Neil deGrasse Tyson gives Prometheus crap for shoddy math

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

So far it's looking like Prometheus is set for a solid opening weekend. Midnight showing numbers were good, critics largely like the flick, and buzz is strong. But after famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson saw the flick, he had one very particular complaint: Some of the crew's math is a little off. Okay, a lot off.

After catching a midnight screening of the flick last night, Tyson took to his Twitter account to note that some of the flick's calculations when it came to distance in space were more than a little wrong. Apparently the length of the Prometheus crew's actual journey to the planet where they get up to all sorts of alien hijinks doesn't quite sync up to one character's description of the trip.

Prometheus goes 35 light yrs into space, but CharlizeTheron gaffes "We're a half billion miles from Earth"- just past Jupiter

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) June 8, 2012

A single light year would equal 5.88 trillion miles of space travel. Multiply that by 35 and you get 205.8 trillion miles. That's quite a far cry from half a billion. Of course, we always expect a few little bumbles like that in sci-fi cinema, and it's possible that Charlize Theron's character was just using "half a billion" as an expression to mean "way the hell out here." Still, it's always nice to hear Tyson put things in perspective.

As for the film's story, he also tweeted his summation of the moral.

Attended a midnight showing of Prometheus. The takeaway? Occasions arise when being curious is bad for your life expectancy.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) June 8, 2012

It's doubtful that Tyson's little nitpick will stop anyone from seeing the film, but it's always good to keep Hollywood on its toes.

(Via Geekosystem)