“Come with me.”
These are the words of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson as he takes off in his “ship of imagination” in the new television series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.”
Tyson, like many others, was inspired and captivated by the original Cosmos series, presented by Carl Sagan in 1980. The original became a landmark in technical achievement and made Sagan a household name.
It has been more that 30 years since Sagan’s journey through the cosmos. Since then Sagan has ignited the imaginations of many and inspired a new generation of star-gazers.
The first episode of the 13-part series, began with a tour that took the viewer through the galaxy they are most familiar with – their very own. At the very end of their galactic tour, Tyson presents the viewer with the “Observable Universe.”
“An observable universe? What does that even mean?” Tyson asked.
The Observable Universe are the galaxies and space material we can study and evaluate from Earth.
“… There are parts of the Universe that are too far away. There hasn’t been enough time in 13.8 billion year history of the Universe for their light to have reached us,” Tyson continued.
The show makes the viewer feel small compared to the vastness of the cosmos as more about the “observable universe” is revealed to be a part of an infinite network of universes.
These networks are unveiled to be within a bubble, that neighbor other bubbles. One by one these bubbles accumulated into a waterfall consisting of multiple cosmos. And we actually exist somewhere within all of this.
After being immersed by the cosmic waterfall of bubbles, the viewer was taken back to 16th century Italy where philosopher Giordano Bruno faced scrutiny for his belief that the Sun was actually the center of the universe, rather than the Earth.
Bruno’s theory was proven to be correct over time, but he was exiled and executed for radical theories regarding the cosmos.
The first episode concludes with Tyson recalling a meeting with Sagan and how the meeting not only inspired him to become scientist, but inspired him to become a better person.
In this sentimental moment the show demonstrates its strength.
From the sweeping and cinematic score composed by Alan Silvestri to Tyson’s gripping storytelling, we are met with a sense of nostalgia. We are taken back to a time where we dreamed of the unknown and where we thought we could explore the deepest regions of space with just our imaginations.
These were the moments of our lives where we thought of being the Carl Sagans or Giordano Brunos of the world.
In Bruno’s moment of exile, he dreamed he was in a world confined by a “bowl of stars.” This starry bowl was the cosmos which people of his time believed to be true. In this dream, Bruno inches his way toward a curtain at the edge of this world. He lifts it up to reveal a boundless universe, free from limitations.
Bruno wasn’t afraid of exploring the unknown.
This is what Cosmos challenges us to do. The series dares the viewer to question, but more importantly it gives an opportunity for us to dream for great possibilities. It gives us a glimmer of adventure and a sight into the unknown, wherever that “unknown” might be.
Cosmos inspires the viewer to lift up the curtain to unlock the secrets to their universe and to the boundless potential that it holds for them.