Neil deGrasse Tyson

  • Aired:  02/27/12
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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how fear contributed to the development of America's space program in the late 1950s, thereby spurring economic growth. (6:37)

>> Jon: MY GUEST TONIGHT IS AN

ASTROPHYSICIST AND A DIRECT RT

DIRECTOR OF THE PLANETARIUM.

HIS BOOK IS CALLED SPACE

CHRONICLES.

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THE

PROGRAM NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

VERY EXCITED.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING

US.

>> OH, MY GOSH.

>> Jon: SPACE CHRONICLES.

DO YOU DO THAT AT HOME?

>> NO, NO, NO.

PLUS MY VOICE IS DEEPER THAN

YOURS.

SO SPACE CHRONICLES.

THE PLANETARIUM VOICE COMES

OUT DEEP.

>> Jon: YOU DO ALL THE

NARRATIONS?

>> NO, NO, NO WE HAVE LIKE A-

LIST MOVIE STARS COME IN AND

DO IT.

I MIGHT DO THE NEXT ONE.

WE HAVE PEEPS.

>> Jon: PEOPLE THAT ARE WELL

KNOWN.

>> IN FACT,....

>> Jon: PEOPLE THAT LIVE

NEARBY.

>> (LAUGHING IN A FUNNY WAY)

I'LL MAKE A NOTE.

>> Jon: TELL ME ABOUT THIS.

SPACE CHRONICLES.

THE BASIC PREMISE OF THIS IS

WE NO LONGER PRIORITIZE SPACE

EXPLORATION.

YOU BELIEVE THAT THAT IS A

TRAGIC MISSTEP.

>> YES.

>> Jon: FOR OUR SOCIETY AS A

WHOLE.

>> YES.

TRAGIC MISSTEP.

>> Jon: THANK YOU FOR COMING

BY.

EXCELLENT WORK.

THE BOOK IS CALLED SPACE

CHRONICLES.

>> (LAUGHING).

>> Jon: WHAT IS IT THAT....

>> HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED.

IN THE 1960s WE WERE AT WAR

WITH THE SOVIET UNION.

THE COLD WAR.

A LITTLE BIT OF HOT WAR OVER

IN SOUTHEAST ASIA.

SO WE FEARED THEM BECAUSE THEY

PUT UP SPUTNIK WHICH BY THE

WAY PEOPLE FORGET WAS AN

EMPTIED OUT CASING OF AN

INTER-CONTINENTAL BALLISTIC

MISSILE.

>> Jon: I DON'T THINK PEOPLE

FORGOT THAT.

I DON'T THINK ANYBODY KNEW

THAT.

>> OKAY.

SO, SO, SO THEY PUT A LITTLE

DEVICE THAT GOES BEEP, BEEP.

AND SPUTNIK ITSELF MEANS

FELLOW TRAVELER.

IT'S ALL PEACEFUL BUT IT WAS A

BALLISTIC MISSILE HEAD WITHOUT

EXPLOSIVES.

THAT WAS A SIGNAL.

WE FREAKED IN AMERICA.

NASA GOT FOUNDED.

ON THE FEAR FACTOR OF SPUTNIK.

ALL RIGHT.

SO WE THEN GO TO THE MOON ON

THE FEAR FACTOR THAT RUSSIA

WILL CONTROL HIGH GROUND.

THEN WE GO TO THE MOON, SPACE

ENTHUSIASTS SAY, OH, WE'RE ON

THE MOON BY '69.

WE'LL BE ON MARS IN ANOTHER

TEN YEARS.

THEY COMPLETELY DID NOT

UNDERSTAND WHY WE GOT TO THE

MOON IN THE FIRST PLACE.

WE WERE AT WAR.

ONCE WE SAW THAT RUSSIA WAS

NOT READY TO LAND ON THE MOON,

WE STOPPED GOING TO THE MOON.

THAT SHOULD NOT SURPRISE

ANYBODY LOOKING BACK ON IT.

MEANWHILE, HOWEVER, THAT

ENTIRE ERA GALVANIZED THE

NATION.

FORGET THE WAR.

IT GALVANIZED US ALL TO DREAM

ABOUT TOMORROW, TO THINK ABOUT

THE HOMES OF TOMORROW, CITIES

OF TOMORROW, THE FOOD OF

TOMORROW.

EVERYTHING WAS FUTURE WORLD.

FUTURE LAND.

THE WORLD'S FAIR, ALL OF THIS

WAS FOCUSED ON ENABLING PEOPLE

TO MAKE TOMORROW COME.

THAT WAS A CULTURAL MIND SET

THAT THE SPACE PROGRAM BROUGHT

UPON US.

