Bill Nye Has A Lot to Say About Mars

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Science Educator and Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye Says Living on Mars is Science-Fiction, But NASA Should Focus on Getting There Anyway.

Bill Nye (The Science Guy)—yeah, that one—has been rather outspoken these past few years. The one-time children’s science educator has rebranded himself as a snarky, blunt, and opinionated science advocate. And I, for one, love it. 

Bill Nye Takes On the World?

Okay, maybe not. But he has consistently been out there preaching science a lot these last few years. Despite his position as CEO of the Planetary Society, however, Nye advocates most strenuously, it seems, for action on climate change. That passion for climate change action spills over into his opinions on space exploration, too. Nye recently spoke with USA Today about the idea of colonizing Mars. He called it “science fiction.”

“This whole idea of terraforming Mars, as respectful as I can be, are you guys high?” Nye said. “We can’t even take care of this planet where we live, and we’re perfectly suited for it, let alone another planet.”

Nye continued, regarding living on Mars permanently. “People disagree with me on this, and the reason they disagree is because they’re wrong,” he quipped. 

Everyone’s favorite “science guy” appears on NatGeo’s “MARS,” which discusses the possibility of human habitation on Mars. While Nye appears on the show, he certainly doesn’t appear to agree with the idea.

Most of Nye’s argument against the idea of inhabiting Mars is psychological. He points out the fact that the harsh conditions on Mars are worse than the harshest conditions here on Earth. “Nobody goes to Antarctica to raise a family. You don’t go there and build a park, there’s just no such thing,” he said. 

So Why Even Go?

Just because Nye is… shall we say, skeptical? …about the idea of living on Mars doesn’t mean he doesn’t think we should go there. Nye may not be all in on Elon Musk’s 1,000,000 person colony idea, but he definitely thinks NASA needs to get to the red planet.

Back in 2017, Nye told Big Think that he thought NASA lacked focus at that time. He argued that the world looks to NASA not only for inspirational leadership but for technological development as well. He said at the time, “First of all when it comes to exploring Mars, which is what we all want to do, everybody talks about it all the time, let’s not have a reset, let’s not cancel existing programs for the sake of some imagined or proposed new program, let’s finish all the projects.”

Nye went on to express the importance of setting a goal date – which NASA has now done, quite aggressively. 

Whether or not humans ever permanently settle on Mars remains to be seen, but we are going there one way or another. Bill Nye’s message of focus, pragmatism, and taking care of the planet we have—even if snarky and a little gruff—are just a few of the reasons why he remains as popular as ever. 

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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