The mark of a true expert is when one can fully explain a complex topic to someone who has no prior knowledge of the concept. On September 22, East Hampton resident Neil deGrasse Tyson, who recently penned the book Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military, accomplished this on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert by explaining all things Mars to the talk show host, while driving around Manhattan in a massive Mars rover that looks like a real-life Batmobile.
NASA, who according to space.com, named their zero-gravity treadmill after Stephen Colbert in 2009, have now given him the rover for one glorious episode to see “if it can withstand New York’s inhospitable atmosphere of urine based humidity,” according to Colbert. Tyson was brought along for the ride to discuss the idea of colonizing Mars and engage in hilarious hi-jinx. He explains that most astrophysics believe that no one will ever want to colonize the Red Planet, much like Antarctica, even after it becomes a viable option.
Immediately after stepping inside the rover, Colbert’s inner child—or nerd—reveals itself when he can’t resist dramatically saying, “I’m the Batman. Let’s go to Mars to fight crime. The dynamic duo drove unbearably slowly down the street, receiving multiple honks as the cumbersome rover made awkward movements and u-turns. The two stopped at a convenience store to gather supplies for a pretend visit to Mars. Looking at the selection of adult diapers, Tyson, ever the educator, taught Colbert that if one was to urinate on Mars, the urine would freeze and evaporate at the same time. While at the store, they picked up a carton of eggs to test Colbert’s hypothesis that it would look really cool if they ran it over the rover’s enormous wheels.
Their scientific conclusion: it did.