Extended Classic: StarTalk Live! Satisfying Our Curiosity about Mars (Part 1)

Backstage at the Bell House at StarTalk Live! From left: Jim Gaffigan, Sarah Silverman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugene Mirman, Dr. David Grinspoon. Photo Credit: Stacey Severn.

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About This Episode

Now featuring a new 11-minute segment from Dr. FunkySpoon and Chuck Nice about the human impact on Earth during the Anthropocene epoch, from climate change to plastiglomerates.

In honor of the 4th anniversary of Curiosity landing on Mars, we’re revisiting our StarTalk Live! show where we descended on The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY on 9/14/12 to celebrate the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars and the exploration of our solar system. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Eugene Mirman were joined by David Grinspoon, a co-investigator on the Radiation Assessment Detector, one of the experiments on the Mars Science Laboratory, and comedians Sarah Silverman and Jim Gaffigan (Mr. Universe). Part 1 of the show is focused on exploring the Red Planet. You’ll find out why Curiosity needed a nuclear power source… what an Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer does… what Mars has in common with Earth… what stratigraphy is… what gives Eugene Mirman joy… how scientists fall in love… and the real origin of the giant face on Mars.

In This Episode


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  • Host

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Astrophysicist

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  • Co-Host

    Eugene Mirman

    Eugene Mirman
    Comedian

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  • Guest

    David Grinspoon

    David Grinspoon, aka Dr. Funkyspoon
    All-Stars Host, Astrobiologist; Senior Scientist, Planetary Science Institute

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  • Guest

    Sarah Silverman

    Sarah Silverman
    Comedian

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  • Guest

    Jim Gaffigan

    Jim Gaffigan
    Comedian

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Episode Topics

  • gladgura

    After the first 30 secs I stopped listening. Exxon Mobil again Really?? Seriously??? What happened to you people!?? Where is your principles? Well, you know what, you and Exxon and can just have each other.

    • Jon McKinley

      why would they sell them selves like that? I just read an article about exxon and neil wants us to supoort exxon now? https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/big-oils-master-class-in-rigging-the-system/2016/08/09/03ea2df6-5e48-11e6-9d2f-b1a3564181a1_story.html?utm_term=.a69c09c0e34f

      • Missdeed

        It does seem a little odd. I’d be curious to know what Bill Nye thinks about Exxon’s sponsorship of the show, since he seems to be more vocal about climate change than Neil, at least on Startalk. But regardless, at least some of their profits are being used to support this program.

    • Missdeed

      If an oil & gas company wants to sponsor a science education program that regularly focuses on global warming, then I say more power to them and their new, more fuel-efficient gas. I have listened to all 7 seasons, and I am thankful for the sponsors who help keep this show alive and available to download FOR FREE.

      • gladgura

        If they were just getting money from Exxon that’s one thing. It’s like a billionaire giving money to charity just to say “I did that” or “hey I supported it” But no, they are asking their audience (US! You, me) to support exxon Mobil (even though, we support them by default just by driving and buying gas) but, asking their audience through the paid ad read by Chuck Nice. And that act in of it self is a conflict of interest. It’s like being totally against gun violence and acknowledging there is a problem with guns and then turn around and do an ad for a gun manufacture because they paid them. It’s a matter of integrity and apparently they’re okay with throwing that away. It’s ironic, Exxon played a big hand in contributing in climate change and in covering up as hard as they could and now they play a hand in jeopardizing the integrity of StarTalk and they (StarTalk) allowed it. And I want to know Why?

        • fryhole

          so guns / violence — kind of like how Matt Damon has done a bunch of assassin films and recently proclaimed how he doesn’t like guns.

  • მჟავა

    This is exactly what I came to comment on. Seriously, was there no better sponsor than Exxon?

  • Sarah Cardwell

    So you guys are now in bed with exxon? Well that’s a fantastic way of throwing your reputation down the crapper. I guess Fossil fuels are now great and is now backed by star talk.

  • Jon McKinley

    So I take it StarTalk isn’t going to have an official response to all the inquiries regarding StarTalk’s new love for Exxon?

    • We’re an ad-supported show, and like PBS, we take sponsorships and advertising from a wide variety of corporations to support our efforts to increase science literacy in the world and provide you our programming free of charge. The views of our sponsors are their own, and do not reflect the views of our hosts, guests or the show itself.

      • Jon McKinley

        That’s quite a leap in rationalization. You’re still essentially asking us (your audience) to support Exxon and the fossil fuel industry. Perhaps you should listen to what Chuck Nice says at the beginning.
        He’s not saying “Our Sponsor today: Exxon Mobil, supports our efforts in increasing science literacy across the world” No instead their views does becomes yours. Because they are spoken by StarTalk. Now If he (Chuck Nice) was being completely sarcastic, well that is different story. But I’m guessing not.

  • Adobow Smacker

    Hi!! I think you guys are doing very important t work here and I would like to thank you for demystifying the science for millions of people. Could you please place hyperlinks to the rest of the episodes of this podcast to ease navigation for your users. Gracias.

  • fryhole

    To all those crying about Exxon sponsoring the show — Startalk is a business in the basic sense of the term — they might not make a profit from this (haven’t looked into it) but they need money to make this show / series happen.

    Granted they have recently started using Patreon for subscriptions / donations but they could just as easily start charging for the show — instead of posting it for free. Because what’s an extra $10 / month out of your pocket when you are already probably paying $10 for X and $10 for Y and $10 for Z and so on around the Internet above and beyond the cost of having Internet service ? What are many of you already shelling out for various access and services across the Internet $100- $200- $300 / month for everything ?

    Also — a couple of other things to keep in mind — the cool thing about SoundCloud hosted file and the downloadable MP3 file version in the iTunes Store is that you can skip ove rthe advertisement that offends you. On all of these files there is a draggable cue icon that allows you to bypass said “offense”.

    So wow — complain about free. No one is forcing anyone here to listen to the series. Who here has a gun to their head with someone mandating to listen or else – chime in because those folks might be excused for complaining about free.

    If you do not want to goto an Exxon gas station to purchase gas from them — don’t.

    I stopped going to BP gas stations after the Gulf of Mexico / Deepwater Horizons spill and recently found out that they will be writing off $15 Billion out of the $20 billion settlement — since I live on the Gulf and will refuse to give that foreign company another dime the rest of my life.

    If BP turns up one day sponsoring the show – I don’t care. It does not mean I gave BP any money — it does not mean I am patronizing the company or supporting it — it means they funded something that I listen to regularly — nothing more.

    Paid Advertising is a one-way street — Exxon gave Startalk money to produce the show — Startalk (I would hope) is not giving any kickbacks or revenue to Exxon beyond a mention on an advertisement that I can take 2 seconds to fully skip and move on with my life.

    Sounds more like people are chiming to find a cause and complain rather than them actually having a clear cut issue with the paid advertisement.

    Listen to Startalk or don’t
    Skp the ad or don’t.
    Stop acting like little children crying about a non-issue.

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