Cosmos Possible Worlds

Cosmos: Possible Worlds panel discusses environmental issues, our relationship with planet

Contributed by
Oct 7, 2018, 4:55 PM EDT

At the panel promoting the upcoming Cosmos: Possible Worlds, the follow-up the Emmy-winning 2014 documentary project Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, writer, director, creator and executive producer Ann Druyan said the show is all about addressing environmental issues, and making us more proactive inahbitants on this planet. 

Druyan (wife of the late Carl Sagan) told attendees she believes the docu-series is important because "It matters what's true." 

"You can't get to Mars, you can't cure smallpox by lying your way through it," Druyan elaborated. She added that the icebergs are melting and our "leaders know this, but are lying to us," so she hopes the show "gets us out of this sleepwalking stupor."

Druyan explained that the series "envisions a future that we can still have on this world ... that's not pie-in-the-sky. It's not too late."

Cosmos: Possible Worlds host Neil DeGrasse Tyson added that he hopes the new series of Cosmos inspires viewers "to be more responsible shepherds" of this world.

Tyson added that it's important that we think of ourselves not just as inhabitants of this planet but as participants of its fate and future. 

Druyan added that she hates the idea that we are so dependent "upon the largess of billionaires," to tackle issues of environmental protection and space exploration. "It's a huge leap backwards." 

At the end of the panel, an attendee asked Tyson about his thoughts on the search for extraterrestrial life, which inspired the astrophysicist to explain the "hubris" it is for us humans to believe that we'd even register to intelligent extraterrestrial life. 

"The smartest chimp is not smarter than a toddler," he said, pointing out that we share more than 99% of our DNA with a chimp. So, he asked the room to imagine a being who's as advanced to us as we are to chimps. According to Tyson, just as a chimp couldn't comprehend the basic thoughts of a human, someone like Stephen Hawking wouldn't be able to comprehend the basic thoughts of this theoretical alien being. We'd be like chimps to them. So, while we're seeking out intelligent life, that intelligent life, if it's out there, doesn't even acknowledge us as intelligent, surmised Tyson. (A cheery thought to consider on the last day of New York Comic Con, we know.)

Anyway, dumdums, Cosmos: Possible Worlds debuts on National Geographic and Fox March 2019. Watch it and be smarterer. 

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