"Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and 19-year Planetary Society Board Member, received The Planetary Society's Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science. Tyson, Director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium, hosted Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, a television series that paid tribute to Carl Sagan's original Cosmos program. "Every day, Neil deGrasse Tyson inspires this and the next generation of explorers," Nye explained. "He encourages us all to use the process of science to ask questions, to seek answers to nature's mysteries, to keep searching, to know the cosmos and our place within it. Neil inspires the students among us today, who will carry on with the search for life on Mars and Europa. They will solve cosmic mysteries that many of us have yet to even imagine. It's an honor to know him."
Keith's note: Once again the Planetary Society's own mutual admiration and self-indulgent society awards one of its members with an award invented just for them - an award even more grandiose than the last one they gave him. Meanwhile Neil Tyson has already started to blast another movie he is not involved in. Sooner or later they are going to run out of award to give on another.
According to "Neil deGrasse Tyson on 'Star Wars,' 'Star Trek' and 'StarTalk'," Wall Street Journal: "Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hasn't gotten around to watching the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer yet--and he also doesn't think the "Star Wars" franchise takes science seriously enough to be worth his time. "When you are that kind of storytelling, I don't spend time analyzing what you're doing," Tyson says."
So I guess that we can expect a torrent of Tysonisms about how Luke's light saber wont work or how Jedi mind tricks will never happen (recent articles in Science and Nature challenge that but who reads those papers before tweeting,eh? )
Meanwhile Bill Nye was on live TV from the White House last week during Astronomy Night doing is best jittery David Byrne Talking Heads impression and singing the praises of the Obama White House and its devotion to science - the source of so many of Nye's selfies - while Nye's Planetary Society employees Emily Lakdawala and Casey Dreier were simultaneously and rightly ripping The very same White House on Twitter regarding White House's inexplicable cuts to planetary exploration that Nye glossed over so as to get another selfie.
Nye had a perfect perch from which to make these concerns known to a national audience of millions - from the White House Lawn - but he choked. No mention. Just his standard jittery commentary until the next speaker showed up. Of course had Nye criticizes the White House on space policy on the President's front lawn he might not be invited back to take more selfies. And its all about access for photo ops and selfies.
But when Neil Tyson is paid to be part of the pre-release viral marketing for "The Martian" then he's all cool with it and downplays the science things (those impossible winds on Mars etc.). Sounds like an ad hoc low key protection scam: like up the space nerds and give them a little visibility and they'll pass on the sciency stuff.
This whole Tyson/Nye/Plantetary Society Passive/Agressive approach to space movies, missions, and cultural events does have an underlying plan. And it does not involve sending humans anywhere other than a control room where they control a robot who has all the fun. But what it does include is a lot of selfies at the White House and snarky tweeting about movies that the public otherwise loves. This is more about them than it is about membership in the organization. How very unfortunate.
More to follow