The image was produced by the Solar System Visualization project and the Magellan science team at the JPL Multimission Image Processing Laboratory and is a single frame from a video released at the October 29, 1991, JPL news conference.
The image was produced by the Solar System Visualization project and the Magellan science team at the JPL Multimission Image Processing Laboratory and is a single frame from a video released at the October 29, 1991, JPL news conference.

Things You Thought You Knew – Venus Pizza

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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About This Episode

How long would it take to cook a pizza outside on Venus? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice discuss the physics of surface temperature, the size of ~wAvEs~, and the meaning of horsepower. How many horses would you need to get to space? 

What is temperature in the world of physics? We explore the temperature of light and how thermometers sense heat. How can you tell the temperature if you don’t have any particles? How long would it take to cook a pizza on a windowsill on Venus? We calculate just how long it would take and what sort of factors you need to take into account while making the perfect Venusian pizza pie. How does what you’re wearing impact your temperature? We talk about light absorption, the hottest parts of Earth’s atmosphere, and what’s going on in the ozone layer. 

What are the wavelength sizes on the electromagnetic spectrum? What’s a wavicle? Find out about wave-particle duality and how the human body detects different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Can our bodies sense more than just visible light? Discover microwaves and radio waves. How do we pick up on these types of waves? How do antennae work? We discuss the holes in your kitchen microwave and how electron microscopes work. How can we see something smaller than visible light? 

We hop in our horseless carriages and take a ride down what it means for something to have horsepower. What is the power of one horse? We break down engines and the different metrics used to measure their power. What about watts? How much horsepower does a NASA shuttle rocket engine have? What would it take to get millions of horses to run fast enough to get into orbit? We discuss how the power of atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs are quantified. Exploding horses? Death stars? All that and more, on another Things You Thought You Knew edition of StarTalk!

Thanks to our Patrons Kyle W Odren, Frank Kotarski, John Pologruto, Corina Szabo, Shera, Bogdan Pop, Corey McKinney, Matthew Lichtenstein, and Richie Damiani for supporting us this week.

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