April 15, 2014 12:00 PM
With those programs and many more appearances on TV, the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York drew thousands to his talk, “This Just In.”
Working the stage like a consummate stand-up comedian, Tyson bopped from cosmic subject to cosmic subject: the controversy over demoting Pluto from planetary status (“Pluto is still not a planet. Get over it.”), the proposal to make the Bible the official state book of Louisiana, the “blood moon” this week, the continuing expansion of the universe due to the Big Bang (“It’s still happening. Get over it.”), the Higgs Boson “God” particle, life on Mars, his “discovery” of the planet Krypton in the Constellation Corvus, asteroids … his topics were seemingly as vast as the cosmos.
Tyson’s main point, it seemed, was to think rationally, based on scientific evidence.
Tyson concluded his talk with a reading from “the Book of Carl,” Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. Projected on the screen behind Tyson was an “interplanetary selfie” shot of Earth by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft as it orbited Saturn in 2013.
“…Every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” Tyson intoned in his resonant bass voice as he read Sagan’s words. “… It underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
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