StarTalk Live! at the Beacon (Part 1): Chasing Comets

From Left: In the Green Room at the Beacon Theater. From left: Ilana Glazer, Scott Adsit, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugene Mirman, Dr. Natalie Starkey. Credit: Elliot Severn.

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About This Episode

Join us as we go chasing comets and capturing “Stardust” in our show recorded live at the Beacon Theatre in NYC last September. Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman welcome Scott Adsit, Ilana Glazer and cosmochemist Dr. Natalie Starkey, who was a co-investigator for ESA’s Rosetta mission to Comet 67P and who has analyzed the data from the Stardust sample return mission – the only spacecraft to fly through a comet’s tail and come back to Earth. You’ll hear how the microscopic dust particles captured by Stardust have changed our understanding of how the solar system formed, and why the water Rosetta found on Comet 67P isn’t like the water here on Earth. Natalie explains why Rosetta’s discovery of the precursor elements for life (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen) is so important, and why life on Earth might not have happened at all without comets. You’ll explore the differences between asteroids, comets, meteors and meteorites, and find out which pose the biggest threat. Plus, Neil and Natalie discuss exoplanets, the Goldilocks Zone, and extremophiles that can exist in space – and that’s just in Part 1. Next week we’ll catch a ride with New Horizons to Pluto, “The King of the Kuiper Belt.”

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