The Redditsphere was overwhelmed with cries of “BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL!” on Tuesday as science educator Bill Nye 'the Science Guy,' and two NASA scientists engaged in an immensely entertaining and informative Ask Me Anything (AMA) on the social news site.
— NASA (@NASA) July 15, 2014
The trio was on Reddit to chat about Europa, a moon of Jupiter’s that may have once harbored (or may continue to be home to) extraterrestrial life.
Scientists believe that Europa, which holds more liquid water than all of the Earth's oceans combined, may have all the key ingredients needed to sustain life. Nye, the CEO of the Planetary Society, and his NASA colleagues are currently attempting to persuade Congress to spend $2 billion to explore the Jupiter moon.
“For the first time in history we have the chance to send a spacecraft out there to see if something is swimming around in all that water,” Nye wrote in a National Geographic op-ed about Europa last month. “A mission to Europa would bring humankind together -- and perhaps change the world."
On Reddit, Nye opened up about why he finds Europa so alluring, science education, life on Mars and sandwiches, among other topics.
Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite Bill Nye insights from the AMA. Click here to read the whole exchange.
On the unanswered question he most desperately wants answered:
"Was there, or better yet, is there life on other worlds? Mars may still harbor something alive today, and who knows what's in the sea of Europa!"
On what he finds most interesting about science: "The most astonishing thing about science is that it is a process that lets us humble humans know so much (or what seems like so much) about the universe. We are part of the cosmos, yet we can understand it. Amazing."
On science education: "I say we need to emphasize and fund in elementary schools. That's not where we should cut back. People get their lifelong passion of science before they're ten years old. And, that leads to discovery and innovation."
On whether or not he’s planning on starring in a new science show: "Oh, we are working hard on that. Sorting several offers."
On how to prepare for life on Mars: "Mars is hard to land on and even harder to live on. I say, if you want to live on Mars, try Antarctica for a few years, and to make it realistic, bring your own air."
On who would win a fist fight between him and Neil deGrasse Tyson: "Neil would crush me. But based on our day of bike riding, I'm pretty sure I can outrun him. Phew."
On what he hopes to accomplish as CEO of the Planetary Society: "I want to accomplish two things at least. - Mount a mission to Europa to look for signs of life. - Get the world engaged in a system to deflect an asteroid. Let's change the world."
On his highly publicized debate with outspoken creationist Ken Ham: "I'm delighted that it has raised so much awareness. I'm heartbroken that it needed to."
On whether or not Nicolas Cage -- who played a treasure hunter called Ben Gates in the "National Treasure" movie franchise -- can help unlock the mystery of Europa: "I understand why you might hope that Mr. Cage could help us out, but he is playing a character named Ben Gates. Gates: That's the guy you need, but I don't think he's available, as he is fictional and all."
On whether peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taste better cut into triangles or squares: "I must hearken to the words of Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston: 'One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.' So, get going."
On becoming a great science educator: "For any educator, I feel we have to learn to build and perform the demonstrations so they work in class as well as the night before. Then, I recommend you spend time on stage as a performer. Try stand-up or plays. If you can sing, belt out a few songs. Teaching is, in my opinion, a performing art."
On how he felt about Weird Al Yankovich’s Epic Rap Battle of History, in which he was pitted against Sir Isaac Newton: "Love it. That's Weird Al himself Newtonising... and they're imitating me. I mean that's as imitationally flattering as it gets. I admit though, I'm not sure why I would be battling Isaac Newton rather than sitting down to share an apple and some peanut butter."
On who picks his bow ties:"I pick them, for cryin' out loud. I admit I've been investing a bit lately. Tried to stop at Andrew's Ties this morning, in fact. They weren't open yet, but on the way home perhaps."
On the best life advice he could give anyone: "Two things: Every person is responsible for his or her own actions. Work to leave the world better than you found it."