Cosmic Queries: Rocket Science is Hard

Antares begins to fall and debris rains over the launch pad. October 28, 2014. Credit: ©Elliot Severn/ All Rights Reserved.
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About This Episode

Recently, a series of high-profile failures has reminded us that “rocket science is hard!” Join host Neil deGrasse Tyson as he answers fan questions about Antares, Rosetta, Philae, the Space Shuttle and more with the help of Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye the Science Guy and comic co-host Chuck Nice. You’ll learn about the differences between ignoring known risks, as with Challenger and Columbia, and underestimating difficulties, as may be the case with Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Find out how Scott Hubbard helped change NASA’s mantra of “Faster, Better, Cheaper” – which led to the failed Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander missions – and replaced it with the successes of Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity. The trio also discusses the possibility of finding life on comets and asteroids, the growing concern over artificial intelligence and robot uprisings, and the human drive to explore the unknown regardless of the risk.

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