Mars one path is we say on earth forever %HESITATION and then there will be some eventual extinction event %HESITATION I don't have an immediate doomsday prophesy but this exponentially history suggests that will be some Sanders event what the alternative is
00:30:30to become a spacefaring civilization and a multi planet species which I hope you would agree that is the right way to go yes no he doesn't talk about this a little bit we had a SpaceX rocket to go up %HESITATION just this week I mean a long healing
00:30:48mosque says he wants to send the first human mission to Mars as soon as two thousand twenty five do you think that's possible which of the three things there there's one let's colonize Mars the other one is he's launching rockets the third one is he wants to he's
00:31:03got a lot of gender yeah because a lot on the on the at and he's still making a tussle car so let's back up is that a no another when you're a little to get this is in there okay so it makes good headlines to say what's become
00:31:18of and it kind of makes sense at first cut when you say what's become a multi planet species so that our species not up does not go extinct if there's some catastrophic event on one planet relative to another so that you know you you can make a rational
00:31:32argument for that however there's a practical side of this that has been neglected and I am a practical guy I think so here it is ready now I we kinda know the kind of things that can render your stink like an asteroid could come come from space and
00:31:50it took out the dinosaurs and we don't want that same fate there could be some killer virus that runs rampant they could be in any of these things could happen I agree however you have to ask the question armed to colonize Mars means you're living there and presumably
00:32:08it doesn't mean you're living in a bubble on Mars because then you're living like on earth on Mars right you living on Mars to do that you have to terraform Mars and that dead be the coolest thing ever if we could do that no doubt about it but
00:32:21what what it's saying is we should terraform Mars and then ship a billion people there or some number of people that can then start a new branch of humanity and somehow that's easier than deflecting the asteroid so almost any doomsday scenario you can come up with it will
00:32:44be easier to pre emptively armed to pre emptively avoid that fate vent to terraform Mars and ship a billion people there if you have the power to ship a billion people there you have the power to bat asteroids wherever they come from in the in the galaxy and
00:33:02in the solar system backed them out of the way if you have if you worry that will destroy earth and earth will then kill us if you had the power to terraform Mars into earth you have the power to turn her back into earth so in practice it's
00:33:21not a solution to that problem that doesn't mean I won't let me some Mars totally let's go to Mars no problem about it but to say we need to go to protect the species and by the way if you do split into two planets in an asteroid does
00:33:35come to one planet and somehow we don't can't figure out how to deflect it you really going to sit there and say goodbye twelve billion people on the other earth you will die and we will all survivors in that a good thing no you want to save everybody
00:33:50so I don't see it as a real scenario a practical scenario compared to what we would actually think of doing under those circumstances let's get pollen here from Littleton Massachusetts hi Paul graduated you're on the air hi Jane thank you so much for taking my call them so
00:34:06I'm one of the most exciting things that I observed in my and my adult life is this at this discovery of exoplanets %HESITATION my my daughter and I have shared this joy it's just been wonderful to see but one of the things that has perplexed me is you
00:34:25know what planets are so far away and although we've been able to pick up you know that that this planet exist how will we ever going to %HESITATION figure out whether those planets out have life occurring on them I know that there's always give me like there's there's
00:34:41the possibility because they exist in a certain habitable zone that how we going to discern the information that's being given off by that planet from our distant observations that that life is occurring on the planet Paul thank you building excellent well thought out question I wonder how a
00:34:59pause if you still want to hold his daughter is if anyone born after nineteen ninety five is nineteen ninety five was the first announcement of the first exoplanet I want to call that generation generation X. will play because they've only known life in the company of news that
00:35:17we know of offs of star systems beyond our own and so so there is an emergent industry I'm emergent subfield of the search for planets that has not yet made headlines because they're still working on the hardware to enable it and these are cases where we a planet
00:35:36eclipse is the host star from our line of sight and if it passes in front of the host's start means light from the host star if that planet has an atmosphere will pass through the atmosphere and we know very well what happens when light passes through a gas
