Neil deGrasse Tyson, the celebrity astrophysicist, and media personality is not known for his subtlety. Many of his tweets are cringe-worthy beyond belief. But Tyson scored just a little bit on Twitter when he posted a link to the YouTube video of Bill Maher’s recent rant against going to #Mars alongside a link to another video, a trailer for a new documentary on Netflix entitled “The Mars Generation” about Space Camp with young people getting excited about space exploration and science. The cynical and ugly was presented alongside the beautiful and optimistic.

Maher, wisely, delivered his invective against going to Mars when Tyson was not on his show.

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Tyson has a symbiotic relationship with media personalities like Maher, along with some other late night hosts like Stephen Colbert, a genuine enthusiast for space exploration. Maher will have Tyson on his show from time to time to try to burnish his science cred (even though the HBO ranter is a vaccine denier.) In return, Tyson has another platform to make pronouncements that he thinks are erudite and occasionally even are.

Tyson, for all of his many faults, is an enthusiastic supporter of space exploration, even going so far as to advocate doubling NASA’s budget. He has angered some space advocates by downplaying the role that commercial space plays. Tyson’s argument that government space efforts happen before the private sector follows is, at the very least, defensible and not as outrageous as some people have stated on social media.

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So, Maher’s slam against going to Mars, in effect saying that it was a distraction from dealing with climate change, must have been hurtful to Tyson. Both are men of the left and are hostile to religion. But to find that his old friend and media ally is so vehemently against settling Mars must be as disturbing as a Reagan Republican discovering that the wife of his bosom is a deep-cover Soviet agent.

Tyson, as well as Bill Nye, another occasional guest on #Bill Maher’s show, need to do more to reeducate the HBO rant show host. Their tweets need to be more explicit. On their next appearance on “Real Time”, they need to call Maher a moron to his face. If some righty such as Sean Hannity were to have said such a thing, neither Tyson nor Nye would have held themselves back.

The left has been inveighing against space exploration since William Proxmire was trying to cut the budget of the Apollo program in the Senate. With President Trump making every indication of wanting to do more in space, such attitudes need to be challenged with great vigor.

#Neil Degrasse Tyson