NASA Hubble Space Telescope visible light photo of Jupiter taken June 27, 2019. Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (NASA Goddard) [Public domain].
NASA Hubble Space Telescope visible light photo of Jupiter taken June 27, 2019. Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (NASA Goddard) [Public domain].

Cosmic Queries – Planets and Stuff

Visible light image of Jupiter taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope on June 27, 2019. Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (NASA Goddard) [Public domain].
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope visible light photo of Jupiter taken June 27, 2019. Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (NASA Goddard) [Public domain].

About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Paul Mecurio answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries on planets and more from the YouTube Studios in New York City. 

We start with one of the most inciting questions: if we had an ocean or bathtub large enough, would Saturn float? Neil tells us about the interplanetary workings of Saturn and why a “piece” of Saturn would float in a puddle of water. You’ll hear why Saturn’s rings might only be temporary. We discuss the density of water and the science of building boats. Discover more about the Titanic and the density of ice. 

Then, we explore the world of neuroscience. Neil tells us why he loves tracking the progress of modern-day neuroscience. We ponder if psychologists will eventually be replaced by simple brain adjustments once we can locate what parts of the brain cause certain emotions and behaviors. Find out the history behind the phrase “we only use 10% of our brains” and how it’s been flipped from the original meaning. We also explore how the brain gets in the way of studying itself.

We discuss if Jupiter qualifies as a “failed” star. Find out what our solar system would be like if it were a two-star system. Learn more about thermonuclear fusion. We dip into tidal science and investigate tidal bulges, the Moon’s relationship with the tides, and we explain why the Earth is actually traveling “through” low tide and high tide. All that, plus, Neil shares why putting humans on the Moon was quintessential for us to truly understand Earth and why there’s still valuable cosmic perspective we’ve yet to encounter. 

Thanks to this week’s Patrons for supporting us:

Kay Gilbert, Brendan Brown, Akasha Yi, Tom Hernke, Jonathan Gaffers

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

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