00:35:52the gas leaves a spectral fingerprint the ghastly to special fingerprint on the light that is passing through and you use a spectroscope on our side of that equation and look at that light from the star you find out whoa it's got signatures of oxygen and methane and other
00:36:10chemicals that we have evidence could only be there in the presence of the actions of life on their surface now that would be true of more true for oxygen than for methane we know of ways to make methane that that does not require life but life also gives
00:36:26you methane so if you're making a list you can put the ones that are most likely to indicate that surface presence of life and we call these biomarkers that is sort of the next ten years of headlines that you'll be noticing and we're all very excited about those
00:36:43prospects Paul thank you very much and my son will be delighted to be called exoplanet generational generation X. and that's right oz simple question from Facebook Jay asks why did you kill Pluto we don't have a common I think you'll Pluto I was I was in a sensory
00:37:01for sure okay but for those who don't know you lobby to have Pluto stripped of its status right is the ninth planet no I don't lobby I don't tell anybody anything all we did when we rebuilt than the new York's Hayden planetarium yeah I'm opens to the public
00:37:14in the year two thousand we wanted to future proof the exhibits and I saw that there was some icy bodies that had just been discovered in the outer solar system the kind of look like Pluto ineffective they empleado look more like one another than either of them look
00:37:27like the rest of the planets in the solar system so all we did was take Pluto and group it with a whole discussion of these icy bodies in the outer solar system that's all we did but the New York times caught a hold of it and they had
00:37:40a page one story below the fold but a page one story saying that Pluto not a planet only in New York and then I got hate mail from third grader I was gonna say from kids write all my guy with Public Enemy and I and all we did
00:37:56was tell the truth about what's going on out there we didn't demoted Pluto we just group did with its brethren and I think it's happier there is one of the biggest of the IC ice balls rather than the puny as to the planets and the poodle lovers out
00:38:09there hardly any of them know that our moon is five times the mass %HESITATION food out our moon head of Pluto were where earth is right now heat from the sun would evaporate it's ice because it's more than half ice by volume it he would evaporate at ice
00:38:27the technical word sublime would evaporate that ice and will grow a tail mug that's what kind of behavior for a planet little crosses the orbit of another planet my comments do so Pluto's a perfectly fine member of the solar system but once you look at the the details
00:38:44yet it's it's hard to just put it in with the in the club of the rest of the planet now you take this one step further Jupiter has storms bigger than all of planet earth on it okay so if you came upon the solar system an alien you
00:39:01would say oh that's got four planets Jupiter Saturn Uranus and Neptune and everything else is just debris because Jupiter is more bigger compared to earth then arses compare to Pluto so if you just gonna invoke size on this Jupiter has more argument to get rid of earth and
00:39:17earth has to get rid of Pluto if it's only based on size but we have other criteria as well so it's gone I still there it's just college work plan and just get over it here's Brian in Bridgeton main hi Brian you're on the air and all right
00:39:32Jane are hydroxides hello I just a quick question %HESITATION do you think we'll see our extensive space tourism in the next you know ten fifteen twenty years and %HESITATION yes on lower orbit yes it'll it'll drive or the entire economy yeah up so I did it would drive
00:39:52the entire economy of a future in space space tourism I have no doubt about it until we learn how to mine asteroids then the mineral resources and mining the first trillion Araby the the first person who figures out how to exploit the natural resources of a vast right
00:40:07so yes it will drive our economy does that mean the Ellis park drive to space drive the space economies tried yes it would drive you will turn what is now a space program into a space thriving space and for Brian thank you thanks very much for the call
00:40:22his James in buffalo New York hi James from here Jane character types and they shouldn't have an absolute pleasure to actually be able to speak with you %HESITATION I love the night actually had was how how would you and are you afraid to how you can find many
00:40:43wonder how you communicate with individuals who basically deny most factual scientific information %HESITATION is that in today's modern age most people basically do pretend in the scientific fact doesn't exist as long as it doesn't agree with the world view that they have James thanks now yes saying so
00:41:04first I'm reminded anytime I hear someone that speaks with complete ignorance and and ignorance by the way in which just means not knowing but if you're in it and you think you know so is is the crime of not knowing but sink you know and then acting on
