Comedians Jim Gaffigan and Sarah Silverman along with astrobiologist David Grinspoon appeared on StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman to discuss the Curiosity Mars Rover last September.


In video published Thursday on YouTube, Tyson explained that NASA's latest Mars rover used an innovative new system to safely land of the surface of Mars. Previous Mars rovers have used large airbags to cushion their impact with the surface, but Curiosity was much too large for this system to be effective. Instead, Curiosity used a so-called "sky crane," which hovered over the surface using rockets and slowly descended the rover from a cable.

"I got accustomed to the airbag landing," Tyson said. "This one it had like heat shields and then a hypersonic drogue chute, and then retro-rockets, and then a hoist crane. It was like something Rube Goldberg would have designed, and I'm thinking, I don't want Rube Goldberg on Mars."

"Why don't you just say what you mean," Silverman interrupted. "No Jews on Mars. Lets make that t-shirt. I would wear it."

Tyson later said that he had "talked" to Curiosity on Twitter, and disclosed that the rover was female.

"That's such a stripper name," Silverman joked.

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Nerdist on January 17, below: