You can watch Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' marathon right now, for free

You can watch the Cosmos marathon right now, for free!

NASA/Cosmos Studies.

Beloved author and astronomer Dr. Carl Sagan hosted a 13-part PBS mini-series in 1980 called Cosmos, that today many in science, the media, and regular science-minded citizens remember fondly. Sagan, often sporting a turtle neck or a corduroy jacket, amazed viewers by unraveling some of the biggest mysteries of the solar system, how stars work, the search for intelligent life beyond our planet, and other expansive topics, in ways both spellbinding and accessible.

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Surprising Science

Hey Bill Nye! What's Your Fondest Memory of Carl Sagan?

Science makes the heart grow fonder. Want proof? Just watch Bill Nye as he remembers time spent with the legendary cosmologist Carl Sagan.

When Bill Nye was studying engineering at Cornell University, he took astronomy under none other than Carl Sagan. In the past, Nye has said that Sagan gave his lectures just as he presented the iconic television series Cosmos, and as an aspiring science educator himself, Nye was hugely inspired. So what are his fondest memories of the legendary cosmologist? There are two: one is Nye's favorite — where he convinced Sagan to make a monumental music choice regarding the 1977 Voyager golden record — and the other is his most important, when Sagan put him on the path to success with advice that formed the core of the Bill Nye the Science Guy show.

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Surprising Science

Hey Bill Nye! What If Life Had Evolved From Viruses?

Evolutionary biologists generally agree that humans evolved from a bacteria-like ancestor, rather than a viral one. But what if we're chemically connected?

What would life look like if it had evolved from viruses instead of bacteria? Maybe it’s what you see in the mirror, jokes Bill Nye – before setting the record straight. Most evolutionary biologists agree that bacteria-like organisms are the ancestors of humans. About two billion years ago, eukaryotes forked off from bacteria, eventually giving shape to humans, animals, plants and fungi. It’s anyone’s guess what kind of organism you’d get from the evolution of viruses but, says Nye, it’s very reasonable that there is a common chemical ancestor for both viruses and bacteria, and if someone wanted to roll up their sleeves, it would be possible to prove it. Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.

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Surprising Science

A disturbing 1995 prediction by Carl Sagan accurately describes America of today

A quote from a 1995 book by astronomer Carl Sagan describes a world many find disturbingly similar to ours.

Photo courtesy of the Cornell University Archives

Astronomer Carl Sagan was a great science communicator, most widely known for the original "Cosmos" television series. He was also a prolific writer and in 1995 wrote the book "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark" that touches on a variety of topics, from debunking hoaxes like alien abductions to spirituality, but ultimately serves as a passionate argument for science and the scientific method.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Alien Lifeforms Could Exist in the Clouds of Brown Dwarfs, Cold "Failed" Stars

Scientists propose an unexpected location for extraterrestrial life. 

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Surprising Science