WE REAPED THE BENEFITS OF

ECONOMIC GROWTH BECAUSE YOU

HAD PEOPLE WANTING TO BECOME

SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS WHO

ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ENABLED

TOMORROW TO EXIST TODAY.

AND SO IT IS THAT MINE SET....

>> Jon: YOU'RE (BEEP) WALT

DISNEY.

LISTEN TO YOU.

YOU ARE INSPIRING ME.

I'M GOING TO GO HOME AND FIX

MYSELF A GLASS OF TANG.

I'M EXCITED NOW.

>> SO TODAY, OKAY, I'D RATHER

WAR NOT BE THE DRIVER.

>> Jon: WELL, LET IT BE THE

DRIVER.

>> IT COULD HAPPEN.

CHINA WANTS TO PUT A MILITARY

BASE ON THE MOON WE'RE THERE

IN TWO YEARS.

>> Jon: I HEARD AL QAEDA IS

GOING TO MARS.

>> THIS COULD WORK EASY IN THE

MARKETING.

>> Jon: YOU BROUGHT UP

SOMETHING EARLIER THAT I

THOUGHT WAS FASCINATING, THAT

THE PROGRESS WAS NOT FAST

ENOUGH FOR US.

WAS ITS THAT THE EXPECTATION

BECAUSE OF WHAT WE SEE IN

FILMS AND POPULAR CULTURE IS

THAT WE WOULD LAND ON THE MOON

AND THEN WE DISCOVER PEOPLE.

THEN THEY WOULD WANT TO PHONE

HOME AND BY NOT FINDING THESE

THINGS, THE WORK THAT WE'RE

DOING IS TOO ESOTERIC AND

ABSTRACT FOR THE AMERICANS TO

GET BEHIND.

>> NO, NO,.

>> Jon: THAT'S NOT RIGHT.

THAT'S WHAT I SAID.

>> IT'S NOT ABOUT ESOTERIC.

IT'S ABOUT NO LONGER....

>> Jon: WE THINK IT'S

ESOTERIC.

>> IT'S ABOUT WE NO LONGER

ADVANCED A SPACE FRONTIER.

THE WHOLE SHUTTLE PROGRAM MADE

THE SPACE STATION.

SPACE SHUTTLE BOLDLY WENT

WHERE HUNDREDS HAD GONE

BEFORE.

THAT IS NOT WHAT NEWSPAPERS

RIGHT ABOUT AS ADVANCING A

FRONTIER.

>> Jon: THAT'S WHAT I'M

SAYING.

>> I SUBMIT TO YOU IF WE

DOUBLE NASA'S BUDGET....

>> Jon: WHAT?

I'M SORRY.

YOU'RE MADLOCK.

>> YEAH.

I ALERT YOU OF THE FACT

THAT....

>> Jon: THANK YOU.

>> ...THAT IF YOU DOUBLE

NASA'S BUDGET.

RIGHT NOW IT'S A HALF A PENNY

ON A DOLLAR.

MAKE IT A PENNY.

GO AHEAD MAKE IT PENNY.

BE BOLD.

>> Jon: FINE.

>> THE PENNY ON THE DOLLAR,

THAT WOULD BE ENOUGH TO GO TO

MARS SOON WITH PEOPLE AND GO

BACK TO THE MOON AND ON TO

ASTROID.

NOT ONLY DOES THAT STOKE THE

AMBITIONS OF KIDS IN THE

PIPELINE, IT SHIFTS THE MIND

SETS OF A NATION THAT ENABLE

US ALL TO NOW SAY, HEY,

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ENABLES

THESE DISCOVER EASE.

EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT A SCIENTIST

OR TECHNOLOGIST, YOU WILL

VALUE THAT ACTIVITY.

>> Jon: WE'LL BE INVESTING IN

OUR FUTURE.

>> YES.

THAT IN THE 21st CENTURY ARE

THE FOUNDATIONS OF TOMORROW'S

ECONOMIES.

WITHOUT IT, WE MIGHT AS WELL

JUST SLIDE BACK TO THE CAVE

BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE WE'RE

HEADED RIGHT NOW, BROKE.

>> Jon: CAN I SAY SOMETHING?

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, 2012.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

THAT WAS INSPIRING.

>> QUICK.

AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR

PROGRAM, YOUR EARTH IS

SPINNING THE WRONG DIRECTION.

>> Jon: SON OF A BITCH.

>> I'M SORRY.

I HAD TO GET THAT OFF MY

CHEST.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: SPACE CHRONICLES ON

THE BOOK SHELVES NOW.

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON.

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