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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Finding Extraterrestrial Life Might Unify Earth's Residents

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00:00   |   Oct 08, 2019

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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Finding Extraterrestrial Life Might Unify Earth's Residents
Neil deGrasse Tyson: Finding Extraterrestrial Life Might Unify Earth's Residents thumb Neil deGrasse Tyson: Finding Extraterrestrial Life Might Unify Earth's Residents thumb Neil deGrasse Tyson: Finding Extraterrestrial Life Might Unify Earth's Residents thumb

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  • ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) >> Stephen: LADIES AND
  • GENTLEMEN, MY FIRST GUEST TONIGHT IS
  • THE DIRECTOR OF THE HAYDEN PLANETARIUM AT THE AMERICAN
  • MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, THE HOST OF "STAR TALK" AND
  • "COSMOS," AND THE AUTHOR OF THE NEW BOOK, "LETTERS FROM AN
  • ASTROPHYSICIST."
  • PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO "THE LATE SHOW," NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON!
  • ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) ( BAND PLAYING )
  • ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) ( BAND PLAYING )
  • >> Stephen: NEIL, GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.
  • >> HEY, HEY.
  • >> Stephen: ALWAYS PLEASANT.
  • YOU LOOK AT ME LIKE YOU MISS MY VEST OR SOMETHING.
  • >> Stephen: I WAS LOOKING FOR THE VEST.
  • I REALIZE IT'S GONE.
  • >> NO, NO, NOT TODAY.
  • >> Stephen: ARE YOU JUST WEARING IT UNDERNEATH THE SHIRT,
  • LIKE A HAIR SHIRT?
  • >> YEAH, IT'S UNDERNEATH THE SHIRT.
  • >> Stephen: WE WERE TALKING BACKSTAGE BEFORE YOU CAME OUT,
  • AND PEOPLE ASK ME ALL THE TIME WHO IS MY FAVORITE GUEST ON THE
  • SHOW AND I ALWAYS SAY NEIL TYSON, AND PEOPLE ALWAYS SEEM TO
  • UNDERSTAND THAT.
  • ONE OF THE REASONS IS YOU'RE ONE OF THE EASIEST GUESTS TO GET ON
  • BECAUSE IF I'M LUCKY, I'LL GET IN A WORD EDGEWISE.
  • ( LAUGHTER ) MY FIRST QUESTION IS NOT EASY
  • BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T BEEN HERE FOR A YEAR AND IN THAT PAST YEAR
  • YOU WERE ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT BY A FEW WOMEN.
  • I KNOW THERE WERE THREE INVESTIGATIONS.
  • >> YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT.
  • >> Stephen: AND AT THE END OF THOSE, THEY DID NOT FIND ANY
  • GROUNDS TO DISMISS YOU FROM YOUR JOBS AT THE HAYDEN PLANETARIUM
  • OR ON "STAR TALK" OR "COSMOS" ON FOX, BUT, REGARDLESS OF THAT
  • OUTCOME, I CAN'T IMAGINE THAT WAS A PARTICULARLY SATISFYING
  • RESULT FOR YOU OR THESE WOMEN WHO HAVE SAID THAT THEY'RE NOT
  • SATISFIED BY THAT RESULT.
  • WHAT HAS THIS LAST YEAR BEEN LIKE FOR YOU?
  • >> IT'S BEEN VERY LONG, AND IT'S BEEN.
  • BEEN -- WHEN I THINK ABOUT WHAT I VALUED OVER THAT TIME, IT WAS,
  • IN PARTICULAR, JUST THE VALUE OF SUPPORT FROM FAMILY, FROM
  • FRIENDS, FRIENDS EVEN SUCH AS YOU, EVEN, AND ESPECIALLY FANS
  • WHO WERE THERE THE WHOLE TIME, AND THEY'RE THERE NOW, RECEIVING
  • ALL THAT I DO FOR THEM, TRYING TO BRING THE UNIVERSE DOWN TO
  • EARTH FOR WHOEVER WILL LISTEN.
  • >> Stephen: I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE, DURING THE LAST COUPLE
