Bill Nye on Rosetta Comet Landing: We'll make discoveries that nobody's imagined yet.
Bill Nye the Science Guy discusses the Rosetta mission, which has landed a rover on the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Not only is this ridiculously cool, Nye explains that we're bound to discover something unexpected.
Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life.
In Seattle Nye began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Nye then quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.” This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TV, Seattle’s NBC affiliate.
While working on the Science Guy show, Nye won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating the shows, he wrote five children’s books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.”
Nye is the host of three currently-running television series. “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” airs on the Science Channel. “The Eyes of Nye” airs on PBS stations across the country.
Bill’s latest project is hosting a show on Planet Green called “Stuff Happens.” It’s about environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make as they go about their day and their shopping. Also, you’ll see Nye in his good-natured rivalry with his neighbor Ed Begley. They compete to see who can save the most energy and produce the smallest carbon footprint. Nye has 4,000 watts of solar power and a solar-boosted hot water system. There’s also the low water use garden and underground watering system. It’s fun for him; he’s an engineer with an energy conservation hobby.
Nye is currently the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest organization.
Bill Nye: Philae, in Latin we would say Philae is going to hook up, going to connect, going to touch the comet. It’s really an extraordinary thing and it’s done by the European Space Agency. The mission has lasted ten years I think because the distances in space are just enormous. There’s a lot of space in space. And for those of you who have not done this please visit planetary.org and look at the photographs, the pictures coming back from this thing. You can see what people have speculated a lot about the nature of cometary bodies – comets and asteroids is they’re not a single rock. It’s a gravel, rubble pile as we like to say. These rocks are held together by their tiny but nevertheless non-zero amount of gravity.
Just rendezvousing with this comet is an extraordinary thing. Compared to the vastness of space it’s a very, very small object. Yet it is part of the primordial solar system. There’s going to be something there that no one’s ever thought of. We’re going to make discoveries that no one has imagined yet. And we’re going to have this adventure. This is the thing about exploration. When you explore you’re going to have two things. You’re going to make discoveries. There’ll be stuff out there that no one’s thought of – something about ice, something about rocks, something about gravity, something about orbital motion, something about iridium – I’m making that up. Something about elements that we don’t think about too much. And you’re going to have an adventure. There’s going to be an adventure. Landing this spacecraft, watching the object come closer and closer. That’s going to be exciting. And as we say all the time, what are you guys going to find out there? We don’t know what we’re going to find and that’s why we’re looking. And as I like to always do I tie it back to the only preventable natural disaster which is the earth getting hit with an asteroid.
For me practically you can see that if you were to set off an explosive here to try to deflect this thing. If it were going to hit the earth – this was not going to hit the earth everybody. But if there were another one that were going to hit the earth you can see that if you just tried to push it you probably wouldn’t influence it properly. You’d just make it scatter and you might make things worse. So that’s why we at the Planetary Society advocate our laser bees program where we zap the surface of one of these with lasers. But that aside, I hope to be among the people that does not go the way of the ancient dinosaurs. There is no evidence at all that the ancient dinosaurs had a space program and it cost them.
Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton
Images: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA IGO 3.0
Bill Nye (The Science Guy!) comments on the Rosetta / Philae rendezvous with 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Whatever happens, says Nye, we will discover something unexpected. Nye's latest book is Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation.
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