“The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. Our contemplation of the cosmos stirs. We know we are approaching the grandest of mysteries.” — Carl Sagan, 1980
“It’s time to get going again.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2013
Thirty-three years ago, Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan produced Cosmos, by far the most popular series ever to air on PBS until then (and viewed worldwide by an estimated 750 million people). The magic of Cosmos, and Sagan’s “isn’t this just so amazing” tour guide approach, was that it taught two generations of viewers that science was not something out of reach for the normal person. It wasn’t something obscured by big words and bigger ideas. It was something anyone could understand if they had a good enough teacher and the desire to learn. It changed the world.
Since then, science has fallen to a new low in the United States. Vilified by Republicans as an elitist waste of federal dollars, or an assault on religious freedoms, or the last sanctuary of out-of-touch environmentalists and liberals, its political status is that of a whipping post. Sagan would weep to see it.
Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks it’s time to reboot. And he’s got Ann Druyan on his side, writing for and producing a new Cosmos with all the pizzazz of modern special effects, digital filming, and of course a huge stockpile of photos and video footage from our many space probes and satellites. Tyson screened the official trailer at the Comic Con last month, and it gave me chills.
I cannot wait for 2014, when two more generations of viewers will sit down in this house for 13 new episodes of Cosmos. (Plus, the new ship is SO cool! The scene where it’s swooping low over the water? Shivers.)
The trailer is available in HD. Load it up, make it full screen, and turn up your speakers.