Neil deGrasse Tyson Talks God, Aliens, and Multiverses

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story was published here.

Things are looking up for Neil deGrasse Tysonway up. As the director of the Hayden Planetarium and the author of several popular books on space, Tyson is already one of the nation’s best-known scientists. And now his already-high profile is set for a big boost with the March 9 launch of “Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey,” a new documentary television series that he hosts.

Tyson calls the 13-part series a continuation of “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” a 1980 PBS series narrated by Carl Sagan that is acclaimed as one of the most significant science-themed programs in television history.

In anticipation of the new series’ debut, Tyson, 55, sat down with HuffPost Science for a wide-ranging and surprisingly frank interview. What follows is a condensed and edited version of the discussion, which took place in the astrophysicist’s New York City office.

David Freeman: Cosmologically speaking, what’s changed in the 34 years since the original “Cosmos?”

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Just about everything.

DF: Exoplanets hadn’t yet been observed back then. Now we’ve seen hundreds. Does that mean we’re closer to discovering extraterrestrial life?

NT: That is a big question we all have: are we alone in the universe? And exoplanets confirm the suspicion that planets are not rare. Life as we know it lives on a planet. So if we are going to look for life as we know it, you want a good inventory of planets. There is a whole cottage industry of people trying to study the properties of the planets. It’s very hard because they’re orbiting next to hugely bright stars. The analogy is given–and if you calculate it out, it turns out to be about —> Read More