  • OF YEARS OF SORT OF THE ELEVATION OF THE EXPANSION OF
  • THE #METOO MOVEMENT HAVE BEEN ASKING THE QUESTIONS WHAT CAN WE
  • LEARN FROM THIS?
  • WHAT DID YOU LEARN OVER THE LAST YEAR, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE
  • OUTCOME IS HERE, WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
  • >> YEAH, THAT'S WHAT I LEARNED.
  • I LEARNED THAT I HAD FRIENDS IN TIME OF NEED AND IN TIME OF
  • STRESS, THAT'S WHAT I LEARNED FROM THIS YEAR.
  • YOU KNOW, AS A SCIENTIST, MOST OF THE TIME I'M JUST THINKING
  • OBJECTIVELY ABOUT THE WORLD, THINKING A LITTLE LESS ABOUT
  • EMOTION, ABOUT FEELINGS, ABOUT -- AND WHEN I NEEDED IT
  • MOST, PEOPLE WERE THERE FOR ME -- AGAIN, FAMILY, FRIENDS AND
  • FANS, ESPECIALLY FANS.
  • >> Stephen: AND FOR THE FANS, AS I THINK I'VE SAID TO YOU
  • BEFORE, CLEARLY, THE AUDIENCES LOVE YOU, AND THEY WANT TO LOVE
  • YOU, AND PART OF THE LAST YEAR IS AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE BECAUSE
  • FACTUALLY IT HAS BEEN ADJUDICATED BUT WE WEREN'T
  • THERE.
  • THE FULL RESULTS WEREN'T REVEALED TO US.
  • WE WEREN'T THERE FOR ANY OF THE INSTANCES AND THE ACCUSATIONS.
  • IT IS AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED.
  • >> YEAH, SURE.
  • BUT I WOULD YOU WILL ALSO SAY THAT THE FANS ARE -- AT LEAST
  • WHAT I TRY TO DO WITH THE FAN BASE IS TRY TO NEVER BE THE
  • OBJECT OF THEIR INTEREST, THAT IT'S THE UNIVERSE AND I'M JUST A
  • CONDUIT TO THE COSMOS FOR THEM.
  • SO I THINK OF IT DIFFERENTLY, I THINK THEY LIKE LEARNING ABOUT
  • SCIENCE AND THE UNIVERSE AND I'M A VEHICLE FOR THAT --
  • >> Stephen: WELL, THEY PIGGY BACK ON YOUR ENTHUSIASM.
  • YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL ENTHUSIAST.
  • WHEN I TALK TO YOU, I FEEL ONE SIDE OF MY BODY IS SINGED BY THE
  • RADIO ACTIVE ENTHUSIASM YOU HAVE FOR SCIENCE.
  • >> IF IT WAS RADIO ACTIVE, YOU WOULD LOSE YOUR ARM LATER IN THE
  • WEEK.
  • >> Stephen: IT'S STILL EARLY IN THE NIGHT
  • ( LAUGHTER ) >> JUST F.Y.I.
  • >> Stephen: I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT THE UNIVERSE.
  • ONE OF THE THINGS YOU AND I BOND ON IS OUR LOVE OF EXPLORING THE
  • UNKNOWN.
  • ONE OF THE THINGS I HAVE ON MY COMPUTER IS THE LIVE FEED FROM
  • THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.
  • >> VERY NICE.
  • >> Stephen: I WANT TO SEE WHAT'S GOING ON ON PLANET EARTH
  • AROUND THERE.
  • FOR WEEKS NOW THIS IS WHAT IT SAYS ON THE I.S.S. FEED.
  • IT SAYS "PREVIOUSLY RECORDED."
  • ( LAUGHTER ) WHAT DO THEY NOT WANT US TO
  • KNOW, NEIL TYSON?
  • ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) WHAT ARE YOU SCIENTISTS HIDING
  • FROM US ALIENS?
  • >> I AM NOT AUTHORIZED TO DIVULGE.
  • ( LAUGHTER ) IT IS TRUE THAT, IF IT WERE
  • ALIENS, THE FIRST THING THEY WOULD TAKE OUT IS YOUR ABILITY
  • TO MONITOR THE OATH.
  • SO CONSISTENT WITH THAT.
  • >> Stephen: I SAY TO YOU, AH-HA, NEIL TYSON.
  • >> I'M NOT SAYING IT IS ALIENS.
  • I AM SAYING IF ALIENS WANTED TO POKE INTO OUR SITUATION, THEY
  • WOULD MAKE US BLIND ATHAND NOT HAVE US SEE WHAT WE'RE UP TO.
  • >> Stephen: I'M SAYING N.A.S.A. IS SHUT IT DOWN SO WE
  • CAN'T SEE THE ALIENS, WE ARE BEING PROTECTED FROM THE
  • KNOWLEDGE BY OUR OWN GOVERNMENTS, LIKE THE SNAKES IN
  • THE WESTERN UNITED STATES, THE CLUSTER OF LIGHTS OFF THE COAST
  • OF NORTH CAROLINA.
