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TODAY   |  March 06, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson will transport you to new worlds

Science superstar and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talks to TODAY about “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” a highly anticipated miniseries that promises to take viewers to new worlds while exploring the universe.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> now to a highly anticipated documentary series more than 30 years in the making. "cosmas, a spacetime odyssey" promises to transport viewers to new worlds while exploring the universe . the captain on this voyage astro physicist neal degrass tyson.

>> let's go back as far as we can to the very first moment of the universe , january 1st , the big bang . it's as far back as we can see in time. for now.

>> neal, good to see you. welcome back.

>> thanks for having me back.

>> carl sagan did ""cosmas" back in the 80s, right?

>> yes, he reminds us science is not just a subject you're forced to learn in school.

>> i think science should be fascinating to everyone but it's all about the approach in telling the stories.

>> i guess so. when i talk about the universe , i got good material. so people used to say, well, how do you balance entertainment with the science? like i said, when i look up, i am entertained, just by thinking about what the universe has.

>> but the question is an appropriate question. you want to teach people, you want to education people but you don't want to make it feel like they're getting it in the form of a textbook.

>> or a lecture.

>> correct.

>> what distinguishes "cosmos" from every other documentary we are presenting some actual knowledge but the real takeaway is what role that knowledge plays in who and what we are and what kind of responsibilities we have given that knowledge to tend to our civilization and to the earth.

>> and knowing you for long time now, you never dumb down the information, which i think is very important.

>> and the viewer knows that. you feel like they're trying to make up new word just to can't. no, the universe is talking.

>> talk to me about the ship of imagination.

>> in the original series , it was an attempt to have a go-to point in space and time . in this new series, i have to say the ship is bad ass . can i say that?

>> you just did. maybe not for the west coast but you did it in realtime.

>> it's otherwise not distracting from the story telling that we bring.

>> one of the things you do is you introduce the viewers to a guy. he was a dominican monk , lived in naples in the 1960s . he's a guy who bucked the system. he was willing to disagree with common beliefs.

>> yes. he noticed and had the brilliant idea given the absence of data at the time, he looked up and said i see the stars -- he was quite a religious man. he felt if god were god of the universe , if they may have been other suns, they might be like earth and if they have earth, they have life and then god would be all of the universe . that got him in trouble.

>> you want this to spark curiosity in people, the fire of curiosity. what did that for you when you were young?

>> my first visit to the hayden planetarium . as a new yorker, you don't see the night sky . we have no relationship with the night sky . you look up, you see a building. you look up higher, the building's still there. you can't get out of the canyons that manhattan gives you until you go to a planetarium. i think it's true for most usual urbanites. i think it was the universe who chose me, i didn't choose it.

>> i can't wait to sit down with my kids.

>> adults need to watch it, too. adults are in charge and they control resources and the future of our civilization.

>> always good to see you sir. you can catch the premiere of " "cosmos" on the national geographic channel . and