About This Episode
On this episode of StarTalk Radio we’re coming to you live from New York Comic Con 2019! We have returned to opening night of NYCC once again to explore the science of comics, sci fi, and pop fiction. Our intrepid host Neil deGrasse Tyson is joined on the main stage in front of a packed house by comic co-host Chuck Nice and astrophysicist and StarTalk geek-in-chief Charles Liu, PhD, to explore everything from Star Wars to virbranium to flying through space.
We start with the building blocks of all comic books and science fiction…literally. You’ll hear about some of the most notable fictional elements that are responsible for the powers and stories of some of the most popular superheroes. Find out how much Thor’s hammer would actually weigh if forged in a dying star. We explore the lore of Wonder Woman and the science behind her bracelets. We investigate the history of vibranium. Dive into the controversy surrounding Iron Man’s suit being powered by palladium.
Next, you’ll learn more about the classic sci fi techniques of getting around the universe as fast as you can. Discover more about warp drives: how they work, why the ship is actually moving in a “bubble,” and how warp drives add to the scientific authenticity of Star Trek. Then, we switch over to Star Wars. We break down their constant jumps to light speed. Charles and Neil air out their grievances with some of Star Wars’ science inconsistencies – especially involving X-Wings and TIE fighters. However, discover why they praise the inclusion of a double sun on Luke’s home planet of Tatooine.
We stick in the realm of Star Wars as our trio ponders the portrayal of alien life in science fiction. We discuss why a lot of aliens look humanoid. But on the flip side, we debate whether aliens must look humanoid in order for them to be relatable to the audience. We ponder the exploration of exoplanets and Neil tells us that if you find a place with oxygen in the atmosphere, you might find life. Lastly, you’ll learn why E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial might be a vegetable. All that, plus, Neil ends our evening at NYCC with a moving reading from his new book Letters from an Astrophysicist. (Warning: Adult Language).
Thanks to this week’s Patrons for supporting us: Heidi Ritzel, Sydney Reising, Andy Green, Michael Brown, Victoria Delpiano, and Cesar Alban.
NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.