Broadcast 1097 (Special Edition)

27 Jan 2009 Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Guest: Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Topics: Pluto, planets, Disney, Kuiper belt, terrestrial planets, gas giants, NASA, human spaceflight, geopolitical drivers. Dr. Tyson returned to The Space Show to discuss his new book, "The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet," which details the reclassification of Pluto from a planet to a dwarf planet. Dr. Tyson explains why this change was made and what the IAU action really means. You may be surprised to learn the decision is not binding! In the discussion, Dr. Tyson told us how Pluto was named and then we talked about the almost parallel history of America's most favorite Disney pup, Pluto the dog. One can see how easy it was for many people to blur the lines and associate Pluto the planet with Mickey's dog. Part of our Pluto discussion centered on the scientific need to organize planets differently by their properties. You will want to hear this part of our discussion. Neil also told us how it came to pass that he got blamed for demoting Pluto from planet status and what it was like to get hate mail from small kids and adults and to come face to face with pop culture. We also discussed scientific versus human spaceflight, humans returning to the Moon and their possible contribution to science, Mars astronauts, and more. Dr. Tyson even took a listener question about the subject of astrology! Having read his new book, I can wholeheartedly recommend it to you. It's fun, it's informative, and very educational. In fact, it's not until the last chapter where Dr. Tyson makes his educational recommendations regarding Pluto and its new classification. This is definitely a book you will want to read and have for your library. If you have a comment or question for Dr. Tyson, please forward it to me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will forward it to him for his consideration.

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