When NASA decided to test out their Mars Rover before actually sending it off to Mars, someone thought it would be a good idea to send it to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Thankfully for the geeks at NASA, Colbert’s friend a certain Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson was around to help out. The video below shows what happened that afternoon when a comedian and the planet’s premier mind on space, drove a Mars rover in New York City.
Stephen Colbert is the host of the late-night comedy show Late Night With Stephen Colbert, which he started hosting after David Letterman retired. Before that, he was known for hosting the satirical Comedy Central program The Colbert Report from 2005 to 2014. His brand of parody-news has made him one of the premier comedy show hosts in the United States.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, on the other hand, is someone who is much more qualified to deal with something as spaceworthy as a Mars Rover. In 2004, he served on the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, which became better known as the “Moon, Mars, and Beyond” commission and has narrated and hosted a number of TV Shows including the recent Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and the four-part Origins miniseries of the PBS Nova series. He also spends time on the internet and on various TV shows, debunking idiotic theories like those by people who think the world is flat.
The duo meets up outside the studios, where the rather gigantic Mars Rover has been parked. Colbert’s first reaction to the Rover is that it looks like a Batmobile, before cracking a science joke about Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas).
Another joke about ‘Space Rocks’ gets the laughs out before the duo experience the first major problem with the Mars Rover – it’s rather slow opening rear entrance. After another Batman quip, where Tyson refuses to be Robin to Colbert’s Batman, the duo ‘blast off’ and travel around in the exact opposite manner compared to the Fast & Furious franchise at a speed the astrophysicist calculates to be 3 miles/hour (4.8 km/h). A speed which is quite a lot less than what is required to reach Mars in 9 months – 7-10 miles/sec (around 40,000 – 60,000 km/h).
The duo then drive about a bit more before having to reverse away from another car on the road with Tyson voicing the reversing sensors. After stopping off at a store to pick up essentials for Mars, they exit with a dozen eggs, which Colbert decides to run over with the Rover.
Finally after destroying the eggs and mimicking Star Trek, Colbert returns to his studio. When asked about his parking by Tyson, Colbert replies it’s NASA’s problem and then delivers a tongue-in-cheek message to the police, “Come and Get Me on Mars, Copper” to end the hilarious test drive.