Neil deGrasse Tyson saw Prometheus

leading from


a) Prometheus takeaway
 
Neil deGrasse Tyson went to a midnight showing of Prometheus an twittered about it n 8th June 2012. 
 
What he took home with him in a mental takeaway container from the film was that there were occasions when being curious is bad for your life expectancy.

 
 
b) Noticing Vickers lack of awareness of distance they travelled
 
As far as he could tell, the ship had gone three point two seven times ten to the fourteenth kilometres  and that meant near enough thirty five lightyears.
 
But he also took note of the gaff coming from Charlize Theron's character Vickers when she said "We're half a billion miles from Earth" which meant that they were just past Jupiter. 
 
Why she had absolutely no understanding of how far away the ship was supposed to be seems to be a curious question. 
 
(However those obsessed with the idea that the planetoid where part of Alien takes place orbits Zeta II Reticuli might think about how that star system is about 39 lightyears away)

 
 
c) Problem with seeding of life on Earth in Prometheus
 
But for him, the most unrealistic aspect of it is that it's a humanoid alien planting DNA seeds to seed all of life on Earth. 
 
Of course, most life on Earth is not humanoid, and in fact most of it was plant and bacterial. 
 
So for the sake of accuracy, he would rather have seen some kind of bacterium dropping its DNA into the oceans of Earth. 
 
He thought about how there was the notion called Panspermia, that life might have begun on another planet and this microbial life would become a stowaway on rocks that would be cast back into space asteroid impacts.

d) Comparison to other films
 
However he thought that the movie in comparison to other movies seemed as if it were two parts "Cowboys & Aliens", one part "Mission to Mars" and one part "The Day The Earth Stood Still".


  1. Interviewer: So, can we start with Prometheus

    Neil deGrasse Tyson:
    Sure

    David Greene:
    You've seen it 

    Neil deGrasse Tyson: I was there at 12:01

    David Greene: You were eager.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson: 12:01, the morning it premiered, I was there.

    David Greene:
    Well, the first scene and I really don't want us to give too much to our listeners in case they haven't seen the movies we're going to talk about but the first scene in Prometheus, it seems to show this alien maybe planting the seeds of life on Earth, and I wonder if there is any realistic part of that whatsoever?
     
    Neil deGrasse Tyson: Well, the unrealistic part of it is that it’s a humanoid alien planting DNA seeds to seed all of life on Earth. And most life on Earth is not humanoid. In fact, most life on earth is plant and bacterial. So if they were to represent that accurately, it would be some kind of bacterium dropping its DNA into the oceans of Earth. Er, but there is a notion called panspermia, it's the notion that life might have begun on another planet and this microbial life would become a stowaway on rocks that would be cast back into space by asteroid impacts.

    David Greene: What is your general reaction to space movies as an astrophysicist

    Neil deGrasse Tyson: Uh, I love'em. The bigger the budget, the better. In the case of Prometheus, it had a name brand director, Ridley Scott, and there was some attempt to show what a future would be like, but there was a gaff, I must tell you.

    David Greene: Okay.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson: Charlize Theron, in an attempt to assert how far away the ship is from Earth, said "We're half billion miles from Earth", and half billion, that gets you like to Jupiter, you know, that's the, that's far from Earth by our modern standards, but by the standards of 2089, in fact no, on the screen, they showed how far away the ship was, it was three point two seven times ten to the fourteenth kilometres, and so you convert that to, to , to light years you get thirty five light years. That's way farther away than from here to Jupiter, sorry..

    David Greene: Yes, I was writing all this down, this number, I came up with that too. (http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2012/06/15/155027315/neil-degrasse-tyson-investigates-the-space-science-of-summer-movies?ft=1&f=1045)
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