January 20, 2011

Neil deGrasse Tyson and “Can We Make it to Mars?”

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

Neil deGrasse Tyson. Image taken from here.

Last night I watched the first episode of the new season of Nova scienceNOW on PBS. This season, Nova scienceNOW tackles big scientific questions such as “How does the brain work?” and “Can we live forever?” The questions and the science are fascinating. As if that weren’t enough reason to watch, the show is hosted by handsome, supersmart astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. I have a gigantic crush on Neil deGrasse Tyson. When he starts talking about science, I just melt. Not only is Neil attractive and very smart, he’s also extremely personable. He is excellent at explaining science to the general public, both in his writing– he’s published a number of excellent popular science books on astronomy– and in his public lectures and TV appearances. Neil has an infectious enthusiasm for science that makes you want to learn more about whatever he’s talking about. Also, according to this recent appearance on The Colbert Report, Neil is God. What’s not to love? Unfortunately, Neil is married with two children*, but I still have a crush on him. Fortunately, I can watch Neil every week on scienceNOW.

Here’s the preview for the series:

Video taken from YouTube.

The epsiode of Nova scienceNOW that aired last night was called “Can we make it to Mars?” The show tackled all sorts of problems associated with traveling to Mars. The show explored how to go fast enough to make it there in a reasonable amount of time, how to feed the astronauts for several years, how to make a better spacesuit for exploration, how to create artificial gravity so the astronauts’ bones don’t deteriorate, and other technical obstacles that need to be overcome before we can send humans to Mars. There was also a great interview with Vandi Verma, a remarkable woman who is one of the Mars Rover drivers.

I highly recommend that you watch this season of scienceNOW with Neil deGrasse Tyson. I know I look forward to next week’s episode “Can we live forever?”

*And I am happily engaged to another geologist.