On Tuesday, Capitol Hill is going to be invaded by a bow tie enthusiast and a man with a mohawk, as Bill Nye the Science Guy and NASA's walking meme Bobak Ferdowsi make an appearance to plead to keep money in place for planetary exploration.
Over a boxed lunch hosted by the Planetary Society, Nye, Ferdowsi and others hope to convince lawmakers that NASA's Planetary Science Division deserves continued taxpayer dollars. (Its funding has been in limbo, especially thanks to the sequester.) "We will make the case to everybody of the great economic benefit of this exploration," Nye told Yeas & Nays during an interview Monday.
Delving deeper, Nye, who serves as CEO of the Planetary Society, "the world's largest nongovernmental space interest organization," said his favorite planet was still Earth. "If it's Earth versus Saturn in the solar system cup or whatever, I'm all about Earth," he joked. But beyond that, he has his eyes on two celestial bodies. "The planet I'd really like to explore ... is Europa, which is a moon of Jupiter ... and I'd like to get back to Venus because we have climate change happening and the place you would study that is on Venus," he explained.
In Washington, Nye likes to explore the local watering holes and the ballpark, he told us. "I don't like to say my favorite thing because there are certain venues that I like to go and enjoy an adult beverage, but that aside, I love to go to Nationals ballpark," he said.
Nye was also on Capitol Hill on Monday on behalf of the online education company Sophia.org, which offers free tools to students to ready them for college, especially during the summer months when they're not in school. "It's a way to prevent your brain drain during the summer slide," Nye explained.