The New Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

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One of America’s best known scientists, Neil deGrasse Tyson, is reviving the late Carl Sagan’s popular television series Cosmos, which aired on PBS in 1980. Starting this spring, Tyson will host Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, premiering Sunday, March 9, 2014 on Fox and airing the following night on the National Geographic Channel.

Tyson, an astrophysicist with a gift of explaining complicated ideas simply, told Bill in a recent Moyers & Company episode that the new Cosmos will continue Sagan’s “epic exploration of our place in the universe,” and examine new discoveries of the past four decades.

“We have other stories to tell beyond the ones that went on back then …  At the time of the original series, there were no known planets outside of those orbiting the sun.  Right now, we’re rising through 1,000 planets happily orbiting stars that are not the sun.  So that’s not simply new science.  It’s new vistas of thought and imagination,” said Tyson.

According to the Fox website the new show, will “re-invent celebrated elements of the legendary original series, including the Cosmic Calendar and the Ship of the Imagination. The most profound scientific concepts will be presented with stunning clarity, uniting skepticism and wonder, and weaving rigorous science with the emotional and spiritual into a transcendent experience.”

And here’s a fun fact showing there may be order in the universe: Tyson met Carl Sagan while in high school and applying to colleges. Unbeknownst to Tyson, his application to Cornell was forwarded to Sagan, who was a professor of astronomy at the university. Sagan sent Tyson a letter inviting him for a personal tour of Cornell, which he accepted.  “One of my favorite memories is he reaches back, pulled out one of the books that he wrote and signed it to me, and I said to myself, ‘That is awesome. If I ever am in a position of influence the way he is, then I will surely interact with students the way he has interacted with me,'” Tyson told Bill.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is co-produced by Seth Macfarlane, of Family Guy and Ted fame, and Ann Druyan, the widow of Carl Sagan and one of the coproducers of the original Cosmos. As with the original series, there will be 13 episodes.

Here’s the trailer for the original Cosmos.

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