StarTalk Podcast: Cosmic Queries – Dark Matter, Aliens, End of the Universe

In this episode of the Star Talk podcast, Neil deGrasse Tyson and his co-host Jack Nice answer cosmic queries from their Patreon supporters. They discuss the possibility of dark matter being regular matter in a parallel universe and how the universe could end with the "big rip" theory. The hosts also explore the potential for using gravitational waves as a means of communication with other universes and the concept of different "windows" to the universe. They answer listener questions about the force of gravity and the hypothetical bleeding of other forces into our universe. Additionally, Tyson discusses the upcoming release of his book, Cosmic Queries, which includes some of the deepest questions ever asked about the universe.

The hosts also discuss the idea of missing chapters in our understanding of the universe and how, in the distant future, there will be no record of the history of the universe when all galaxies recede beyond our horizon. They explore the possibility of civilizations on other planets not having a culture of the night sky due to their unique atmospheric conditions. The hosts also briefly discuss their experiences with doing comedy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the podcast, Tyson discusses the relationship between art and science, acknowledging that science and engineering greatly affect art and that artists are often able to exploit scientific discoveries to create new forms of art. However, he also acknowledges that the creativity of scientists is limited by the laws of nature, whereas artists are free to break rules and create singular expressions of their creativity. The conversation then moves on to questions about the universe and the possibility of a borderless world, with Tyson expressing skepticism about the latter due to human tribalism. Finally, Tyson answers a question about supernovas, explaining that they are frequently discovered using dedicated telescopes, but the first supernova visible to the naked eye since the 1600s was in 1987 and is known as 1987a. Overall, the podcast covers a range of topics related to physics and cosmology in a conversational and accessible manner.