00:41:21that that's that's just the recipe for disaster so so but I'm reminded that we live in a free country you ought to be able to think what you want and say what you want and I have no problems with that as a fundamental reality the problem arises if
00:41:36you if you do not understand how how and why science worked and you rise to power and you create legislation that's anchored in your ignorance this is this is as I said earlier in the broadcast that's where you begin to unravel the foundations of an informed democracy so
00:41:56I'll give an example I walk into buildings in there some buildings I live in New York City a lot of tall buildings some buildings don't have a thirteenth floor met most of them don't two thirds of them that so in some street eighty percent of the vote don't
00:42:07have a thirteenth floor and I'm saying this the night night states of America and we have people walking among us afraid of the number thirteen superstitious about it and I thought to myself that's fine we live in a free country fine but they should not be tasked with
00:42:22designing elevator banks many jobs for you if you have tricks a deck a phobia but stay out of the world where the rest of us want to go to a thirteenth floor so so I mean what I say to them I say your speech is protected but just
00:42:40because your speech is protected doesn't mean the constitution guarantees that what you say is accurate and if you want if you don't want to die poor you better figure out how to live knowing what science is because that is going to be recipe to keep you alive and
00:42:54Stoke our economy and at the end of the day provide the security we will need entering the twenty first century James thanks so much for the call AHS been a while since we've had a mind blowing fact so many thrown in for the book okay let me give
00:43:08you one a a so you ready yeah so a dark energy something discovered in the last couple of decades is a measurement that the universe is six celebrating in its expansion if that continued what we don't know what's causing it but we can measure it right so it's
00:43:23a big mystery but it's there if this continues which we think it will then in trillions of years our nearest galaxies will have accelerated away from us and gone beyond our horizon of detection the day that happens if there's a new emergent species who's trying to figure out
00:43:43the history of the universe you'll be no galaxies in their night sky to reveal it to them they will try to understand the world missing an entire chapter of the history of the universe unless we keep very good records and pass it down through time and keep them
00:44:00in a kind of library of Alexandria for the galaxy then fine that leaves me wondering what keeps me up most at night is whether our investigations of this universe are somehow missing a chapter that had been ripped from the book of knowledge that we are trying to decode
00:44:20some chapter that we don't even know was there leaving us helpless in our attempts to understand what is unfolding in front of us I lose sleep over that so we've got about a minute left a bit I wish we had another hour actually but you don't you sure
00:44:41some mind bending twelve we were in a hurry and when the book is we only have an hour to an hour all right we did it anyway I also did the audio book yeah so if you're in a hurry because you're in traffic and you're in a hurry
00:44:54and you'll have time is that you can like listen pitchman to I like that better than I can %HESITATION you've got mind blowing tweets on everything you've also been suggesting names for Beyonce's twins because me where you were I stayed for the and what are your suggestions for
00:45:11the queen bee doctor Tyson yeah I just had some because well I only did this because I think her daughter was named the blue sky or something or some do some innovative name their kid out of a blue ivy thank you so I thought okay well but that
00:45:27she's open for some suggestions so I just found a lot of paired phrases and words and in the universe just to put it out there and and many of them actually are gender neutral so you can just do what no matter who they are what gender they assign
00:45:40or choose that many of them will work up but I think my favorite was the last one I posted which was %HESITATION what was it and okay so I Quinn and test since I test since last seconds give us our last blind mind blowing fact for the hour
00:45:59intensity and you can do it you know will expand and and not with a bang but with a whimper and not in fire but a nice Neil degrasse Tyson thank you so much so great to have you here today out to delight any time to talk about the
00:46:16universe his new book astrophysics for people in a hurry you can continue the conversation listeners get the on point podcasts at our website on point radio dot org follow us on Twitter find us on Facebook and on point radio and Jane Clayson in for Thomas practices on point

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Go behind the headlines: From the economy and health care to politics and the environment – and so much more – On Point hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and David Folkenflik speak with newsmakers and real people about the issues that matter most. On Point is produced by WBUR for NPR.
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