  • >> OH, YOU THINK THE GOVERNMENT IS COMPETENT ENOUGH TO PULL THAT
  • OFF.
  • ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) >> Stephen: LET ME TELL YOU --
  • I'M JUST SAYING.
  • >> Stephen: -- LAST WEEK N.A.S.A.'S CHIEF SCIENTIST SAID
  • N.A.S.A. IS CLOSE TO MAKING AN ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT LIFE ON MARS
  • AND WE, THE HUMAN RACE, ARE NOT READY FOR IT.
  • COME ON, THAT'S SAYING WE KNOW BUT WE'RE NOT GOING TO TELL YOU.
  • >> FIRST, I'M WORRIED I'M READY FOR IT AND THAT MIGHT MEAN I'M
  • NOT PART OF THE HUMAN RACE, GIVEN THE LOGIC OF THAT
  • SENTENCE.
  • >> Stephen: SO YOU'RE READY FOR IT?
  • >> TOTALLY.
  • >> Stephen: I'M READY FOR IT, TOO.
  • >> ARE YOU?
  • > ( LAUGHTER )
  • >> Stephen: IF YOU WEREN'T READY WOULD YOU KNOW?
  • IF YOU FOUND OUT THERE WAS EVEN MICROBIAL LIFE RELATED TO MARS
  • MAYBE THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD WOULD BLOW OFF.
  • >> IF WE FOUND LIFE OFF EARTH I WOULD CHANGE THE HUMAN CONDITION
  • THAT WE CANNOT IMAGINE.
  • >> Stephen: WE WOULD WANT TO KNOW IS IT EDIBLE.
  • ( LAUGHTER ) >> YOU CAN IMAGINE ENTIRE
  • STRAINS OF LIFE THAT ARE ENTIRELY NOT EDIBLE TO US.
  • THERE ARE AMINO ACIDS THAT HAVE DIFFERENT KIRALITY.
  • >> Stephen: WHAT'S KIRALITY.
  • THEY'RE MOLECULES THAT ARE DIFFERENT IN A MIRROR THAN THEY
  • ARE IN YOUR HAND.
  • THEY'RE MIRROR REFLECTIONS OF EACH OTHER.
  • >> Stephen: ARE MOLECULES LIKE THAT?
  • >> SOME ARE.
  • >> Stephen: ARE WE KIRAL?
  • ( LAUGHTER ) >> YOU HAVEN'T LOOKED IN THE
  • MIRROR LATELY?
  • YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR SYMMETRIES?
  • ( LAUGHTER ) DNA TURNS IN ONE DIRECTION, NOT
  • THE OTHER.
  • >> Stephen: WHICH WAY.
  • CLOCKWISE UP.
  • >> Stephen: NEVER COUNTERCLOCKWISE.
  • >> NOT FOR LIFE ON EARTH, NO.
  • SO THESE ARE THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT IN A MIRROR.
  • IF YOU FIND LIFE, IT COULD BE -- YOU MIGHT WANT TO EAT IT, BUT IT
  • WOULD HAVE NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE TO YOU, LIKE FIBER.
  • ( LAUGHTER ) >> Stephen: WHAT DO YOU
  • THINK -- >> THAT'S TRUE.
  • DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER, GOES RIGHT THROUGH YOU.
  • ( LAUGHTER ) >> Stephen: SO WE'RE GOING TO
  • FIND MET MU -- METAMUCIL ON MARS ( LAUGHTER )
  • >> SO ASTRO PHYSICALLY, IT IS PRACTICALLY AS INTERESTING IF WE
  • FOUND MATS OF MICROBIAL LIFE AS IT WOULD IF IT WERE A GREEN
  • ALIEN WITH A RAY GUN BECAUSE IT'S LIFE SOMEWHERE OFF OF
  • EARTH, THAT'S THE BOUNDARY WE WOULD BE CROSSING IN OUR QUEST
  • TO CONVERT IGNORANCE INTO KNOWLEDGE.
  • >> Stephen: DO YOU THINK THAT IT WOULD UNITE HUMANITY?
  • >> GOOD POINT.
  • SO I DON'T KNOW FOR SURE, BUT I CAN TELL YOU, GIVEN HOW TABLE WE
  • HAVE ALL BEEN, ESPECIALLY IN RECENT YEARS, WHERE WE ARE
  • FINDING REASONS TO SEPARATE OURSELVES AND THEN FIGHT, TO
  • FIND LIFE SOMEWHERE ELSE MIGHT BE THE FIRST OCCASION TO UNIFY
  • EARTH AS A TRIBE OF ITS OWN.
  • ( APPLAUSE ) >> Stephen: WELL, WE HAVE TO
  • TAKE A LITTLE BIT OF A BREAK.
  • DON'T GO AWAY.
  • BACK WITH MORE NEIL deGRASSE TYSON, EVERYBODY.

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America's favorite astrophysicist predicts what might happen if (or when) the people of Earth confirm the existence of life beyond this planet.

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