Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson recently captivated an audience of more than 4,000 people as he took on heavy topics in a way that only he can.
The esteemed astrophysicist spoke at the Nicoson Hall at the University of Indianapolis on Wednesday evening and used the time to not only educate the crowd, but to prove that science could indeed be more interesting than people might expect.
At one point, Tyson explained to the crowd why he doesn’t get excited about eclipses.
While the general public seems to make a big deal out of lunar and solar eclipses, Tyson explained that they are far more common than people think.
“Eclipses are not rare,” he told the crowd. “If you ever see a news article that says eclipses are rare, NO! Eclipses are more frequent than the Olympics.”
Eventually, the talk of eclipses led to a playful moment between Tyson and an audience member who excitedly exclaimed that there was a solar eclipse Thursday.
“Thank you for reminding the speaker, who is an astrophysicist,” he joked. “I assure you when stuff goes on with the sun, I’m all up in it.”
Tyson also revealed that he isn’t in support of trying to create a new civilization on Mars.
While some pioneers are hoping to get people on Mars by 2023, Tyson said he wouldn’t recommend the journey for anyone and he certainly won’t make it himself.
“I’m not signing up,” he said. “I will wait until there’s a budget to bring me back.”
That’s not to say he is a huge fan of earth, either.
Tyson joked that earth is certainly no “loving mother planet.”
“Earth basically wants to kill you,” he told the stunned crowd before explaining that 97 to 98 percent of all species that ever existed on earth are now extinct.
When compared to the universe, however, earth doesn’t look too bad.
“Not that we can find much solace in the universe,” Tyson continued. “The universe also wants to kill us, what with gamma ray bursts, supernova explosions, black holes and more.”
Despite how dangerous the universe may be, it isn’t clear if Tyson would rather take that journey through the scary universe if it meant he didn’t have to talk to politicians anymore.
While Tyson loves talking to the public about science, he made it clear that it’s a different story when he has to talk to Congress.
“The reason I don’t want to tell Congress about science is that 88 percent of Congress is up for election every two years,” he said. “I could go there and get them all hyped up about science, and I have to do that every two years. My task as an educator is not to change the mind of Congress. My task as an educator is to educate the public so they can elect the right people in the first place.”