Sunshine Interview

By Phil Plait | November 29, 2005 10:00 pm

Back in July, the NASA Deep Impact probe smacked into a comet, which was scientifically interesting, data-intensive, and downright fun. At the time, I was interviewed by Dr. Brian Cox about the Hollywood connection to the probe as part of a StarDate episode aired on the BBC. Brian and I connected well; he is interesting and funny and charming and (dagnappit) good-looking, and like me does a lot of public outreach.

Brian’s not the only one in his family who’s pretty cool. His wife, Gia, turns out to be a wholly engaging person herself. She’s hosted a few TV shows in the UK (her online video reels are hilarious), is a good photographer, and, it turns out, is also writing a blog for an upcoming science fiction movie called "Sunshine" which is filming in the UK (Brian is the science advisor). She decided to interview me for the blog, and that interview is now online.

It’s a bit scattered, but then I never found a topic I couldn’t carom tangentially off of. But mostly it’s about astronomy and science fiction, and me not letting Gia get a word in at all. That was probably a mistake; she is fabulous, and if she ever lets me interview with her again I’ll definitely (try to) let her squeeze a few words in. In the meantime, I’m thinking about the idea I had at the end of the interview on how to get a probe to the Sun. I may have to write up that idea before someone steals it…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Time Sink

Comments (12)

  1. gia

    Hey, Phil! I think you *should* write the idea up!

    I have a feeling that one of the things you spoke about in the interview has actually influenced the film ie they were going to do something the ‘traditional sci-fi movie way’ and after hearing your interview have decided to do it the ‘correct’ way… Which is verrry cool indeed…

    And I’d *love* to interview you again! I wanted this one to be mainly about sci-fi films as a lot of the people interested in this film are not sci-fi fans. It stars people who haven’t been in sci-fi films before (except for Rose Byrne who was Queen Amidala’s handmaiden) and so their fans aren’t necessarily into the genre… So thank you for doing such a fun and entertaining interview!

    And Brian says ‘hi’! (and people in the UK should be seeing him on TV coming up very soon…:) )

  2. Christian Burnham

    Hoo boy! Mamma. Your BA blog just got a whole lot easier on the telescope. (No I’m not proud of this comment)

  3. Does the probe to the sun go at night to not get too hot? Sorry, bad joke and BAD astronomy…

  4. DouglasG, you fool. The probe will of course go during a solar eclipse….

  5. bob woodington

    why wait that long? simply send it up on a rainy day! in fact, send it up from seattle and you won’t have to worry about getting it done quickly (before the end of the eclipse)….

  6. Eike Pierstorff

    Phil, you don’t need to hurry to write up your idea – Hal Clement used it in a short story called “Sun Spot” a couple of decades ago (well, in the story people built a station in the comet instead of using it as a shield but it’s still a quite similar idea).

    Nice interview, though.

  7. About space ships in movies…

    Why do they all point with there top to the same side?

    There is no top, bottom, left and right in space right?

    It just depends on where you are so why all they are floating with there top to the same point?

  8. George

    Care to guess my question? hehe

    Please, please do not make the sun’s color yellow. It would be cowardly in both ways. [ok, that’s too strong; I can’t seem to shake the cornjunktive]. Visit SOHO and TRACE for fantastic images and colors. Certain filters produce beautiful images. Depict our star either in its true intrinsic color, or as we would see it in its blinding-to-the-eye form (white).

    That might stir greater scientific interest. [It might do wonders for heliochromology. :) ]

    BTW, very enjoyable interview. :clap: Delighted at the prospect for greater scientific authenticity.

    The BA’s star grazer idea was cool, too. If one grazer were large enough and reach a certain perihelion, it might break-up (llike Shoemaker-Levy @ Jupiter: Roche limit?). The ice and solar energy could be utilized to send a smaller section to the “surface”. I am only guessing, but if you put us to work on it….maybe more than a maybe. :)

  9. Christian Burnham

    Uh ok, I’m really not too proud of my comment above… but Gia really does look like Catherine Zeta Jones no? You can continue your discussions on how to land on the Sun now.

  10. Christian, shut up, you are only making it worse… :-)

  11. gia

    Don’t worry about it, Christian, you’ve made me *blush*… and then laugh. :)

  12. Christian Burnham

    Hey, any gal with those looks who also likes science is damn near perfection in my book! I’m looking forward to the movie, I’m sure it’s going to be great.


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