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: 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.

3 ways to find a meaningful job, or find purpose in the job you already have

Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.

Videos
  • Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
  • There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
  • "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Keep reading Show less

Physicist advances a radical theory of gravity

Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.

Photo by Willeke Duijvekam
Surprising Science
  • The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
  • The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
  • While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
Keep reading Show less

UPS has been discreetly using self-driving trucks to deliver cargo

TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.


PAUL RATJE / Contributor
Technology & Innovation
  • This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
  • UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
  • TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.
Keep reading Show less