Toronto is playing host to the International Astronautical Congress this year, which means THE NEEEEEEEERDS HAVE DESCENDED UNTO MY FAIR CITY. It's pretty much the best thing ever. Last night, The Planetary Society hosted a panel of experts at the University of Toronto's Convocation Hall for their Planetary Radio show*. Featured guest? Bill Nye the Motherfucking Science Guy.
He did a half-hour talk all by himself at first, and I swear I recorded it for you. Voice Memo can go roast in hell. It lost it!! I think I have to buy a dedicated audio recorder since I go to so many of these things and I like sharing them with you. So, I will share some pictures and poorly paraphrase some of the things he talked about. He started with things the Planetary Society (he's the CEO) were working on.
So one of things Bill was talking about was "asteroid avoidance" - essentially, we really have to develop technologies to convince passing asteroids that they shouldn't hit us. This first one is sending a giant rocket and "push" the asteroid away. Problem? MASSIVE MASSIVE amounts of fuel. Not really feasible. Next!
How about we make just this absolutely GIANT SPACESHIP that draws the asteroid away with its very attractive gravity and mass? Well, if we're willing to never use Xenon for anything else ever again, maybe.
Oh, you want me to explain that? Isn't whatever you imagine better? Fine:
Lasers. Self-correcting lasers! They can knock asteroids around.
Then he chatted about Europa. How, originally to visit Europa we would have to send drills to go through the ice layer to analyze the liquid water underneath. But they found geysers! Now, all we have to do is send a spacecraft through the geysers, and "count the insects on the windshield" as it were.
Then it turned into the panel for the Planetary Radio show. Matt Kaplan, Bill Nye, Elizabeth Howell, Dr Gordon Osinksi, Jeremy Hansen.
Matt Kaplan is the host of Planetary Radio (he's out of frame on the right), Elizabeth Howell is a Canadian space writer, Dr Osinski is a planetary geologist (I might have gotten that wrong) at the University of Western Ontario, and Jeremy Hansen is our "Astronaut in Training" - right now, the US doesn't have to accept any of our astronauts, Chris Hadfield fulfilled that part of the contract in our exchange for our contributions to the ISS. He is a very good speaker and very personable and extremely adorable so I might start stalking him (when he isn't training, that is!).
The podcast will be available next week on Planetary Radio and I highly suggest you check it out - it was hilarious!
Also, they were giving away signed Bill Nye stickers??
*I now have the achieved the nerd "Triple Crown" - I have seen Chris Hadfield, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye live.